Keto Meal Prep Tips and Ideas
by Taranum Sultana
Nutrition choices play a major role in achieving health and wellness goals in a ketogenic lifestyle. Eating healthy, clean, and whole foods helps achieve the desired health outcomes. Therefore, meal planning, healthy food choices, and cooking skills have the potential to affect one’s overall well-being and health.
Forward meal planning is crucial for a sustainable and successful ketogenic lifestyle. It allows you to control macros and serving size, and it saves you time and money, too. It gives you complete control on selecting high quality ingredients and preparing the foods you love.
Day-to-day decision making, even small ones, requires a substantial amount of energy and causes mental fatigue, too. Advance meal planning and cooking food over the weekend save you from making daily meal prep decisions, and it saves you energy as well. Consequently, it allows you to focus on other important issues.
Meal planning also provides you with an opportunity to modify different recipes to suit your own needs and even develop new recipes. In addition, it is an excellent way to involve all the family members in meal planning and preparation. As a family activity, it connects the family and ensures everyone is committed. In fact, creative meal planning is empowering, exciting, and motivating.
Several studies have shown that people involved in forward meal planning are more likely to stick with healthy nutrition choices and achieve their desired health outcomes.
Meal Planning Tips
- Use pre-designed online recipes
There are a large number of high quality online meal prep resources that offer a variety of keto recipes with pre-calculated macro-nutrients. Therefore, use simple, tasty, and easy-to-follow pre-designed and proven recipes. It will also help you avoid the hassle of calculating macros. Also, only select the recipes that suit your budget and taste.
- Don’t count calories
Calories count, but you don’t have to count them.—Dr. Eric Westman, MD
Essentially, a ketogenic lifestyle frees you from calorie counting. Instead, focus on using high quality proteins, healthy fats, and nutrient-rich fibrous carbs, especially leafy green vegetables. Eating well-balanced high fat, moderate protein, and low carb meals keeps you full, satisfied, and reduces hunger. Simply focus on getting the right macros in the right quantities.
- Focus on variety and diversity
Variety is the key to success in keto lifestyle. By eating a variety of foods and preparing diverse meals, you can always make eating enjoyable and stay motivated to follow a new lifestyle.
- Find substitutes
It’s indeed challenging to deal with food cravings, particularly foods rich in sugar and refined carbs. However, luckily there are numerous substitutes to breads, rice, and pastas available these days that help you fight the cravings for these foods. For instance, some of the substitutes are keto breads made of almond flour, pasta and noodles (derived from Konjac root), and cauliflower rice, a good substitute for rice and making pizza, etc.
- Save time and money
Always purchase all the ingredients required for meal prep in sufficient quantities in advance to save you time. Meal prep allows you to enjoy delicious homemade foods daily. It gives you full control of the quality and quantity of all ingredients, too. It also saves you money.
- Avoid lazy keto approach
Lazy keto approach involves eating lots of luncheon meats, deli cheeses, Quest bars, and “low carb” breads and tortillas. Many of these convenience food items have lots of additives with a potential to block the body’s fat burning ability. So avoid “lazy keto” approach. Instead, eat fresh whole foods, preferably organic.
- Use only high quality healthy fats
Only use high quality healthy fats like olive oil, coconut (oil, milk, butter, cream), avocado oil, macadamia oil, grass-fed butter, ghee (clarified butter), MCT oil, egg yolks, mayonnaise made with olive oil, heavy cream, and cocoa butter, etc.
NB: It is important to understand that all fats are not created equal. Stay away from unhealthy highly processed trans fats and vegetable oils which increase inflammation and your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and high cholesterol. These trans fats are found in packaged and processed foods. These unhealthy fats and oils include corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and grapeseed oil, etc.
- Use high quality proteins
Buy high quality proteins that are easy to prepare such as wild-caught fish, shellfish, whole eggs, whole chicken, chicken wings and thighs, duck, quail, grass-fed beef, ground beef, veal, goat, lamb, turkey and other wild game, etc. Whenever possible, use grass-fed and organic sources.
- Use nutrient-rich fibrous carbs
Use non-starchy keto veggies like spinach, kale, lettuce, celery, zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, broccoli, green beans, and Brussels sprouts that are nutrient-rich fibrous carbs. Make a habit of eating a side salad or a smoothie to avoid fibre and micronutrient deficiencies.
- Use healthy snacks
There are plenty of snack options available for keto dieters. For example, you can snack on Brazilian nuts, macadamia nuts, almonds (roasted or raw), walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, fat bombs, protein bars, guacamole, bone broth, keto smoothies, olives, avocados, meatball sliders, deviled eggs, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp skewers, chicken or salmon or egg salads, chia and flax seeds for smoothies and salad topping, high quality cheese, flax and almond crackers with cheese, fermented vegetables, lettuce wraps, boiled eggs and veggie sticks with a high-fat dipping sauce like guacamole, nut butter (natural and unsweetened), pesto sauce, and tahini (sesame seed paste). These snacks are easy to prepare and store for quick use.
Please check out my website at www.ketoandwellness.ca for delicious keto recipes and snacks.
Dr. Taranum Sultana, PhD, has a doctorate degree in Medical Sciences, with specialization in Endocrinology from Karolinska Institute and is a certified keto coach. She is CEO of Salutem Keto and Wellness and loves to support her clients on how to lose weight and to reduce the risk of diabetes. To contact her call (306) 737-8704, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit ketoandwellness.ca, and Facebook: Keto and Wellness community.