When people first read about the ketogenic diet, they have a lot of questions. To be honest, the principles of keto are almost mind blowing: eat high fat to lose fat…yeah… sure. But the cool thing is that there’s tons of science-based evidence behind the ketogenic diet and why it works so well.
The keto diet is a diet that forces your body to stop requiring carbohydrates to get you through your day, and instead changes your body to utilize fat for its primary energy source. One of the cool things about this diet are that you will start feeling more energetic and be able to focus longer throughout the day.
To most people, the diet sounds strange. But this is mainly because most people have been taught that if you eat fat, you will become fat. When they think of making a high fat meal, it’s almost too hard for people to fathom just how much cheese, butter or coconut oil is required to make a meal correct for the ketogenic diet. If you’re one of these people, we’re going to give you a run down on what a meal on the ketogenic diet looks like.
You First Need to Understand Macros
In order to understand why the keto diet is so beneficial to your body, you’ll need to learn a bit of science. Have you ever heard that there is science behind perfection? That’s especially true when it comes to planning a keto meal. So before diving into what makes a great ketogenic dinner, let’s learn about macronutrients, aka macros.
Macronutrient is a term that encompasses the big three: fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Fat, carbohydrates and protein are have different chemical structures, and digest differently in the body. On the ketogenic diet, your body requires a certain percentage of each of these macros to be successful on the diet.
For each person this percentage is different and is based on factors such as height, weight, sex and more. However, the typical goals fall in the range of 65-90% for fat macros, protein in the range of 5-25% and carbohydrates stay at around 5-10%. This means you will be eating significantly more higher fat foods than protein or carbohydrate rich foods.Everyone is different, so these ratios will depend on what your goals are and why you have decided to try the keto diet. Depending on your personal health and fitness goals, you will likely need to use a keto calculator to make sure that you are planning your meal to get the optimum balance of macronutrients.
Preparing the Perfect Keto Diet Meal
Planning your meals on the ketogenic diet is mainly about making sure that you are loading your plate with nutritious foods that contain the correct portions of macros. You will need to learn what healthy fats you enjoy eating, and also what green vegetables are going to become your low carb go-tos.
Green vegetables will pack a healthy punch in your keto daily eating plan because they are nutrient dense and full of fiber which will help keep you feeling fuller longer. Don’t skimp on these to keep your carbs low – these veggies are necessary for your health!
On the ketogenic diet, you will try to keep your protein relatively low, and rely on vegetables and healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado, to aid in your success and reaching your goals. You will be able to eat healthy protein like steak, chicken, and salmon, among others.
Remember These Pro-Tips:
- Keto is high fat, adequate protein, so be careful not to make protein the center of the meal
- Your fat calories will add up quickly, a meal on keto will normally be smaller in volume because of this
- Eat plenty of low carb vegetables for the fiber and vitamins
Two Ketogenic Dinner Examples
Sometimes it’s good to see just how food macros will break down in a meal. Below are two examples of meals with lean protein, fat and vegetables in almost perfect ratios for the diet. I bet the amount of steak and protein is much less than you’re used to on your normal diet!
Steak and Vegetables:
-3 oz Steak, grilled
-1 cup of low carb vegetable, like cauliflower cooked with 2 tbsp of butter
Nutrition: 440 Calories, 72% fat, 23% Protein, 4% Carbs
A casserole containing 3 ounces chicken breast, 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 cup of chopped broccoli with 2 tbsp coconut oil.
Nutrition: 535 calories, 68% fat, 27% protein, 5% carbs.
Learning to follow the keto diet is fun and some people find it very easy once they get a handle on their macros. There are many reasons why this diet is wildly popular, but one of the main reasons, besides the health benefits and weight loss success, is that people enjoy the taste of food when they get to use fats like butter, coconut oil and cheeses.
Once you get used to what makes a keto meal, you’ll enjoy cooking, dining, and reaping the health benefits of the keto diet.