If you’re used to eating carb-heavy foods, like bread and pasta, or often rely on take-out, it can be challenging to switch to a ketogenic diet plan. Most folks who decide to go keto quickly realize that it requires a complete lifestyle upgrade. Many also find that they need a bit of an adjustment period before settling into this new way of eating and living. But with proper meal prep for the Keto Diet, it is much easier to keep up with the keto lifestyle—and to resist those pesky cravings that tend to happen during the adjustment period.
Planning ahead and being prepared helps you avoid exhausting decision making throughout the week, and saves you time and money. Not to mention, it helps you avoid getting HANGRY!
We’ve done some of the work for you, and have come up with 5 ways to meal prep for the Keto Diet, so you can set yourself up for success!
Stock Your Kitchen with Keto Staple Foods
Stocking your kitchen with keto-legal staples is the first step of any meal prep for the Keto Diet. It makes life so much easier when you have everything you need for the Keto Diet right in your own kitchen. This allows you to throw quick and easy meals together, grab quick go-to snacks—and it gives you peace of mind.
If you are unsure of which foods are high in carbs, you can use Self Nutrition Data to look up the nutritional profiles of lots of different foods.
Here are a few of our favorite basic keto foods to always have on hand:
Meat and Low-Carb Veggies
Steak and potatoes are classic American staple foods. Skip the potatoes, and add some leafy greens instead and you have yourself a great foundation for the Keto Diet. Stock your freezer with:
- fatty cuts of meat
- salmon, sardines, mackerel and other fatty fish
Non-starchy vegetables, like leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, are low in carbs, so fill your fridge with as many as you can eat over the course of a week. Remember that plants contain non-soluble fiber, which your body doesn’t digest and absorb like other carbs, so look at the amount of soluble fiber when you figure out your net carbs (total carbs minus insoluble fiber). We like:
- collard greens
- Swiss chard
- Brussels sprouts
- fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, and basil
- scallions, garlic and shallots
Dairy and Eggs
Dairy and eggs are also must-haves while transitioning to a ketogenic lifestyle. They are great sources of healthy fats and some protein. If possible, always purchase high quality full fat dairy products to add to recipes and drinks. Some musts when you meal prep for the Keto Diet:
- butter and/or ghee
- cream cheese
- cottage cheese
- your favorite cheese
- plain full fat yogurt
- heavy whipping cream
While most fruits are high in carbs, and therefore off limits or extremely limited on the Keto Diet, a few different berries are okay in small amounts.
Seeds, Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts and seeds are a good source of both fat and protein. But eat them in moderation.
- almonds and almond butter
- cashews and cashew butter
- sunflower seeds and sunbutter
- pumpkin seeds
- macadamia nuts
- brazil nuts
Keto Friendly Flours
Having these flours on hand can make baking keto style a lot easier. You can find good quality finely ground almond and coconut flours in the baking section of most health food stores. As with the nuts and seeds above, use in moderation.
- almond flour
- coconut flour
MCT oil and powder
Always have a good source of trusted MCT oil and powder on hand, such as our own Guy Gone Keto MCT Oil.
It’s always a good idea to have high quality organic extra virgin coconut oil available for baking, sautéing, and for adding to Keto coffee or tea drinks. The following coconut products are also great ways to add fat to your diet:
- full fat coconut milk
- coconut butter
- shredded coconut or coconut smiles
Keto Approved Sweeteners
It is very helpful to have keto-approved sweeteners around. They can be added to ketogenic baked goods, teas, coffees or other drinks. They offer great support when dealing with sugar cravings. Try some of the following keto-legal sweeteners:
- monk fruit
Avocado and Avocado Oil
We really like having ripe avocados on hand. You can buy them in bulk at places like Costco and refrigerate them as they ripen. Use them in smoothies, salad dressings, lettuce wraps, green salads or as a snack sprinkled with sea salt and lemon. Or stuff them with some smoked salmon and an egg, and bake them in the oven! Yum!
We also like keeping avocado oil on hand for drizzling on steamed leafy greens and making our own salad dressings.
