Knowing what you are going to eat makes life so much easier. When you’re hungry, the ability to make good choices goes out the window. One big challenge is learning how to plan meals for the week.
Our biggest obstacle was planning our dinners. Mike and both I practice intermittent fasting so we skip breakfast, and usually have a few lunch options to pick from. For dinner we found ourselves eating the same meals for dinner over and over.
What is meal planning?
Creating a keto diet meal plan is simply asking what’s for dinner? for the whole week instead of every night. It’s just a matter of choosing what to make, gathering ingredients, and preparing your meals.
How to make an easy keto meal plan
Start by taking inventory of whatever proteins and veggies you have in the fridge and freezer. Draw out a table with one side listing proteins that you have. On the other side, write down all the veggies you have.
If you are planning on going to the store, make a list of all the protein and veggies you like. Write down as much as you can think of. It doesn’t mean you have to buy it all, it just gives you options.
|Steak||Broccoli, Zucchini, Spaghetti, Squash|
|Chicken (breast, wing, thighs, whole, shredded)||Cauliflower (cauli rice, cauli mash, cauli hash browns)|
|Pork (ground, belly, chops)||Spinach, Cabbage, Avocado|
|Ground beef||Brussels Sprouts|
|Seafood (shrimp, fish, etc)||Mushrooms, Radishes, Turnips, Cucumbers, Lettuce|
Think of things you have eaten in the past few weeks. Did anything stand out?
If you have trouble putting meals together, get a cookbook. Page through it and see what catches your eye. See what ingredients you have and what you will need.
I am a big fan of having a few cookbooks on hand. It takes the guesswork out of it. If you don’t cook, I would 100% recommend a cookbook with easy meals so you don’t feel overwhelmed. We really like Southern Keto and Keto Comfort Foods. For visual learners, seeing pictures is super helpful.
While a good cookbook is helpful, you don’t need one. There are millions of keto friendly recipes online that will show you what to serve and how to prepare it.
Having a balanced food plan for a week
Adding to your meal plan is easy. For example, if I want ground beef on Monday I can make tacos, chili or eggroll in a bowl. I pick the protein first and that will help me with my side. If I do eggroll in a bowl, my veggie is cabbage. Tacos I could do taco salad with Avocado. Maybe I want pork belly, I could serve it with broccoli or cauli-rice. If I say chicken and riced cauliflower, I can do a casserole, or chicken thighs, etc.
I have a whiteboard in my kitchen I use as my weekly dinner planner, and every week I list out our meal plan for that entire week.
Now think about how you will make it: oven, skillet, instant pot or air fryer. If you get stuck, google your protein and then how you want to cook it. You can ketofy anything!
Do you want a fancy meal or an easy one pot meal? Are you cooking for one or a whole family? This will help guide you as you plan it out. When creating your meal plan, schedule easy meals on your busy days, and allow for more prep on the days you have time for it.
If you’re cooking for 1 or 2, make the full recipe and plan to have some leftovers. You can also freeze extras for those days when you want to make bad choices because you’re too tired to cook.
Plan on getting the most out of your food. If making wings, or a whole chicken, save bones to make bone broth, you can then incorporate the broth into your meals. Bone broth is amazing for soups!
Making things accessible
Keep things like cheese, veggies and eggs on hand at all times. Fresh and frozen so you have no excuses. You can’t go off plan with frozen riced cauliflower in the house!
Hard boiled eggs mean egg salad for lunch, or can be added to a salad or a snack. I am also a fan of frozen meatballs. It’s all about keeping it simple so you don’t go right to Pigsville and out for pizza.
So you know what you want to eat, but how do you navigate the store without wanting to go to the french bread to lick it? True story, my first week of keto, I wanted to lick a baguette. It smelled SO good. I’ve come a long way, but don’t feel guilty if you thought about it.
How to navigate the store
Shop the outside of the store, the perimeter. That’s where you will find all the veggies, meat and dairy products. YOU DON’T NEED CHIPS OR PASTA… but if you really need to, go sniff the fresh bread.
Read your labels. Carbs and sugar hide everywhere.
Seriously. That ketchup? Carbs. Salad Dressing? Carbs.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of low carb options, but depending on where you live you may not have access to it. I love using Netrition.com for items, just be careful that you don’t get carried away with low carb treats. Been there, ate it all.
Switching off cooking
If you have the option, divide duties if you don’t like to cook or if you have a different work schedule.
When I work evenings, the hubs takes on dinner duties. He’s also responsible for grilling and sous vide duties. One week I barely cooked because I was either working or planned something that needed to be grilled or sous vide… Smart!
Having a back-up plan
Sometimes shit happens and you forget to defrost something or you just have nothing left and the thought of cooking will send you over the edge. While eating clean will help you feel your best you still need a plan B.
If you have frozen chicken wings, a low carb frozen pizza, meatballs or even some breakfast sandwiches on hand you have something to fall back on. We also keep Cut da Carb and low carb tortillas on hand because you can always make a wrap.
Need some inspo? Hop on Instagram and see what others are eating and what appeals to you. Save recipes to try out. Some things are going to taste like shit. Sorry, but they will. Find what you like.
I promise over time it will become a habit, just like living the low carb life.