Keto – what is it and why has it become such a big topic in recent years? That’s what we’ll address here. Let’s take a look at what you can eat on a ketogenic diet, why it’s such a sensation, and how you can cook up your own keto meal plan.
The ketogenic diet (keto for short) is essentially a high-fat, low-carb diet that triggers your body to enter a metabolic state known as ketosis. Ketosis happens when the body begins to use fat as a source of energy rather than glucose. During ketosis, your body’s insulin levels go down, fatty acids are released and processed by the liver where they then oxidize and turn into ketones. These ketones, in turn, provide energy to the body and feed your brain.
One reason the diet is in the spotlight of late is that it’s quite controversial, with some researchers asserting that the diet may be unsafe or potentially harmful to people with a history of yo-yo dieting. The diet’s focus on fat and protein can also lead to over-reliance on processed foods and red meat, which comes with a whole host of issues. On the other hand, the ketogenic diet can serve therapeutic purposes and help treat people with certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s, brain damage, epilepsy, and diabetes.
What can you eat on a ketogenic diet?
As mentioned above, keto requires you to eat a high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb foods. This restrictive eating can be difficult as carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes, bread, rice, and whole grains are prevalent in cuisines around the world. A macronutrient breakdown of a keto meal plan would look something like this:
Fat: 70-75 percent of calories
Protein: 20-25 percent of calories
Carbohydrates: 5-10 percent of calories
How can you achieve these percentages? You would have to forgo sweets and carbs; instead opting for foods with high-fat content like nuts, eggs, meat, low-carb vegetables, cheese, and unsweetened yogurt.
A ketogenic diet food list
The ketogenic diet is one primarily focused on fat and protein, so it sometimes has a reputation for being rather meat-heavy. However, if you pay attention to your nutrition, it’s also possible to maintain a vegetarian or even a vegan ketogenic diet. To make the diet a little easier to understand, we’ve provided a ketogenic diet food list that will show you where to get your nutrition.
Ghee (fortified butter)
Plant-based oils like coconut or olive oil
Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
Some carbs (5-10%)
Construct your own keto diet meal plan
If you want to start living the ketogenic lifestyle, we recommend making a (weekly) keto plan to map out exactly what you want to eat during the week. Curveballs are sure to come your way from time to time, so your best bet is to be prepared. Although the 8fit Pro app doesn’t feature a keto meal plan, it’s possible to use filters to narrow down the ingredients you want to include and exclude. For example, you could choose a plan and eliminate bread and potatoes.
Unsure what an average day would look like while on a keto meal plan? We’ll show you some healthy options for breakfast and lunch/dinner that you can find on the 8fit app.
Broccoli & feta omelette
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup chopped broccoli
- ⅔ ounce feta cheese
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Wash the broccoli thoroughly. Cut the florets into small pieces.
- Add the oil to a skillet pan and heat to medium-high. Add the broccoli and toss to coat with oil. Cook, stirring every 2-3 minutes until the broccoli begins to soften and turn bright green.
- In the meantime, whisk eggs with feta in a small bowl.
- Add the egg mixture to a pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes at medium heat, flip the omelette and cook 2 minutes or until cooked through.
- Season as desired.
Keto Chicken Thigh Recipe
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
- 400 g chicken thighs (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 2 Tbsp sesame seed oil
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- ½ thumb ginger (grated)
- 1 clove garlic (grated)
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 head broccoli (chopped in florets)
- 2 scallions
- To make your batter, combine a large egg with a tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
- Whisk it well and place your chicken thigh pieces in the batter. Make sure to coat them all over.
- Heat up a tablespoon of sesame seed oil in a large pan on a medium temperature, and add the chicken thighs once it’s hot. If the pan is crowded, work in several batches, and make sure you’re gentle when moving the chicken around and flipping it. If you’re too rough, the batter might come off, and the sauce won’t stick well later on.
- While the chicken thighs are cooking (about 10 minutes), add the broccoli to a pot of boiling water for about 3-4 minutes.
- Make your sesame sauce by mixing the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, maple syrup, sesame seeds, and the remaining sesame oil. Whisk well to combine.
- When all the chicken is cooked through, add your sesame sauce to the pan and stir to coat the meat. Let this cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- When the sauce has thickened and warmed up, serve the chicken and cooked broccoli together in a bowl with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and sliced scallion.
Keto meal plan: Our verdict
As with any significant diet change, we recommend speaking with your doctor before starting a ketogenic diet. It’s important that you weight out the pros and cons of this diet before jumping in unprepared – although you may desire rapid weight loss, try to remember that it may not be permanent unless you continue to follow it after the initial loss of weight. For long-term weight loss, we recommend a slower approach brought on by changing your habits over time.