A basic Keto Diet plan can be found in Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, but I’ll summarize it for you here. Note: I’m a keto cook, not a nutritionist, but since I receive so many nice emails from people looking for a basic keto diet plan, I wanted to put a resource together for you.
I’m also going to note that I consider this a diet for your introductory period, as I’ve always added berries and other things in after a couple of weeks with no bad effects. Your stomach shrinks so much that suddenly a couple strawberries are like eating a seven layer chocolate cake. If this is your first time hearing about the keto diet, learn more about it here.
Rules of a basic keto diet plan:
- 20 net carbohydrates per day (that’s the total carbs minus fiber) or 50 total carbs per day
- Eat meats and dairy that are 1-2 carbs are less (most meats have zero)
- Eat vegetables that are 5 or less
- Eat them baked, fried, boiled, stir-fried, sauteed, roasted or microwaved.
- No sugars (simple carbohydrates) – white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, corn syrup, beer (contains barley malt), milk (contains lactose), flavored yogurts, fruit juice, and fruit.
- No starches (complex carbohydrates) – grains (even “whole” grains), rice, cereals, flour, cornstarch, breads, pastas, muffins, bagels, crackers, and “starchy” vegetables such as slow-cooked beans (pinto, lima, black beans), carrots, parsnips, corn, peas, potatoes, French fries, potato chips.
Meats on a basic keto diet plan:
Meat: Beef, steak, hamburger, pork, ham, bacon, lamb, veal, etc. Processed meats are OK too (like hot dogs and sausage) but try to buy the organic stuff so that you’re not packing your body full of preservatives and other yucky things. Also look out for corn syrup on the labels which is a common gross additive.
Poultry: Chicken, turkey, duck, or other fowl.
Fish and Shellfish: Tuna, salmon, catfish, bass, trout, shrimp, scallops, crab, crab legs and lobster. Basically, anything that isn’t farmed because they contain toxins.
Eggs: Whole eggs, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, deviled eggs (<–these are my favorite snack!).
Everyday foods on a basic keto diet plan:
- 2 cups of salad per day (spinach, lettuce, arugula, cabbage, chard, chives, endive, kale, etc.)
- 1 cup of vegetables every day (artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green beans (string beans), jicama, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, pepper pumpkin, shallots, snow peas, sprouts (bean and alfalfa) sugar snap peas, summer squash, tomatoes, rhubarb, wax beans, zucchini.
- 2 cups of Boullion every day, as needed, because you need to drink a lot of water on this diet, and pee out all of your sodium and other good nutrients. This is also especially important in the beginning to help with “keto flu” symptoms!
Approved but limited foods on the basic keto diet plan
- 4oz of cheese that has 1 carb or less per serving
- 4 tablespoons of cream, like heavy cream, light cream or sour cream.
- 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise (like Hellmann’s)
- 6 olives per day
- 1/2 an avocado per day
- 4 teaspoons of lemon/lime juice
- 4 teaspoons of soy sauce (like Kikkomans)
- 2 servings of Dill or sugar-free pickles
- Pork rinds, pepperoni, deviled eggs, and other snacks
Everything else on a basic keto diet plan
- Oils are awesome, they’re full of fat and some are very good for you! Try to stay away from vegetable oil though, because it’s full of chemically-removed oils that are our bodies weren’t made to consume. Instead, consume healthy oils like olive oil and coconut oil (yum!)
- Italian, or olive oil & vinegar dressings are great for keto, but you can find plenty of low-carb ranch and blue cheese dressings too. Nix anything considered “lite”.
- If you want to use sweeteners, stick with Stevia, or Stevia and Erythritol blends, which are both natural sweeteners. Monk fruit is another new addition.
- Water is good. If you need bubbles, get a Soda Stream and some of the MyWater unsweetened flavorings.
Also, these are all other words for sugar: sucrose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, glucose, honey, agave syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, molasses, evaporated cane juice, cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, corn sweetener.
Read also: some keto tips and tricks I’ve learned
I’d love to hear YOUR keto “best practices,” so leave them in the comments!
[…] The Basic Keto Diet – A good, practical summary of what to eat if you’re just getting started on a Keto diet […]
Some of the newbies here are trying to factor in cheat foods/alternatives to their previous diets, a recipe for disaster
Keto is simple and if you’re struggling, take it back to basics for e.g Meat, Eggs, Butter/Oil, Green leafy veggies. Add cheese or double cream for flavour do not snack on it.
