How to start the Keto Diet? When you start keto, it might seem complicated, or difficult to know what to eat, when, how much or what changes your body will go through. However, you can dive into keto feeling a lot more prepared with our keto diet starter tips.
- Simple is best
When you start the keto diet, you might be puzzled by the many food choices, so it’s best to keep it clear and simple:
Choose a protein source: chicken, beef, turkey, tuna, seafood, eggs, etc.
Choose a source for fat: butter, cheese, oil, ghee, avocado, nuts, mayonnaise, bacon, etc.
Choose a vegetable (low-carb, keto friendly): broccoli, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, zucchini, cauliflower, etc.
- Remove non-keto foods
Now this is a simple tip that does wonders. The best way to resist temptation is to get rid of all the foods which you need to avoid on the keto diet. It’s just easier to stick to your meal plan when you don’t have to fight cravings for foods in your foods or pantry. If not everyone in your house will be following a low-carb diet, this will not be as simple as it seems and that’s fine. The least you can do is move all these foods and store them together so that you will not see them all the time. Check your fridge and pantry and get rid of all of these foods:
Sugar: table sugar, pastries, ice cream, chocolate, honey, maple syrup, etc.
Non keto fruits: oranges, apples, bananas, pineapple, grapes, etc.
Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
Grains: pasta, rice, oats, wheat, cereal, corn, etc.
Legumes: beans, lentils, etc.
Low-fat dairy: all cow’s milk, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, etc.
- Fill your fridge
After you have cleaned your fridge and pantry from all the foods you need to avoid, get ready to fill your fridge with lots of healthy and tasty foods:
Meats: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc.
Healthy fats: avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, etc.
Leafy greens: spinach, kale, etc.
Low-carb vegetables: cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, etc.
Full-fat dairy: cheese, yogurt, heavy cream, etc.
Avocados, eggs, seafood, fish, etc.
- Stock your pantry
Now you need to add some keto staples to your pantry. Very often, pantry products are super high in carbs, but there are still lots of things you can have:
Sugar-free sweeteners: erythritol, xylitol, etc.
Sugar-free drinks: coffee, tea.
Nuts and seeds: almond, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, etc.
Low-carb flower: coconut flower, coconut flower, etc.
Low-carb sauces: mayonnaise, mustard.
Herbs: basil, dill.
- Start slowly
Starting the keto diet cold turkey coming from a diet filled with processed carbs and sugars might be a challenge. Your body will be in shock from the sudden change, and you might have acute although temporary keto flu symptoms such as headaches, nausea, irritability and cravings. Although these symptoms can be managed by getting enough rest and drinking lots of water, it might be best to transition more gradually to a keto meal plan. It will give your body the time to adapt, and it will make it less likely for you to give up. Here are some tips on how to change your current diet to a ketogenic diet:
Eliminate foods gradually. First of all remove all sugars, starting with candy and sweetened beverages. After this, remove all pasta and bread. If you are feeling comfortable, cut all starchy vegetables and fruits as well, if you need more time to adjust, give your body time.
Manage hunger. You might feel hungry in the beginning, so you must be prepared with keto-friendly snacks, or with other distractions that might keep you busy.
Plan your food. If you know what you will eat tomorrow or the next week, you might be able to prepare your food ahead, or simply you will have something to look forward to the next day. It will make it easier for you to stick to keto.
- Limit carbs, enjoy fat and some protein
In keto, the most important part is to limit your carbs intake, otherwise your body will not stay in ketosis, so it will not produce ketones, which are then used for energy and are burning fat to do that. You need to set and monitor your carb intake to a maximum of 50 grams per day, which is about 5% of your total daily calories. However, other macronutrients are also important. You need to eat protein in order to keep your muscles mass even if you lose some weight, but you must not eat too much, otherwise your body will turn it into sugar and use it for energy, but in the keto diet, we want to use fat for energy. Protein should be about 20% of your total daily calories.
The rest of your calories need to come from fat, which helps with satiety and gives you energy. You can use these amounts based on your goals. If you want to lose weight, decrease fat intake a little bit. We recommend using an online macros calculator to understand how much of which macro you should eat.
- Follow hunger cues
Be mindful of how you feel and eat only when you feel true physical hunger. Ketosis will make you feel less hungry, so you might notice that you are not as hungry as you were before. Listen to your body and eat when you are hungry, there’s no need to eat when you are not hungry.
- Manage the keto flu
Since your body will change its main source of energy from carbohydrates to fats, it will take some time to adjust to this process. You might have some temporary symptoms during this time, which are manageable and even avoidable. Eat your food slowly and drink lots of water, get enough rest, get enough electrolytes (like magnesium and sodium), reduce slowly your carb intake.
- Plan your meals
Meal planning can be a key part of starting and maintaining a keto diet. Since you cannot grab a bag of chips or a candy bar when you are hungry, you need to be ready with other low-carb foods. Food preparation doesn’t have to take hours, there are simple 15 minutes recipes which you can use to cook healthy and delicious meals, plus use leftovers for next day’s lunch.
- Why choose KETO?
The keto diet has a lot of health benefits and can help you lose weight. The diet doesn’t have to be complicated, you can be prepared by following lots of helpful tips. Getting started can be simple, and all the symptoms of this huge change can be managed very well. There are also lots of mobile apps which can help and ease your journey, by offering you ready to cook recipes and meal plans, making it less likely for you to fail.