Hello! Well, since I mentioned in my last blog the fact that we need to “eat”, I thought I would write about meal planning. The second most common question I am asked regarding my Keto diet is “what do you eat?” I absolutely get a kick out of faces when I say, “bacon – lots and lots of bacon!” YES, really!
People are specifically interested in what a weekly plan looks like. I’m used to this question. My family asks, “what’s for dinner?” day in and day out. Like why do they always need to be eating?!? I was never very good at planning ahead because, hey, there’s always convenience food, right? I sure wish I could go back and feed my kids all over again…sigh.
I’m so pleased to say that now I really enjoy planning and cooking! Seriously. I love trying new Keto and low-carb recipes. Did you know you can google and come up with a keto adapted recipe for just about anything? Try searching for what you want like this – Keto XXXXXXX. With the XXXXXXX being that meal you are hankering for! Keto Lasagna? Low Carb High Fat Cheesecake? Check out all those hits! Speaking of cheesecake – here’s one of my best tips when making cheesecake. Skip the crust. They’re all made with a nut flour that just adds carbs to your dessert. A cheesecake (and a quiche for that matter) will bake up nice without a carby crust! Just make sure to grease the pan before baking. I grease a cheesecake pan with coconut oil and a quiche pan with bacon grease.
So back to the topic at hand. What’s on my plate?!? I guarantee you that “my plate” is not endorsed by the US Government “My Plate” program! My plate is typically 70-75% healthy fats, 20-25% protein, and no more than 5% carbohydrates. Keto flips the government “low-fat” standards on its head!
So what’s cooking? I do love to cook new things on the weekend, but since I work full time during the week – I do have to plan ahead. The easiest way I have found to keep track of all these Keto and low-carb recipes on-line is through my Pinterest account. I have a designated board for: main dishes, breakfasts, sauces, desserts, and appetizers.
My typical breakfast is usually a cup of coffee with 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream (HWC). I have never been a breakfast eater. Never ate before school, never ate before work. Just never hungry in the morning. (Which begs the question – why, oh why, did I follow the dietary advice to “eat breakfast, most important meal of the day!”? Pfffftttt. I was never hungry for breakfast, but when I was on a “plan” I made sure to comply. How dumb was that?). I do have an occasional “Bulletproof Coffee”, but I really just prefer my coffee with the HWC.
On Saturdays, I may make something mid-morning if the family is around. My absolute favorite weekend recipe is Kristie Sullivan’s Sausage Gravy. I usually don’t bother with making biscuits, because I don’t really miss bread. I just serve the sausage gravy over scrambled eggs. Easy-peasy!
Other ideas: cream cheese pancakes, pork rind pancakes, keto bagels, dinner leftovers, bacon and eggs (of course), hemp seed oatmeal, quiches, egg cups, frittata, and egg casserole.
Since I work full-time, I pack a lunch every day. I actually stock up my work fridge for a few days. Lunch is usually: 4 strips of bacon, green olives, and 2 to 3 ounces of Dubliner cheese. I’ll have another cup of coffee with 2 tablespoons of HWC plus my daily intake of my collagen powder (I take this for malabsorption issues and to heal my gut – doctor prescribed it as part of my regime). Weekends are usually leftovers from previous dinners.
Other ideas: Skillet Pizza, leftovers, hamburger patty topped with Keto friendly toppings, egg salad, deviled eggs, tuna salad, bacon and eggs, cream cheese roll ups with clean deli meat, Keto soups, salads with lots of Keto friendly toppings.
Although I am experimenting in the kitchen a lot more, I do still like a routine and the idea to KISS (keep it simple, silly!). Working full time needs staple meals, for sure. My family is not Keto – but they will typically eat what I cook. I will make sides for them and keep my meals strictly keto.
Some of our staple dinner meals:
- Tacos (I will make mine a taco salad while the family eats shells)
- Skillet Pizza
- Bacon and eggs (do you see a pattern here?)
- Hamburgers (mine is just a patty)
- Steak and Chicken kabobs (yay, it’s grilling season again)
- Pork Tenderloin wrapped in bacon
- Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Vinaigrette Dressing
- Lemon Garlic Skillet Chicken
- Chicken Piccata
- Avocado Pie (make this without the crust to save on carbs)
- Carnitas (Mexican Pork) (lots of leftovers)
- Keto Rueben Casserole
- Crispy Skin Pork Butt or Shoulder (lots of leftovers)
I think that’s a pretty good staples list. I really am not tired of any of that and keep them all in rotation.