Drink water like it’s your job and then hey presto you’re losing weight and your clothes are getting loose.
The scale sometimes isn’t your friend, you feel/look thinner but you don’t weight any less? Don’t sweat it, the mirror doesn’t lie!!
Remember a pint of water weighs half a kilo and if you’ve been drinking it like you should then that could be why you’re not happy with what the scale says.
Water = zero calories.
Hope this helps.
If you’re trying to cheat from the off then this diet/lifestyle isn’t for you!!
omg I love you
I love you too, stranger 🙂
Just as a side note…Stevia isn’t artificial 🙂
You’re right, I didn’t mean to make it sound that way. Corrected! 🙂
[…] Approved but limited foods on the basic keto diet plan: 4oz of cheese that has 1 carb or less per serving; 4 tablespoons of cream, like heavy cream, light cream or sour cream; 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise (like Hellmann’s); 6 olives per day; 1/2 an avocado per day; 4 teaspoons of lemon/lime juice…30 Ketosis Plan Tips […]
[…] read my Basic Keto Diet Plan – 30 Best Practices for Losing Weight + Scaring Away Cancer […]
Hey great post. Just a question about the limited foods – does this mean that you could eat any or all of those in a day as long as you stick to the suggested amount? Or can you only pick one from the list per day? Just curious, thanks.
I think you could have all of them in moderation. This is just for your basic few-week induction period, though. You can have more once you’re in the groove. 🙂
I think you could have all of them in moderation. This is just for your basic few-week induction period, though. You can have more once you’re in the groove. 🙂
This is fantastic! I just started my keto diet and this is a big help. You are awesome for this…i just shared your site with a friend who introduced me to this lifestyle. At first, I was nervous but after seeing your recipes..i’m kind of excited!
It is exciting! I feel so inspired to cook on keto! 🙂
You are a good writer, I ve been laughing out loud reading your articles 😉 greetings from Iceland 🙂
Thank you! You just made my day! 🙂
After being overwhelmed trying to research and start a keto lifestyle, I am SO happy to have found this site with your concise and interesting posts and delicious-looking recipes. Yay!
Yay! Thank you!
What kind of cheese is allowed and greek yogurt not sweetened in small bites?
Cheese depends on which cheese – most sliced cheeses are zero carb, but creamed cheeses have more. Greek Yogurt is also dependent on the label. For breakfast I sometimes eat Fage Total – the full fat version, not the 0% or 2%. I muddle up a strawberry and add it too.
Just found out I am diabetic so carbs and sugars are a no no. I’ve been doing a ton of reading on keto and found that it can reverse diabetes. Makes sense to me because sugar and carbs are to be avoided due to blood sugar spikes. I’ve been eating no carbs/sugar for a couple days it’s been pretty easy for me because I love meat and eggs lol. Thanks for sharing more recipes!!! I can’t wait to try them
So sorry to hear that! Be sure to read up on ketoacidosis also, it’s something that Diabetics in particular need to be aware of when on a ketogenic diet — get keto strips online or at your local CVS and make sure you’re only in the light purple stage – keep out of the deep purple. This may mean increasing carbs and definitely water. Side note: I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on the internet. 🙂
Ketoacidosis is primarily a problem for type 1 diabetics. It very rarely affects type 2 diabetics. 🙂 still worth being cautious but shouldn’t be too much to worry about.
Wow! So glad to have stumbled across these posts. I have been eating this way for awhile, but have found that most recipes are complicated and have ingredients that are not available in the small town where I live in South Africa, but your recipes seem easy to make and delicious and uncomplicated. Love the bacon tacos!!
There is so much information here. I truly think that this is going to save my wife and I from some disasters. I am really in need to lose almost 100 pounds. My wife has had breast cancer and we both have health issues now. We are in our 60’s. Thank you for having all this info available.
Aren’t you a little overweight for someone who is living a keto lifestyle. just sayin.
@mok I’ve lost 60lbs so far, how about you? 😉 I’m doing keto for the same reasons as everyone else, friend.
Awesome response WickedStuffed!! People like that are just miserable.
@mok That’s the first thought I had, although most of the information, if not all, is spot on.
Everyone starts somewhere
@mok That’s just completely rude.
