Ketogenic Diet Meal Plans
Easy-Prep Recipes & Menus for Keto'ers
The keto diet or ketogenic diet is essentially a low-carb/high-fat diet. Commonly undertaken with the goal of achieving weight loss and trimming fat, the program is also thought to provide other health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and even epilepsy.
The program involves encouraging your body to use fat (instead of glucose) as a fuel source. This results in the metabolic state known as ketosis.
Ketosis isn't exactly easy to achieve, and it can be even more challenging to maintain once you are in it. This is where a solid keto meal plan comes in.
The keto-friendly meals outlined in this food plan are intended specifically to fill you up and satisfy your cravings, enabling you to reach and maintain the ketogenic state.
Because so many dieters fail because of the inability to control their cravings for food, these dishes have been developed specifically to satisfy you and fill you up while providing for all your nutritional needs.
Have a quick glance through the food menus, and you will see an abundance of fats in the form of butter and oils, along with meats, eggs, and even bacon. All of these simple ingredients typically do not have a place in most traditional diets but check out the macro nutrient counts after each, and you will see that these are not only tasty but good for you as well.
These sample meal plans are also designed to be easy and fun to prepare, with minimal prep time and cleanup. They're ideal for both beginners to keto and beginners to cooking in general. It may take some getting used to if you have never planned out your meals before, but after a couple of weeks of these delectable dishes, we guarantee that you won't want your meals prepared any other way!
So, What are the Macros?
This is where it gets a little bit tricky. Just to quickly explain what macros or macronutrients are; they are simply particles that our bodies utilize to create energy for everyday lives. They are found in any kind of food but it does vary in amounts regarding macros. The three major macro groups are protein, fats, and carbohydrates, all of which are measured in grams on the food labels.
Here are the macros that you will be trying to achieve when you are on the ketogenic diet:
Now, that we have established what your targets are when you are on the keto diet, all that is left are the meals itself. We have prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes that you can follow easily at home. All of which are keto-friendly meal plans that you can switch up with each other from time to time. Let's get right to it then.
Breakfast Meal Plans
“A good breakfast is the cornerstone of good health” as the saying goes. This applies to most everyone, but it applies in particular to those trying to achieve and/or maintain ketosis. Many of those in the latter category often only make do with a cup of good coffee in the morning. But if you want something simple and a bit more filling, these delectable options are worth checking out.
1. Cheesy Bacon and Egg
The classic bacon and eggs breakfast is pretty standard for a keto-friendly breakfast (learn more about it here). Add a healthy helping of cheese into the mix, and now we're in business. This particular recipe isn't only low carb and keto-friendly, but tasty as well. Best of all, you can substitute ingredients as you see fit.
- 12 large eggs
- 1/2 cup spinach. You can use frozen spinach but thaw and drain the leaves first.
- 12 pieces of bacon
- 1/3 cup cheese. A sharp cheddar will work nicely.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 101 calories
- 7g fat
- 8g protein
- 1g carb
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Fry the bacon in a pan and set it aside to drain off the oil.
- Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with coconut or olive oil.
- Place a strip of bacon in each cup. Don’t worry if some bacon sticks up on either side; they will serve as handles.
- Beat the eggs lightly.
- Wrap the spinach in a clean cloth or paper towel and wring out the water.
- Fold the spinach gently into the eggs.
- Scoop 1/4 cup of the egg and spinach mixture into each cup of the muffin tray, about 3/4 full.
- Sprinkle some cheese on top.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.
2. Protein-Packed Pancakes
Pancakes are other types of breakfast fare that most people wouldn’t dream of adding to a keto diet. Even if you could find a suitable substitute for flour, the results are likely to be expensive and/or unappetizing. However, we stumbled upon a winning breakfast meal recipe that uses protein powder instead of the more costly and carbo-packed alternatives. Try it out for yourself, and you will find that these keto-friendly breakfast pancakes are just as moist and fluffy as any you could have in your favorite diner.
- 2 scoops of protein powder, vanilla
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 2 medium-sized eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoon butter (softened beforehand)
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons syrup
- Berries, nuts, chocolate chips, or bacon (Optional)
- 500 calories
- 37g fat
- 38g protein
- 1g carb
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set it aside.
