You've probably seen all of the news lately about the Keto diet. Since it is a popular method of losing weight, we are sharing tips for How to Get Started on a Ketogenic diet.
These steps will help you to make the most of this popular way of eating. It will also give you an easy guide to come back to when you are facing different needs during the first few weeks of ketosis.
How to Get Started on a Ketogenic Diet
A Ketogenic diet is something that many are using as an easy method to drop unwanted pounds. It has been referred to through the years as a low-carb diet or the Atkins diet. The modern-day ketogenic diet is a little different than these popular methods of the past, but still very similar. The goal is to limit your carbohydrates and focus on healthy proteins and fats. If this sounds like something you can manage, then you will have great success!
Why chose the ketogenic diet?
Putting your body into the metabolic state called ketosis is an effective way to help burn fat fast. It has also been proven to lower blood sugar and help insulin processes so many diabetics find it to be an excellent option for long-term dietary control of the disease. While it has some limitations with the lower daily carb count, it is typically an easy method of eating that most can do without a struggle. While it has great benefits for people with some health conditions, it is not the best dietary choice for everyone. Talk to a doctor before starting a ketogenic diet.
The first week of a ketogenic diet
You can begin a keto diet at any point. There is no preparation needed other than a physical and check with your physician. As with any dietary change, it is important to check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for your body. After this has been determined, you can start any day by making simple dietary changes.
1. Remove offending food from your home by donating or sharing with friends and family who are not on the keto diet. This includes bread, starchy vegetables, sugar, and higher carbohydrate foods
2. Shop for items from the food list we share below. Pick foods you know you will easily be able to eat, but that will also help you to get into and stay in ketosis.
3. Meal plan in advance to help avoid pitfalls like drive-thru meals or snacking off plan. Here is a sample one week Printable Keto Diet Meal Plan with recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to help you get started. You can also use the tips in Alea's cookbook Prep Ahead Meals from Scratch to help prepare proteins and some vegetables ahead of time to make this easier. Our Sheet Pan Scrambled Eggs are a great example of this method. To make them keto friendly, switch the milk for heavy cream!
4. Be aware of the “keto flu” which is how your body reacts to the changes in your diet. You will feel tired, perhaps nauseated at times, and may have headaches. Staying hydrated is important, and many find having sugar-free electrolytes on hand a must.
How to measure your daily macros
The term macros are what refers to your basic dietary needs. This is how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrate you will aim to have on a daily basis. Commonly, you'll see people trying to stay under 20grams of carbohydrates per day, but for those that find that too restrictive, a limitation of 50 grams or less per day may still work. Remember that every individual is different, and how their body reacts to the ketogenic diet will vary.
The easiest way to determine your daily macros is to use the formula on this Keto Calculator. You simply input basic information about yourself, your weight, and your weight loss goals. It will then tell you how much you should eat in each category each day and approximately how many calories per day that will result.
Determining if you are in ketosis
The easiest way to determine if you are in ketosis is to see weight loss happening. However, many people like to play with their daily carbohydrate intake and may want to use sugar substitutes. Checking your body for ketosis can help you learn what foods work best to keep you in ketosis. To do this, you can purchase Ketone Test Strips and use them for a urinalysis at home. They are relatively inexpensive and work easily for deciding if you are in ketosis. This is not necessary for getting started with a ketogenic diet but can come in handy.
What to have in your ketogenic pantry
Most people simply want to know what they can eat on a ketogenic diet. Below you will find a list of foods that are commonly acceptable on the ketogenic diet. You will notice the lack of processed foods, sugar, and most sugar substitutes. Sugar substitutes can work well for many, but they do cause various fluctuations in some, so watch your progress and determine for yourself if they are working or not.
- Ground beef, chuck roast, steaks
- Pork chops, ground pork, pork sausage
- Chicken, ground chicken, chicken sausage (most recommend dark meat only since it is higher in fat, but all protein is good)
- Bacon, summer Sausage, breakfast sausage, kielbasa, hot dogs
- Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower butter
- Avocado, olives, coconut, coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, grapeseed oil
- Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, kale, lettuce, spinach, and other non-starchy vegetables
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries
- Heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, gouda, cheddar, parmesan, and other high-fat cheeses.
- Broth, water, coffee, tea (unsweetened)
This is a basic list that can be added to depending upon your preferences. There are many vegetables and fruits that people avoid due to higher carbohydrates, but most will find that if you limit fruit portions and focus on healthy fiber-rich vegetables your body will stay in ketosis. You can use this Printable Keto Diet Foods List and as a guide when you make you Keto Grocery List or plan your meals.
You may also want to invest in the Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners to learn more about cooking for a keto diet, and some great recipes that can help you to stay in ketosis. You will also find some of our favorite recipes are easy to adapt for the ketogenic diets. Our Pressure Cooker Corned Beef is a great option if you leave off the potatoes. Our Slow Cooker Beef Broth is a great option for the keto flu and hydration needs.
Long-term success tips for the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet is one that is easy to maintain long-term. With the right preparation, it is easy to stick with this diet to lose weight or maintain a weight loss. As with any diet change, checking with your physician for regular blood work and physicals is a must. While this typically will not make your cholesterol higher, it is still best to check on a regular basis to make sure your body is reacting well to the ketogenic process.