|February 13, 2024

Keto Meal Plan

By Sarah Kester
Reviewed by Theresa Greenwell for Scientific Accuracy

Keto Meal Plan

  • Keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet that causes the body to go into a state called ketosis.
  • Keto-friendly foods include fish and seafood, dairy, non-starchy vegetables and fruits.
  • Our keto meal plan includes a variety of delicious recipes to help you get started, including keto-friendly dinners.

Stuck in a keto food rut? You’re not alone. Following a low-carb, high-fat diet does have its benefits—weight loss, blood sugar management and even prevention of some serious health conditions.[1] But it can also leave you feeling bored from eating the same foods repeatedly, like meat and cheese or bacon and eggs.

The solution? A keto meal plan. It’s something no keto beginner or devotee should be without, as it keeps mealtimes organized, delicious and exciting. Read on for a seven-day meal plan of easy keto recipes, including lunch recipes, snacks and keto coffee recipes.

What is Keto?

keto meal of a salad topped with grilled salmon and lemon

The ketogenic (keto for short) diet consists of consuming low amounts of carbohydrates, moderate protein and high fat. You’ll often hear it likened to Atkins since both diets emphasize low-carb intake.

The daily macronutrients of a standard keto diet (SKD) are roughly:[2]

  • 5 to 10 percent of carbohydrates
  • 55 to 60 percent of fat
  • 30 to 35 percent protein

What is Ketosis?

Following the keto diet sends the body into a state of “ketosis.” This is the state of nirvana keto dieters hope to achieve since it means that the body is burning fat.

Your body prefers to use glucose (blood sugar) created from eating carbohydrates as its main energy source.

When your carb count is down, your body can’t utilize glucose for energy. So instead, it breaks down fat as its energy source.

This benefits the body in many ways. Our bodies and brains thrive on the ketones produced in ketosis. This is an alternate form of energy that the liver produces from fat.

The body enters ketosis when you eat no more than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day (basic guidelines for the keto diet). For the body to be in this fat-burning state, the blood ketones levels should be between 0.5–3.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).[3] You can determine if you are in ketosis with a urine ketone strip or a blood-prick meter.

While it can take the body a few days to reach a state of ketosis, there are plenty of signs that your body has turned into a lean mean fat-burning machine. This includes:

  • Bad breath
  • Headache
  • Weight loss
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue

There’s also the “keto flu” which are a group of symptoms a person may experience when first trying the keto diet. It’s a big adjustment for the body to go from high-carb to low-carb. Common symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, decreased energy and an upset stomach.[4]

Benefits of Keto

woman sipping on coffee

If you were to research the science behind keto, you’d quickly realize that there are some serious keto benefits.[5] Below are the most talked-about benefits:

Weight Management

In 2020, keto was the most Googled diet in the United States with 25.4 million unique searches.[6]

A lot of this had to do with weight loss, which is accelerated by ketosis burning fat and curbing hunger. Keto has also been found to be more successful at helping people shed weight than traditional low-fat diets.

A 2013 meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies found that those on a ketogenic diet lost more weight than those on a low-fat diet after one year.[7]

However, it should be noted that there were no significant differences in the amount of weight lost between keto and a low-fat diet after two years. Keto does work, but the restrictive rules make the diet difficult to sustain.

Improved Blood Sugar

Thankfully, there is hope for type 2 diabetes management with keto. The diet works by helping people lose weight and manage their blood sugar.

When you’re not eating as many carbs, the body mimics a fasting state and has fewer glucose spikes that can lead to insulin resistance.[8] However, more research needs to be done to assess long-term results and safety. If you are concerned about your blood sugar, consult with your healthcare provider before starting a new diet.

Reduced Seizures

The history of the keto diet goes all the way back to the 1920s when it was used to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy.[9]

In 2008, researchers studied the effects of the keto diet on children with epilepsy who didn’t respond to medication. After three months, it was found that the children on the keto diet had a 75% reduction in their seizure frequency.[10]

There has also been promising research on the keto diet treating other brain-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.[11]

But since the keto diet can be so restrictive, it should only be used by brain disorder patients who don’t respond well to at least two other types of therapies, including medications.[12]

Remember to always consult with your healthcare provider before starting a new diet.

How to Get Started with Keto

woman making a meal plan

Starting the keto diet is no small feat. You’re basically changing everything you’ve learned about eating from the standard American diet.

