keto meal plan

A Keto Monthly Meal Plan [plus tips & tricks for Keto Diet Success]

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A Keto Monthly Meal Plan [plus tips & tricks for Keto Diet Success]

My husband and I recently started 2020 off by trying out the ketogenic diet.  We have friends who swear by the keto diet and all of its benefits. We decided since we needed to shed a few pounds that we would give it a try, after all, what did we have to lose? Besides weight.  Those of you who have been here before know that I am a huge proponent of meal planning for an entire month at a time. If you stick around, you too could get yourself a complete keto monthly meal plan down below.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet is essentially a diet that reduces your carbohydrate intake so much that your body will switch over to burning fat instead of carbohydrates.  It might sound at first like you are starving yourself, but essentially if you were a whale you would be switching over to your blubber reserves and burning those instead of the sweet carbohydrates you desire.  

Ok, so that was really “unscientific” of me, and no I did not call you a whale.  Moving on.

DISCLAIMER: Please also remember that I am not a doctor or registered dietician.  I do recommend doing your own research before starting the keto diet, there are loads of benefits, but of course RESULTS DO VARY!

During the ketogenic diet you want to get your body into ketosis.  Ketosis is a state where your body will produce ketones rather than glucose.  Ketones are a by-product of the pathway your metabolism takes to burn fats instead of carbohydrates.  

In the keto diet plan you will want to invest your calories in foods with higher fats.  This doesn’t mean you’re eating buckets of lard, it means increase the healthy fats wherever you can.  For example, I love adding avocado to my breakfast “sandwich” each day.

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Keto Mal Plan

Basic Rules of Keto Diet for Beginners

If you are brand new to the keto diet there are a few simple rules to follow.  The first one is limit your carbohydrate intake. This includes all sugars! Yes carbohydrates and sugars are the same thing! For me this was particularly difficult because I have a sweet-tooth and I love pastrie, donuts, cereals, all things carb!

I recommend getting an app that helps you set up the appropriate ratios of your macronutrients such as CarbManager.  My carbohydrate allotment for a day is 25g of net carbs, but some people can go as high as 50g of carbohydrates per day.  Once you start looking at how many carbohydrates are in certain foods, you will be amazed. It will really make you assess: “Is this food worth x number of carbohydrates?”  

Some sneaky foods that have high carbohydrates that you wouldn’t think are things like fruit and certain vegetables.  You don’t want to eat potatoes (obviously), but also root vegetables like carrots are not good. You can still eat salad vegetables (lettuce, cucumber etc.) and broccoli and cauliflower are popular on this diet too.

One thing I like about the salads is that you CAN have the creamy dressings!  Just check your labels before using any dressings and check that carb count. We use Ken’s Creamy Caesar for example which is only 1g of carbohydrate per serving.  BUT, be aware of serving sizes too. Keto isn’t a license to just eat all the meat, cheese and creamy dressing you want!

We typically alternate broccoli or salad as a side dish each night with each of our meals.  So when you see the calendar of meals laid out, I only list the main dish.

Tips for Success with Keto 

-Have a goal

-Reduce the temptations in your house

-Eat the same thing for breakfast each day (or look into intermittent fasting)

-Rotate your weekly lunches so they don’t get stale

-Plan a month in advance for dinners

-Watch your electrolytes

Easy Keto Breakfast

My favorite and most basic keto breakfast that I love to eat every morning is a breakfast sandwich.  It is a sausage patty (frozen) with an egg and a slice of cheese on it. I also top it with slices of avocado. 

For some reason this is the most delicious meal of the day usually and I actually look forward to it.  If for some reason one of our dinner experiments turns awry I also eat one of these for dinner.

Keto Dinner Plan for a Month

Meal Prep a weekly Keto Lunch

Salads are easy enough to meal prep in advance, and a great salad includes some protein and fat.  A typical salad that I make for lunch would include lettuce, cucumber, cheese, bacon slices (or homemade bits), avocado (the rest from my breakfast), and some pre-grilled chicken.  I bring a bottle of ranch dressing with me to work so I don’t have to package dressing up each day. You could also add some more protein by adding hardboiled egg. I’m not a fan of hardboiled egg so I just stick with a protein.

Other proteins that have gone well on my salad are tuna, or ham and salami rolled up.  You can use leftover steak or meat from the night before, or even extra taco meat if you want a taco salad!

Other lunches we have tried include tuna or deli wraps.  Yes I said wraps! As in carbs! We found these great wraps by Tumaros which are very low carb and taste just fine!  I like being able to mix up lunch so we don’t get bored. And having a wrap makes us feel a little bit like we used to when we could eat more carbs. 

I also use the wraps for quesadillas and tacos at home.  They are a little expensive, but not as bad as some of the low carb options you might find on Amazon or elsewhere.

Research Keto Dinner Meals or Easy Keto Dinner Ideas

Being on a diet shouldn’t feel like you’re on a diet, so make sure you’re finding recipes and foods you are willing to try and that utilizes foods you enjoy already.  We eat a lot of chicken and keto has helped me prepare chicken in tons of new ways that I never would have thought of.

My favorite keto chicken meal replaced pizza for us.  I simply call it Keto Pizza Chicken, it’s basically pounded chicken breast with Rao’s Pizza Sauce (very low sugar!) and mozzarella cheese with pepperoni on top.  Just like pizza but no dough.

