Keto is not difficult and once you understand the basics, it’s downright simple.
The Basics –
- Under 20 carbs
- No grains (wheat, rice, oats, corn…)
- No root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets…)
- No sugar (this means fruit too)
- Find your macros(macro calculator)
- Track your food (I like Cronometer)
- Calories count, no matter what anyone says, calories do count!!
Long Version with Details – Keto 101
- Not all of your meals have to change much, keep it simple. Eat meats, vegetables and healthy fats.
- A dinner of steak with broccoli is a great and simple keto meal(add butter and cheese to your broccoli for the healthy fats)
- If you plan out your day ahead of time, you won’t end up at dinnertime with no macros left to eat.
- Almost all of your favorite meals can be adjusted to fit a keto way of life. even if your family and friends don’t join in. Look here!!
- Zoodles and fathead dough are lifesavers, they replace so many favorite foods.
Here is what a typical menu looks like for me.
- I find if I eat a vegetable based lunch with a little protein, I can have a more satisfying dinner. A salad full of low carb leafy green with a little chicken thrown in and some full fat dressing on top…perfect meal. More ideas…
- Choose foods that are filling but not so calorie dense, like chia pudding, salads, eggs and this is where the fats come in. Fat keeps you full longer, so cook your eggs in butter and add cheese or sour cream, use full fat dressings and cheeses on your salads, use dairy or avocado based sauces, dressings and dips where ever you can.
- Avocados are a healthy fat
- Do not use “low fat” or “reduced fat” products – You need the fats, and “low fat” usually equals added sugar.
- Not all fats and oils are healthy, vegetable, soy, canola and corn oils should be avoided where possible. (This is not because of keto, just not healthy oils)
- Stick to olive, avocado, coconut oils or butter, bacon grease, duck fat…
Not all meals need to take much time and effort. We can prep ahead of time to make grab and go easier. Pre-cut veggies, boil some eggs, make enough chia pudding to last a few days and of course there are always leftovers.
You can also pre-make breakfast to go so you don’t have to take the time in the mornings.
Not all foods require recipes – Missing pizza??
- Throw just enough cheese in a good non-stick frying pan to cover the bottom
- Cook on medium heat until well melted and browning, flip and brown the second side.
- If you want sauce, add a small squirt of reduced sugar ketchup on top and some Italian seasoning, spread it around and add your favorite pizza toppings (veggies, pepperoni, steak…) and of course more cheese.
- Cover just long enough to melt cheese topping.
- Slide to a cutting board and cut and eat.
You can use the same melted/browned cheese technique from above to make crispy taco shells, just pull them out of the pan and hang over the edge of a bread pan to make the shell shape. Fill with all your favorite taco stuffers.
Need more fats?? You can always make fat bombs or you can make a simple herbed butter that is so tasty on meats and vegetables.
- Take a stick of butter, softened (but not melted) add about 1/4 cup of finely chopped herbs, cilantro, basil, parsley, garlic, dill, scallions…any herb you want.
- You can add salt, pepper, lemon juice…
- Mix super well, then chill.
- Some people roll it up in saran wrap to make it pretty and sliceable, I prefer to just put it in an airtight container and scoop as needed.
- Cilantro and garlic butter on chicken is AMAZING!!
Need to eat more avocados, but not a huge fan or just tired of eating them?? Try this –
- Mash up an avocado (chunky is ok)
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of sour cream and a teaspoon of ranch dressing powder.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add a little lemon or lime juice for taste and to keep avocado from browning.
- If you have some cilantro left over from the butter above, chop it up and add it in.
This is the best guacamole ever, it’s a great dip for vegetables or pork rinds, and yummy enough to just eat off the spoon.
Be prepared when away from home – Things to keep with you –
- Pre-measured serving sized baggies of nuts
- Drink drops like Mio or Stur to flavor water or ice tea where ever you are
- Favorite sweetener packets – Truvia, Pyure, Stevia …are better than artificial sweeteners offered in restaurants
- keto approved protein bars
- Gum or sugar free hard candies – these can help with munchies or keto breath and dry mouth.
- ALWAYS have water on hand
Interesting facts that might help because every carb counts –
- Red cabbage has more carbs than green
- Colored peppers have more carbs than green
- Everything has carbs, even if it says 0. The USDA says if it is less than 1 it can say zero, but it adds up.
- Neufchatel cheese (right next to the cream cheese) has less fat and calories. I know I said we need the fat, but if you are using a lot of it the calories add up, this is the one place I will cut fat for the greater good.
- Pre-grated cheese has potato starch or cellulose in it, this can add carbs too. Brick cheese is cheaper anyway.
- Net carbs = Total carbs – fiber – SOME sugar alcohols (erythritol, allulose)
- Aspartame has carbs (Nutrasweet, Equal, blue packet, some diet sodas)
- Too much protein can convert to glucose (sugar) in your blood (gluconeogenesis)
More recipes and information can be found here