My roomate would be considered overweight for someone on Keto, so would her fiancee or myself or my husband. She has lost over 145 pds her fiancee over 100 pds, myself 40 and my husband over 115. It works incredibly well, and you Mok are unbelievably rude. Just because someone is following a change in diet doesn’t necessarily mean they are at their goal weight, everyone reacts differently and loses at a different pace. And thank you so much for sharing these tips and recipes.
Mok where’s your picture? You are a complete disgrace of an human being
Your comment:–“Your stomach shrinks so much that suddenly a couple strawberries is like eating a seven layer chocolate cake” got my attention,could that possibly is happenning to me and reading your article makes me realize that I am still eating the same portion size as I was eating before starting Keto— Im always bloated and indisgeted after I eat,I recently started taking digestive enzymes but its not working,I feel like a have a huge ‘ball’ inside my stomach ….any advice??? U0001f616U0001f616U0001f616
By the way I started 3 almost 4 weeks ago…
DETOX, detox, detox
Any tips/suggestions for gout sufferers getting into keto?
PJS23 I’ve read that keto and paleo are not recommended for people with gout. I recently got kidney stones (as far as I know, this in the cause causary realm of gout) , and my doc didn’t suggest going off keto, just drinking lemon water daily, and a lot of it. I’m never drink water, and am always dehydrated, so I don’t know if it was keto or deydration that caused them, but I’d definitely talk to your doc first.
I am disappointed that no one has pointed out that the alkaline keto diet can be vegan, and in the reverse of morbidly obese folks to a normal B.M.I., the dieter must almost absolutely provide the vast majority of calories in high quality vegan oil such as cocanut oil which provides the MCT’s necessary to create the chemical reaction that reverses the damage that insulin-resisted glycolysis caused in creating so much human fat? What is the chemical process by which human fatty adipose tissue can reverse swelling and return to normal? The chemical process is vegan alkaline ketosis which exchanges the storage of extremely unhealthy human fat for energy and the waste goes to respiration and urine. I dare those consuming enormous amounts of animal protein– especially those Americans like myself who are morbidly obese– to understand that ketosis which is vegan and fat based at a ratio of 4 fats to 1 (protein and carbohydrate combined), means that a typical meal of 3 tablesppon of chia seed, 1/4 cup of Lifeway Kefir, 3 tablespoons of cocanut oil, and 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil, topped off with pot liquor from some greens, would be the most amazing breakfast you’ve ever had. Honestly…. When the major part of a vegan alkaline ketosis calories come from healthy replacement oils higher in Omega 3 than anything else, then the daily budget of protein and carbs becomes a primary driver of how the foods are prepared, instead of what we assume we should be eating. One finds that personal consumption mirrors the ecology of the planet. Ethically, only veganism is a real longterm option, and in terms of personal health it is most amazing recovery and weight loss option humanity has available. Thanks.
Hi I am starting this diet and need to know some inexpensive “good” fats since it is 75% of this diet. Anything would help. Also im taking 1000 mg of flaxseed oil caps a day because I donot eat seafood. Any tips of foods. So far I have been eating celery and natural peanut butter as my daily snacks oh and almonds lol. Thanks in advance 🙂
Bladder stones …I think that depends of every body….drink LOTS of water, I am currently taking magnesium and potasium, I drank a mix of water, lemon and salt at the beginning to avoid the keto flu (specially headaches), MCT oil is a must! Coconut oil, virgin olive oil , butter (organic or grass fed- Hormone free Kerrygold)nuts (specially macadamians) almonds, pecans, bacon, Ham, sausages (check the sugar on it)Cheese, eggs, meat, fish, sour cream, heavy cream, vegetables.Just maintain your fat intake higher and you will be good ! U0001f44d Dont stress too much about it!
Hi! I’m also just getting started on keto. I’m type 2 diabetic and need to lose about thirty pounds to get to my ideal weight. Unfortunately I must not be doing the diet correctly since I’ve gained about 12 pounds since I started about 4 weeks ago. One of the problems I have had is measuring the macro-nutrients correctly. If I want to eat 50 gm. of broccoli, is it just the actual gm. from my food scale or should I be counting the carbs listed on the package (50 gm by “weight” = 6.15 gm. of carbs)? Thanks in advance for your help.
Count your carbs, no more than 30gm of carbs (daily) are allowable on keto , you can start with 50gm of carbs and reduce them gradually ….increase your fat!
nala2015 So I should be using the scale number rather than the number on the Nutrition Facts Label?
