The keto diet, sometimes referred to as the ketone diet or ketosis diet, has taken the weight loss world by storm in the last decade or so.
But one of the challenges – as with many diets – is coming up with a diet meal plan you can stick to. We’re here to help!
It is worth noting that this article mentions both meat and plant-based options.
However, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, there is absolutely nothing to stop you going keto.
Simply refer to our articles, Can I do the keto diet as a vegetarian? and How vegans and vegetarians can do the keto diet on the Health Hub for more information.
Keto diet for beginners
First, let’s take a quick look at the basics of a keto diet and what it involves.
If you want to know all the ins and outs, be sure to check out our Health Hub articles, What is the keto diet? and What is ketosis?
In a nutshell, a ketogenic plan aims to push your body into ketosis, a natural occurrence whereby it switches from burning sugar (glucose) to burning fat.
We can encourage the body to go into ketosis naturally by limiting the amount of sugar we consume.
Unfortunately for any bread and pasta lovers out there, this involves severely cutting the amount of carbohydrates in our diet.
This not only includes our favourite stodgy foods, but also many items normally considered healthy, including most fruit and some vegetables that are high in sugar. Good sugar or refined sugar - it is all carbs!
With so many restrictions, keto for beginners can seem daunting.
But proponents of the diet claim the advantages can be immense, including1:
- Better weight loss than low-fat diets
- Increased energy/vitality
- Better concentration/focus
- Reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides
Ketogenic diet plan
Let’s look at a typical ketosis meal plan. Essentially, what you are looking for in a good ketosis meal plan is foods which are high in protein and carb free.
In the first two weeks of the diet, you will want to eat fewer than 20g of carbs per day in order to kick start ketosis.
After that, you can start increasing the amount of carbs you eat slowly, up to around 50g per day.2
One of the wonderful things about a keto diet, compared with a low-fat diet, is that it can often feel very luxurious: you are allowed plenty of full-fat dairy!
Keto breakfasts will usually include one of the following:
- Eggs (scrambled with cream, soft or hard-boiled, poached with spinach and hollandaise, omelette with cheese and bacon, etc.)
- Low-carb bread (usually made using almond flour, eggs or vital wheat gluten) with butter
- Chocolate tofu smoothie
- Cooked meaty or veggie breakfast (sausages, eggs, tomato, mushrooms all fine)
- Cheese and meat platter
- Protein shake
- Porridge or bran-based porridge
- Pancakes made from almond flour and protein powder
- Full-fat Greek yoghurt with flax seeds (linseeds) and almonds
- Keto-friendly fruits
Lunch on a keto diet could include:
- Salad with plenty of meat, cheese (or vegan alternative) and a creamy dressing or mayonnaise
- Devilled eggs or egg mayo (or vegan version) with a green vegetable on the side
- Hummus with radishes and chicory
- Tomato soup with cheddar cheese
- Low-carb quiche (using ground almonds for the base)
Of course, if none of these types of lunch floats your boat, you could just as easily substitute one of the ketogenic diet plan breakfast or dinner ideas.
The main idea for keto food for dinner is a high protein main, such as a steak, piece of fish, tofu or grilled halloumi, with low-carb sides, such as salad, cauliflower mash or zero noodles/rice (made from glucomannan/konjac).
There are some other great ideas out there too, such as:
- Stir fry with loads of bean sprouts instead of noodles
- Curry with no rice or bread, but many of the other sides, such as raita (using full-fat yoghurt) and tomato and onion chutney
- Cauliflower cheese
- Spinach and cream cheese gratin
Find more keto diet plans on the Health Hub, in the articles, What is the keto diet? and How vegans and vegetarians can do the keto diet.
Keto diet snacks
Snacking is encouraged on the keto diet, albeit with some rules. Some of the best keto diet snacks include:
- Almonds or Brazil nuts
- Low carb hot chocolate (made with sweetener, not sugar)
- Chunk of cheese
- Sugar-free jelly with cream
- Celery stick filled with unsweetened nut butter
- Green olives
- Greek yoghurt with flax seeds (linseeds)
- 1/4 avocado with vinaigrette
- Ready-made low-carb, high protein snack bars: 14 of the best protein bars & snacks
- If in doubt, make a protein shake! The best protein powder for you
Keto diet supplements
Most people would advise those trying the keto diet also to take a supplement to make up for some of the vitamins and minerals the body is used to getting via carbohydrates.
Of course, Holland and Barrett has you covered in this department! Simply check out The best keto supplements – revealed on the Health Hub!
Last updated: 18 March 2021