Keto tips

Start Simple.

Keep it simple, especially when you are starting out. The best way to start keto for beginners is to use a simple framework for your meals:

  • Pick a protein – Chicken, beef, pork, turkey, fish, seafood, protein powder, eggs, etc.
  • Pick a (low carb) veggie – Cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, bell peppers, etc.
  • Add fat. Butter, oil, lard, ghee, cheese, bacon, avocado, mayonnaise, nuts, etc.

Remove Temptations.

One of the easiest keto diet tips to implement is to get rid of foods you need to avoid. It’s much easier to stick to your goals if you’re not constantly fighting temptation. Get rid of the following in your fridge and pantry:

  • Grains including wheat, bread, pasta, rice, oats, cereal, corn, etc.
  • Sugar including table sugar, candy, pastries, cakes, ice cream, chocolate, soda, juice, honey, maple syrup, etc.
  • Starchy vegetables including potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc.
  • Legumes including beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc. (Peanuts are an exception in moderation.)
  • High-sugar fruits including bananas, pineapple, oranges, apples, grapes, etc.
  • Low-fat dairy & milk including all cow’s milk (except heavy cream is fine), low-fat cheese, etc.
  • Seed & vegetable oils especially margarine, canola oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil and soybean oil
  • Processed “low carb” foods depending on ingredients, so read labels for hidden sugar, starch, and artificial ingredients If your family is not on board with low carb eating, getting rid of everything may not be possible, and that’s okay! If others in your household want to continue eating these foods, gather everything you want to avoid and store it together, so that you can at least avoid a certain cupboard, fridge shelf, etc.

Stock Your Fridge.

Along with getting rid of all the good stuff, fill your fridge with plenty of good stuff:

  • Healthy fats like avocado oil, butter and coconut oil
  • Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and kale
  • Low carb vegetables that grow above ground, like zucchini, cauliflower and asparagus
  • Meat like beef and pork
  • Poultry like chicken and turkey
  • Seafood like fish and shellfish
  • Full-fat dairy like cheese and heavy cream
  • Eggs
  • Low carb fruit like avocados (the fruit exception that doesn’t need to be in moderation), raspberries and coconuts Get the full keto food list for beginners here, including more details and a handy printable version. Notice the main focus is real, whole foods.

Stock Your Pantry.

Don’t forget to stock your pantry with keto staples, too! Pantry ingredients are most prone to be high in carbs, but here are the types of items you’ll want to keep:

  • Herbs & spices like basil, dill and cinnamon
  • Low carb condiments like mayo, hot sauce and mustard
  • Nuts & seeds like almonds, macadamia nuts and sunflower seeds
  • Sugar-free sweeteners like erythritol, monk fruit and allulose
  • Low carb flours like almond flour, coconut flour and flax seed meal
  • Sugar-free beverages like water, coffee and tea And one big thing you don’t need in your pantry? Exogenous ketones, diet supplements, and processed products labeled “keto”. Always read labels and check if the actual ingredients are keto friendly. While ketones are a controversial topic and some people have found that they help a little, they are absolutely not necessary to have success. Your body will produce ketones on its own if you restrict carbs enough. Get the full keto pantry shopping list here with more details on what you do need.

Ease Into It.

If you’re starting a keto diet coming from eating a lot of carbs and sugar, cutting it all out cold turkey may be a shock. It can cause (temporary) keto flu symptoms and cravings, and while these can be manageable, it doesn’t mean that’s the only way. Here are a few ways to ease into it that can be helpful:

  • Apply a couple of these keto tips and tricks at a time. This gives you time to adjust.
  • Cut out foods gradually. Eliminate all sugars first, such as soda and candy, then complex carbs like bread and pasta, and starchy veggies and fruit last.
  • Listen to your body’s signals and be patient. If you finished your meal and are still hungry, try drinking some water, brushing your teeth, distracting yourself with something fun to do, or just waiting 20 minutes for your brain to catch up. If you’re still hungry after that, try a salty, water-packed snack, like olives or pickles.

Carbs Are A Limit, Protein Is A Goal & Fat Is A Lever.

The most important key to getting into ketosis is restricting carbohydrates, but there is more to it. Your other macros, which is short for macronutrients, play a role as well. In a nutshell, here is how to understand macros for the keto diet:

Portions Do Matter.

Portions are related to keto diet tip #6 above. Even though calories and portions are not the primary focus of a ketogenic lifestyle, they still matter. It’s still possible not to lose weight, or even gain weight, on keto if you consume too much – this would be the case with any diet. The key to remember is that fat is a lever. Fortunately, ketosis inherently reduces hunger and cravings, so you tend to eat less anyway. Many people find that eating low carb foods keeps their portions under control naturally, but if that doesn’t happen for you, you may need to pay attention to them.

Eat Only When Hungry.

A common question I get is whether you should eat when you are not hungry. Ketosis acts as a natural appetite suppressant, so you may find that you don’t get hungry as often, or not as ravenously so. There is no need to eat when you are not hungry! Simply focus on hitting your protein goal when you do get hungry and eat, but otherwise let your body signal when to eat.

Avoid The Keto Flu.

Maybe you’ve heard of the keto flu, or maybe you’ve just experienced side effects of starting keto. It’s one of the most common questions about the keto diet for beginners. As your body shifts its primary fuel source from glucose and carbohydrates to ketones and fat, it can take your body some time to adjust to this metabolic change. Ketosis also flushes out a lot of water stored in the body, which can cause your electrolyte levels to dip.

Stay Hydrated.

Drinking water is great for anyone, but especially if you are in ketosis. Eating carbs causes us to store more water in our bodies, while a keto diet flushes out more water, so it’s even more crucial to drink enough. Aim for 16 cups per day.