I’ve also made this amazing low-carb Pizza Casserole which is honestly my favorite Keto meal of all time.  It’s slightly labor intensive, but I usually make it on a Sunday for dinner and then eat the rest of it all week for lunch! (Double yes!).  

Basically your best bet is to hop on Pinterest and type in something like Keto Dinner Ideas, or Keto Dinners Easy and see what comes up!  There are so many great recipes out there and most of them are not that complicated.

My Keto Monthly Meal Plan: A Keto Meal Plan for the Whole Month

Now that all of your research has been done, thank you Pinterest, you can start plugging menu items into your calendar.  Lucky for you I’ve done this already for you. You can download my monthly meal plan for the entire month of February 2020, if you’re looking for inspiration.  I’ve linked all of the meals that I got from Pinterest to the day they were made, so the calendar can be interactive!

Overall, my strategy was this:

Assess whether or not you have busy nights where cooking an in depth meal would be difficult.  We have swim class with the kids once a week and so on those nights I always plan something super easy that doesn’t require a lot of prep work, or even better can be prepped the day before and just popped in the oven.

Take your favorite and easiest meal and put it on those busy nights.  Maybe you have 2 of these, or three of these. Whatever it is, just plug those in.  

Then look at the rest of the month.  Are there any special occasions, parties, family gatherings, birthdays etc. that would hinder your keto diet success?  Put those on the calendar as you meal plan because you can either skip those days planning wise, or come up with a keto alternative for those nights.  We have been hanging out with other people who are doing keto along with us, so our social gatherings haven’t been that bad diet wise! Have you heard of a bacon wrapped pickle? Well you should check them out, they’re fantastic!

After that, just fill in meals that you found in your Pinterest research that sound yummy to you.  It always helps to do keto with other people to hold each other accountable, but to also share recipes.  Our group of friends have been doing this and also sharing our successes in weight loss.

After the first month of Keto we had tried a lot of new recipes and weeded out the ones we didn’t like and kept the keto menu items we enjoyed.  I enjoyed making my chicken breast up like a loaded baked potato (sour cream, bacon, and melted cheese) or wrapping my meatloaf of chicken in bacon!   I try to skip a week before repeating anything on my menu so no one gets bored. So you will see some things repeated on the menu, but I skip a week between repeats. 

Click here to get your KETO MONTHLY MEAL PLAN

ketogenic diet meal plan

Keto Snacks and Other Keto Products to Try!

There are a few other products we have tried that align with keto that help us out immensely.  A few of them are SlimFast products, which sounds weird, but they do have Keto friendly products.  

My husband really liked the Cafe Mocha Latte SlimFast Keto Shake.  He would take these to work to replace his breakfast because he wasn’t really a breakfast guy anyway.  It is caffeinated like a coffee and contains very good for you on keto MCT oil.  

For me, who has a sweet-tooth, the SlimFast Keto Fat Bombs have been my LIFE SAVER.  I’m the type of person who likes sweets after dinner but before bed. When I was pregnant I was eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream EVERY NIGHT.  Wow have those times changed! The Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs are AMAZING. Even better though are the Mint Chocolate Cups! If you like thin-mint girl scout cookies or Mint-chocolate chip ice cream, you will LOVE those ones!

We also purchase the Atkins Caramel Nut Cluster bars to bring to work with us in case we get hungry.  I usually eat my lunch between 11 and 12 based on my work schedule and then I’ll eat my Atkins bar around 2-3pm after school to hold me over until dinner.  Quite honestly though, some days I don’t even feel hungry.  

If you’re looking for a great non-processed snack, I totally say go for PECANS.  I love pecans anyways, and snacking on Pecans has always been a favorite nut of mine.  Pecans are high in fat and low in carbohydrate, so they make a great keto snack. I get my nuts at Aldi’s because they’re so much more reasonable than any other store in our area.

Keto Diet Success and how to do Keto for Your Lifestyle

So, just so you know, I’ve been on Keto for a little over two months now.  I have currently lost 21 pounds and my husband has lost 23 pounds. We were strict for the first month using our CarbManager app to track everything, but once we learned what we could and couldn’t eat, we basically stopped using the app.  Now we are comfortable with most of the foods that we eat.

Going out to dinner doesn’t have to be difficult either.  Just stick with a steak and salad or broccoli and you’ll still be able to enjoy a night out. 

Overall being on the ketogenic diet has had a lot of benefits for me besides weight loss.  I feel better about myself, I feel like my energy is the same if not better, and I’m finally ready to start working out again.  It really is important to start investing in yourself. I take a few extra minutes each day now to put make up on for work and I feel and look confident and it shows.

Do I think I can live forever on the keto diet? Probably not, but once I reach my goal (only 9 lbs away FYI), I will start reintroducing carbs slowly.  I will admit I miss fruit the most, but I’ve become accustomed to no sugar in my coffee, and no donuts every weekend!  

Please remember that I am not a doctor or dietician, you are simply reading my personal journey with the keto diet and I hope you found it helpful and maybe a little inspirational!

Are you forgetting your free monthly printable keto meal plan?

Please share your Keto success story or Keto favorite recipe below!

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