The Power of Meal Planning
Keto meal planning is a great way to save time, money, and effort while setting yourself up for success on a low-carb diet.
If you’ve ever attempted to alter your eating habits, you’ll no doubt have noticed that the first week or two can seem fairly straightforward. Everything is new, and you have a spark of motivation to keep you going.
But as time passes, initial motivation may begin to fade, and having a structure in place becomes increasingly important to help you stay on track.
Ultimately, meal planning on Keto is like giving a helping hand to your future self. That extra time invested to make a plan and prep your meals ahead of time will mean you can rely less on your willpower to get you through the tough times, and instead form lasting, healthy habits.
In this article, we’ll look at some key meal planning tips, and how to create a Keto diet meal plan of your own.
What is Keto Meal Planning?
There are three key components to consider when putting together a Keto meal plan:
- Planning low-carb meals - Up to a week ahead, but it can be just a few days at a time.
- Sourcing ingredients - From the supermarket, online, or meal prep services.
- Batch prepping - Preparing meals ahead of time (optional but recommended).
It may seem daunting at first, but meal planning on Keto doesn't have to be complicated, expensive, or require a lot of time.
The idea here is to reduce the amount of hassle around food, not create more work! With that in mind, read on to discover our top ten Keto meal planning tips.
10 Easy Keto Meal Plan Tips
1. Start With Existing Keto Favorites
As with any new habit, when you're getting started with your Keto meal plan, it’s best to begin small.
Trying to make multiple big changes at one time inevitably leads to burnout, often leaving us right back where we started. On the flip-side, as a 2013 study on behavioral change and weight management states ‘small changes are more realistic, feasible to achieve and maintain.’[*]
First, let’s reiterate that you don't have to plan or prep an entire week’s worth of meals if you don’t want to. Some prefer sticking to 2-3 days at a time, which is easier to manage.
When you're ready to begin, a great way to ease into a Keto meal plan is to start with your existing meals. Write a list of Keto-friendly breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack meals you already enjoy and have a think about how you could structure those meals over the week (or the next few days).
That familiarity you have with existing recipes will make it much easier to form the habit of planning and prepping ahead, as opposed to having to overhaul your diet right away with entirely new dishes.
As you become more comfortable with the process of meal planning, you can then think about adding in new Keto recipes — perhaps experimenting with a new one every week or two.
2. Stock up On Keto Staples
Planning healthy, delicious Keto meals doesn't have to be complicated. You can make a whole host of nutritious low-carb dishes using the following formula:
- Protein Sources - Seafood, meat, tofu (in moderation), yogurt.
- Healthy Fats - Avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, eggs, coconut milk.
- Vegetables - Kale, spinach, broccoli, onions, asparagus, peppers, eggplant.
- Condiments - Keto-friendly versions of mayonnaise, hot sauce, ketchup.
Many of the above ingredients can be frozen or already have a long shelf life. By stocking your pantry and freezer with them, you’ll have the main components on hand for most Keto recipes.
Plus, you have the basics there to whip up a quick meal if life happens and your Keto meal planning doesn’t quite go to… erm… plan.
3. Prepare a Grocery List
Whether you're planning your meals for the next few days or an entire week, making a grocery list can be a great way to ensure you stay on track and only buy exactly what you need. This saves time, money, and unnecessary waste - all good things.
To make things easy for you, Carb Manager Premium allows you to put together custom meal plans tailored to your goals. You can also choose from our curated plans designed specifically for different diets and eating preferences.
Gluten-free? No problem.
Want a vegan Keto meal plan? Got you covered!
Alongside your plan for the week, we also provide a handy grocery list that you can take with you to the store.
4. Invest in Food Containers
A set of containers can make your Keto meal planning feel 10x easier. A few things to consider:
- Plastic containers are versatile and relatively inexpensive. They travel well and can often be heated in the microwave. Ideally, opt for BPA and recycled materials where you can.
- Glass is a great sustainable option for easy reheating in the oven and microwave but it doesn't travel as well as plastic or other materials.
- Metal and bamboo containers are super sturdy for taking food on the go but typically aren’t designed to be heated.
Opt for containers with storage compartments or extra pots if you want to keep certain ingredients and condiments separate.
5. Batch Cook
Simply having a Keto meal plan in place can be a huge help when it comes to organizing your meals and staying on track with your nutrition.
To take things to the next level, we have the art of batch cooking.
Batch cooking really is as simple as it sounds - taking a few hours on the weekend or a quiet weekday evening to cook up and portion out meals for the upcoming few days (or the whole week if you're super organized).
Stews, soups, and sauces work particularly well. Leftovers typically keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator [*], but many dishes can be frozen and defrosted when you're ready to feast.
Carving out that initial time to batch cook may seem a little overwhelming at first, but it will be worth it when you get home late from work one evening and there’s a tasty Keto dinner ready and waiting for you to devour.
6. Consider Doubling Up
If you savor the weekends and you’re not into the idea of #mealprepsunday, one tactic that’s similar to batch cooking is to prepare most of your meals as normal, but occasionally double (or more) the recipe.
Simply store the extra in those new containers and you have lunch/dinner sorted for the next day (or you can freeze them for a later feast).
7. Schedule Takeout
Having a Keto meal plan doesn’t mean everything has to be home-cooked!
In your meal calendar, you can schedule takeout or restaurant visits ahead of time. You can even use a meal delivery service like Top Chef Meals for healthy, low-carb meals on-demand.
8. Don’t Forget Breakfast
Lunch and dinner get a lot of attention when it comes to Keto diet meal plans. But it’s important not to overlook what many feel is ‘the most important meal of the day.’
If you find that time is often tight in the AM, you can plan and prep breakfast beforehand to reclaim a good chunk of your morning and get a head start on the day.
A few breakfast recipes that work particularly well for meal prepping:
- Low Carb Overnight Almond Chia Pudding
- Keto Blueberry Sponge Cake In A Mug
- Keto Breakfast Meat Egg Cups
- Keto Pecan And Brazil Nut Granola
9. Say Yes to Frozen Ingredients
Frozen vegetables and stir-fry mixes can be a useful tool in any meal prepper's arsenal. They can be used as your primary veg, or as a backup for the fresh stuff.
The great thing about frozen food is that it typically doesn’t spoil. And in some cases, if frozen soon after picking, it may even contain more micronutrient nutrients than fresh food that’s been sat out or refrigerated for days [*].
10. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Keto meal planning is far from a perfect science.
When life happens, it's unlikely you’ll hit every planned meal, every single week. That’s completely normal.
While having a structure to your diet can be useful, it's also important to allow for flexibility.
This might mean having a back-up plan of emergency frozen meals or quick recipes you can make when time is tight. But it might also mean that you eat something that isn't typically classified as ‘ideal’, which is perfectly okay too from time to time!
Sample Keto Meal Plan
If you’d like a helping hand with organizing your nutrition, below you’ll find a 7 day Keto meal plan from Carb Manager Premium.
Family-Friendly Keto Meal Plan
Supercharge Your Keto Diet: Sign up to the Carb Manager Premium app to build your own custom Keto meal plan, or choose from curated meal plans tailored to a range of dietary requirements.