Can a meal plan really help you live a healthy keto lifestyle? Definitely!
Meal planning in a bullet journal or other planner will give you ultimate control over your keto diet and help you meet your overall health and fitness goals.
By writing out your nutrition goals, you’ll ever again neglect to plan, shop for, or calendar out your healthy meals. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Ben probably wasn’t thinking about “meal plan” when he said it, but that sentiment probably applies. By failing to properly prepare when beginning a keto program, you’re almost ensuring failure.
If you haven’t set your overall health and fitness goals, take a look at my Bullet Journal for Weight Loss and Getting Fit post.
Meal Planning for the Keto Lifestyle
Meal planning can become the keto dieter’s best friend if you know how to plan, purchase and prepare the right, healthy items. Keto is the type of diet chosen by those who need to lose weight, yet still eat delicious, rib-sticking meals.
No matter which diet plan is your choice, you can benefit from prepping meals ahead of time – whether it’s a few days, a week or a month. It takes the guesswork out of each meal or snack you consume and you’re much more likely to stick to your goals.
Whether you’re eating keto, low-carb, paleo, or even a high-fat vegan diet (pegan), you can use your bullet journal or planner to put your meal plan in order.
To eat keto, you need some carbs in your diet, but not the unhealthy ones found in processed foods have been stripped of all of the nutrients and fiber so important to your health and a good diet plan.
The unhealthy carbs spike your blood sugar and make you more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease and many more life-threatening ailments. When you meal prep for a keto diet, choose foods with low carb and high fat and moderate amounts of protein, such as full-fat plain, Greek yogurt or cheeses.
The more you plan your meals and snacks ahead, the better results you’ll get from your fitness and health plan. Without pre-planning, you may crave foods junk food (french fries washed down with a sugary soda!) which is one reason people develop health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Plan your meals and snacks carefully by sitting down each week and jotting down ingredients for recipes and items you’ll need at the grocery store. Then, set aside time to cook and prepare for the meals.
Prepping for the Keto Diet
When you control your eating environment and routine, you’ll be eating without having to think about it – but you’ll be eating much healthier foods.
If you’re new to the whole meal planning concept, take a look at my How to Meal Plan & Prep for Beginners post.
After the food is prepared, divide it into portions that fit your diet and health routine. Knowing what you’ll be consuming on a day to day basis means that you don’t have to concentrate each day on what you’ll need to shop for and prepare.
Not only will you save time – you’ll also save money because you’re not “impulse” eating. Impulse eating can lead to bad habits that are difficult to break and that will set you up for diet and fitness failure.
Veggie rollups are a delicious and easy meal you may want to prep for lunch – especially when made with low carb wrappers, like lettuce, in place of bread. It’s also less messy to eat on the go or at your desk.
Get creative with Mason jar salads. You’ll find some wonderful recipes online to choose from – and they’re also easy to make and are very portable. Add cheese, cooked chicken, avocado and spinach to the mix and get lots of protein and fiber and a smattering of good carbs. Don’t forget nuts and seeds for a crunch, in place of croutons!
A crock pot is a great choice for keto recipes. You can throw almost anything in the slow cooker and at the end of the day or the next morning, you’ll have meals to divide and freeze to serve for lunch or dinner.
A spiralizer can be a fun way to add veggie “noodles” to round out a meal and give you some extra nutrients and fiber.
Groceries for the Keto Diet
When you’re new to the keto diet and grocery shopping, it can be overwhelming. But when you get the hang of it, you can quickly move through grocery aisles and prepare your meals and snacks so you meet the goals you’ve set for yourself, whether it’s dropping weight or boosting health.
Each section of the grocery store can provide some of what you need for your keto diet. From the produce section, choose leafy, green vegetables such as leaf or romaine lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. Avoid the root veggies and fruits that contain high amounts of carbs, in favor of produce like avocados and raspberries.
The meat section lets you choose from nutrition-dense meats – chicken, beef, pork and fish for protein. Other sections provide healthy oils (avocado oil, yum!) for cooking, nuts, and frozen foods on your list.
And you’ll also be amazed at how little food you waste by pre-planning your meals. You’ll quickly learn how to incorporate leftover foods into other recipes to help stretch the budget even more.
Rather than hit the vending machines when you’re hungry at work, keep some healthy and keto-friendly snacks on hand. Snacks can be dangerous on any diet plan, so it’s best to plan ahead for those sudden cravings.
The Internet has made it even easier to follow a low carb or keto lifestyle. One of the most popular online resources I know of is an online community called Keto Bootstrap. You may want to check out their free keto bootcamp.
Also, if you have a sweet tooth or love to bake, you could plan out some low-carb desserts so that you’re not gobsmacked when a birthday or holiday party comes around. Laura at her Sugar-Free Sprinkles blog shares some recipes that look as good as they taste. Sweet!
You can also find shopping list generators and meal planning systems which not only help you create a healthy meal plan, but also let you print out a grocery list generated by the plan.
These meal prep websites have become sophisticated and better able to save you time and effort on deciding which meals you want to prepare, how and what you shop for and the nutrient breakdown. Taking advantage of these online tools can save you a lot of time and effort.
What if DIY Keto Isn’t Working for You?
For some of us, the very thought of going to the grocery puts us in a state of dread and frustration. It’s difficult to take time out of a busy day (or evening) to wander through the aisles trying to follow a list – or worse, not having a list and trying to remember what you need off the top of your head.
If grocery shopping simply takes up too much of your precious time or puts you in a state of panic, you may want to consider the many pop-up services that provide everything you need from a list or from a recipe that you choose.
It’s delivered right to your door – exact ingredients, fresh and ready to prepare. Delivery does have its advantages – but so does the experience of shopping yourself for the best bargains and freshest foods available.
You may want to do both. During busy weeks or months where grocery shopping ruins your day or is frustrating beyond measure, take a few minutes to order what you need online.
You’ll save a ton of time and effort – and your groceries will be waiting for you when you return home. There are so many choices for the types of delivery meals so don’t discount it as an option just because you’re eating low-carb or keto.
A quick surf through “meal delivery” sites will alert you to how many of these services there are and the various plans available to fit your every need and want. Some deliver the ingredients for a certain meal while others deliver the entire meal, already cooked and ready to serve for a chosen amount of diners.
The DIY option for meal prepping is one you’ll want to consider if you do have the time (and fortitude) to grocery shop for the ingredients and items you’ll need to prepare meals ahead of time – and the time to prepare them.
You may want to take the time to use sites such as “Menu Planner” to create a directory of recipes you love (or use recipes from favorite sites). Then, the app will create a grocery list that you can print out or take with you on your iPad or phone.
After you set it up, the ease of use is amazing. Let your lifestyle dictate whether you meal prep the DIY way or have the ingredients (or meals) delivered. You may want to try each type of meal planning and prep just to see what best works for you.