You’ve heard about these great things about keto, and not just from us here at Konscious Keto.
Maybe it was a friend or work colleague who lost weight or turned their health around on it.
Maybe it was all the significant studies showing all the incredible benefits of doing keto.
Maybe it was Kim Kardashian losing 75 pounds after giving birth.
Or maybe seeing a 51-year old Halle Berry look young, healthy and sexy.
Check out what Halle says about keto on a recent Instagram post:
“The keto lifestyle offers so many benefits such as weight loss, (moms that’s how we get rid of our baby bellies), appetite control, more energy and better mental performance.
If you’re like me, you can reverse type 2 diabetes; you’ll experience better physical endurance, better skin and also less acne if that’s an issue.”
Regardless of how you heard about keto, you want to do it — and do it well!
There’s just one problem — what to eat?
As someone who has done keto for years now, I’ve been confused, made a ton of mistakes and tried and tested different things.
While I’m still learning, I’ve worked hard to nail down the keto meal prep.
I’ve found that a bit of planning helps me stay accountable to my goals, and means I don’t fall back on excuses like not having keto foods in the house.
It’s a small price to pay for all the incredible benefits of staying in ketosis.
Now, I do like to incorporate some variety in my day-to-day meals, so it’s not groundhog day every day. So if your idea of meal prep is to fill the fridge with seven dinners containing the same recipe, think again.
You can do that, who doesn’t love a kit of keto consistency, but if you’re new to keto or still figuring out the meal prep, this is a good start.
And, if your goal is to lose weight on a keto diet, these tips can be a real lifesaver.
The Keto Breakfast
Breakfast means to ‘break the fast.’ That means if you go to eat dinner at 10 pm and don’t eat until 8 am, you have done a 10 hour fast. I aim for as many 10-14 hour fasts as I can. This can mean eating a later breakfast or cutting off late night snacking.
It’s best to do one or the other. Doing both at the same time can be stressful, which is never sustainable.
So if you like to eat breakfast, go ahead and do that. If you know you snack late at night, merely start eating later in the day.
The cool thing about this is it naturally encourages weight loss because you will usually eat to a calorie deficit (as you remove the late night snacking temptations).
But ideally, the goal is to eat all of your recommended keto macros per day in a smaller window.
If you’re not sure how to check your macros, use a free keto calculator like this App.
All to often, people will ask in our Facebook Group why they feel hungry on a keto diet and aren’t losing weight, and they’re eating well under their calorie goals.
This is the starvation mode and can take years to correct. Please don’t do it.
I read some cool research studies recently that said if you eat the same foods and calories in a shorter window, you will naturally lose fat and gain lean muscle (1).
That means you don’t have to change anything else or “diet” to hit your goals.
This is such a powerful metabolic response that researchers found that even if you don’t eat a keto diet and reduce your eating window, you can still lose some fat (2).
This is because each time you eat, you trigger a complex series of hormones that determine metabolism.
Here’s an example of what I do in the mornings:
- 2-3 eggs (usually scrambled or in an omelet).
- Good quality protein (bacon, smoked salmon or high-quality breakfast sausage.
- A bunch of dark leafy greens (usually collard greens or some chard or spinach. Just remember to steam or pan cook them with water for 6-8 minutes to remove the oxalic acid. Among other things, oxalic acid will deplete you of electrolytes which are very important on keto).
- I recommend drizzling the dark leafy greens with MCT oil.
- ¼-½ cup of vegetables like mushroom, bell pepper, plum tomatoes, or any keto vegetable. If you’re making an omelet, you can add these in after pan cooking them in avocado/macadamia/coconut oil. It’s important to keep your vegetable intake up. Many people make the mistake of not getting enough healthy nutrients when doing keto.
- Half an avocado. (The tagline should be changed to: “An avocado a day keeps the doctor away!”).
For more plant-based ideas, check out this vegetarian keto guide.
The Keto Lunch
Depending on when you break your fast, you may or may not eat lunch.
But if you’re an early riser, then you’ll want to make this meal work for your weight loss goals.
For many people, a keto brunch scenario is ideal.
It can seem weird to not eat toast or bagels for breakfast, or not eat at all, but the less time you eat, and the more fats you consume, the less hunger you will feel.
This is a massive benefit of the keto diet which can make it hard to eat all of your calories.
Imagine - a weight loss program where you have to force yourself to eat! It sounds crazy, but scientists found that high-fat diets like the Mediterranian diet and the keto diet all have the best weight loss results because of the satiation that fat provides (3).
For a quick and tasty lunch, I recommend getting half a roast chicken (ideally humanely raised), a big dose of keto-friendly mayonnaise, like Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo, and some salad greens.
Now you might not eat the whole half a chicken - it depends on how hungry you are (I like to save it for a snack or the next day). And don’t forget to eat the tastiest part of the chicken, the skin. Yummy!
Deli meat can be a good substitute. Just make sure the meat is high quality. Many deli types of meat have fillers or hidden carbs added to preserve the meats.