- Mix all the wet ingredients. Make sure the butter is softened, but not entirely melted. This will make your pancakes moist. If you are using unsalted butter, you will have to add a pinch of salt to the batter.
- Form a well in the dry ingredients mixture and pour into the wet ingredients. Mix the ingredients just enough to ensure that they are evenly combined.
- You can then mix in some optional ingredients of your choice. You can try some berries, nuts, chocolate chips, or even bacon!
- Heat a flat pan and drizzle with a few drops of oil. You may use butter if you want, but keep in mind that it will burn quickly. You may also use coconut oil or bacon grease if you are adding bacon to your batter.
- For every pancake, measure out ¼ cup of batter and ladle it onto the pan.
- Let the pancake cook until bubbles form on the surface. This is when you know the pancake can be flipped.
- Cook the pancake on the other side for around a minute. Make sure not to overcook it!
- Serve the pancakes with a dab of butter and some syrup.
3. Classic Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled eggs for breakfast might not seem all that special, but you’ve never had them this healthy and this tasty! Fluffy, creamy, and flavorful, this particular keto-friendly breakfast recipe also has the benefit of being extremely low carb. It's definitely worth getting the kitchen dirty for.
- 6 medium-sized eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 stalks green onion
- 4 strips bacon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 444 calories
- 35g fat
- 25g protein
- 2g carbs
- Do not put the pan on the heat yet.
- Crack the eggs into the pan without oil or butter, and add the butter afterward. This will ensure that the egg mixture cooks at the same time.
- Do not add salt at this point. Doing so will make the eggs break down and make them watery.
- Turn up the heat to medium and put the pan on.
- Mix the eggs and butter until the butter melts.
- Keep the pan in your hand the entire time and lift it off the heat as needed. You will know when to lift it up when you see a layer of cooked egg on the bottom. Scrape this layer off and mix it back into the egg mixture.
- Just before the eggs are done to your preference, take the pan off the heat. The eggs will keep cooking for a few minutes.
- Now you can season the egg and add the rest of the ingredients as garnishing or topping.
Lunch Meal Plans
Arguably not as important as breakfast, lunch nevertheless serves an important purpose as well–particularly for keto dieters. It bridges the long gap between breakfast and dinner and gives you enough energy to see you through the day. The satisfaction you derive from a healthy but keto-friendly lunch will also help keep the cravings at bay, enabling you to resist the temptation to indulge in unhealthy snacks. Check out these delicious lunch ideas for keto dieters!
1. Asian Pumpkin Soup
A hearty bowl of pumpkin soup makes for a great keto-friendly lunch, and the tantalizing Asian flavors just pushes this one over the edge. What it doesn't do is push you out of ketosis, so it is a worthwhile addition to your lunchtime menu and can provide a lot of energy to get you through the day. I bet you won't be trying it only once as it has all the nutrients that you will require from a tasty ketogenic meal plan.
- 3 pounds pumpkin (the Japanese variety is recommended)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 white onion, medium
- 2 tablespoons butter (you may also use ghee)
- 2 cups heavy cream (coconut cream may be used instead)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 1/2 to 1 cup broth (you may use water if you prefer)
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 500 calories
- 30g fat
- 6.5g protein
- 18g carbs
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Cut open the pumpkin and scrape out the pulp and seeds. Leave the skin on, and chop the pumpkin into cubes, about 2 inches on each side.
- Spread the pieces out on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with a teaspoon of salt.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Chop the white onion finely. Melt some butter in a pan over low heat and cook until the pieces are translucent. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Blend 2 cups of cream in a food processor until the consistency is light. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Add the white onion, garlic powder, and rosemary into the blend and season to taste with some salt. Blend further until all the ingredients are mixed in thoroughly.
- When the pumpkin is done, take the baking sheet out of the oven. Let it cool for a few minutes and then peel off the skins. Add the pumpkin pieces to the food processor with the cream and blend until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour the mixture into a pot and simmer over medium heat. Add enough water or broth to thin out the soup according to your preference.
- Garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve hot.
