But now it’s December — which means the biggest challenge is ahead: the Christmas season. That means family get-togethers with your favorite childhood meals, office parties where the liquor is flowing, and cookie swaps full of, well, cookies.
If you want to stay Keto over Christmas, you’ve come to the right place. Scroll down for our best tips to spread Christmas cheer (without the carbs), plus our favorite Keto-friendly Christmas recipes guaranteed to light up your table.
Staying Keto Over Christmas
If you’re considering staying Keto over Christmas, we’re 100% here to support you.
The first thing we need to address: is it even possible to stay Keto over Christmas and throughout the holiday season?
While it may not seem like it, it’s definitely doable! You just have to be strategic — because there are carbs around every corner.
The benefits of sticking to Keto over Christmas may well be worth the challenge. They include:
- Continued progress towards your health goals. While the holidays can often put the brakes on getting healthier, sticking to Keto over Christmas allows you to keep making consistent progress.
- More mental clarity. Many people on Keto say that eating lots of sugar or carbs can make them feel slow and foggy-brained, and you can avoid that by sticking to Keto.
- Better control over cravings. For many people, indulging in their cravings can actually make them worse and harder to control. In fact, a lot of people find that their “cheat day” can very quickly turn into a cheat week or cheat month because it’s so difficult to tame that appetite for carbs.
- Staying in ketosis. Finally, sticking to Keto allows you to stay in ketosis throughout the holidays and experience the potential benefits of weight loss, appetite control, blood sugar management, brain function, and muscle mass.[*][*]
How to Get Back to Keto After Indulging
On the other hand, Christmas only happens once per year, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying all of your seasonal favorites without stress or guilt.
So, how do you get back on track if you strayed off the Keto course for the holidays (intentionally or accidentally)?
It’s simple! Just get started again. You don’t need to cleanse, fast, or do anything extra except hop back on the wagon.
If you need a refresher on the basics, check out our Keto Beginners series of articles.
Top 5 Tips to Stay Keto Over Christmas
Here are our top 5 tips for staying Keto throughout the Christmas season:
- Brush up on your cooking and baking skills: Since so many Christmas memories and traditions revolve around cooking, why not use this season to hone your Keto cooking skills? You can find recipes online or gift yourself some nice new Keto cookbooks. For the holidays, we recommend “Southern Keto” by Natasha Newton and “The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking” by Carolyn Ketchum. For general Keto cookery, explore our very own Keto Diet Cookbook.
- Plan ahead for parties: If you know a party is coming up, plan ahead for success. Some people may do better fasting until the party so they can eat more there, while others may have more success eating right beforehand, so they’re not as tempted by the food there. Do what works best for you!
- Create new healthy traditions: The holiday season can be full of wonderful memories and beloved traditions, but many of those traditions revolve around food. Try making some tweaks to your family’s food-centric rituals that may make them a little more healthy — for instance, bringing Keto-friendly cookies and frostings to the cookie decorating party. You can also create new traditions that aren’t food related, like a family walk on Christmas afternoon or a fun outdoor field day with extended family or friends.
- Burn off the extra carbs: If you’ve overindulged a bit but don’t want to get kicked out of ketosis, see if you can squeeze in a quick, high-intensity workout to help burn off those extra carbs. Additionally, exercise can serve as a mental break to help you get through this often hectic and chaotic season.
- Practice intermittent fasting: Finally, consider intermittent fasting (if it’s appropriate for you). Having a set time each day when you start and stop eating can help you stay on track. Many people find success starting their fast immediately after supper and then breaking it at lunch the next day.
Want to learn more? Find out if IF is right for you with our handy guide.
Our Favorite Keto-Friendly Christmas Recipes
Here are some of our favorite recipes for Christmas, from party apps, entrees, and desserts to the perfect Christmas turkey.
Net carbs: 3 grams per 3 ounce (85.1 gram) serving
Need a filling, Keto-friendly casserole on your Christmas dinner table? Look no further than this creamy and comforting gratin side. With bacon, cheese, and lemon, this dish will be a favorite even among your loved ones who don’t like brussels sprouts.
Net carbs: 3 grams per 1.5 ounce (42.5 gram) serving
Pies are a classic holiday dessert, but they are typically loaded with sugar and carbs. These festive single-serving pies feature a buttery crust with a flavorful cranberry and spiced nut mixture. They’re sweet enough that adults and kids will love them, but totally free of added sugar and excess carbs.
Net carbs: 3 grams per 4 oz (114.3 gram) slice
The sweet and complex flavor of gingerbread is a Christmastime favorite. Unlike gingerbread cookies, this Keto-friendly gingerbread sponge cake is moist, pillowy-soft, and pleasantly sweet - without any sugar. Served with coffee and a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream, it’s an ideal Christmas dessert.
For a show-stopping Christmas entree, a roast turkey can’t be beat. This one is brined with fresh herbs and then roasted and butter basted. The end result is a juicy and flavorful turkey with crispy, golden skin. At zero carbs per serving, you can enjoy a generous portion without worrying about getting kicked out of ketosis.
Net carbs: 5 grams per 2.7 ounce (76 gram) serving, brie and jam only
Not sure what appetizer to bring to the Christmas party? This baked brie will get snatched up by Keto eaters and everyone else, too. Topped with a sweet, low-sugar strawberry jam, it can be served with almond flour crackers or parmesan crisps for Keto dippers and traditional crackers or petite toasts for a non-low-carb option.
Net carbs: 5 grams per 1.8 ounce (50 gram) serving
Love Christmas baking? It doesn’t have to end just because you’re on Keto! This stunning Christmas tree pull-apart bread is prepared entirely with low-carb ingredients and seasoned with a buttery herb filling.
Net carbs: 3 grams per 5.3 ounce (150 gram) serving
Pavlova is a beautiful dessert made from egg whites. It’s crisp on the outside with a fluffy, cloudlike center. And it’s strikingly snowy white, making it a beautiful addition to a Christmas dessert table. With this Keto version, you can have a generous 5-ounce portion for only 3 grams of net carbs.
Net carbs: 2 grams per 1.1 ounce (31.2 gram) serving
Gravy is one of the best parts of a holiday meal, perfect for ladling over every entree and side dish to add some extra flavor and richness. Unfortunately, regular gravy is full of sneaky carbs as it’s typically thickened with white flour. This version rivals the taste of any flour-based gravy, and it’s thickened by pureeing cooked onions and herbs into a flavorful broth - keeping it low in carbs.
Net carbs: 3 grams per 6.4 ounce (181.4 gram) piece
Eggs and sausage are two perfectly Keto-friendly foods, so a scotch egg - with a few tweaks - is an ideal Keto appetizer or snack for the holidays. This one is made with turkey to keep it lighter and less greasy, and it’s breaded with almond flour and parmesan before baking to give it a crispy exterior without deep frying.
Net carbs: 0 grams per 7.4 ounce (209 gram) glass
Spiked eggnog is off the table if you’re sticking to Keto, but this buttered rum is warm, sweet, comforting, and totally carb free - a pretty good alternative. This adults-only beverage is perfect for warming you up on chilly December evenings.
The Carb Manager team hopes your Christmas season is full of joy, warmth, health, and Keto-friendly treats. Happy holidays!