When possible, avoid low-quality varieties like bologna, and go with quality, cured meats from a reputable source.
Some low-carb options you might enjoy are:
- Cold cuts such as turkey breast and pastrami.
- Pepperoni sticks or slices.
- Salami and bologna.
- Some good sides to add include: olives, sauerkraut, pickles.
Anything low carb and ideally fermented is excellent on a keto diet and will promote gut health.
I recommended keeping a few of these handy in the fridge to add to any of your meals, as well, and moderating other keto snacks like keto nuts, which can be high-caloric.
You’ll also want to avoid fruits while trying to lose fat as these contain fructose, which prevents your body from burning fat unless you work out a lot.
If you’re hitting the gym, however, we encourage you to eat your quality carbs in fruits within 30 minutes of working out to replenish the glycogen in your muscles only.
Some excellent keto lunch options are:
- Avocados: a great snack with lemon juice or balsamic, or make guacamole for dipping low-carb veggies.
- Fruit: Optional once weight and health are stabilized. Some people can handle the sugar in fruit and still be healthy and slim, others can’t. If you indulge, pick fresh local fruit in season, and stick to berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries which are lower in sugar.
- Eat fresh fruit with a fat (peanut butter, whipped cream, cheese). It slows the blood sugar spike.
- If you’re doing lunch on the go, take some avocado, MCT (we like packing the soft-gels instead of the oil when traveling). MCT is a great addition to coffee, but soft-gels allow you to add more energy into your day just by drinking it with water.
You can also order olive oil at restaurants; it’s a great way to fatten up and “ketofy” your meal. I use it all the time when I grab a salad.
Olive oil is a much more keto salad dressing, as it’s rich in saturated fats and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (4).
You’ll be wise to check the label on the ones they add to prepared salads as they often contain fillers and carbs.
The Keto Dinner
I like to keep dinner simple. This means just protein and sides. I recommend oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids -- great fats!
Now if you don’t like fish, there are many other keto-friendly protein sources like ribeye steak, pork chops, etc.
Try to keep your portion size of red meat reasonably low. You want it to energize you, not leave you feeling full and bloated!
Aim for a decent serving of salad or vegetables with your dinner. I aim to go as green as possible.
This means eating lots of asparaguses, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
I sometimes add some bacon and high-fat cheese to my meal for the good fats — and for the taste!
Use a good quality oil like tallow, duck fat, coconut, or olive oil to cook your protein with and to drizzle onto your vegetables or salads.
If you’re active during the day or just sitting in the office and you get a little hungry, what do you like to eat?
One of the reasons keto works for so many people is you are encouraged to eat. In fact, the more you eat, the more fat you can lose.
This is especially true for people who have relied on a low-calorie diet to hit their goals.
When your metabolism is burning sugar, you depend on eating fewer calories, but when you burn fat, there is no need to deplete your sugar (you’re already there!).
Here’s a couple of keto snacks that help curb my hunger and also give me a nice boost of clean energy:
- Nuts (pecans, hemp seeds, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and almonds are all great. choices) - but we weary of eating too many during weight loss unless you’re working out and need this boost in energy.
- Again, keto friendly berries are a great snack (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries).
- You can even add some heavy whipped cream to make it tasty.
- Canned fish (sardines are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids).
- A good quality protein shakes with some added MCT oil or powder.
- Nut butter (Noosh have some top nut butter satchels you can take anywhere that are low in carbs with MCT oil).
Tip: you can check out this article for keto snack ideas that won’t kick you out of ketosis.
Your Keto Weight Loss Hack
We plan for emergencies, right? Food is one of the most important things we do for us every single day. I want you to think about five meals you love that are keto.
These meals don’t have to be anything super glamorous or complicated, and if you’re feeding a family then you’ll definitely need more time, but for right now let’s think on what options you have at your disposal.
Ask yourself, can you:
- Stock the items you need to make these all the time in the house?
- Make the meal in under 20 mins, preferably ten mins?
- Eat this dish over and over again?
- Do you love it?
Some ideas might be bacon and eggs with some avocado slices or a strong omelet with lots of veggies and cured meats.
Try to avoid salads, especially when you’re going to for weight loss as these never store well for long periods of time, and if you go to make one, it might be wilted.
Instead, having a good selection of meats and cheeses and creams you can cook with means that you’ll stay in ketosis, hit your macros, and not be tempted to snack later as you’ll be eating satiating fatty foods.
It’s almost essential to make sure you love these foods as you might end up making them a lot.
The foods you love give you a real sense of satisfaction. The more satisfaction you get from food (fat is flavor), the less you will feel deprived.
Remember, losing weight on a keto diet is the opposite of everything you have probably been told about weight loss.
Quality of calories and carbs matter most. Eating to your capacity or above is how your body knows it’s safe to lose weight.
If you eat under your calories, you will never keep losing weight long term.
Check out this article on how to overcome a keto fat loss stall if you think things have slowed down to try some of our best tips.