Yes, the scale its a great tool to control your portions, just keep records of your daily carb intake…it dont matter if is 50gms or 100 gms of broccoli, just dont exceed your daily intake of carbs (according to your serving size in the package)
i’m doing the high fat, low carb diet to lose the 20 lb. donut that attached itself around my belly. http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/sweden-becomes-first-western-nation-to-reject-low-fat-diet-dogma-in-favor-of-low-carb-high-fat-nutrition/
20 lb donut….too funny!
Just a quick qn….is sprout allowed on this diet.
assadbhai786 It would depend on the sprouts, but most are very low carb.
On the label it will tell you the serving size and how many carbs are in that serving size. You then use your scale to measure the serving size. Based on the serving size you will then know how many grams of carbs are in that portion. So if 1 oz has 5g of carbs, then you will know that in order to get 50g of carbs, you would need 10 oz. You do not weigh 50g of the food. The weight of the food is not the same as the amount of macros (g) it contains. The same applies for protein and fat. 50g of chicken does not have 50g of protein. You would have to look at the nutrition label and see what how much protein is in each oz of chicken.
Guess what I found today!!!! A set of keto-friendly kitchen scales that (in addition to normal weighing capacities) ALSO shows the macro amounts in 500+ common foods, from avocado to asparagus; bacon (fried, bacon grilled, bacon raw ..) to bamboo shoots; cheese (cheddar spread; cheese – blue vein; cheese – camembert; cheese – edam; cheese – gouda (etc etc) to chocolate (…) (all the way through the alphabet!!)
In Australia, it is marketed under the Michelle Bridges brand and is available from Big W, but I’m sure there would be other versions online and in other countries.
Just putting it out there incase anyone else thinks this could make calculations a little easier to do kept as a lifestyle!
Good luck to you all!
Irene (Tarragindi .. Brisbane – Australia)
Debmonty It’s the only 0-carb natural sweetener there is that has no effect on your blood sugar.
Do you have a favorite app for counting carbs/macronutrients ?
JohnBlakeArnold Go away, you’re the reason nobody likes vegans, because they do not respect other people’s choices. You make it like a frickin religion!
Jarobinson2 Yes! I use MyFitnessPal every day. 🙂 I’ve also started adding scannable MyFitnessPal codes in my recipes.
Hi I eat rice one cup for luch it that ok or no?
IreneCruz One cup of rice will put you over your carb count for the day. You want to stay with good vegetables and meats.
Been on keto for over a month , it cured my gout completely by taking out refined sugars as in all fruit..even lemons! As its that , that causes gout in the first place.
I hadnt been able , prior to ketosis to even put my feet down..my legs shins and big toes were in agony.. Now My energy level is higher and my feet are great, I walked seven miles the other day ..overall I’ve lost eighteen pounds in just six weeks …I have an extremely low appetite now, and the gaps between meals are variable between sixteen and twenty hours..
I too take a spoonful of MCT oil ,only ..if I feel I hardly ate much to give me a little boost in some fats..
My appetite was suppressed mainly because I snacked in the beginning on the odd pepperami’s between meals..then my appetite was able to go for over twenty hours before eating anything else..my fat just came off extremely fast and efficiently .
I’m all for topping myself up with magnesium pottasium vitamin b complex (especially b5) and my salt intake ..is lifted nicely with pepperami’s 😉
Did you know that spices heat the body more and so you burn fat faster..
Ive not had a bad day.. Apart from the second week when I went cold turkey after going straight to decaffeinated coffee.. As normal coffee spikes insulin..My headaches were migrainal..and I wanted to give up and have caffeine again to stop them..but nope..I persevered..
It works if you have the willpower.. For most people!
I was diagnosed With secondary progressive M.S years ago ..was already using a wheelchair when my body wasn’t functioning all that well..
To now say to you I cured my gout (which isn’t to do do with m.s just an extra debilitating health issue )and also managed to walk seven miles? Surely ketosis can help..if we just stop plaguing it with the thought of doing us more damage than good when its actually quite the reverse.. If able to stick it out! 😉
Wow! Good for you! That’s amazing! 😊
So I take it you’ve never heard of erythitol which even tastes / cooks like sugar with none of the detrimental side effects. Pretty incomplete info here. :/
Watch out for sugar alcohols. Google erythritol diarrhea.