2. Hearty Lamb Meatballs with Cauliflower Rice
Those in the mood for something a little more substantial will want to try out this free keto-friendly lunch recipe. Combining the distinctive flavor of lamb with a delicate cauliflower pilaf, this is one dish that you'll want to keep cooking up. This lunch meal plan is packed with all the fat, protein and calories that you need to power through your long day. Also did I mention that it barely has any carbs in it? Yes, you read that right. This amazing lunch recipe will make you feel like you're not even on a low-carb diet.
- 200 grams cauliflower
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound lamb, minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 4 grams garlic, minced finely
- 1 bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped roughly
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 4 ounces cheese (goat milk cheese is recommended)
- 495 calories
- 41g fat
- 27g protein
- 3.5g carbs
- Place the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse it for a few minutes until it is the same size and consistency as rice.
- Lightly oil a pan and cook the cauliflower rice for about 8 minutes while covered. Season it with salt and pepper.
- Mix the lamb, egg, and spices in a bowl with your hands until thoroughly combined. Form the mixture into meatballs. You should be able to make from 12 to 15 meatballs.
- Place a skillet over medium heat and drizzle in the coconut oil. Cook the onion until it’s translucent, which should take from 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the meatballs to the pan and cook all sides evenly until they are firm.
- Divide the cauliflower rice into four portions.
- Place a few meatballs on top of each portion and top with mint leaves, lemon zest, and goat cheese.
3. Cauliflower Soup with Pancetta
Being on keto or low-carb diet doesn't leave one with too many options for a tasty lunch. Wrong! And, that is where this cauliflower soup with crumbled pancetta comes into play. Combining the garden fresh flavor of fresh cauliflower with pancetta makes this one a winner on our list of ketogenic meal plans. It's a great way to mix up your lunches as most ketogenic meal plans are filled with mostly meat, this lunch soup recipe will certainly spice things up.
- 4 cups of chicken or vegetables stock, and 1 lbs of cauliflower
- 7 ounces of cream cheese
- 4 ounces of butter
- 7-8 ounces of diced pancetta or bacon
- 3 ounces of nuts (pecan)
- 1 tablespoon of butter, Dijon mustard, and paprika powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 240 calories
- 37g fat
- 13g protein
- 10g carbs
- Cut the vegetables and cauliflower into smaller pieces (smaller florets), it will help cook the soup faster.
- Grab a good chunk of cauliflower and cut into quarter inch pieces
- Sauté the pancetta and cauliflower in butter until it gets crispy.
- Towards the end, add some paprika and nuts to enhance flavor.
- Boil the cauliflower florets until it gets softer. Put butter, cream cheese and mustard in the mix.
- Blend it until it gets to your desired consistency then add some salt and pepper.
- The soup gets creamier the longer you blend it.
- Serve the meal in bowls then add the pancetta and cauliflower crumbles on top.
Dinner Meal Plans
Come dinner time, you're probably in the mood for a hot, nutritious meal that will make a perfect end to the day. Of course, you don’t necessarily want to pack on the carbs, considering that you will be going to sleep anyway. The good news is that this healthy ketogenic dinner meal will fill you up nicely without kicking you out of ketosis.
1. Old-Fashioned Shepherd’s Pie
A classic British favorite, Shepherd’s Pie has since made its way to tables around the world. This delicious dinner meal plan uses riced cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, so you can be sure of staying well within your dietary limits. You can also make a variation called Cottage Pie by using beef instead of lamb to make this ketogenic-friendly dinner that much more interesting. After you've tasted this, you might be cooking it for dinner every night.
- 1/4 cup
- 1 pound turkey, lamb or beef, minced
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced
- 2 12 ounces of riced cauliflower (cook and drained beforehand)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 469 calories
- 39g fat
- 23g protein
- 6g carbs
- Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a skillet.
- Sauté the ground meat, onions, garlic, and celery in the pan. You’ll know it is ready when the meat is brown.
- Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the tomatoes. Transfer everything to a casserole dish.
- Blend the cauliflower, cream, thyme, and the cheese in a good processor. Aim for a consistency similar to that of mashed potatoes
- Spread the cauliflower mixture over the meat.
- Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350°F.
- When done, let the dish cool slightly before cutting into portions.
2. Indonesian Chicken Curry
A delectable blend of exotic flavors and spices is yours to enjoy in this fabulous chicken curry dish! Based on the traditional Indonesian recipe, this one is made even more appealing with its keto-approved macro count. It's completely packed with delicious protein and healthy fats to reward yourself after a long day but still manage to keep you in ketosis. It's the right kind of keto-friendly meal plan for dinner.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds chicken thighs (deboned, skin removed)
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 14-ounce can of coconut milk, unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 cup white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 ounce of peanuts, toasted
- 3 small red chili, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 430 calories
- 22g fat
- 53g protein
- 7g carbs
- For the spice paste, combine all the ingredients for the spice paste and blend in a food processor until the consistency is smooth.
- For the Balinese chicken curry, Cut the chicken into 2-inch cubes.
- Heat a large pan and cook the spice paste in olive oil for about three to four minutes, while stirring.
- Add the chicken to the paste and cook for a further two minutes.
- Stir the tomatoes and chicken stock into the chicken and paste mixture.
- After the mixture has begun to simmer, turn the heat down to a minimum and cook for 30 more minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and cook for 20 minutes more, while stirring.
- Add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
3. Spicy Steak
For some people, having a nice juicy steak to sink their teeth into is essential. A steak bowl is often the next best thing, and the addition of cheese and avocado makes this a great meal to close the day. Based on a spicy steak dish from a famous restaurant chain, this is a more inexpensive dinner option that won't ruin your ketogenic diet. It's ingredients are mostly the healthiest fats that you can find and with some added protein, you will certainly hit the perfect macros. With barely any carbs in it, this keto dinner meal plan is a dream come true.
- 16 ounces skirt steak
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup guacamole
- 4 ounces cheese (pepper jack is recommended)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 handful cilantro
- A few drops of Tabasco sauce
- 620 calories
- 50g fat
- 33g protein
- 5.5g carbs
- Season the meat with salt and pepper.
- Place a cast iron skillet on the stove over high heat.
- When the pan is hot enough, cook the meat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Remove the meat from the heat and let it rest to bring out the juices.
- After a few minutes, slice the steak into thin strips. You should have enough for four servings.
- Grate the cheese sprinkle over each serving of steak.
- Top with guacamole and sour cream. You may also add a few drops of Tabasco sauce if you wish.
- Garnish with cilantro.
Some of the most common questions from those who wish to go on a keto diet are: “How many calories can I consume?” and “How much protein and carbohydrates are appropriate?”
The best way to go about it is to think in percentages. For calories, about 65% to 75% of the diet should be fat. Protein should account for 20% to 30%, with the remaining 5% comprising carbohydrates.
The actual percentages will vary depending on your weight, level of activity, and fitness/health goals of course, but the above figures should give you a sound basis from which to starting your meal plans.
Cravings are among the most challenging aspects of any health and fitness program, and this is true for keto programs as well. There are many ways by which you can deal with the cravings that will inevitably occur, but one way that could prove to be effective is practicing self-motivation.
Every time you feel a craving coming on, remind yourself why you are doing this and what your ultimate goals are. Realize also that giving in to your craving will only give you temporary satisfaction, after which you will be right back where you started. This is also where these ketogenic meal plans come into play. They are designed to keep you in ketosis also while help you quench that craving that you feel.
Staying on the ketogenic diet isn't the easiest of tasks, especially considering how dependent humans are on carbohydrate ‘fixes.' While we can't tell you that it will be easy right off the bat, what we can promise you is that it will get easier over time especially with these diet menus and recipes that we have given you.
If you are looking to up your game, and even afford to cheat a bit while on the deit, you can always give ketogenic supplements a go. Which is what we recommend people to do. It makes your life easier because it kicks your body straight into ketosis and keeps you there as long as you keep taking it, even when you deviate from the standard marcros.
Our favorite supplement is Perfect Keto. It does an excellent job of masking the horrible taste of BHB supplements which we cannot say for other brands. You check out our review of the product here.