The Best Keto Meal Plan and Menu for Beginners

ketogenic meal plan

Nowadays, there are various kinds of diets that are designed for different kinds of individuals. There is an Atkins nutritional approach which centers on insulin level control in the body system and the Zone diet which focuses on a balance between carbohydrates, fats, and protein per meal.

There is one that is specifically designed for those who need a low carbohydrate and healthy fat diet, which is known as the ketogenic diet. This is one of the most talked-about diet which targets weight loss among different walks of life.

Basically, a Keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet which shifts the body away from carbs and induces the body into a state of ketosis.   This is also referred to as a low glycemic therapy and eventually results in steady glucose levels.

The mechanism behind this diet is when fat deposits are broken down for fuel or energy, it then produces substances in the body called ketones. This scientific process is called ketosis. In this particular diet, avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil and coconuts are considered as healthy fats. Liberal amounts are added to the diet to maintain the good levels of fat.

What is a standard ketogenic diet?

A Keto diet reduces hunger and increases satiety. This is a common choice among overweight individuals who need help shedding off some kilograms.

The Keto Diet has been used to treat patients suffering from epilepsy even before the emergence of anti-seizure medications. It has also been said that this diet is effective when it comes to diabetes management, weight loss and overall metabolic health. However, a keto diet is not for everyone. It is risky for type 1 diabetes patients because using this approach may result to diabetic coma or worse, death.

What composes a Keto Meal Plan?

If you are the type of person who strictly follows doctor’s orders, then sticking to this diet is easy. You just have to make sure that your meals contain a portion of the nutrients below for the diet to be effective.

  • Protein

Go organic if you want to stay healthy. Grass-fed meat is highly recommended because you know that there are no synthetic substances added to the food these animals eat. But protein food must always be kept in moderate amounts.

  • Fats and Oils

Natural sources of these are usually nuts and meat. Other forms can be butter, olive oil or coconut oil.

  • Dairy

Hard cheeses have low carbohydrate amounts, so these are great choices. Make sure to choose full-fat dairy products.

  • Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are top picks on this diet. Be sure to choose above-ground vegetables such as broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini because they are low in carbohydrates.

  • Nuts and Seeds

Almonds do not only add flavor and texture to salads and viands, they also contain healthy fats that are good for the heart. Also, choose macadamias and seeds which have high-fat content if you want to lose weight fast.

  • Drinks

Just like in any diet, water is the cream of the crop. Nothing can go wrong with a glass of water. Adding oranges or lime to add some flavor is also okay. Infused water is also loved by most people on this diet.

If these are the primary components of keto meals, there are also some foods to avoid, to make this diet effective. Foods rich in carbohydrates such as:

  • Bread (white and whole wheat), crackers, cookies, rolls, doughnuts
  • Ice cream, candy, agave syrup, maple syrup, coconut sugar
  • Soda, fruit juice, sports beverage, sweetened teas
  • Noodles and spaghetti
  • Grains such as wheat, oats, rice, cereals, tortillas
  • Black beans, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas
  • Starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, pumpkin, peas, potatoes
  • Citrus fruits, bananas, grapes, pineapples
  • High carbohydrate sauces such as barbecue sauce, dipping sauce, sugary salad dressings
  • Alcoholic beverages such as beer and high-sugar content mixed drinks

Even if carbohydrate-rich food should be avoided, berries (low glycemic fruits) can also be eaten in small amounts as long as the keto friendly macronutrient range will be maintained.

Aside from that, eating healthy also means staying away from processed food and unhealthy fats that also affect the cardiovascular system:

  • Margarine, canola oil, corn oil, shortening
  • Hot dogs, luncheon meats, fast food meals
  • Food containing aspartame, sugar alcohols, artificial colors, preservatives

Ketogenic meal plan for beginners

If you want to follow a keto meal plan, limit your carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day. Each person has a unique body system so definitely, there are others who may have to lower their carbohydrate intake in order to reach ketosis. Use simple but healthy recipes to create your meal plan. Here is a one-week menu you can follow depending on your dietary needs.

