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Keto diet: 1-week meal plan and tips

October 08, 2020

When following a keto diet, some people may find it difficult to work out the right foods to eat and when to eat them. Meal plans can help people get used to the diet or stick with it.

The keto diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. Potential benefits of the keto diet plan include weight loss and fat loss.

Though various sources report different percentages, a keto diet comprises approximately:

  • 55–60% fats
  • 30–35% protein
  • 5–10% carbohydrates

A study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism reports that those following a “well-formulated” keto diet typically consume under 50 grams (g) of carbs and approximately 1.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

In order to stick to these macronutrient ratios, most experts agree that meal planning for a keto diet is essential.

Read on to learn more about the keto diet and discover what a 7-day keto meal plan might look like.

What is a keto meal?

A keto meal is one that contains under 50 g of total carbs or contributes about 30 g of net carbs per day. Net carbs are total carbs minus the fiber.

Fiber is present in plants and is important to include in a keto diet because fiber protects gut bacteria, improves digestive function, and helps prevent constipation.

In the keto diet, the majority of daily calories come from fats, while lesser amounts come from proteins. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy feature heavily in the keto diet.

When the body cannot rely on carbohydrates for energy, it must burn fat for fuel. This results in a buildup of acids called ketones in the body. This results in a bodily state of ketosis.

According to a 2012 study, a keto diet may reduce fat mass, waist circumference, and fasting insulin levels.

Also, a 2012 review of 23 studies indicates that a low carbohydrate diet, such as the keto diet, could lower some of the primary risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Many people follow a keto plan for a set amount of time before altering the diet to include more carbohydrates and less fat.

1-week sample meal plan

Below is a sample 7-day keto meal plan. People can tailor these meals and snacks to their liking, but they should be careful not to exceed 50 g of total carbohydrates daily.

Monday


Breakfast
Egg muffins with Cheddar cheese, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes


Lunch
Spiced cauliflower soup with bacon pieces or tofu cubes


Dinner
Garlic and herb buttered shrimp with zucchini noodles


Snacks
Roast turkey, cucumber, and cheese roll-ups
Sticks of celery and pepper with guacamole


Tuesday (Low fiber day)


Breakfast
Scrambled eggs on a bed of sautéed greens with pumpkin seeds


Lunch
Chicken mayonnaise salad with cucumber, avocado, tomato, almonds, and onion


Dinner
Beef stew made with mushrooms, onions, celery, herbs, and beef broth


Snacks
Smoothie with almond milk, nut butter, chia seeds, and spinach
Olives


Wednesday


Breakfast
Omelet with mushrooms, broccoli, and peppers


Lunch
Avocado and egg salad with onion and spices, served in lettuce cups


Dinner
Cajun spiced chicken breast with cauliflower rice and Brussels sprout salad


Snacks
Nuts, Slices of cheese and bell peppers


Thursday


Breakfast
Smoothie containing almond milk, nut butter, spinach, chia seeds, and protein powder


Lunch
Shrimp and avocado salad with tomatoes, feta cheese, herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil


Dinner
Garlic butter steak with mushrooms and asparagus


Snacks
A boiled egg, Flax crackers with cheese


Friday


Breakfast
2 eggs, fried in butter, with avocado and blackberries


Lunch
Grilled salmon with a salad of mixed leafy greens and tomato


Dinner
Chicken breast with cauliflower mash and green beans


Snacks
Kale chips
Slices of cheese and bell peppers


Saturday


Breakfast
Scrambled eggs with jalapeños, green onions, and tomatoes sprinkled with sunflower seeds


Lunch
Tuna salad with tomatoes and avocado plus macadamia nuts


Dinner
Pork chops with nonstarchy vegetables of choice


Snacks
Celery sticks with almond butter dip
A handful of berries and nuts


Sunday


Breakfast
Yogurt with keto-friendly granola


Lunch
Grass-fed beef burger (no bun) with guacamole, tomato, and kale salad


Dinner
Stir-fried chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, and peppers, with homemade satay sauce


Snacks
Sugar-free turkey jerky
An egg and vegetable muffin

Vegetarian and vegan keto meals

It can be challenging for vegetarians and vegans to follow a keto diet, as many of the calories in these diets come from carbohydrates. Even sources of nonanimal protein, such as lentils and beans, are often relatively high in carbs.

