Keto Meals Made Simple

Many meal-planning apps claim they are “keto-friendly,” but are really a one-size-fits-all approach. There’s no ability to tweak to your specific macros, there’s no accounting for net carbs, and no way to track your calories from fat.

Dr. Martha Palley is working to solve this problem but doesn’t have a solution to offer you yet. If in your searching you come across a solution that addresses these gaps, please let us know. In the meantime, here’s some guidance to make meal planning easier.

Tips and Tricks

Keep it simple with few ingredients. Recipes with fewer ingredients make for easier shopping, prepping, and clean-up — not to mention measuring and tracking. Use eggs or meats (fresh or frozen) for protein, veggies or salad for texture, fiber, and micronutrients, and experiment with different fats for flavors. Herbs and spices can also liven up simple meals. Usually you won’t have to measure them, either — just make sure any spice mixes you use don’t have any added carbs.

Experiment with cooking methods. Baking, roasting, sautéeing, grilling, slow cooking, deep frying… the same ingredients can make for very different dishes depending on how you cook them. High heats can also caramelize natural sugars — try using a cast iron skillet directly on a grill.

Prepare ahead. If you’re already in the kitchen, why not make enough for multiple meals? Dishing out servings into individual grab-and-go containers can alleviate a lot of the stress of measuring and tracking your intake: just calculate the nutrients for each container and plug them into your daily log! The same goes for snacks: weigh out servings of olives, nuts, cheeses, or pepperoni and note the nutrients on the ziplock bags. See below for a step-by-step method of tracking the nutrition of individual servings.

Save your favorite macro-specific recipes. Build a supply and use a couple of these regulars every week. Don’t forget to save the the nutritional analysis.  

Don’t try to recreate a favorite non-keto recipe! These recipes often require many ingredients — likely artificial, processed ones. Highly layered, complicated meals — especially nostalgic ones — can cause cravings even it they are keto.

Meal Ideas

Roasting your veggies brings out amazing flavors! Coat them with oil, salt, and pepper and use a shallow pan — a deep pan doesn’t roast, but steams.

Coat chicken thighs skin-on with olive oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add a bit of freshly squeezed lime juice and bake! The skin retains the flavor and fat.

Sauté fresh veggies in your preferred fat. Season with salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice.

Potatoes aren’t the only thing you can mash! Steam or microwave your veggies until they are very soft, then use an immersion blender to “mash.” If microwaving, don’t add water — but be sure to include any water that accumulates afterwards: it contains nutrients that leached out. Season with salt, pepper, and butter, cream, or your preferred fat.

Invest in a spiralizer! Spiralled zucchini makes for great noodles. Top with shrimp or your preferred protein and drizzle with a sauce made from cream, cream cheese, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese.

Salads can make for wonderful textures. Try a spinach and baby lettuce salad topped with baby cucumbers, green onions, olives, pecans, and feta cheese. Dress with olive oil, wine vinegar, and salt.

Tracking Individual Servings

With a digital scale and a bit of simple math, calculating the macro numbers of a portion is just as easy as for the whole batch:

  1. Calculate the macro content for all of the ingredients.

  2. Weigh the empty pot or pan you’ll be using to cook. Be sure to leave the lid off.

  3. When cooking is done, let the pot or pan cool a bit before measuring it. Take this weight and subtract your first reading to get the weight of the cooked food.

  4. Divide the total weight by the number of servings to get the weight of a single serving. You can do the same for the nutritional value.

Most digital scales have a “tare” button, which makes subtracting the weight of your pot or container much easier. With the empty pot or pan already on the scale, press the button to zero-out the display. Removing the pot or pan should result in a negative number — the weight of your container. Keep the scale on while you cook. Once the pot or pan has cooled, place it on the scale. The display will now show only the weight of the food!

Here’s an example:

  • The nutritional content of our whole batch of food comes out to:

    • 1430 calories

    • 119.2g of fat

    • 73.3g of protein

    • 15g of net carbs

  • The pot we use to cook weighs 896g without the lid.

  • The cooked food and the pot together weigh 1960g.

  • Total weight of the prepared food is then 1960g - 896g = 1064g.

  • Since the recipe made 6 servings, one serving weighs 1064g / 6 = 177.3g.

  • The nutritional analysis for the whole meal can then be divided by 6 as well:

    • 238 calories

    • 19.9g of fat

    • 16.6g of protein

    • 2.5g of net carbs