For a special treat, I love baking Alaskan King Crab Legs (when they go on sale at my local market) and Prime Rib Roast (also when it goes on sale).
My favorite side dishes are: asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cauli-rice, faux ‘tater salad (using cauliflower), and ‘faux mac’n cheese (using cauliflower).
Make extra dinner portions to take for lunch or freeze.
I avoided desserts for many, many months when I started Keto. In fact, I didn’t even really know there was so many Keto-adapted recipes out there until I found Kristie’s Cooking Keto with Kristie YouTube channel. I would strongly encourage you to try to do without desserts until you are well established in your Keto routine and you know you are fat adapted. My hard and fast rule for myself – desserts are for special occasions only.
If I am having company over or going to a potluck at church, I will make a Keto dessert. I love to show my non-Keto friends that yes, I can have an occasional sweet treat if I want! One of my favorite desserts pre-Keto was cheesecake. It’s so easy to make a Keto cheesecake– it’s the perfect Keto dessert in my opinion! REMINDER – skip the crust if you want to save on carbs.
Here’s a few more ideas:
- Whip up some cream cheese, sour cream, cacao powder and a tiny bit of sugar substitute into a mousse – add a few berries and chopped nuts.
- Peanut Butter hero cookies
- Sweet fat bombs (I consider these a dessert)
- Keto Cream Cheese Brownies
- Low Carb Slow Cooker Pumpkin Custard (perfect for fall!)
When you make a dessert – make it with the intention to share (and convert your friends to Keto or Low-Carb!). Freezing portions is a great idea, too.
KETO KITCHEN TIPS
Whenever you cook or bake, you will want to calculate your carbohydrate count yourself. The recipes you find on-line will use different ingredients than you might have on hand. The most reliable resource for this is the USDA Food Composition Databases.
I purchased a really inexpensive digital scale from Amazon. I use that thing every day.
Make extras – freeze!
My preferred sugar substitute products are made by Sukrin USA.
Always, always, ALWAYS wear an apron! You will be adding fat like you’ve never done before! I’ve ruined a few shirts (and am very thankful to Dawn dish detergent for the ones I was able to save)!
Speaking of fat – you will need to add fat to your lower fat dishes. Here’s a few examples: real butter, bacon grease, olive oil, coconut oil, sour cream, cream cheese, cheese, HWC, heavy cream.
ALWAYS have some cooked bacon in your fridge. I love to make my bacon in the oven – it’s easier clean up and no, it doesn’t splatter and make a mess in my oven. This is how I do it:
Oven Baked Bacon
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Line a lipped baking pan with parchment paper (some people use foil)
- Depending on the size of the baking pan you might be able to get 2 or 3 pounds on the pan IF you twirl your bacon into tubes (as pictured)
- Bake for 20 – 40 minutes, depending on how well done you like it
- I set the time for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, set the timer again for 10 minutes, rotate – and so on. This seems to help with the evenness of the cooking.
- SAVE your bacon grease. I save mine in mason jars in the fridge.
If someone had ever told me that I would actually LOVE my Keto Kitchen, I would never have believed them. It’s so satisfying to spend time in the kitchen knowing that I can prepare healthy meals that taste delicious. If you are just starting on your Keto journey – remember to keep it simple for the first few weeks or month. There’s no need to overwhelm yourself in the beginning. I also highly recommend signing up for Diet Doctor’s Get Started Challenge for beginners. This is exactly what I did, and it gave me a great start. I didn’t make all the recipes on the challenge, but I picked the ones that I knew would be easy for me and that I would enjoy. Sticking to their challenge menu gave me the perfect jump start I needed to fly into my Keto lifestyle!
FAVORITE RESOURCES FOR RECIPES
KETO SAFE FOODS – What to Eat
If you have any awesome Keto kitchen tips or favorite recipes – share them for others below!
(Disclaimer: I am not a health care professional. I am writing about my personal experiences to encourage others to research a low-carb lifestyle. You should always work closely with a health care professional to manage your health. I work with three MDs to manage my health: functional medicine, cardiology, and sleep/pulmonology. They treat my metabolic dysfunctions along with monitoring my important blood markers routinely. Keto or LCHF may not be an appropriate way of eating for your metabolic health or other health needs. Please check with your personal health care professional before making any changes in your diet.)