In the standard keto diet, animal products tend to make up a large portion of meals because these foods are naturally high in fat, high in protein, and low in carbohydrates.

Though tricky, it is possible to follow a vegetarian or vegan keto diet. Those who do not eat meat or fish can replace these products with high fat plant-based foods.

Vegetarians can also eat eggs and some forms of dairy as part of the diet.

Foods to eat and avoid on a keto diet

Meat and poultry
Eat
chicken
grass-fed beef
organ meats
pork
turkey
venison
Avoid
breaded meats
processed meats
Enjoy occasionally
bacon
low fat meat, such as skinless chicken breast

Dairy

butter
cream
full fat cheeses, including Cheddar, goat cheese, and mozzarella
full fat yogurt
Avoid
ice-cream
milk
nonfat yogurt
sweetened yogurt
Fish
herring
mackerel
wild salmon
Avoid
breaded fish
Eggs
whole eggs (pastured and organic when possible)
Nuts and seeds
macadamia nuts
pecans
almonds
chia seeds
flaxseeds
peanuts
pumpkin seeds
walnuts
unsweetened nut butters
Avoid
chocolate-covered nuts
sweetened nut butters
cashews
Oils and fats
avocados
coconut products
fruit and nut oils, such as avocado, coconut, olive, and sesame
olives
Avoid
margarine
shortening
vegetable oils, including canola and corn oil
Vegetables
asparagus
broccoli
cauliflower
onions
celery
eggplant
leafy greens
mushrooms
tomatoes
peppers
other nonstarchy vegetables
Avoid
butternut squash
corn
potatoes
sweet potatoes
pumpkin
other starchy vegetables
Fruits
Avoid
bananas
citrus fruits
dried fruits
grapes
pineapple
Enjoy occasionally
berries
Beans and legumes
Avoid
all beans
chickpeas
lentils
Condiments
herbs and spices
lemon juice
mayonnaise with no added sugar
salt and pepper
vinegar
salad dressings with no added sugar
Avoid
barbecue sauce
ketchup
maple syrup
salad dressings with added sugar
sweet dipping sauces
Grains and grain products
Avoid
baked goods
bread
breakfast cereals
crackers
oats
pasta
rice
wheat
Beverages
almond or flax milk
bone broth
unsweetened teas and coffees
water (still or sparkling)
Avoid
beer
fruit juice
soda
sports drinks
sugary alcoholic drinks
sweetened tea
Enjoy occasionally
low carb alcoholic drinks, such as vodka
Others
Avoid
artificial sweeteners
candy
coconut sugar
fast food
processed foods
sugar


Tips

The following tips may help people stick to the keto diet:

  • Set a start date.
  • Reorganize the pantry and refrigerator so that they do not contain high carbohydrate foods.
  • Make a weekly meal plan. This is key to eating balanced meals and preventing hunger.
  • Stock up on keto-friendly foods and beverages.
  • Read product labels carefully and check the ingredients list and carb content of each item.
  • Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze or refrigerate them in batches.
  • If hunger pangs occur regularly, try eating five or six small meals, instead of three large ones.
  • To avoid “keto flu” in the early stages, drink plenty of fluids and supplement with electrolytes.
  • Consider taking to fill in nutritional gaps while following this diet.
  • Consider temporarily reducing physical activity during the first week or two, while the body adjusts to the new diet.
  • Discuss any queries or concerns with a doctor or dietitian.

Summary

The keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet.

People following it should aim to consume under 50 g of total carbs each day. Meals tend to consist primarily of animal proteins and plant and animal fats with nonstarchy vegetables.

It is important to plan meals on the keto diet in order to adhere to the correct macronutrient ratios, meet fiber goals, and prevent hunger. It can also be helpful to work with a doctor or dietitian to ensure that nutritional deficiencies do not occur.

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