ShenaynayTaytay Of course I’ve heard of erythritol, it’s just not considered “natural” by the paleo folks who I listen to in terms of calling a sweetener natural. Erythritol is the “safest” but is still tied to leaky gut, etc. It also requires a significant amount to sweeten recipes, rather than a pinch of stevia. Everyone is welcome to use whichever sweeteners they like, I even use sucralose sometimes. These are my “best practices,” not rules. 🙂
corrienne62 Wow, that’s amazing! Congrats!!
nala2015 I had the same issue and I found that drinking water and adding a probiotic/digestive enzyme combo worked great!
IreneCruz At 43 carbohydrates per cooked cup, that would be double the recommended 20 per day. 🙂
What percentage should protein and fat be?
Can I have water sweeteners I was told by other keto dieters that crystal light is a safe one. Is this a true fact?
bweber If you are using Crystal Light Pure, which is made with Truvia, that might be best since it doesn’t have aspartame. Many keto dieters have told me that they stall in weight loss when they drink artificial sweeteners, so I don’t usually recommend diet drinks and prefer unsweetened iced tea with lemon for a nice treat, or only diet drinks once in a while. It’s up to you though. If you find that you’re not losing, I would try cutting out diet drinks for a week and see if that helps.
countrylivingmama Generally speaking most strict keto people will do 5% carbohydrates, 75% fat and 20% protein to get the most benefit.
wickedstuffed Thank you!
I’m a breast cancer survivor, forced into menopause by chemo and the cancer drug I take. I can’t budge the weight I’ve gained fro my metabolism tanking. I’m a super active person but still can’t budge scale. Will the Keto diet help?
What does a typical day of 5% carbs, 75% fats and 20% protein look like?
I’m just interested how to get started!
I am single and hate to cook. The recipes sound yummy but they are for 4 to 8 people and require….cooking!
Can you help me?…please.
I want to do this but the cooking and/or all of the leftovers or math to figure out a single serving would kill it for me.
I didn’t see anything about nuts and seeds, so if not can you go through the beat keto ones and amounts
Hi. It appeared my order for Keto Life was processed successfully. Message said “payment from PayPal to Gumroad” was sent. Is this book a download or hard copy that will be mailed to me? Thanks for your help
Hi! As a New Englander, I appreciate the Wicked Smaht approach! I use Keto to help manage my hypothyroid symptoms and it’s brilliant.
I learned a great tip that helped me when I started out- approach Keto like a marriage. If you enter into it looking for ways to cheat, maybe it isn’t for you.
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Hello, my name Marina. I would like to know if drinking coke zero is OK on a Keto diet.
Artificial sweeteners are a preference that many omit, but technically yes you can have diet sodas on keto. If you find you are not getting the results you want, you may consider removing them from your diet though 🙂
Artificial sweeteners and sugar evoke similar insulin responses in your body.
Onions and carrots have the same amount of carbs.
Hard time drinking water..Can I use the juice of a lemon and stevia during induction?
Certainly, I always add lemon to my water, and stevia isn’t a sugar alcohol so I don’t see anything wrong with that.
Please advise a ada person on how they should apply the keto diet. You are supposed to have so many carbs a day. What should you do
do you have ideas for diabetic person. The plan is so many carbs a day. Which ones do you suggest
I can’t suggest specific health advice, but I hope others who are diabetic will weigh in with some suggestions on how they follow keto.
I am a type 2 diabetic for 20 years. I was on metformin and lantus. Almost 3 years ago I went on the keto diet. Within 3 months I got off all meds. I highly recommend keto. I did the strict keto to get off meds.
I’ve been Type 2 since I was 26, so 20 years now. I also have had a 20 year career in medicine. My A1C was in the 14 range, took insulin, and every other pill on the market. It wasn’t until I started Atkins back in the day and now Keto with intermittent fasting that I have been able to get my A1C to 6 and almost off all meds. I stay around the 20g of carb mark per day. My one piece of advice is to read and educate yourself as much as possible then make a solid plan from there. Good luck!!
When you’re referring to drinking bouillon, are you talking about the little cubes that are dissolved in water? Is there a suggested brand?
How do you manage ketosis breath without using artificially sweetened mints or gum?
I love all the useful information on here, but I’m having trouble trying to figure out a few things.
1. I understand that cheese is allowed on the keto diet, but how do I know how many carbs are in 1 thin slice of jarlsburge cheese and 1 thin slice of Genoa salami?
Usually I Google it, or if you’re getting it from a deli, I ask to see the nutritional data.