We love the start of a new month because it gives us a chance to re-evaluate how we can make meaningful life changes. If you’ve been looking to update your diet, you may already know about the keto diet, or ketogenic diet. Many people follow it to reach their weight-loss goals, but what exactly is this ultra-low-carb diet all about?
What Is the Keto Diet?
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the popular diet restricts your carbohydrate intake to push your body into ketosis, a metabolic process that burns ketones rather than your body’s primary fuel, glucose—a simple sugar. It takes a few days for ketosis to kick in, which triggers your body to burn fat for more energy.
There are a few variations of the keto diet, including cyclic, targeted, and vegan. Each of these approaches vary their directions on how to restrict carbohydrates, or when you consume carbs. For instance, the cyclic keto diet recommends that you follow the standard keto diet for most of the week and then up your carbohydrate intake on an “off day.” This is known as a carb cycle or carb refeed day.
If you’re planning on following the keto diet, check in with your doctor to discover what approach is best for you based on your weight, fitness level, and dietary goals.
What Are Keto-Friendly Foods?
While the ratio of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) differs from person to person, the keto diet focuses on high-fat and low-carbohydrate foods. The Harvard School of Public Health states that many resources recommend fats like olive oil and avocado, proteins like grass-fed beef, non-starchy veggies, and small portions of fruit. Grains, legumes, and other fruits are restricted on this diet.
Keto Hacks and Tips
If you’re ready to follow the keto diet, you may be wondering where to start. Check out these keto hacks and tips from Thomas Delauer, a well-known proponent of the keto diet:
- Try to consolidate more of your fats into the morning versus the evening. Higher-fat meat is better in the morning and then you should eat leaner foods as the day goes on due to storage genes in the body.
- Alternate high-fat and lower-fat days. People tend to only eat high-fat foods on the keto diet, but they need to have some days where they reduce fats to give their body a chance to use its own storage form of fat.
- Try cooking your meat in a variety of different kinds of oils to add a diverse profile of fats to your diet. You can slow cook it in olive oil or cook it at high heat with avocado oil.
- Omega-3-rich meats help with glucose tolerance and can help the body recover from a tad too many carbohydrates.
- Don’t forget the veggies. Meat is great, but a diverse microbiome plays a big role in how our body creates cellular energy. Nothing better than adding leafy greens to your plate to enhance the utilization of protein and fats on the keto diet.
Our Top 6 Keto Recipes
While an ultra-low-carb and high-fat diet may sound restrictive, you can still create satisfying keto meals. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite keto-friendly recipes made with whole foods, fats, and high-quality meat.
You only need four ingredients—pork butt, onions, garlic, and barbecue sauce—to pull this sweet and tangy dish together. Not only does it require minimal prep thanks to the slow cooker or Instant Pot, but you’ll have delicious leftovers for days. If you’re using a store-bought barbecue sauce, make sure it’s sugar-free or sweetened with a keto-friendly sweetener.
This sheet pan chicken makes meal prep easy. With just a few ingredients like fresh tarragon, garlic, and lemon zest and juice, you’ll bake tender and flavorful chicken that can be shredded or sliced for salads and more.
Want a quick weeknight meal? These vibrant, citrus-heavy chicken thighs take around 30 minutes to come together—and that includes marination. Once you coat your chicken with a blend of fresh citrus, herbs, and seasonings, you’ll smoke it on a grill with hickory wood chips, adding to the anything-but-boring flavor.
Ready in only 20 minutes, this grilled salmon dish is another quick keto meal that’s perfect for busy weekdays. This recipe calls for a compound butter that’s infused with peppadew, a South African pepper, as well as charred cherry tomatoes and asparagus.
Looking for an indulgent dish for brunch? Then, look no further! This creamy, gluten-free quiche is bursting with flavor from the smokiness of its bacon to the nuttiness of the Swiss cheese.
The quiche’s gluten-free almond flour crust is filled with other delicious, keto-approved ingredients like egg, coconut oil, heavy cream, and sage. A hint of nutmeg rounds out the flavors in this dish.
Simple but incredibly elegant, this scallop recipe makes for an extra special dinner. Perfectly seared, these scallops are topped with crispy crumbled bacon and drizzled with a zesty lemon cream sauce. This dish is sure to leave a memorable impression!