What Should a Ketogenic Diet Eat for Beginners?
That is the question, right? Before Emily & I started our keto journey, we did a ton of research, talked to people that had great success on while keto and started to think about what foods we would give up and more importantly what we were ‘allowed‘ to eat.
This post will be primarily based on cooking meals at home because that’s what we do to keep the cost down and ensure that know what we were putting in our bodies.
Keep Recipes & Routine Simple
The easiest way we found to keep on track with a keto diet is to cook 90-95% of your meals. The occasional eating at restaurants is okay, but we found it to be more of a hassle than anything else. We still managed to go out with friends, but we ate before we left the house and just ordered tea
I know it’s easy to get into the Pinterest clickhole and start dreaming about all those amazing recipes you can make as you scour the web for recipe ideas. But focus on the basics first and get your body in ketosis before adding complexities to your diet.
But because you’re starting out, keep your meal recipes and prep as simple as possible. This is especially true if you don’t’ know your way around the kitchen all too well. But being on a keto diet might be a great opportunity to learn how to cook better?
When making keto meals, just remember to calculate your macronutrients. This is critical in getting into a ketogenic state and staying there. The ratios that you’re looking in your daily food intake are as follows:
- ~75% Calories from Fat
- ~15% Calories from Proteins
- ~10% Calories from Carbs
Looking for a great Keto Macro Calculator? Don’t guess your carbs, fat or proteins. Click here to use free macro calculator.
List of Meats for Keto Diet
I get a lot of my fats from dairy & meats. Emily & I extremely fortunate to have access to farmers that practice sustainable methods for poultry, beef, and pork (vegetables as well).
All of our meats are organic & humanely raised and because our farmers are so consistent with their products, we can reliably create an entire menu for the week before we go shopping.
Interestingly enough, if you buy your meats from a small farmer, the meats are typically leaner than the ones you get from the grocery store. That’s because the piggies, chicken, and cattle are free to walk around a graze all day. This leads to leaner meats and fewer fats.
Because of this, we increased our dairy intake to meet keto fat requirements.
- Ground pork/beef/turkey
- Salmon (other fatty fish)
- Sausage (Patties/Links)
- Ribs (Pork/Beef)
- Steaks (Ribeye is my favorite)
- Pork chops
- Chicken thighs and chicken breasts
- Tenderloins (Pork/Beef)
Related Article: How-To Prepare Your Kitchen for a Keto Diet
List of Vegies for Keto Diet
Emily & I had to get creative when it came to vegetables while on keto. Vegetables that we normally just sautee, roast or blanch are transformed into other snacks or side dishes.
As an example, I never would have thought to make ‘tater-tots‘ out of cauliflower. But because starchy potatoes are not keto-friendly, Emily and I experimented with for a couple of days and came up with a really good cauliflower tot recipe.
After several tries, it was pretty close to the texture and consistency of a tot made from potatoes. Here are additional vegetables that are great for a keto diet.
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Spaghetti squash
- Green beans
- Bok choy / Baby Bok choy
List of Dairy for a Keto Diet
Dairy is a good way to get additional fats in your body for keto. Emily makes these amazing keto fat bombs that are absolutely to die for. They contain cream cheese, chocolate (sugar-free kind), and replacement sugar (we use Swerve).
If you’re lactose intolerant, you can use Almond Milk instead of animal dairy, but it contains almost no fat so you’ll need to add fats to your keto diet elsewhere. The list of dairy products for keto is long, most animal milk-based products can be used for keto, here are a few.
- Heavy whipping cream
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Heavy cream
List of Keto-Friendly Sugar Replacements
In the first week of our keto diet, Emily and I were using Stevia as a sugar replacement. We both agreed that we were not in love with the bitter after taste.
For some, the after taste no big deal, but I borderline hated it. We found another sugar replacement called Swerve, which is made from erythritol and oligosaccharides. The difference is night and day for me.
Here are Swerve products that we’ve used and love. Wherever your recipe calls for sugar, you can replace it with Swerve at 1:1 ratio!
There are numerous brands that sell erythritol replacement sugar, but we have not had any experience other than Swerve. If you have used others, let us know in the comments below!
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
Again, stick to the basics when it comes to keto diet as you’re starting out. Make simple meals that you can cook without issues at first and then expand the menu as your keto routine begins to take shape. It will take a couple of weeks for your body to adjust.
Check out the recipe section of the site to get some meal & snack ideas to get you through the first few weeks.