A Keto Diet Guide for Beginners
Here at Quick ‘N Eat, we’re big fans of the keto diet. After all, the keto diet is centered in simplicity, and with angus beef patties that contain only 5 ingredients, simplicity is our middle name!
But for those just beginning the keto diet, cutting back on favorite foods may feel challenging.
That’s why we’ve written a quick beginners guide on starting the keto diet to help you on this new journey.
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet (keto, for short) is a low carb, high fat type of diet that offers many health benefits. People often go on the keto diet to lose weight, and it can even be effective against diseases like diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s.
The keto diet reduces your daily carbohydrate intake and replaces it with fat. The goal is to put your body in a state of ketosis, which enables your body to become more efficient in burning fat for energy.
There are several versions of the keto diet, but the “standard ketogenic diet” is most common. This is a low carb, moderate protein, and high fat type of diet, and the breakdown of this daily food intake is 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 10 percent carbs.
What to eat on the keto diet
So now you may be wondering, “Okay … I understand that the keto diet is low carb and high fat, but what does that actually mean?”
Once you get the hang of which foods to incorporate into your routine, keto becomes quite simple! Here’s a guide:
Protein on keto
With the right seasonings and condiments, you won’t get bored with protein choices on the keto diet! Many different kinds of meats, fish, and poultry are keto-approved.
Red meat, such as steak, as well as ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey are all okay for you to consume while on keto. Fatty fish is also a great option, like salmon, trout, and tuna. And don’t forget about eggs! Pastured or omega-3 whole eggs are the best egg choice while on keto.
Dairy on keto
Yes, you can have dairy while on the keto diet! However, there are certain types of dairy that are more keto-compliant than others.
Grass-fed butter and heavy cream are keto-approved, as well as unprocessed cheese like cheddar, goat cheese, cream cheese, blue cheese, and mozzarella. So no need to worry, cheese-lovers!
Fats on keto
Since fats make up 70 percent of your daily food intake on keto, it’s important to have many healthy fat choices in your refrigerator and pantry!
Nuts and seeds are a favorite snack for those on keto, and almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds are all easy to find in the grocery store. You can also try throwing nuts or seeds into a recipe for an extra crunch, or enjoy them alone.
Many people on the keto diet cook for themselves because it can be tricky to find keto-friendly take out options. It’s important to always be stocked with keto-friendly cooking oils, like extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, both of which are keto-approved.
Vegetables on keto
Choosing the right vegetables while on keto is trickier than you might think. Many vegetables are starchy and high in carbs, so steering clear of carb-rich vegetables is important. In general, green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, and peppers are all solid vegetable choices while on the keto diet.
Vegetables also make an awesome side dish to your protein or healthy fats, and most keto-friendly vegetables are rich in fiber and important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Common mistakes to avoid on the keto diet
Beginning a new diet is always challenging–especially one as strict as keto! But now that you know what foods to add to your shopping list, here are a few foods and beverages to avoid.
Yes, we know–it might be a habit to put splenda in your coffee in the morning. Or to enjoy a sweet treat, like a blueberry muffin, in the afternoon. But unfortunately, these sugar-heavy foods are off limits on the keto diet.
Soda, most fruit juices, smoothies, cake, ice cream, and candy should all be avoided while on keto.
Grains and starches
As we mentioned earlier, carbs should be 10 percent of your daily food intake while on the keto diet. Grains and starches are often a big contributor to that 10 percent, but for the most part, you should stay away from most grains.
This includes pasta, rice, cereal, and oatmeal.
Most fruits are high in carbs and therefore not compliant with the keto diet. Non-keto fruits include bananas, apples, and blueberries.
However, fruits like blackberries, rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon and lemons are all approved for the keto diet. So for those who have a sweet tooth, these fruits are a great alternative and are also rich in healthy antioxidants.
Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes have many health benefits, including the prevention of cell damage and disease. However, they are not allowed while on the keto diet due to their high carb content. Black beans, for instance, have approximately 12 grams of carbs in just a ½ cup portion.
When you’ve finished your keto diet, by all means, incorporate heart-healthy beans back into your meal routine! But while on keto, it’s best to steer clear.
Root vegetables like yukon potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes are too high in carbohydrates to be included in the keto diet.
Don’t worry, because there are many other low carb vegetables you can incorporate into your keto diet plan, like cabbage, radish, turnip, jicama, rutabaga, and cauliflower.
If you’re concerned about navigating the keto diet while out with friends, there are plenty of drink options that are keto-friendly. This includes rum, vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey–either straight or with a low carb, no sugar mixer, like seltzer.
Avoid drinks that are sugar-heavy, like margaritas, bloody marys, sangrias, and cosmopolitans.
Here’s a simple cheat sheet, which provides more guidance on the do’s and don’t’s of drinking alcohol while on keto.
Tips for starting a keto diet in the new year
After an indulgent holiday break, it’s tempting to jump into a new diet, like keto, in the new year with little preparation. However, as the days and weeks pass by, motivation can start to subside and it can become difficult to stay on track with diet goals.
Here’s some advice for starting and sticking with a keto diet in the new year:
Do your research
Overwhelmed with keto diet rules? You’re not alone! When you read up on keto diet guidelines, you’re empowered with the knowledge to make food choices that are not only compliant with the keto diet, but feel right for you, too.
Here are a few blogs to help familiarize yourself with keto:
Meal prep in advance
When beginning a new diet, it can take longer than usual to write down your grocery list and shop for ingredients. But meal prep is a big key to success! When you plan meals in advance, you have more control over the foods you’re eating for each and every meal.
Struggling to find time to prepare meals? Try blocking time on your calendar every week to batch cook keto-friendly meals! When you treat your meal prep like an appointment, it can help keep you accountable and it’s encouraging to cross it off your to do list.
For times when you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to meal prep, keep a package of Quick ‘N Eat burgers in the freezer, which are keto-friendly.
Find an accountability group or partner
If you’re struggling with holding yourself accountable, try joining a keto support group on social media!
Facebook pages like Keto Diet have over 3 million followers and provide guidance for those beginning their keto diet. Plus, if you don’t know anyone personally who is on keto, social media groups can help provide a sense of community.
Quick ‘N Eat keto recipes
Yes, we love the keto diet, and our burgers provide a great go-to meal for those struggling with what to eat while on keto.
Here are a few fast and tasty recipes to bookmark as you prepare your grocery list:
See? The keto diet doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right resources and ingredients, keto can be downright easy and delicious.
We hope this blog post has been a helpful guide as you consider whether the keto diet is right for you