Looking for a free sample keto diet menu to help you get started? Look no further.
We got the perfect keto meal plan for you in this post.
There’ll be a 7 Day Keto Diet plan, with food list, menu, and recipes.
But before we get to the plan, let’s briefly go over a few keto diet rules, so you can get familiar with the ketogenic diet lifestyle.
As you’ve probably heard, the high-fat, low-carb diet can be an extremely effective diet to lose weight.
But weight loss is not the only benefit of the ketogenic diet.
In addition to weight loss, studies have linked the keto diet to a lower blood sugar level, which is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Other things like improvements in type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline have been associated with the diet (1, 2).
Those are just to name a few.
Sound enticing right? Because it is!
OK, so what exactly is the keto diet, and how does it work?
In this article, we’ll explain what the ketogenic diet is. We’ll also cover the basics about ketosis, keto flu, and what you should and should not eat.
In the end we’ll provide you with a 7-day keto diet meal plan to follow to get started with the keto diet!
Let’s start with the basics.
In this article, we’ll explain what the ketogenic diet is—we’ll cover the basics about ketosis, what you should and should not eat. We’ll even get you started with a 7-day meal plan to follow while beginning the keto diet!
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet, or “keto” for short, is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low carbohydrate diet. It’s designed to bring your body into a metabolic state called “ketosis”.
In ketosis, your body burns fat for fuel instead of glucose.
This never hungry diet aims to help you burn fat, lose weight, boost energy, and feel your best.
The way the keto diet work is pretty simple.
It alters the way your body burns fuel for energy by tweaking the macros.
This shift comes from two mandates – eliminating nearly all carbs and upping healthy fat intake.
This removes glucose, your body’s first choice of energy. The body will then tap into the stored glycogen for energy before switches to using fat.
Once that’s depleted, the liver then converts fatty acids to ketone bodies.
Those are energy sources your body can use for energy backup. This process is known as ketosis.
At that point, your body is no longer relying on sugar or carbs for energy but, rather, fat. Your body uses those ketone bodies for the energy you need to get through the day.
And this explains why this diet is also referred to as the “ketones diet”.
Ultimately, you’re cutting your carb intake to fewer than 50 grams per day or about 5% of your total calories.
But this number can vary from person to person, and some people may go as low 20 g per day. To start, aim roughly 5 percent of daily calories to come from carbs. Take the remaining 20 percent from protein and 75 percent from fat. The idea is to find a threshold that keeps you in ketosis.
And it may take a bit of playing around the number to find your golden ratio.
The keto diet eating approach is very different than any other weight loss program or diet.
But with some preparation and planning, it’s an easy diet to stick to for life.
How Do I Start a Keto Diet?
Making the change from your regular diet to a carb restrictive diet like keto can be challenging at first. But with careful planning, the journey can be exciting and fun.
Let’s walk through some simple steps on how to get started.
The first step is making sure you get your keto macronutrient ratio right.
Ideal Macros for a Ketogenic Diet Plan (Recap)
Keto macro breakdowns:
- 60 to 75% of calories from fat
- 15 to 30% of calories from protein
- 5 to 10% of calories from carbs
Now that you have macro ratios, it is time to start planning your meal plans.
Let’s go over keto food rules: what you can and can’t eat!
What Can You Eat on a Keto Diet?
Keto diet has a lot of foods on their food list. From meat, full-fat dairy, fats, nuts, berries, to seafood, the choices are plentiful.
But there are also grey areas you have to walk very cautiously, and that’s vegetables.
There are low-carb vegetables like leafy greens, asparagus, and broccoli that are keto. And they are the veggies you definitely want to stick to on your first week of keto.
So, what this means is, starchy potatoes are out and so are other veggies like corn and pumpkin.
Let’s briefly go over what you can eat!
15-30% of calories should come from protein on the keto diet. In other words, protein makes up a moderate part of your diet and is key for your muscles, fullness, and overall health. On the keto diet, you can even enjoy cuts with higher fat content, so feel free to indulge!
- Beef, preferably grass-fed
- Fish, seafood
- Chicken, turkey and other poultry, dark or light meat, organic is preferred
- Bacon (hallelujah!)
- Venison is an excellent choice when available
Oil and Fats
The keto diet revolves around high-fat foods, which can seem extravagant. Just keep in mind that some sources of fat are better for you than others.
- Butter, preferably grass-fed
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- MCT oil (read up on bulletproof coffee)
- Heavy cream
- Full-fat Greek yogurt (usually plain, just watch label for carbs)
Although some fruits can’t be eaten on a keto meal plan, there are still many that can be incorporated into the keto diet menu. The list below has fruits that are low in net carbs because they are high in fiber. Fruit contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed for a healthy diet.
Just make sure to enjoy these in moderation, and you should be able to keep your carbs in check and remain in ketosis:
- Berries such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
- Star fruit
Veggies are key for any healthy diet—this is also true for keto! They are full of vitamins and minerals, but some veggies are better suited for keto diets than others. Just like we mentioned above for fruit, many veggies are high in fiber. This helps to lower their net carbs, but again, be careful to not make net-carbs a free-for-all.