Sunday
  • Breakfast: Coconut milk pudding topped with walnuts.
  • Lunch: Healthy salad made with greens, hard-boiled eggs, avocado and sprinkled with some grated cheese.
  • Dinner: Steamed chicken breast.
Monday
  • Breakfast: Two fried eggs served with sautéed green vegetables.
  • Lunch: An organic, grass-fed burger patty topped with parmesan cheese and mushrooms. For a tastier option, add avocado on a bed of greens.
  • Dinner: Grilled pork chops with some beans.
Tuesday
  • Breakfast: Vegetable omelet with grated parmesan cheese.
  • Lunch: Tuna salad with celery and tomato on top of leafy lettuce.
  • Dinner: Roast chicken with rosemary and a thick cream sauce and sauteed broccoli or zucchini.
Wednesday
  • Breakfast: Stuffed bell pepper (with parmesan cheese and scrambled eggs)
  • Lunch: Green salad with hard-boiled eggs, chicken and sliced cheese. Top with some avocado.
  • Dinner: Grilled halibut with spinach sautéed in coconut oil.
Thursday
  • Breakfast: Full-cream yogurt topped with some granola and corn flakes.
  • Lunch: Steak bowl with cauliflower rice, parmesan cheese, herbs, avocado and red salsa.
  • Dinner: Tuna steak with cheesy broccoli or zucchini.
Friday
  • Breakfast: Baked avocado and eggs.
  • Lunch: Caesar salad with sliced chicken breasts.
  • Dinner: Pork chops with leafy greens and avocado.
Saturday
  • Breakfast: Cauliflower toast sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese and some avocado to taste.
  • Lunch: Salmon burger patties topped with pesto cream.
  • Dinner: Pork meatballs served with zucchini noodles and parmesan cheese.

For some people, ketogenic meals may sound dull and boring, but the truth is, if you are creative, this diet can have a variety of flavorful meal combinations. Aside from the three meals you can take every day, snacks can also be keto-friendly. Here are some quick, up-for-grabs keto snacks you can eat in between meals or when in a hurry:

  • Trail mix with nuts, seeds and unsweetened coconut
  • Almonds
  • Nuts and cheddar
  • Avocado stuffed with chicken salad
  • Hard-boiled eggs and cheese
  • Kale chips
  • Any type of berries with full and heavy whipped cream
  • Coconut chips
  • Beef jerky
  • Cheese roll-ups
  • Avocado and chocolate mousse
  • Macadamia or pecan nuts
  • Green salad with high-fat dressing and avocado cream
  • Unsweetened green tea
  • Unsweetened coffee topped with heavy cream
  • Keto smoothie made with cocoa, avocado and coconut milk

Clinical applications of the keto diet menu

If you ask what is keto diet for, clinically, there are indeed positive applications. Several research studies were already done to see its effect on immunocompromised individuals suffering from various types of diseases.  According to recent studies, colorectal cancer is one of the most major diseases diagnosed to harm human life, which ranks third in males and second in females.

One specific research study by some experts was done to check whether a keto diet can help in stopping the growth of tumors of a human colon cancer cell. This particular experiment used 36 males in a pathogen-free environment.  They received adequate nutrition divided into three feeding groups: ketogenic diet, lard diet, and standard diet.

Data gathered from the study suggest that an effective metabolic tumor therapy does not necessarily bring down blood glucose levels.  Advanced incurable cancer patients are also threatened by cancer cachexia which is the progressive weight loss due to anorexia and loss of skeletal muscle mass.

Averting the onset of cachexia can be done by suggesting ketogenic diets.  It also delays the onset of tumors being formed and shows good effects on the lipid profiles of human beings.  In the pilot study done, a carbohydrate-restricted diet supplemented with lipids rich in omega-3 fatty acids and lard delayed the growth of glucose-fermenting tumors.

Keto Meal Plan App for Tracking Your Diet

With the development of science and technology, certain diets are not only essential for those who opt to live a well-balanced life but also used to treat life-threatening diseases.  Medical professionals should always be consulted whenever one partakes in any sensitive diet.  Bodybuilders and athletes must follow special diets well to avoid any pitfalls that may harm their health. Keto diets, on the other hand, seem promising in the development of anti-tumor therapy in the future.

Aside from that, those planning to use this diet may download CareClinic to track their progress. This free app can easily answer common questions such as, “what can I eat on a keto diet?” It also serves as a food or diet journal in which everything you eat may be logged in the app for reference. Keeping this diet tracker will come handy when you visit your medical specialist for some evaluation or consultation.

To get started tracking your keto diet and nutrition goals, click here to sign up to CareClinic.

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Chloe M.
Chloe M.
Chloe M (RN, BSc) holds a degree in Biology and is a practicing Registered Nurse. She has worked as a clinical and field researcher for various NGO organizations and social enterprises. She likes to share her experience as a nurse to provide insights on managing health and practicing preventative medicine.
Chloe M.