Amazing Keto Dinner Ideas – A Must Try!

keto nutrition diet program
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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!

Keto 101

​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.

Wait. What?

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!

Caution: 

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.

weight loss is easily seen on loose pants

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​Epilepsy

Keto diet for treatment of epilepsy

Image via Pixabay

Did you know that the ketogenic diet was initially developed as a way to treat epilepsy?

It's true!

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.

​Diabetics

a device to monitor blood sugar level

Image: xb100, via Freepik

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

  • ​Extreme thirst
  • ​Confusion
  • ​High blood sugar
  • Nausea

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.”

Physician noting down the results on the patients' medical record

Image: Raw Pixel, via Freepik

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

patient consulting with her doctor about her health

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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.

Food changes

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!

woman eating a bowl of vegetable salad for a healthy diet

Image: Yanalya, via Freepik

Keto flu

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.”

checking the body temperature using a thermometer

Image: Freepik

Here’s what you can expect:

​Symptoms of the “Keto Flu”

  • ​Sugar cravings
  • ​Dizziness
  • ​Lack of focus
  • ​Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Muscle soreness

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

“Keto Flu”

  • ​Eat more fat
  • ​Stay hydrated
  • ​Get plenty of rest
  • ​Do gentle exercise

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?

Keto dinner ideas like asparagus and veal

Image via Pixabay

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.

BUT

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:

​Keto-Friendly Fats

  • ​Pastured lard
  • ​Pastured tallow
  • ​Fish oil
  • ​Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Cacao butter

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

​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.

​Keto-friendly Proteins

  • ​Beef
  • ​Pork
  • ​Whey protein
  • ​Gelatin
  • ​Organ meats
  • ​Shellfish
  • Eggs

​Vegetables

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:

​Keto-friendly Vegetables

  • ​Zucchini
  • ​Spinach
  • ​Radish
  • ​Cauliflower
  • ​Kale
  • ​Cucumbers

Fruit

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.

Nuts and beans are good for the body

Image: Freepik

​They make great snacks as well as flavorful additions to meals.

​Keto-friendly nuts

  • ​Almonds
  • ​Cashews
  • ​Walnuts
  • ​Chia seeds
  • ​Flax seeds
  • ​Sesame seeds

​Dairy

​Dairy can add a lot of essential fat to a keto diet.

dairy food like milk, eggs and butter are nutritious

Image: Freepik

Plus:

It’s delicious!

When choosing a dairy product, try to go for organic, grass-fed dairy.

​Keto-friendly Dairy

  • ​Butter
  • ​Ghee
  • ​Cream
  • ​Plain yogurt
  • ​Cheese (full-fat)
  • ​Cottage cheese

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.

keto dinner ideas featuring shirataki noodles

Image by Craig Dugas, CC by 2.0, via Flickr

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

steak Fajitas for keto dinner ideas

Steak Fajitas. Mehlen Romain [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

No tortillas for your keto diet

Image by Lucas, CC by 2.0, via Flickr

But what will you roll everything up in?

STEAK. You roll it up in STEAK. How can anyone argue with that?

Recipe

  • ​To make these Steak Fajita Rollups, cut some thinly sliced carne asada steak into strips, about 2-inches by 6-inches.
  • ​Season those strips up well with fajita seasoning. Don’t have fajita seasoning? Grab some salt, cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Mix it up and dust it over.
  • ​Slice up some bell peppers and season them with the fajita seasoning. Grill the veggies until they’re just starting to get cooked.
  • Take them off the grill and then roll them in the steak slices, securing with toothpicks. Grill them over medium-high heat and cook two minutes per side or until cooked to your desired doneness.
  • Serve them up with some keto-friendly guacamole for a Tex-Mex inspired keto dinner.

​By the way:

This is a great time to use some butter or coconut oil!

​​​Keto Crack Chicken

Crock pots chicken recipe make keto dinner ideas easy

Crock pots make keto dinner ideas easy. Image by Janine, CC by 2.0, via Flickr

​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.

different parts and sizes of a Raw chicken

Image: Freepik

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:

Recipe

In a slow cooker combine:

  • ​2 pounds cooked chicken, shredded
  • 16 ounces of cream cheese
  • ​1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, dill, red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • Scallion, sliced
  • ​Place in a slower cooker and cook on high for 2 hours. At the end of two hours, stir in 1/2 a cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
  • ​When you are ready to serve, sprinkle on two slices bacon, chopped.
  • ​One more thing: It’s versatile. Serve it with cauliflower rice or on top of zucchini noodles. The possibilities are endless (and delicious!)

​Killer Lemon Butter Sauce with Fish

Fish with lemon butter sauce is a fast keto dinner idea

Lemon butter fish. Image by jeffreyw, CC by 2.0, via Flickr

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.

