Meal Planning for Keto Success
This post may contain affiliate links, which helps keep this content free. Please read our disclosure for more info.
“A fail to plan is a plan to fail.” I love this quote because it really sums up the need for meal planning and I’m a firm believe in the necessity of meal planning and meal prepping for ongoing keto (or any diet) success.
Good decisions are easy to make when you already established a plan, and that’s especially true for your diet. Don’t have a plan, and you tend to choose the path of convenience. And in the diet world, that’s almost always going to be an unhealthy choice.
New Year, New Me!
It’s January, and like most years, I see the phrase “New Year, New Me!” floating around on social media. It’s the time of year when people recommit to living a healthier life.
So many lofty goals to eat better and workout, all with the intentions of NOT giving up this time.
Enthusiastic resolutioners invest in gym memberships (or finally start utilizing their gym membership), look for the best diet plans, and even look for others to hold them accountable.
Sadly, the enthusiasm is short-lived, and by the second week of February, around 80% of New Year’s resolutions have failed. Yikes!
Workouts are skipped. Unhealthy foods creep back into the diet. And people convince themselves through a multitude of excuses that they just can’t achieve their goals.
We humans have an amazing capacity to excuse our way out of anything.
This rest of this article focuses on the diet side of your New Years Resolution, but I don’t want to skip over the fitness side of things without giving you a few articles to read next.
- How to Start Working Out for Beginners – start small and find something that works for YOU.
- Why Women Should Lift Weights – everyone should be strength training, but find out why it’s especially important for women.
- How to Get Started at the Gym – gyms can be intimidating if you’ve never joined one, OR if you just stick to the treadmill it’s the only machine you know how to use. Here are my tips and tricks for gym-newbies.
How to Succeed on Your New Diet Plan
I made a cutesy TikTok video utilizing a current trend, poking fun at people who want help to improve their diets only to give up because they want to keep eating their favorite, unhealthy foods.
Click my link in BIO to see all my amazing keto recipes….I even have keto bread and desserts! ##IsThisAvailable ##cathydean ##ketodiet♬ original sound – Lubalin
This video was made in good fun, but it was a conversation in comments of that video that inspired this article.
One of my followers mentioned they were trying keto but really needed more help to stick with it. When I asked what this person struggled with the most, she responded with “Meal Planning”.
I’ve been meal planning so long, that it’s easy to forget how much I struggled with it in the beginning.
Meal plans are awesome, and in my opinion, totally necessary. But it’s only one side of the coin. To increase your odds of success, I highly recommend Meal Prepping along with Meal Planning.
Let’s take a look at both!
How to Meal Plan for the Keto Diet
We’ve all heard of the KISS method. Keep It Simple Sweetheart (some say “stupid” instead of “sweetheart”, but we’ll keep it nice, lol)
I actually have a new favorite that I recently saw on Facebook. It’s the KISS-AF method.
Keep It Simple Sweetheart – At First
What did you think the letters “AF” stood for?? ?
For most people, I recommend keeping it super simple during the week, and saving the really fun recipes for the weekends or special occasions.
This is especially important if you are still cooking for non-keto family members.
Rule of thumb during the week for each meal:
- Choose 1 animal sourced protein (eggs, beef, chicken, fish, seafood, turkey, pork)
- Choose 1 low-carb veggie (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, leafy greens, asparagus, okra, brussels, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, summer squashes…. stay away from corn and root veggies)
- Choose 1 fat to cook in, if needed (animal fat, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil)
You can easily add a carb side for your family to the above foods for their meals.
On the weekends, choose a more fun recipe that will “feel” like you are cheating:
- Pizza with Fathead Dough
- Homemade Ice Cream
- Any Keto Dessert on this website
- Pigs in a blanket with fathead dough
- Devilled Eggs (although, these could be made into a meal during the week too, just try and find mayo made with avocado oil or make your own at home)
- Keto Casseroles
- Tacos with a hard cheese shell
- Keto Lasagna
Once you start to figure out the recipes and how to ketofy some of your favorite dishes, it gets pretty easy to meal plan AND stick to the keto diet long term.
AND, you might be surprised to find your family actually enjoys some of the more fun keto recipes.
In fact, I tell everyone that I won my family over to keto, “one recipe at a time”.