- Bell Peppers
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard, lettuce, and arugula)
- Fresh herbs (cilantro, dill, basil, etc.)
- Hot peppers
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Nut butters (just be sure to read the labels for added sugars)
One of the things that make following the keto diet easier is that you can eat a lot of dairies. In fact, they are encouraged on the keto diet!
This is great news if you love cheese and unsweetened cream. Who would have thought any kind of diet would encourage you to eat cheese? Count me in! Just be sure to check those labels for carbs, stick with whole milk, and avoid low-fat, fat-free, or skimmed milk versions.
- Whole Milk
- Heavy Cream
- Butter, grass-fed preferably
- Cheddar cheese
- Feta cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Goat cheese
- Cream cheese
- Blue cheese
Finding a good beverage can be a challenge, as sugar is found in so many drinks we enjoy, including juice, soda, iced tea, and coffee drinks. Please don’t derail all your efforts on a beverage! One soda can have twice the amount of your targeted daily carbs! No wonder Americans are obese.
Here are some yummy, sugar-free drinks you can enjoy on your keto diet:
- Water: consume throughout the day.
- Flavored Water: Try adding a slice of lemon or other fruits to give a light flavor to your water without the sugar.
- Sparkling water: If you crave bubbles, sparkling water can be a good soda replacement.
- Unsweetened coffee: No sugar, but you can go heavy on the heavy cream to fully flavor your cup of joe. Also, read up on bulletproof coffee!
- Unsweetened green tea: Green tea is delicious and has tons of health benefits.
- Alcohol: Alcohol should be restricted, but doesn’t have to be eliminated. There are some low carb drinks on the market now. Vodka or tequila are fairly low in carbs, but just be sure you’re mixing them with soda water or something that is low carb. Keeping alcohol consumption limited is always a good idea, but especially on a keto diet.
What Can You NOT Eat on a Keto Diet?
Fortunately, there are so many foods that you CAN eat on a keto diet, you will be able to fill your plate and be full and satisfied. Just be sure to avoid carb-laden foods and especially sugars. Sugars are often hidden by other names like sucrose, fructose, lactose or dextrose. Remember this tip – if it rhymes with “gross” it’s probably off-limits on the keto diet.
These foods will knock you right out of ketosis—plus, after you get used to the diet, they will likely make you feel awful—and should be avoided:
- Breads, rolls, tortilla, and crackers: All kinds of bread whether white or whole wheat are loaded with carbs.
- Baked goods: Cookies, cake, doughnuts, etc.
- Anything sugary or sweet: sugar, candy, all types of syrup, ice cream, and coconut sugar.
- Drinks containing sugar: sweetened teas, sodas, juices, and sport/electrolyte drinks.
- Any kind of pasta.
- Grains: rice, cereal, and oats.
- High-starch vegetables: corn, peas, pumpkin, sweet potato, regular potatoes, and butternut squash.
- Legumes/beans: black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans.
- Fruit: pineapple, citrus, bananas, grapes.
- Sugary sauces: Salad dressings, dipping sauces, and BBQ sauce all typical have hidden added sugar!
- Some kinds of alcohol: beer, sugary cocktails
- Low-nutrition fats: vegetable oils such as canola and corn oil, shortening, and margarine.
- Foods that are processed: like fast food, pre-packaged foods, and hot dogs, lunch meat, and other processed meat products.
- “Diet” foods: these are foods that contain tons of preservatives, artificial fillers, flavor, and colors, as well as artificial sweeteners such as sugar alcohols and aspartame.
How Long Does It Take to Go Into Ketosis?
It depends on how strict you are. If you limit your carb intake to less than 50 grams per day, it may just take a few days to reach ketosis.
For others, it may take much longer depending on factors such as age, metabolism, activity level, and food intake.
Also, one important barometer is how much glucose your body starts out with. This determines how long it may take to deplete the glucose and tap into the new fuel source, the fat.
One Week Sample Keto Diet Menu
The following menu provides the recommended carb count of 50 grams of carbs or less each day.
Of note, some people will still find that they must drop their carb intake even further in order to reach ketosis.
- Breakfast: Crustless broccoli bacon quiche
- Snack: Nuts or cheese sticks
- Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken and balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing.
- Snack: bell pepper with guacamole
- Dinner: Shrimp in herbed butter over zucchini noodles
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs lettuce wrap with avocado
- Snack: Beef or Turkey Jerky (watch labels for added sugars)
- Lunch: Tuna salad on top of greens
- Snack: Sliced cheese and cold cut turkey roll-ups
- Dinner: Chinese beef and broccoli
- Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yogurt topped with chia seeds and raspberries
- Snack: Macadamia nuts and sliced cheese
- Lunch: Egg salad rolled up in butter lettuce
- Snack: Celery sticks with almond butter
- Dinner: Baked chicken with sautéed mushroom and zucchini noodles
- Breakfast: Mixed berry protein shake with kale and almond butter
- Snack: Zucchini parmesan chips and herbed sour cream dip
- Lunch: Chicken tenders made with almond flour on a bed of greens with cucumbers, olives oil, and feta cheese
- Snack: Bacon deviled eggs
- Dinner: Grilled shrimp topped with a lemon butter sauce with a side of broccoli
- Breakfast: Fried eggs with bacon and a side of greens.