To help make the transition from high-carb to low-carb, follow this step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Clean out your kitchen

Since the keto diet centers around eating certain foods (fat and protein), it’s important to purge your kitchen of carb-heavy items that will make it easy to slip up. This includes items you may not have thought about, such as condiments. When restocking your kitchen, don’t forget about keto-approved Bulletproof Collagen and ingredients for keto-friendly desserts.

Step 2: Get organized with meal prep

If you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen each night, do yourself a favor and get familiar with meal prepping. This timesaving, cost-effective method involves drawing up a keto meal plan, making a grocery list and setting aside an hour or two to prepare meals for the week ahead.

Batch cooking is another way to save you time and money throughout the week. It involves cooking enough food at one time and then dividing it into individual meals. Some examples include stews, smoothies and keto snacks.

Step 3: Understand the risks and side effects

It’s important to keep in mind that keto isn’t for everyone. There are certain risks and side effects that you should be aware about, such as:

  • Kidney stones
  • Constipation
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Nutrient deficiencies

It’s recommended that you speak to your doctor before trying keto so they can determine if it’s safe for you.

Types of Keto Diets

Whether you’re an athlete looking to carb-o-load or a straight-up carb-o-holic looking for some wiggle room, you’ll be glad to know that there are many variations of the keto diet.

Below is an explanation of the three most popular types.

  • Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is the strictest variation of the ketogenic diet. It’s best for those who are looking to lose weight quickly.
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This variation is a form of carb cycling, which means that you eat high carb for 1-2 days per week (about 55 to 75 percent of your total calories) and follow SKD for the other days. This type is popular among athletes who rely on carbs for energy to help them power through their workouts.[13]
  • Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This variation is great for athletes and carb lovers alike since it involves eating more carbs and timing them to your workouts. For example, eating 20 grams of carbs an hour before your workout for added fuel and then chowing down again immediately after for muscle repair.

Keto-Friendly Foods

keto salad

When you’re on the keto diet, it’s recommended that you choose high-quality meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables and dairy. Fats will make up the bulk of your calories, so choose high-quality fats (sorry, chocolates and candy lovers) such as avocados, almonds and coconut oil. These are low in the trans fatty acids (trans fats), which are bad for the heart.[14]

We go more in-depth into what specific foods get the keto stamp of approval in our Keto Food List, but this guide should get you started.

To eat:

  • Fruits: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, coconut
  • Vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach
  • Fish and seafood: Mackerel, salmon, sardines
  • Nuts and seeds: Macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts
  • Eggs
  • Grass-fed ghee
  • Drinks: Bone broth, coconut milk

To avoid:

  • Fruits: Cantaloupe, raisins, honeydew, canned fruit
  • Vegetables: Corn, soy, potatoes, canned vegetables/li>
  • Fish and seafood: Shellfish, mussels, clams
  • Most beans and lentils
  • Drinks: Beer, sweetened drinks

7-Day Keto Meal Plan

This seven-day keto meal plan will get you started on the keto diet. Feel free to change around the order of the days, make food swaps and add sides to your meals, such as cauliflower rice or a delicious soup.

Day 1
deviled egg with bacondeviled eggs with bacon and avocado

Day 2

pancakes with syrup and blueberries

Day 3
homemade poptarts

Day 4
keto breakfast taco with bacon

Day 5
bowl of chili topped with cream and herbs

Day 6
steak with green sauce

Day 7
stack of keto cookies next to a coffee

Meal Services

Meal delivery services are a great way to make the keto diet that much easier and satisfying.

They take the guesswork out of dinner and help you discover new ingredients and recipes. A quick search online will bring about meal services that fit every budget and taste.

We recommend:

  • HelloFresh
  • Green Chef
  • 518 Kitchen
  • Factor
  • Fresh n’ Lean

Fast Food Options

woman getting fast food
Who says you can’t enjoy fast food while on keto? Once the keto diet became popular, fast-food restaurants began adding keto-friendly foods to their menus.

Here are a variety of delicious and compliant items that you can eat—and even upsize.

McDonald’s: Those golden arches don’t have to stop calling your name. Try the Quarter Pounder sans bun and ketchup.

Chick-Fil-A: Their Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich is keto-compliant, so long as you ditch the bun.

Popeyes: Blackened chicken strips are tasty and a great source of protein.

Chipotle: Taco Tuesday doesn’t have to end because you’re on keto. Simply skip the beans and rice and enjoy other items, like chicken, lettuce, cheese and guacamole.

Starbucks: Pair your keto-approved Bulletproof coffee with one of the Starbucks egg bites that come in three different flavors, including a vegetarian option.

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