Sticking to any major lifestyle or diet change is often easier said than done.
Looking after kids, finishing chores, managing your career, health and social life - it’s a balancing act that can leave you feeling exhausted.
The last thing you need is for your nutrition to become another layer of stress to worry about.
That’s why this guide is all about streamlining your nutrition and helping you adopt a simple Keto diet that works for you, not against you.
Why a Simple Keto Diet?
Going Keto can be a shock to the system, and it can take time to adjust both mentally and physically.
Whether you're coming from a standard western diet, plant-based or somewhere in between, cutting carbs means your body has to learn how to run on an entirely different fuel source.
On top of the physical adaptations, it can take substantial willpower to replace conventional carb sources with high-fat alternatives. Then there’s the overwhelming number of Keto recipes to try, macros to calculate, meal plans to organize…
When things start to feel hectic, it’s time to slow down, take a breath and strip it back to basics.
When in doubt, we can look towards the Pareto Principle to help simplify things, that 20% of our actions can deliver 80% of the results.
With a simple Keto system, you no longer have to worry about the minutia. Your new, minimalist approach means you can focus on the key action steps that provide the highest reward, freeing up more time and energy for everyday life, which is always a good thing, right?
11 Simple Steps to Easy Keto
1. Start with small changes
If you’re looking to adopt a fully Keto diet but you're not quite there yet, know that you don't have to be all-in from the get-go.
When you already have a lot on your plate, trying to change your entire diet right away can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. You end up right back where you started, only a little less confident in your ability to make something stick.
Instead, consider making one small change at a time.
This might mean starting week one with a Keto breakfast meal. A few weeks later, you could add in a high-fat lunch, and by the end of the month, you're full-time Keto.
Going the slow and steady route may not sound quite as exciting as making an overnight change, but it requires less willpower, making it easier to form lasting habits. It may also mean your body has an easier time adjusting to running on fat and ketones.
2. Know your staple foods
There are some simple Keto staples that are easy to mix and match to create wholesome, high-fat meals.
Check out the handy graphic below for the basics. Print it off and stick it on your fridge for quick meal-time decisions when time is tight.
3. Invest in a few Keto kitchen basics
Your kitchen doesn't have to be full of expensive gadgets to succeed, but there are a few pieces of equipment that will make simple Keto more attainable:
As the name suggests, an instant pot can be a huge timesaver, used to pressure cook simple Keto one-pot dishes like these:
- Low Carb Authentic Instant Pot Beef Pho
- Low Carb Instant Pot Kid-Friendly Marinara Meatballs
- Low Carb Instant Pot "Dump" Style Coconut Curry
- Keto Instant Pot Crack Chicken
Meal prep containers
Perfect for storing leftovers you can reheat to save time and energy. Recycled, BPA-free plastic containers are versatile, but bamboo, glass and metal are also great options. Aim for an assortment of sizes to store sauces and snacks as well as main meals. Here are some simple yet tasty options to get you started:
- Keto Lemon Chicken Meal Prep
- Keto Turkey Bacon Breakfast Meal Prep
- Low Carb Bahn Mi Rice Bowl Meal Prep
The spiralizer is excellent for making carb-substitutes like zucchini noodles. A few dishes they feature in:
- Lemongrass Pork Meatballs and Zucchini Noodles
- Keto Creamy Shrimp Zucchini Noodles
- Keto Zucchini Noodles with Basil Walnut Pesto
- Keto Zucchini Noodle Salad
Air fryers have become increasingly popular within the Keto community. These countertop cookers do not require preheating, unlike a conventional oven, and can cook foods up to 20% faster. Perfect for speed and convenience. Why not give some of these quick and easy Keto air fryer recipes a try?
- Keto Air Fryer Salmon with Whole Grain Mustard Aioli
- Keto Air Fryer Taco Bowls
- Keto Chilli Lime Air Fryer Shrimp
- Keto Air Fryer Paneer Wraps
4. Know your keystone dishes
When looking to develop a simple Keto system that can withstand the test of time, your best bet is to stick to dishes that you can whip up quickly (ideally in less than 15 minutes).
You can then save those more elaborate dishes for the weekend or evenings when you have more time on your hands.
Use the Quick and Easy tag in the Carb Manager App and website to single out dishes that require minimum effort. A few favorites:
- Keto Cheesy Egg and Spinach in a Cup
- Low Carb Overnight Almond Chia Pudding
- Keto Blueberry Muffins
- Keto Lemon Butter Paprika Shrimp
The Carb Manager Cookbook also has a whole chapter on quick and easy recipes for you to dig into.
5. Keep breakfast & lunch the same
Don’t be afraid to strip things back to absolute basics.
Having the same breakfast and lunch each day may sound strange to some, but it eliminates decisions in the morning and frees up a lot of time and energy.
It might also mean you have more energy to experiment with new dishes in the evening or on the weekend, which is where you can get more variety into your diet.
6. Use a meal plan
If you want to take all the hassle out of going Keto and put things almost on autopilot, consider using a simple meal plan like the ones provided in the Carb Manager App.
The app allows you to put your simple Keto diet on autopilot, calculating your macros and calorie requirements based on your metrics and goals. You also get access to 50,000+ Keto recipes, along with meal plans and custom grocery lists.
7. Batch cook & freeze
If you have some time available on the weekend or a weekday evening, you can help out your future self by batch cooking and freezing meals.
That way, you always have backup meals on hand for when life happens.
Want the complete lowdown?
8. Keep snacks simple
Low-carb snacks don't have to be complicated.
Quick and easy Keto options include nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, veggie sticks and Keto bars.
Leave them in convenient places like your office desk, gym bag and car glove-box for easy access whenever you need an energy boost.
9. Get support
It’s much easier to stick to changes when we have some kind of support network.
This can be Keto cookouts with family and friends, but can also come in virtual form.
In the Carb Manager App you can add friends, chat on the forum and connect with the global Carb Manager community.
10. Consider a fasting protocol
Fasting isn’t always suitable for everyone, but if your body responds well to it, it can be a great way to make Keto simple.
Compressed eating windows like 16:8 or OMAD (One Meal a Day) typically mean you’ll consume fewer meals, even if your calorie consumption remains the same as usual.
Aside from the potential physical benefits, one of the big plus points to this is convenience.
Whipping up one or two meals a day is typically much easier to manage and less time-consuming than prepping three or more.
Find out more: How to Choose an Intermittent Fasting Schedule
11. Don't get caught up on the minor details
It’s a good idea to gain a basic understanding about what’s going on in your body while on Keto (check out our Keto beginners series for just that). It can also be fascinating to dig into the nitty gritty from time to time too.
That being said, you don't have to be an expert to reap rewards from the diet.
As we touched on earlier, most of the benefits will come from a few small actions.
Having a plan, making some preparations and having some form of support is a great formula for approaching any change in life, Keto diet included.