The ketogenic (or “keto” diet) is trending big. Developed as a way to help people control epileptic seizures, this low-carb, high-fat plan has found many more fans who say it's the key to reaching their health and fitness goals.
People who follow a keto diet typically get 75% to 90% of their daily calories from fat, 6% to 20% from protein, and 2% to 5% from carbohydrates. Sticking to these numbers allows a person to achieve ketosis—a state in which the body uses fat as its primary fuel, as opposed to carbs. By following keto, glycogen (back-up stores of carbs) is depleted and ketosis sets in. That can lead to weight loss and a leaner physique, fans say.
This all sounds great, but there is a downside. Health contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass warns that the biggest risk associated with a keto diet is the potential for ketoacidosis, which occurs when excess ketones build up and blood becomes acidic and can be life-threatening. If you aren’t being monitored by a physician or dietitian, it’s important to use moderation and not cut out carbs completely from your meals.
Thinking of giving it a go? To help you get started, we’ve rounded up several tasty, keto-compliant meals you’ll love.
We did a double take after seeing this breakfast sammy from Hey Keto Mama. In lieu of bread, Sam Dillard came up with the genius idea to swap sausage patties on the outside of her sandwich. With added flavor bonuses like cheese, avocado, and sriracha, you’ll want to try this one out tomorrow morning.
Cinnamon Apple Spice Muffins
If you want a sweet start to your day, whip up these cinnamon apple spice muffins from Annissa Slusher of Simply So Healthy. Though you need to keep your carb level low to stay in ketosis, the small amount of apple the recipe calls for will do the trick. If you have 30 minutes to spare, head to your kitchen and get going on these low-carb, gluten-free bites.
Zucchini Parmesan Chips
Potato chip and pretzel lovers, rejoice. Though you may need to cut down on those snacks to follow keto properly, Jennifer Garza of I Save A to Z came up with a crunchy substitute: zucchini chips. This quick, two-ingredient recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings for a savory snack. You might even forget you’re also consuming a serving of veggies.
Mac and Cheese With Pulled Pork
Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you have to compromise on flavor. For a more indulgent lunch or dinner option, Low Carb Yum’s mac and cheese with pulled pork dish will excite your taste buds while keeping your carb count low. Swap pasta with cauliflower and combine it with cheese and pork to create the ultimate keto comfort food.
Mongolian Beef Scallion and Ginger Stir-Fry
People following a Paleo, Whole30, or keto diet are obsessed with I Heart Umami’s beef scallion and ginger stir-fry. The star of the dish is a grass-fed sirloin tip, and it has no added sugar, honey, or starch. Much of the flavor comes from a special marinade that uses coconut aminos, a low-sodium, soy- and gluten-free replacement for soy sauce.
Halloumi Rainbow Salad
Vegetarian-friendly options abound on the keto diet, like the halloumi rainbow salad from The Mother Cooker. This colorful dish includes peppers, carrots, onion, tomatoes, and of course, halloumi cheese. Tossed together with olive oil, this dish is simple and satisfying.
Chocolate Ice Cream
Say hello to the dessert of your keto dreams. This no-churn keto chocolate ice cream, courtesy of Paola from Gnom Gnom, is an easy-to-make treat. By melting sweetener and cocoa into full-fat coconut milk, you’ll feel like you’re eating the real thing. If you want a little extra in your bowl, Paola recommends adding two tablespoons of vodka, brandy, or your booze of choice.