Keto Meal Plan Guide
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet, helping your body get into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body uses fat for fuel. This happens when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn and turns to fat to burn instead. In a state of ketosis, your liver will also produce ketones, which helps supply energy to your brain.
By getting into a state of ketosis, your body starts to burn stored fat, which is why many people successfully lose weight while following a ketogenic meal plan. Using fat for fuel is also a great way to support long-lasting energy levels, which is why many people combat fatigue when following a ketogenic diet.
When following a ketogenic diet, your macronutrient intake will look like this:
- Carbs: When following a keto diet, you want to keep your carb count between 20 to 40 grams of (net) carbs per day. This means that roughly 5-15% of your daily calorie intake will come from carbs. You can calculate out how many net carbs you consume by subtracting how many grams of fiber are in a meal from the number of carbs. This equals your net carb intake. Most keto dieters choose to use net carbs vs. carbs when calculating out their daily carb allowance as this allows for more fiber-rich nutritious foods like dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.
- Fat: Fat is king in the ketogenic diet, and you want to make sure that you are getting enough to provide your body with enough fuel. Remember that fat is going to take the place of carbohydrates as your primary energy source, so don’t skimp here. More than 60% of your daily calories will come from fat.
- Protein: A keto diet focuses on moderate protein intake, but make sure not to overdo it. Too much protein and you run the risk of kicking yourself out of ketosis. Focus on getting 10-20% of your daily calories from protein.
Your individual macronutrient intake is going to vary, depending on your age, weight, activity level and goals while following a keto diet. You will have to play around with how many grams of carbohydrates, fat, and protein are going to work best for you and help you feel your best. While some people do well with 20 grams of net carbs per day, others may need slightly more. The same goes for fat and protein. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a little time to find that sweet spot. It can take some dietary tweaks to get you into a state of ketosis, but once you’re there, it will be much easier to maintain once you know how your body responds.
So, now that you know roughly how much you will be eating on a keto diet let’s talk about the importance of planning. The keto diet requires a bit of meal prep and planning. This is where a keto meal planner comes in. Your PlateJoy keto meal planner is the ideal place to have the work done for you. This online meal planning tool takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out if something is keto-friendly or not, and gives you a list of delicious keto-friendly meals to choose from. The keto meal planner can help make planning your weekly meals stress-free.
With an easy keto meal plan, you will be more likely to stick to your plan, and actually be able to reap all the benefits the keto diet has to offer without the stress of planning out all your meals and grocery trips. PlateJoy’s keto meal planner also provides you with a keto diet grocery list to streamline your grocery trip each week and make sure you don’t forget any important ingredients on your weekly simple keto meal plan.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Keto Diet
As with any diet, there are advantages and disadvantages. Let’s start by talking about some of the many reasons people decide to follow a keto diet.
Advantages of the Keto Diet
- Supports Weight Loss: One of the most common reasons people embark on their keto journey is to help support weight loss. Since your body will start to use fat for fuel, you may notice a drop in weight. The keto diet may also support weight loss since you will be removing refined high-sugar foods, notoriously known for causing weight gain.
- May Help Prevent Diabetes: A keto diet may also help lower glucose levels. Carb restriction may be beneficial for lowering blood sugar levels. However, always speak with your doctor before implementing any major dietary changes, especially if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia.
- Supports Skin Health: Those who suffer from skin health issues such as acne may benefit from a ketogenic diet as reducing your intake of inflammatory simple carbs may help reduce inflammation. Since inflammation is a big acne trigger, you may see an improvement in skin health when you restrict your carbohydrate intake.
- Starve Tumors: Another potential advantage of the ketogenic diet is the theory that cancer cells feed off sugar (aka carbs.) By restricting your carb intake, you may literally “starve” tumor cells, which in theory, would inhibit their ability to grow. This is why people believe that the keto diet may be beneficial for preventing cancer.
Disadvantages of the Keto Diet
- Keto Flu: The keto flu is one of the most talked about disadvantages of the keto diet. The keto flu occurs in the very early stages of the diet when your body is getting used to the drastic dietary changes. You may feel as if you have the flu, and feel irritable and fatigued. However, this is a temporary phase as your body adapts.
- Adherence: Adhering to the keto diet could also be considered a disadvantage as it’s a fairly extreme way of eating and can be challenging to maintain. However, with the help of PlateJoy’s keto meal planner, it can make planning your keto meals a little easier and more delicious. Planning is a key part of helping you stick to your keto meal plan. If the ketogenic diet sounds too strict for your lifestyle, a Paleo or low carb meal plan may be right for you.
- Dining Out: Dining out on the keto diet can also present as a disadvantage. If you don’t pre-plan and look at the restaurant's menu before you go, you may be left with limited options for your meal out with friends and family. The good news is that many restaurants are now offering keto-friendly options to those following a keto meal plan.
As you can see, there are quite a few advantages to following a keto diet, and while there are some drawbacks, many of them can be remedied with a little planning and a little patience. With a keto meal planner, adhering to a keto diet is easier than ever.
Keto-Friendly Foods and Foods to Avoid
The following is a list of keto-approved foods you can eat as part of your simple keto meal plan. These foods are low-carb, and many are high-fat to help you maintain ketosis.
- Eggs: Pastured and organic, when possible
- Fish: Wild-caught, when possible
- Beef: Grass-fed is preferable
- Poultry: Chicken, turkey
- Dairy: Butter, cheese, ghee, full-fat unsweetened yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream
- Oils: Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil
- Non-starchy vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers
- Low-sugar fruits: Berries, avocados
- Beverages: Water, coffee, tea
- Condiments: Vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, herbs, spices
- Other: Unsweetened dark chocolate, nuts, seeds
The following are the foods you will want to avoid on a keto diet.
- Sweeteners: Sugar, maple syrup, honey
- High sugar fruits: Citrus, banana, pineapple, mango
- Breads & Pastries: Muffins, cake, brownies, cookies
- Starches: Pasta, rice
- Sweetened beverages: Juice, soda
- Beans & legumes: All variety of beans, chickpeas, lentils
- Condiments with added sugar: Salad dressing, marinara sauce
Who Can and Cannot Maintain this Diet
As with any diet, there are some people who may benefit, and some who should not follow a keto diet. Here is a list of people who may be able to maintain a keto diet.
You’re a healthy adult and have the approval from your doctor and are looking to cut carbs to lose weight.
You want to follow a diet that includes healthy fats to help support healthy cholesterol levels.
If you’re looking for a diet to help support brain health, the keto diet may be one you want to try as the keto diet may help support cognitive function.
While the keto diet may be beneficial for some, it’s not for everyone. The following are reasons you may want to avoid the keto diet.
- You have liver problems
- You have kidney health issues
- You are pregnant and or breastfeeding
- You’re an older adult: It’s essential for older adults to get enough protein, and cutting protein to get into ketosis may hurt muscle growth.
- If you have heart disease, low blood sugar, or diabetes, be sure to discuss your interest in the keto diet with your doctor before you start. The keto diet isn’t for everyone, and those with these conditions may have to be extra careful.