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The number one reason (according to many) for failing to lose weight while on Keto, or for falling off the keto wagon, is not knowing How to Meal Plan.
If you’re just getting started with keto, perhaps my Keto Getting Started Guide will be of help!
Indeed, many of us rush through our days paying little attention to what we’re going to cook, and if we have the ingredients.
Instead, we run around in a 5 o’clock panic, trying to figure out what to put on the table. For ease, flavor, and convenience, we more often than not, turn to carbs.
Look at all your favorite “easy to cook meals”. I bet they’re either a) loaded with carbs or b) entirely carb-based.
Mac ‘n cheese, Hamburger Helper, spaghetti and meatballs (or just noodles and sauce), casseroles of all kinds, crock pot meals, French fries, hamburgers… the list goes on. They all have high amounts of carbs in them.
Dieticians, doctors, and other health professionals are coming to realize that our dependence on carbs isn’t good for us.
To boil the complicated science down, our bodies process carbs by turning them into glucose. This glucose is then handled in one of two ways: immediately burning the glucose as fuel or storing it as fat for later use.
As I pat my shrinking thighs, I know which is happening in my body. The science is pretty complicated, but in a nutshell, that’s what’s happening.
Take Control by Learning How to Meal Plan
Planning is the key to everything: it’ll help you avoid carb-heavy meals, it’ll help you stay within your allotted carbs, and stick to your macros.
And it’s easier than you might think. I’ve spelled it out in easy steps below. So, grab a pen and paper or this handy Keto Journal, and get ready to learn how to meal plan!
How to Meal Plan: Step 1 – Gather Recipes
The first step to meal planning is to collect a database of recipes. These recipes should already be keto-friendly so that you don’t need to tweak and revise recipes.
Check out the KetoCookingWins recipe book collection, the KetoCookingWins Pinterest boards, start a Yummly account and keep your recipes there, or go old school with a folder to hold all your printed recipes.
Take some time to really look for good recipes, and browse new ones from time to time, adding to your collection.
Step 2 – Make a Meal Plan List
Now that you’ve got a collection of recipes, figure out what you want for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack or two.
Look through your recipes, or pull ideas from your head and experience – the choices is yours. The easiest way to do this is to start a list. It might look something like this:
This is one of my personal meal plans. It is tailored to MY macros – you’re welcome to borrow this meal plan, but as always, you should check with a doctor before beginning any new diet or lifestyle change.
The recipes that I’ve used for this meal plan are listed at the end of this post.
This meal plan is set to my macros of about 1200 calories, 20 net carbs, 95 grams of fat, 75 grams of protein.
I’m not too worried about the numbers if I’m a bit over or a bit under as long as I stay UNDER 20 net carbs. On the keto diet, NET CARBS is key!!
Step 3 of Meal Planning – Make a Shopping List
Once you’ve got all your meals written out, you’ll need to make a shopping list. Gather all your recipes, and start writing out a list of ingredients.
Start with day 1, breakfast. Look through the recipe and make a note of everything you DO NOT HAVE in the house. Your list might look like this:
Don’t worry right now about duplicates. Once your list is done, and you’ve gone through EACH meal and recording the ingredients you need on your list, go through the list and look for duplicates.
For example, I need 1 pound of chicken breast to make grilled chicken one meal, but I also need another pound of chicken breast for the Chicken Taco Casserole, so I’m going to change it on my list to TWO (2) pounds of chicken breast.
Step 4 of Keto Meal Planning – Go Shopping!
Now all you need to do is go shopping with your trusty list in hand.
I’m going to do another post in a little while, about how to bulk meal cook/prep, but now that you’ve got the basics of meal planning, you can get yourself better organized for this Keto way of life!
Remember, “Failing to plan is planning to fail!” I don’t know who first coined this phrase, but it’s so true. Meal planning will ensure that you’ve got a set plan for every meal and hopefully it’ll help you stay away from carbs!
Keto Meal Planning – Tips from Readers
- Sarah says, “Plan for leftovers after dinner so you have lunch the next day!”
- Tom suggests: “Look at the circulars for your local grocery store and meal plan around what’s on sale. That way you save money, too!”
- Audrey makes double batches of her favorite meals so she has enough leftovers for another whole meal for busy nights.
- Codie buys in bulk stocking up on things like bacon, ground beef, and chicken breast, so she cuts down on what she has to buy each week.
Do you have other meal planning tips? Please share them below – we’d love to hear what’s working for you! And, if you need more help, check out my comprehensive Getting Started Guide!
Recipes Used in Jenn’s Keto Meal Plan
- Sausage & Egg Cups
- BLT Lettuce Wrap
- Garlic & Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- Cauliflower Rice
- Zucchini Noodles
- Ham & Cheese Egg Muffins
- Shrimp Salad with Dill
- Grilled Veggies
- Beans with Bacon
- Sausage & Egg Cups
- Chicken Taco Casserole
- Sausage & Kale in White Wine Sauce
- Greek Meatballs