My family will still have non-keto food outside the house. And occasionally non-keto food makes it in the house, but for the most part, they eat what I make now because the food is really that good, lol
How to Meal Prep for Keto Success
This will sound very strange, considering I am a food blogger, but I don’t actually enjoy cooking.
I kind of enjoy telling people this little fact about myself because it comes as a surprise to most, lol.
Thankfully, my love of good food trumps my dislike of cooking. And since keeping my family healthy is a high priority for me, I cook most of our meals from scratch.
BUT! I only cook twice a week!
Two days of cooking for seven days of meals. That means, I don’t have to cook 5 days of the week. That’s winning in my book!
Truth be told, most of us do not have time to prepare homecooked meals every day for 2-3 meals a day. That is extremely time-consuming. Time better spent on other priorities.
An Example Meal Prep
Now, it may seem like cooking all the meals for the week would takes hours and hours on each of those two days.
The trick to minimizing your time in the kitchen, even on those two days of cooking, is to only choose 4-6 meals total for the week. That includes breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.
That works out to 1-2 recipes for each of the meals. For simple math, let’s say I’m meal prepping for two people (me and my husband).
- Breakfast – 14 meals needed for two people
- Pancakes, recipe make 8-10 servings (we each eat 4 days that week)
- Egg Puffs, recipe makes 6 servings (we each eat 3 days that week)
- Lunch – 14 meals needed for two people
- Turkey Pinwheels, recipe makes 6 servings (we each eat 3 days that week)
- Keto Big Mac Salad, increase recipe ratios to make 8 servings (we each eat 4 days that week)
- Dinner – 14 meals needed for two people
- Short Ribs + a Veggie, recipe makes 8 servings (we each eat 4 days that week)
- Chicken Thighs + a Veggie, increase recipe rations to make 6 servings (we each eat 3 days that week)
I know some people are a bit adverse to eating leftovers, but to make this work, leftovers are a way of life.
In the above plan, I would choose one meal each from breakfast, lunch, and dinner to cook on one day, and the other meals on the second day.
But honestly, you could prepare ALL those meals on a Sunday afternoon in less than 4 hours (with the exception of any slow cooker time), and only cook one day that week.
Storing Your Meal Prep
It might be tempting to store the food in bulk, such as all the pancakes in a single Ziplock baggie or all the turkey pinwheels in a single container, but let me caution you against that.
I found that when we store food in bulk, we tend to take more food than we should when grabbing our meals.
Perhaps you are tempted to grab a 3rd pancake instead of only 2 per the serving recommendation. Or you grab an extra short rib, because “boy are those good!”
Remember, we humans can excuse and justify anything.
I can’t speak about you specifically, but the only way to keep myself (and my family) in-check is to pre-portion out every single meal into single serving packages.
Let me show you my refrigerator as it looks this very moment.
Each of those storage containers has a single meal. When it’s meal time, we each grab a container of choice, throw it on a plate, and heat it in the microwave (unless it’s meant to be a cold dish).
It’s never good to reheat your food in plastic, and for that reason, I highly recommend glass storage containers.
But I haven’t fully done that myself yet, because glass storage containers are more expensive.
I still use the Rubbermaid variety of storage containers, but that’s also why I have to transfer my food to a plate before heating.
It’s All About Planning for Success!
This article started with a popular quote that needs to be restated. “A fail to plan is a plan to fail.”
Most diet plans are not difficult, and that includes the keto diet. Lack of planning is more likely to cause you to “fall off the wagon” than anything else, including outside temptations.
You can purchase, subscribe, and read all about how to eat on your chosen diet plan, but if you are not intentional about having the foods you need readily available, you are setting yourself up for failure.
When you meal plan and meal prep, you take the guesswork out of your week. You simplify your week, and set yourself up for success.
A little extra work on the front end will save you a ton of time and headache the rest of the week.
Another popular quote that is fitting for this article. “Don’t work harder, work SMARTER”.
And that’s what meal planning and meal prepping are all about!
I hope you enjoyed this article on Meal Planning for Keto Success! I have a ton of great recipes on the blog that you should check out under the recipe link in the menu.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions on how to ketofy some of your favorite foods!
Keto Diet 101
The keto diet can be super confusing if you are brand new to the diet. Check out these articles that should answer a few of your questions.
Keto Diet 101: Where Do I Start