When you start eating keto, dinner can look like a big, fatty ribeye steak and some non-starchy vegetables.
As exciting as that is, you may want more variety than that.
What if I told you that there was a way you can eat delicious food and lose weight?
And that I’ve got a bunch of lovely, easy dinner ideas right here?
Even better, right?
Let’s get to it!
Before we go on to the recipes, let’s do a crash course on keto.
(Even if you’ve been doing keto for a while, a refresher never hurt, right?)
The ketogenic diet, more commonly known as the keto diet, is all the rage these days.
But what it is it?
The keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet designed to put your body into ketosis.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic process.
Usually, your body burns carbohydrates from the food you eat for energy. But if it does not have enough carbohydrates, the body burns fat instead.
When this happens, your liver turns fat into an acid called ketones. This is what your body will then use as fuel.
Health benefits of keto
Weight loss is the keto diet’s most popular health benefit. The Internet is full of stories of some pretty dramatic transformations.
Better yet, you lose weight fast. In the initial adjustment phase, you may lose up to seven pounds in the first week!
This initial weight is mostly water weight. (More on that later.)
Even so, that’s a great way to motivate you!
After your initial adjustment and adaptation, you can realistically expect to lose one to two pounds per week while following the keto diet.
Did you know that the ketogenic diet was initially developed as a way to treat epilepsy?
Sometimes, epilepsy does not respond to medication.
For these patients, the classic ketogenic diet is a lifeline. In this case, their physician prescribes a keto diet, and a dietician monitors their results.
Most epilepsy patients on keto are children though some adults may also follow a keto diet to control their seizures.
This is very important:
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor if you want to start keto.
There is a lot of buzz about the keto diet when it comes to diabetes. After all, diabetic diets are often low-carb to begin with.
Proponents love the keto diet and say it keeps their blood sugar under control, particularly for Type 2 diabetics.
According to this 2017 study, Type 2 diabetics can benefit from the keto diet. However, the results only show short term results.
Doctors also caution that there are currently no studies on the long-term effects for people with diabetes.
Furthermore, Type 1 diabetics need to be a bit more cautious as they are more susceptible to diabetic ketoacidosis. DKA is a life-threatening condition where the body makes too many ketones.
Symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Type 1 diabetics are more susceptible to DKA though Type 2 diabetics may also develop it.
Ketosis and DKA are often confused with each other. Ketosis is the regulated production of ketones while DKA is the uncontrolled production.
Other medical considerations
While there’s plenty of mainstream buzz about the keto diet, the medical community remains cautious.
An article from UCSF in 2018 cautions that “without peer-reviewed clinical trials, many of the benefits [of the ketogenic diet] remain anecdotal.”
However, the article does also go on to note: “The researchers agree that the diet itself isn’t inherently dangerous.”
Getting Started with Keto
If you want to get started with a ketogenic diet, there are a few things you need to do.
Talking to your doctor
If you’re thinking about starting the keto diet, you need to talk to your doctor first.
Even if you do not have pre-existing medical conditions, it’s still a good idea. If nothing else, you can get a baseline of where you’re starting from, healthwise.
Keeping track of where you have been will show you if this keto diet is working for you.
Transitioning to the diet
The initial transition to the keto diet may be difficult. But if you stick with it, the rewards are well worth it.
For most people, the amount of fat you need to eat is staggering.
You need to know what you can eat as well as what you should not eat. If you rely on eating out, you may need to learn how to sub out keto-friendly choices.
Learning to cook keto-friendly adaptations of your favorite recipes is an excellent way to keep on track!
Transitioning to keto means reducing your carb intake. And your body will respond by going into a type of “withdrawal” state, dubbed by some as the “Keto flu.”
Here’s what you can expect:
Symptoms of the “Keto Flu”
But there’s good news!
While it’s a hard thing to go through remember:
This is just temporary. Your body needs time to adjust, that’s all!
Ways to Get Through the
Water weight loss
In a Reader’s Digest article, Naresh Rao, DO, warns that the weight loss you will see initially is all water weight.
Losing fat weight comes later after your body is in ketosis.
What Can I Eat?
When transitioning to a new diet, you have one crucial question:
What can I eat?
On keto, you can eat a lot of different foods. There are so many things to choose from.
But there is one important thing that you’re going to have to give up.
Say good-bye to carbs.
To stay in ketosis, you must keep your carb count low.
This means giving up starchy and sugary foods like bread, rice, potatoes, and most fruit.
Even if you need to give up carbs, I’ll bet that there’s something on this food list that will make you dance for joy.
Oils and fats
Since the ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet, it’s no surprise that you can (and need to) eat plenty of fat.
So is butter.
Here are some other great sources of fat on a keto diet:
But be careful. Just because it’s fat doesn’t mean it’s keto-friendly.
Not all fats are created equal.
Stay away from processed foods like margarine and fast food. These contain hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
Also, avoid highly processed oils like canola and corn oil.
Protein is another fundamental building block for the keto diet.