Keto approved condiments can all help you make the adjustment to a Keto lifestyle without sacrificing flavor. We love:
- avocado oil or coconut oil mayonnaise
- sugar free mustard
- sugar free hot sauce
- red wine vinegar
- apple cider vinegar
- olives, olive oil and olive tapenade
- lemon and lime juice
And yes, can we plug our very own Guy Gone Keto line of condiments?
Spices and Herbs
Be sure to have your favorite spices and herbs available. This will make things like batch cooking and last minute meals easier to throw together. Some of our favorite seasonings that we use to meal prep for the Keto Diet are:
- chili powder
Learn more about keto-legal seasonings here.
Store bought or homemade stocks and broths are great to have around. They make it easy to make a quick meal by adding veggies, meat and MCT oil. A cup of bone broth can provide great morning energy when consumed for breakfast.
Try egg drop soup in the morning!
Meal Prep for the Keto Diet on the Weekend
Batch cooking is exactly what it sounds like: cooking large batches of meals that you can easily reheat later. It might seem like a lot of work, but batch cooking actually saves you time during the week. And it helps you avoid any temptations that might knock you out of ketosis. Most people choose a weekend day to do this. The easiest way is to pick one or two of your favorite keto recipes and double or triple it (depending on how many people you need to feed). This way you can reheat portions during the week or freeze them for later.
Cook a Large Portion of Meat
This is an easy way to have quality protein at your fingertips. You can choose your favorite meat (or rotate a meat of the week) and braise or roast it. You can add this to broths, lettuce wraps, salads and stir fries.
Crock Pot or Instant Pot Stews
Slow cooked (or Instant Pot) stews are a fast way to throw something together. You can even do this at the same time you batch cook. These can be reheated any time of the day and make a great breakfast or lunch on the go.
Cut Veggies and Chop Greens for Easy Access All Week
Precutting your veggies makes it so easy to open up the fridge and add them to any meal. Chop up some hearty greens, like kale or collard greens, and keep them in a container to add to stir fries, stews, soups and omelettes. Pre-washed lettuce leaves offer an easy way to grab some meat and cheese to create a “roll up”. You can also make a quick salad if your lettuce greens and veggies are washed and ready to go.
Have Breakfast Ideas in Order
Knowing how you are going to start the day can ease the pressure around food decisions. In some ways, breakfast can be the easiest meal on the Keto diet because you have the option of having a traditional breakfast like bacon and eggs. Alternatively, you can always eat dinner for breakfast by reheating one of your batch cooked meals. Of course there is always the easiest option of substituting breakfast with a cup of full fat Keto coffee!
Have the Right To-go Containers
Perfectly sized stainless steel containers, thermoses or mason jars can make all the planning and batch cooking worth it. It makes such difference when you are planning for eating Keto meals on the go. Some of our favorite things to have on hand are flat stainless containers, mason jars (for mason jar salads), and various sized thermos containers to keep meals hot or cold. And don’t forget miniature storage containers—just the right size to carry condiments or homemade salad dressings.
Hydrate and Carry Liquids with You
Make sure you hydrate well! This can often eliminate food cravings and hunger. Of course water is always the best choice, but variety makes hydrating more enjoyable. Some ideas for Keto friendly hydrating drinks:
- herbal teas
- mineral water sweetened with flavored stevia
- carbonated water like La Croix
- stevia sweetened sodas like Zevia
If you are looking for a more nutritious or filling ideas you can always whip up a quick Keto smoothie. Or add full fat coconut milk or heavy cream to your drink.
The Bottom Line
Being prepared will ensure less stress and anxiety when it comes to sticking to the Keto Diet. Freeing up your mental energy to focus on enjoying the lifestyle change you have committed to is only possible with proper planning. Along with the above suggestions, make sure to do your research and keep track of your favorite recipes. Check out our recipe page for more ideas. With a little bit of extra effort, you will find that you will get into a rhythm of shopping, cooking, eating and traveling that will serve you well on your journey to health.
Do you have other tips and tricks? Share them with us in the comments below!