How?

By browning it to bring out its subtle nuttiness.

And then…

You add lemon.

The full recipe is here, but a video is worth a thousand words.

​​​Kimchi and Pork Belly Stir Fry

Kimchi and Pork Belly Stir Fry is perfect for your keto diet meal

You can make many keto friendly Asian dishes. Phengphian Laogumnerd Cuisine [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

​If you’re in the mood for some Korean food, this is a standout among your standard keto dinner ideas!

Korean kimchi is keto friendly meal

Nagyman, a flickr user [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Recipe

  • ​Take approximately a 3/4 pound of thinly sliced pork belly and 1 pound of kimchi, cut into 1-inch slices. Marinate the pork belly in 1 tablespoon each rice wine and soy sauce for about 10 minutes.
  • ​Stir fry the pork belly until brown and then add the kimchi, stir-frying for another minute. Remove from heat and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.

​Portobello Bun Cheeseburgers

Mushrooms are a tasty addition to keto dinner ideas

Portobello mushrooms. Image CC by 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

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!

Recipe

​This recipe comes from Sara Blackburn on Perfect Keto.

  • ​1 pound grass-fed beef
  • ​1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • ​generous splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • ​6 portobello mushroom caps
  • ​3 slices cheddar cheese
  • ​Mix your beef and Worcestershire sauce. Then divide your meat into three equal portions and form into burger patties.
  • ​Heat your cooking fat on the grill. Perfect Keto suggests avocado oil but bacon fat, ghee, or coconut oil would work just as well!
  • ​Add your portabello mushroom caps and grill for about four minutes on each side. Set aside for now.
  • Cook up your burger patties to your desired doneness on the same grill, being sure to season each side with salt and pepper.
  • Add your cheese to the burgers. Toss an ice cube onto the hot pan and then cover to help the cheese melt. This will take about a minute.
  • Using one mushroom as a base, slide your finished burger onto it and then top with another mushroom as the top “bun.”

Want to round out this keto dinner?

Try these garnishes:

​Stuffed Avocados with Chicken Bacon Salad

Keto dinner idea of stuffed avocado

Image via Pixabay

If keto had a representative fruit, it would probably be an avocado.

Avocado is good source of healthy fats

Image: Dashu83, via Freepik

Why?

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.

Recipe

  • ​Cut an avocado in half, removing the pit and the flesh. Dice the avocado and save the empty avocado halves to serve in.
  • ​Be sure to drizzle some lemon juice over the avocado dices and halves to keep them from browning. Mix diced cooked chicken, diced avocado, and add some crumbled bacon.
  • Mix a quick dressing of lemon, garlic, olive oil, dried oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the lemon dressing over your chicken, avocado, and bacon. Toss gently to combine.
  • Serve up in your reserved avocado halves and enjoy!

​Low-Carb Shrimp Pad Thai

stirring tasty shrimp dish for a healthy family meal

Image CC0 via GoodFreePhotos

Just because you’re doing keto doesn’t mean you have to give up noodles.

ramen noodles are so popular for busy people who doesn't have enough time to cook

Image CC by 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ​16 ounces zucchini “noodles”
  • ​18 shrimp, medium sized (peeled, deveined)
  • ​2 eggs
  • ​salt

Sauce:

  • ​3/4 teaspoon coconut oil
  • ​1 teaspoon keto-friendly fish sauce
  • ​1 teaspoon nut butter
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

​Garnish:

  • ​1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • ​2 green onions, chopped
  • ​Mix your sauce ingredients until thoroughly combined and then set aside. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Stir fry in a little bit of coconut oil. Set aside for now.
  • ​Beat and season eggs with a little bit of salt. Add some oil to your pan and scramble the eggs. Add in the zucchini noodles, shrimp, and sauce mixture to the eggs. Stir fry until warmed through.
  • ​To serve, drizzle some fresh lime juice and garnish with the chopped green onions and cilantro.

​​​​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.

Recipe

​For the roast:

  • ​3-pound boneless chuck roast
  • ​1 tablespoon paprika
  • ​1 teaspoon each onion powder and black pepper
  • ​2 teaspoon garlic powder and salt

​For the sauce:

  • ​1/2 cup bone broth
  • ​2 tablespoons each coconut aminos and tomato paste
  • ​1/4 cup melted butter
  • ​1/4 cup apple cider
  • ​Mix the paprika, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Mix the sauce ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  • ​Dust the chuck roast liberally with this dry rub. Place in slow cooker and add sauce. Cook on low in the slow cooker for 10 to 12 hours.
  • ​When done, remove the beef and shred. Turn the slow cooker up to high and let the sauce reduce and thicken. Return the shredded beef to the pot and coat with sauce before serving.

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!

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