If you’re a keto beginner, you’ll likely be overwhelmed and confused about what to eat and how to meet your daily macros. We’ve put together some simple keto meal ideas and tips to help you get started with your keto journey.
You may also want to read our guide on the best keto diet books for beginners.
As you may already be aware, the ketogenic diet is high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet that has been found to have many proven health benefits. One of the most common reasons why a lot of people do keto is to lose weight. There are also people who do it to build muscles, to maintain weight, and to obtain the overall health benefits of keto.
Depending on your goal, the keto calculator will give you an estimate of how much calories you need to eat per day and your exact macros. Now a keto meal is one that’s rich in healthy fats, low in carbs and has a moderate amount of protein. It’s also one that’s designed to help you meet your daily macros.
It’s entirely up to you how many keto meals you want to eat per day. Some people eat three meals per day, some two meals, and those who practice OMAD (One Meal A Day) eat only one meal.
A lot of people prefer to eat two meals a day with bulletproof coffee as their breakfast replacement. Bulletproof coffee is great when you can’t be asked to eat anything in the morning but also don’t want to starve until your next meal. You’ll be able to get some of your daily fat macros from it and incorporating pure MCT oil can add more benefits such as improved cognitive function and energy.
The key is to eat when you’re hungry and until you’re satiated. That’s what will prevent you from overeating or undereating and falling for the temptations to cheat.
Keto meals can help your body to get into and sustain ketosis, and it’s the nutritional ketosis that’s responsible for most of the health benefits of the ketogenic diet. Here are some of the benefits of nutritional ketosis.
You might already be aware of this, and in fact, the weight loss benefit might be the reason why you’re on the keto diet. Low carb diets have been found to help with weight loss.
For instance, a 2018 study conducted on trained men found that the keto diet helped reduce fat mass and visceral adipose tissue without decreasing muscle mass . In this study, 24 healthy men performed an 8-week resistance training program while being on a ketogenic diet or a non-ketogenic diet, or a control group.
Results revealed a significant reduction in fat mass and visceral adipose tissue in the keto group while no significant changes were observed in the other two groups. The keto group also showed no reduction in lean body mass.
There’s ongoing supporting evidence that the keto diet can help improve cognitive performance. For instance, in a 2010 study conducted on rats, they found that ketogenic diet improved cognitive performance under normoxic and hypoxic conditions in aged rats .
Keto diet has broken the popular myth that you need to be on a high carb diet to build muscles. A 2014 study conducted on resistance training men found that keto diet helped build more muscle mass than traditional western diet.
In this study, 26 healthy RT men were divided into two groups: Very low carb ketogenic diet or traditional western diet . All of them participated in a periodized resistance training program three times per week. Results revealed a significant increase in muscle mass in the keto diet group than the western diet group and the keto group also showed a significant reduction in fat mass compared to the WD group.
Eggs are a keto staple because of their versatility. There are so many different ways to cook eggs, and each one will give you a healthy dose of fat and protein. They’re also super easy to make with only 3-4 ingredients required most of the time. And there are no hard rules when it comes to cooking eggs.
From soft and runny boiled eggs to creamy and cheesy scrambled eggs, you can decide how you want them to be.
For example, you can make delicious and filling scrambled eggs with cheese and spinach for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. All you need is four eggs, 1 cup spinach, one slice (1 oz) cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp butter, and some salt and pepper to season. Here’s a video showing you how to make the perfect scrambled eggs. It’s a nice filling keto meal to have at any time of the day and perfect for those who wish to eat only two meals per day.
Fat: 59.4 g
Protein: 32.6 g
Carbs: 5.5 g
Grilled meat with broccoli is another classic satiating keto meal that’s quick and easy to prepare. Decide what kind of meat you want to eat or what’s available in your freezer (chicken, mutton, beef, etc.), defrost, and grill or bake. Steam some fresh or frozen broccoli, and you’re good to go.
Quick Tip: If you want your chicken or mutton to taste juicy and tender, marinate it for 30 minutes - 4 hours in yogurt marinade. Yogurt is the best meat tenderizer, and you’ll love the taste it gives to your meat.
Here’s a recipe showing you how to make baked chicken leg quarters.
Fat: 12 g
Carbs: 4 g
Protein: 23 g
Keto pizza with cauliflower crust will taste almost like the real thing. Here’s a recipe showing you how to make the crust with only three ingredients. You can make it with all kinds of keto friendly toppings such as olives, pepperoni, cheese, and bell peppers. You can work out the macros for your toppings separately using the nutritionix website or any other calorie calculator apps.
Fat: 6 g
Carbs: 5 g
Protein: 10 g
Feel like tacos? You should try this delicious keto friendly steak tacos recipe that uses lettuce instead of tortillas. It yields six servings.
Fat: 6 g
Carbs: 1 g
Protein: 24 g
As stated earlier, meal prepping is one of the best ways to save time and effort on a keto diet, and it’s more useful for beginners. Here’s a delicious lemon butter chicken with hard boiled eggs recipe and meal prep instructions. It yields five servings.
Fat: 15 g
Carbs: 4 g
Protein: 31 g
You can enjoy this comfort food in a keto friendly version using this recipe. It can be cooked in under 25 minutes and yields four servings.
Fat: 23 g
Carbs: 12 g
Protein: 11 g
7. Cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole
Another chicken and broccoli recipe that’s also great for meal prep. Just refrigerate the rest to eat throughout the week.
Fat: 41 g
Carbs: 9 g
Protein: 32 g
Keto meals are designed with the ketogenic diet in mind (high fat, low carb, and moderate protein) to help you get into and sustain ketosis. Don’t get carried away with all the fancy keto meal options you may come across and remember it’s perfectly fine to eat the same meal every day if that’s what’s convenient for you.
Meal prepping is a great idea when you’re starting on the keto diet because it will save you from feeling overwhelmed about what to cook, especially if you have to go to work every day. Make some delicious keto fat bombs to eat when you feel like eating something sweet or savory and try your best not to drink water 30 minutes before and after your meal.
If you feel overwhelmed about meeting your daily macros, try to start by lowering your carb intake and increasing your healthy fat intake gradually for a week or two to warm up into the diet. You can go on keto full mode after you get used to eating low carb and high fat for a while. You may also want to keep a note of all the 11 essential points we discussed that will be useful for your keto journey.