This is Day 3 of my new series, 31 Days on a Keto Diet.
I am participating in 31 Days, an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester), and now hosted by Crystal Stine, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October. We all link up just once on day one so that we can see all the topics and read the ones that most interest us.
DISCLAIMER: Although I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, I am not a physician. I do have extensive experience with eating the ketogenic way, and I have cured my health problems with a ketogenic diet. I am not guaranteeing that this diet will work for you or cure your health problems. I am just sharing what I know about ketogenic diets.
WHAT DOES A KETO MEAL LOOK LIKE?
You can teach yourself to begin looking at your daily menu with a keto eye by using the following as a meal template.
- Protein source (usually meat or eggs) – Example: bacon and eggs
- Low-carb vegetable (if desired) – Example: mushrooms for the omelet
- Fat source (optional) – Example: cheese to make an omelet
- Meat or other protein source – Example: grilled chicken (leftovers or store – bought)
- 2 cups of salad greens – Example: bagged salad greens
- OR 1 CUP of vegetables – Example: green beans
- Fat source (optional) – Example: blue cheese dressing (low – carb)
- Meat or other protein source – Example: roast beef
- 2 cups of salad greens or cooked greens – Example: cooked spinach
- OR 1cup of vegetables – Example: green beans
- Fat source (optional) – Example: butter for green beans, cheese sauce for spinach
MY DIET TEMPLATE
This is my basic eating plan. I try to stick as closely to it as possible…it keeps me honest! I can cook the same meals for my family, and can add high carb sides for them, like rice, potatoes and pasta.
HOW I MENU PLAN
Usually when you see a blog post about meal planning, you come up with meals that you want to make, and then develop a shopping list of items you need. I do it from the opposite direction.
- Using my planner sheet, I start going through my freezer, refrigerator and my pantry. I list whatever meats and vegetables I have in the freezer, then whatever vegetables I have left in the refrigerator, and then I use the pantry section for potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and any fresh veggies I may have on the counter from the garden.
- I start putting together meals from what I have. Feel free to label those meal blocks with the days of the week. I don’t like to, because I never seem to stick with my original plan. I may have fish scheduled for Tuesday and end up eating it on Friday. I also have a section for all of the prep items that I am going to get ready.
To make things simple, and to keep myself honest, I eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day during the week. I can eat something fun on the weekend.
KETO MENU PLANNING TIPS
1. Avoid veggie burn-out. Although many think of a low-carb diet as full of meat and fat, vegetables are an important part of the diet. However, many people fall into the trap of limiting their vegetable intake to salads and steamed vegetables. Here are some other ways to enjoy your veggies:
- Raw vegetables and low-carb dip
- Vegetables in a casserole with cheese, cream cheese, andlor cream
- Stir – fried veggies with garlic, ginger, chiles, andlor soy sauce
- Vegetables in soups or stews (with or without meat), for example, cream of broccoli soup
- Veggies for breakfast, in an omelet, quiche, or frittata
- Roasted veggies tossed with olive oil and garlic
2. Be creative. Breakfast for lunch or dinner? Dinner for breakfast? Be creative and try breaking out of the rut when it comes to what to have for breakfast or dinner. Omeletes make a quick, delicious dinner; chicken slices dipped in ranch dressing aren’t so weird for breakfast after all!
3. Focus on what you can have. Butter, cream cheese, steak – you get the picture. These are not a required part of the diet, but they are options. Any diet that is to become a lifelong way of eating should be not only healthy, but enjoyable. Fat carries the flavor and texture of food; enjoy it as part of your low-carb diet. If you find that you miss a particular food, we can help you find a tasty, low- carb alternative.
4. Have a “routine” meal. Choose one meal a day that is your “auto-pilot” meal. In general, many people feel comfortable eating the same breakfast or lunch over and over again, but prefer more variety with dinner. Try choosing a breakfast or lunch meal that you like and is easy to make or can be made ahead and have that every day while on induction. Here are some examples.
- Breakfast: Custard Breakfast Squares, quiche, hard – boiled eggs and quick – cook bacon, protein shake
- Lunch: chicken caesar salad, tuna, egg, or chicken salad, chef salad made with eggs and ham (or other meat)
5. Make leftovers on purpose. Leftovers from dinner make tasty lunches and quick dinners. Planned leftovers are an easy way to build variety and ease into your low-carb menu. Roast or grill more meat than you know you will serve at dinner. Repack the rest into serving-size portions to freeze or refrigerate.
6. Give your leftovers a new look. Few people want to eat the exact same dinner more than once a week. But your leftovers can turn into brand – new meal with a few quick tricks. Add cheese or a creamy sauce. Stir – fry meats and veggies with spices. Stuff an omelet or quiche. Add broth for soup. Chop or grind for a spread. Here are some suggestions:
- Chicken or steak or stir – fry with vegetables
- Cheese steak (or chicken) on a plate
- Roasted vegetable and chicken/steak salad with balsamic dressing Deviled ham salad
7. Write down a menu for the week. Take an inventory of what you have on hand. Using the ideas above, plan your meal ideas for the week. Doing this on the weekend lets you do a bit of cooking and shopping ahead of time. If you’re not up to thinking a whole week in advance, plan at least a few days ahead, so that you are not tempted by the drive – thru window. Once you’ve done this a few times, recycle your previous weekly menus and the grocery lists that go with them.
8. Use your menu plan to make a grocery list. Check the sales flyers for good buys, make your list, and stick to it.
9. Prepare yourself. If you can, do some meal preparation on weekend. You can grill a big bunch of meat, slow cook some beef stew or chili, and roast a couple of chickens – all of which will make easy, tasty leftovers during the week. Limited time on weekends too? Chop some veggies, brown some meat, etc. – give yourself a head start at least!
We will cover grocery shopping tomorrow!
SEE MY OTHER KETO BASICS POSTS HERE!