- Snack: 1/2 cup coconut chips and cantaloupe
- Lunch: Grass-fed hamburger in a lettuce “bun” topped with avocado and cheese, with a side salad.
- Snack: Sliced cheese
- Dinner: Steak with cauliflower rice topped with herbed butter and a side salad
- Breakfast: Cream cheese and spinach omelet.
- Snack: Bacon-wrapped asparagus.
- Lunch: Chicken wings with celery sticks and low carb blue cheese dressing
- Snack: Cocoa and coconut milk smoothie
- Dinner: Pork shish kabobs with bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes
- Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yogurt with walnuts and berries
- Snack: eggs, hard-boiled
- Lunch: Chicken salad wraps
- Snack: Peanut butter, coconut oil fat bombs
- Dinner: Grilled salmon with asparagus and hollandaise sauce
A ketosis diet plan can be made up of a variety of flavorful items. Remember that just because this keto diet meat-based, it is possible to choose vegetarian keto dishes to keep your carbs per day low, and your diets ketogenic.
Healthy Keto Snack Options
Having a healthy snack menu staves off hunger and keeps you from straying off your ketogenic diet. Our meal plan is fairly comprehensive; depending on how active you are, you may not need to snack as much.
This is a lit of tasty, low-carbs, snack options:
Keto-Friendly Snack Options:
- Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 avocado filled with chicken salad
- Guac with keto veggies to dip
- Trail mix–you can make an easy one of coconut (unsweetened, seeds and nuts)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Kale or coconut chips
- Charcuterie board with sliced meats and olives
- Berries topped with whipped cream
- Cream cheese dip made with herbs and peppers and celery for dipping
- Celery sticks and Nut butter
- Cheese roll-ups
- string cheese
- Sunflower seeds
- Green salads enjoyed with avocado and healthy high-fat dressings
- Crisps made from parmesan cheese
- Keto smoothie—endless varieties exist: try cocoa, unsweetened coconut milk, and avocado.
- Avocado cocoa mousse
While keto snacks are delicious and are low in carbs if you overdo it, they can still cause weight gain, so just make sure to be mindful of your carbs.
A Simple Ketogenic Shopping List
Good keto diets contain fresh (or frozen) produce, the healthiest fats available, and a moderate amount of protein. Keeping this list handy is a good way to make sure you always have vegetables and fruits that are keto-friendly for all your recipes.
- Meat: chicken, beef, pork, and turkey (try to go with pasture-raised and/or organic).
- Fish: fattier fresh like sardines, salmon, herring, and mackerel are great choices.
- Shellfish: Oysters, scallops, and shrimp.
- When choosing eggs: go with those enriched with omega-3s, and/or pastured eggs whenever possible.
- Dairy: heavy cream, full-fat yogurt (unsweetened), butter, and sour cream.
- Coconut and avocado oils are best.
- Avocados: to make sure your supply will last, aim to buy both ripe and unripe avocados.
- Cheeses: Brie, cream cheese, cheddar, and goat cheese.
- Berries: raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are the best.
- Almond butter and peanut butter: the best nut butters to choose.
- Seeds: sunflower, chia, and pumpkin seeds.
- Nuts: almonds, pistachios, pecans, and macadamia nuts.
- Low-starch vegetables: fresh or frozen varieties of mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, greens, tomatoes, peppers, and onions.
- Condiments: herbs, spices, vinegar, olives, mustard, sea salt, pepper, garlic, and salsa.
Planning your meals in advance of your shopping cart will help you to only fill your cart with the ingredients needed for several days worth of health recipes–and nothing else.
The Final Take
Remember, a healthy, balanced keto diet consists of fat—75%, protein—20%, and less than 5% carbs per day.
If you focus on a low-carb and high-fat meal plan, you can be healthy and successful with weight loss. Since the ketogenic diet has increased in popularity, it’s so much more convenient to find both healthy and interesting keto dishes to try—endless options are available online.
We hope that the food choices highlighted here make beginning your keto dieting journey fun and tasty!
- Hussain TA;Mathew TC;Dashti AA;Asfar S;Al-Zaid N;Dashti HM; “Effect of Low-Calorie Versus Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet in Type 2 Diabetes.” Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22673594/.
- Ota M;Matsuo J;Ishida I;Hattori K;Teraishi T;Tonouchi H;Ashida K;Takahashi T;Kunugi H; “Effect of a Ketogenic Meal on Cognitive Function in Elderly Adults: Potential for Cognitive Enhancement.” Psychopharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27568199/.