So you’ve decided you want to try out the high-fat, low-carb diet, better-known as the fat-burning ketogenic diet. Whether it’s to lose weight, have more energy, or fuel workouts differently, going keto is a popular choice right now. But figuring out a keto meal plan on your own is no easy feat, especially since eating a diet super high in fats doesn’t come naturally to many people who are accustomed to the traditionally carb-heavy American diet. (It’s especially hard if you’re vegan and want to try keto.) But this should help: Keto experts explain how to set yourself up for success, plus provide ideas for exactly what keto foods to eat when you’re first getting started.
Keto Meal Plan Guidelines: Keep in mind that everybody has different needs, you’ll also have to adjust your plan as you lose weight since your needs will change.
Step 1 : Define how many calories you need daily
To find out how many calories you need daily use this tool: Daily Calorie Intake Calculator. This will give you the number of calories you need to maintain your weight, lose 1-2 pounds per week or gain 1-2 pounds per week.
Female in good shape: For me (female), to use the Daily Calorie Intake Calculator, I would enter 120 pounds, then since I’m 5’6″ I would enter 66 inches (5 feet x 12 inches / feet + 6 inches = 60 + 6 = 66), then I would enter 29 years old female and exercise 3-5x per week.
This gives me 2085 Calories a day.
Male in good shape :
For my boyfriend, to use the Daily Calorie Intake Calculator, I would enter 175 pounds, then since he’s 5’9″ I would enter 69 inches (5 feet x 12 inches / feet + 6 inches = 60 + 9 = 69), then I would enter 36 years old male and exercise 6-7x per week.
This would give him 4425 Calories a day.
Step 2 : Define how much calories you need to lose weight
You can skip this step my just using the Daily Calorie Intake Calculator.
Ok so here’s how it works.
To burn 1 pound of fat you need to burn 3500 calories.
- To burn 1 pound of fat per week, take off 500 calories a day.
- To burn 2 pounds of fat per week, take off 1000 calories a day.
Me and my boyfriend both want to lose 2 pounds a week at this point.
Female (29 years old, 120 pounds, active) :
2775 Calories a day (maintenance) – 1000 calories (deficit) = 1775 calories a day.
Male (36 years old, 175 pounds, very active) :
4425 Calories a day (maintenance) – 1000 calories (deficit) = 3425 calories a day.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t work for everyone, it’s just a guide line, not an exact science.
To find the real amount for yourself :
Weight your self at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week. If you lost more than 2 pounds, add 10% to your calories for the next week. If you lost less than 2 pounds, reduce your calories by 10%.
I found that 1500 calories works better for me. My boyfriend is fine with 3400 calories.
Step 3 : Find out how much protein you need
Getting the right amount of proteins is key to the Ketogenic diet!
Eating too much protein can throw you off Ketosis as eating to much carbs would!
Since it is recommended to have between 10% and 35% of proteins in your diet, I like to aim for the middle at 22.5%. Having more proteins on a diet will reduce muscle loss. On the other hand, having too much proteins will throw you out of ketosis since it will turn into glucose.
So to have an idea of how many proteins you need, use the Keto Calculator.
Myriam : (120 pounds, 66 inches, 29 years old, female, active) = 117 grams of proteins daily
Dan : (175 pounds, 69 inches, 36 years old, male, very active) = 173 grams of proteins daily
Step 4 : Find out how much carbs you need
As stated in my Ketogenic Diet Introduction Guide, it is best to keep your carbohydrates around 5% but this is not easy to achieve.
1 gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories
For me, 5% of 1500 calories is 75 calories for carbs. 75 calories / 4 calories per gram of carb = 18.75 grams of carbs daily.
I don’t obsess over it, I round it up to 20 grams of carbs daily.
These are really net carbs. This means you can deduce 1 gram of carb per gram of fiber that you eat.
Raspberries for example contains the most fibers you can find in fruits, so they’re a good choice.
For my boyfriend, 5% of 3400 calories is 170 calories for carbs. 170 / 4 = 42.5 grams of carbs daily.
He rounds it up to 40 grams.
Step 5 : Define your macros
These macros are based on the book “The Ketogenic Diet – A Complete Guide For The Dieter And The Practitioner”.
Once you know how much carbs and proteins you need, you can deduce the amount of fat you need.
- 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
- 1 gram of proteins = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
calories total – calories from carbs – calories from proteins = calories from fat
grams of fat = calories from fat devided by 9.
Example of a 1500 calorie plan :
- 1500 Calories
- 106 grams of Fat
- 117 grams of Protein
- 20 grams of Net Carbs
Example of a 3400 calorie plan :
- 3400 Calories
- 283 grams of Fat
- 173 grams of Protein
- 40 grams of Net Carbs
As a rule of thumb you can keep your macros around : 75% Fats, 25% Protein, and 5% Carbs. If you are active, you can bear with upping the carbs a bit, but when you are doing a strictly low carb diet, you might now be able to push yourself to exercise as hard depending on how your react to it.
|Weekly Keto Macros||Calories||Fats (g)||Net Carbs (g)||Protein (g)|
I like to keep my recipes simple as this helps me stick to my diet.
If you want some tips and tools to help you easily count your calories during the day, use my guide :
How do I count my calories to burn fat?
The macros are provided in all these recipes. Some of them have more carbs than others so just and match them to get to your daily needs
Also, take a look at my Ketogenic Diet Food List is color coded to help you make your own menu! It also links to detailed nutritional value of all ingredients.