If you’re just starting a ketogenic diet, making a meal plan can be confusing at first, but it’s easier than you think. And it will save you time and money, and help you stick with it and reach your keto goals!
There are many factors that go into creating a well-rounded ketogenic meal plan. For a lot of people, it’s a process of trial and error to figure out what you like and what works best for you. Today we’re sharing step-by-step directions on how to make a keto meal plan to simplify the process.
What You Need to Know Before Making a Keto Meal Plan
- Take a look at our “Start Here” page. We designed it to walk you through the process of starting a ketogenic diet. And we answer a lot of questions you have!
- Calculate your macros. You don’t need any fancy equipment to do this, and it’s free! We will start by following a basic (modified Atkins) ketogenic diet macronutrient breakdown to devise our ketogenic meal plan. Check out our article Macros for a Keto Diet: How to Calculate Them Without an Indirect Calorimetry Device for a step-by-step guide. After going through this article, you will know how many calories you need each day, broken down into grams of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
- Educate yourself on which foods you can eat on a keto diet. Spoiler alert: it’s more than bacon, avocado, and heavy whipping cream, lol! We made a Keto Food Guide to help with this, as well as a Beginner Keto Grocery List Guide. And we also have a printable shopping list!
What Foods Can You Eat on a Keto Diet?
On a ketogenic diet, the focus should be on eating healthy fats, quality meat and seafood, and non-starchy vegetables.
Before you make your meal plan, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the foods you can eat on a keto diet. We have several guides explaining a variety of different keto friendly foods:
Keto Meal Plan FAQs
What Types of Protein Can I Eat on a Ketgenic Diet?
When choosing meat and poultry, go for grass-fed organic when possible, especially with fattier cuts. These have higher omega-3 and lower omega-6 profiles when compared to grain-fed animals.
Eggs are also a good source protein because they’re cheap, nutrient-dense, and versatile.
Don’t forget about seafood! Usually smaller seafood, such as sardines, are a better choice because they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids. However, they are definitely an acquired taste! Look for wild-caught seafood like salmon, halibut, sole, scallops, and shrimp.
Here are a few good protein options for a keto diet:
- Grass-fed beef
- Grass-fed chicken
- Wild-caught seafood
- Pasture-raised pork
- Free-range eggs
What Fats Should I Eat on a Ketogenic Diet?
We tend to use the same healthy fats for the same things. For example:
- Avocado oil or extra-virgin coconut oil for cooking leafy green vegetables
- Extra-virgin olive oil for salad dressings
- Avocado oil for marinating foods to be grilled
- Butter on top of steamed vegetables and slathered on keto bread
- Bacon grease to cook greens and fry eggs (it’s a saturated fat, so it has a higher smoke point and is less likely to oxidize and produce free radicals)
For more detailed information on which fats you should eat on keto, check out our article High Fat Foods For Keto: The Fatty Details You Need to Know.
What Vegetables Can I Eat on Keto?
When it comes to veggies on a keto diet, learn to love dark green leafy vegetables! Dark leafy greens like this provide us with folate, calcium, and lots of other vitamins and minerals.
Insider Tip: If you add butter or bacon fat, it’s hard not to love dark leafy greens!
We love kale and spinach and eat them almost daily. However, we switch them up so we don’t build up oxalates and get kidney stones!
Mushrooms are great too. They don’t really have a strong flavor, and they’re low in net carbs.
Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green beans, and cabbage are other favorites for us as well. If you’re new to eating vegetables, start with exciting flavors, like Balsamic-Glazed Sautéed Asparagus with Bacon and Mushroom Stroganoff Sauce until you start to enjoy the flavors of vegetables on their own.
For more detailed information on keto friendly vegetables, check out our Keto Vegetable Food List.
What Fruit Can You Eat on Keto?
You can eat a variety of different fruits in moderation on a ketogenic diet. We mostly stick with berries, typically blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. They’re higher in fiber and antioxidants.
For more detailed information on keto friendly fruits, check out our Guide to Keto Fruits.
Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet
- Sugar: Be aware of multiple different forms of sugar, including cane sugar, beet sugar, honey, maple, agave, fruit juice, etc.
- Grains: Such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt
- Starchy Vegetables: Like potatoes, corn, etc.
- High Sugar Fruits: Such as pineapple, mango, banana, dates, etc.
- Legumes: Beans and lentils
- Low Fat Dairy: Instead, opt for full-fat grass-fed dairy
- Low Quality Oils: For example, margarine, canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, etc.
How to Make a Keto Meal Plan
After you have calculated your macros and determined how many grams of fat, protein, and carbohydrates your body needs in a day, next comes the fun part: deciding what you want to eat!
- Search for keto recipes you want to try.
- Organize the recipes into a day’s worth of meals based on your macros. We like to plan out 1 week of keto meals at a time.
- Make a grocery list. Check out our Beginner Keto Grocery List Guide and printable shopping list!
- Grocery shop.
- Cook. We highly recommend meal prepping and batch cooking. Overall, this has probably helped us stick with keto more than anything else! And keto meal prep is like any other kind of meal prep. Basically, make a big batch of something, portion it out, and then stick it in the fridge or freezer until you want to eat it.