Like with your fats, you’re going to want to try to keep to proteins that come from nature. Try to buy organic and non-factory farm raised whenever possible.
When it comes to veggies, you need to be cautious. Starchy vegetables with too many carbs will kick you out of ketosis.
But here are some vegetables you can enjoy on keto:
If you love fruit, I’m sorry to say that your choices are minimal.
Most fruit has a lot of natural sugar and is bad for ketosis. But there are a few you can eat. Stick with limes, lemons, and berries that are low in fructose.
But wait there's more:
Avocado AND lime are both on the keto-friendly list.
Do you know what that means? Oh yes. IT’S GUACAMOLE TIME.
Nuts, seeds, legumes
Nuts are great little keto-friendly packages. They are high in fat and low in carbs.
They make great snacks as well as flavorful additions to meals.
Dairy can add a lot of essential fat to a keto diet.
When choosing a dairy product, try to go for organic, grass-fed dairy.
Be careful: milk is not keto-friendly. Even whole milk is too high in sugar, which can kick you out of ketosis.
More keto-friendly foods
Aside from the major food groups, there are a few other keto-friendly foods worth mentioning.
Shirataki noodles are a Japanese noodle made from konjac yams.
They have NO net carbs and are almost calorie free. These miraculous noodles now come in various shapes, making them perfect for all sorts of keto-friendly recipes.
Bone broth is a favorite of keto dieters.
This healthy stock simmers for hours with meaty bones, herbs, and spices. You can use bone broth as a no-calorie savory drink or as a base for your favorite keto-friendly soup.
Delicious Keto Dinner Ideas
OK, so now that we’ve gone over the basics of keto, let’s get on to the meat.
If you’re tired of the same keto dinner, try some of these incredible dinner ideas from all over the internet.
Steak Fajita Rollups
Are you a Tex Mex food fanatic? If you’re missing fajitas, try this keto-friendly remake courtesy of Katerina from the Diethood.
This recipe keeps all of the flavors but ditches the tortillas.
But what will you roll everything up in?
STEAK. You roll it up in STEAK. How can anyone argue with that?
By the way:
This is a great time to use some butter or coconut oil!
Keto Crack Chicken
The crazy name for this dish comes from the fact that it’s addictive. After all, it uses chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, and scallion.
If that ingredient list doesn’t scream delicious, I don’t know what does! This recipe comes from The Keto Queens.
Short on time? You can use pre-cooked OR frozen chicken. You can even make it in a slow cooker or an electric pressure cooker.
Keto-friendly and convenient! Do I have your attention yet?
So you probably want to know how to make this, right?
Here you go:
In a slow cooker combine:
Killer Lemon Butter Sauce with Fish
This recipe by Nagi from Recipe Tin Eats is less a recipe and more a technique. And what a technique it is. It takes that golden keto building block of butter and makes it better.
By browning it to bring out its subtle nuttiness.
You add lemon.
The full recipe is here, but a video is worth a thousand words.
Kimchi and Pork Belly Stir Fry
If you’re in the mood for some Korean food, this is a standout among your standard keto dinner ideas!
Kimchi is fermented cabbage and is chock full of nutrients. It pairs incredibly well with thinly sliced pork belly.
This recipe is from Yang’s Nourishing Kitchen.
Portobello Bun Cheeseburgers
Subbing out something for a bun is a common hack among keto dinner ideas. The most common sub is using out lettuce leaves for the bun.
But this recipe has a great alternative!
Instead of lettuce, sub out portobello mushrooms! GENIUS!
This recipe comes from Sara Blackburn on Perfect Keto.
Want to round out this keto dinner?
Try these garnishes:
Stuffed Avocados with Chicken Bacon Salad
If keto had a representative fruit, it would probably be an avocado.
Because it’s fatty and delicious. It also happens to be an excellent vehicle for salad. In this case, chicken and BACON salad.
And we all know the golden rule:
Add BACON to make anything taste better.
I would try to sell you more on this as one of my favorite keto dinner ideas, but I’m guessing I don’t have to.
This genius recipe is also courtesy of Katerina from the Diethood.
Low-Carb Shrimp Pad Thai
Just because you’re doing keto doesn’t mean you have to give up noodles.
If you love pad thai, you’re going to love this next keto dinner idea:
Low-Carb Shrimp Pad Thai.
The original version of this recipe from Bulletproof uses shirataki noodles. This adapted recipe uses zucchini noodles which may be easier to get hold of.
BBQ Pulled Beef
Beef. It’s what’s for your (keto) dinner.
This pulled beef recipe from Perfect Keto can be served on a keto-friendly bun as a sandwich or just as is with some coleslaw.
Either way, it’s bound to be delicious.
For the roast:
For the sauce:
Room for Dessert
Choosing to follow a keto diet doesn’t have to mean eating the same keto dinner ideas every night.
It means exactly the opposite!
There are a million and one different combinations you can enjoy.
These keto dinner ideas are just the beginning. Do you have any other keto recipes you would like to share?
Let us know in the comments!