Keto Diet Meal-Planning Tips for Beginners

Find out what a keto diet is and learn different ways to build a healthy meal plan for one week.

A woman whisking an egg with a man chopping an ingredient

When you adopt a keto diet, you are putting together meals that feature high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate foods. Slashing your carbohydrate intake and replacing those calories with fat, puts your body into what is called ketosis. That means your body is burning fat, not carbs, for energy. It is also turning fat into ketones in the liver, supplying energy for the brain.

The primary aim of a keto diet plan is to promote healthy, rapid weight loss. This diet can also help reduce blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, reduce triglycerides, and increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. These goals are enhanced by adding Chinese medicine foods into your daily menus.

“People who tend to gain weight more easily, such as people with qi deficiency or yang deficiency, I categorize them as endomorphs. Those with a phlegm-dampness constitution, I would categorize as meso-endomorphs,” says Eu Yan Sang’s Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician Vong U Chan.

“This group of people may be a little bit more obese. The body is what we call an apple shape. Their weight is mainly focused around the abdomen area,” she notes.

Weight gain or obesity isn’t only due to an unhealthy diet or a lack of physical activity. They’re also dependent on a person’s body constitution. Supplementing the keto diet with the Chinese medicine diet and TCM can be a powerful and effective combination.

Here are 5 steps that will help you prepare a hassle-free keto diet plan for the week. 

1. Choose Easy-to-Prepare Keto Diet Recipes

To manage your prep and cooking time efficiently choose recipes with ingredients you have on hand. And thick with recipes that are simple to prepare and use minimal ingredients. One great shortcut: Use a slow cooker or crockpot to prepare meals. They do the work, while you’re off attending to something else.

Expert tip: You can incorporate TCM into your Keto diet recipes. To promote healthy weight loss, enjoy foods and herbal remedies that align with the guidelines of a keto diet.

  • Notoginseng (San Qi), walnuts or Chinese Angelica (Danggui) are suitable for blood stasis. TCM herbs like Poria mushrooms (Fu Ling), tangerine peel and white atractylodes (Bai Zhu) are keto-friendly ingredients. They can help do away with a phlegm-dampness body constitution.  
  • Astragalus roots (Huang Qi) can manage a qi (vital life energy) deficiency.
  • Chives, cinnamon and garlic help with a yang (active energy) deficiency.

2. Prepare Your Keto Diet Grocery List

A young couple looking at grocery list in a supermarket
Make sure to write down a grocery list to help you prepare your keto diet menu throughout the week.

Once you have decided on your recipes, make a shopping list of the ingredients you need for your weekly plan. Cross-check your list with items that you already have in stock to avoid making unnecessary purchases. 

Expert tip: Be sure to also include a chlorella supplement (green algae) as part of your shopping list. It can help purify blood through toxin elimination and balance the body’s pH levels. It can also increase energy levels and enhance your immune system.

3. Organize Your Ketogenic Foods

The storage method is one of the most overlooked yet essential components of weekly meal planning. The first step is to separate fresh foods that you need to freeze or refrigerate from dry foods. Next, write the date of storage on each packaging. 

When storing fresh foods, place the newly bought foods at the bottom or back of the compartment. You can bring older foods to the top or front. On the other hand, you should store dry foods in a dry place, such as a spice rack or drawer. A staple pantry, olive oil, should always be in your repertoire of ingredients. 

Expert tip: Olive oil contains polyphenols – they are associated with reduced morbidity and a lowered risk of developing cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. It is important to note that you shouldn’t use olive oil to cook over high heat or deep-fried foods.

4. Create a Spreadsheet of Keto Meal Ideas and Recipes

Grilled chicken fillet with fresh salad on a black plate placed on top of a wooden tray
Be adventurous and try different healthy food combinations and flavors to satisfy your cravings.

It may take some time before you become accustomed to preparing keto-focused meals for an entire week. But if you put together a database of recipes, it will get easier to enjoy a keto diet every day.

Expert tip: A dash of Hawthorn vinegar added to a recipe can support the practice of a keto diet by promoting healthy weight loss and encouraging antioxidant activity through its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-thrombotic, and vasodilatory effects.

5. Develop Theme-Based Ketogenic Meals for Every Day of the Week

To keep your keto diet plan tasty and appealing, consider theme-based meals. They can be ethnic, like Thai or Brazilian, or focused on one or more ingredients, such as avocados, red meats, or even coconut, palm or olive oil. You also can add fruits and green vegetables like blueberries, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, kale, or broccoli into the mix.

Expert tip: Avoid consuming sugary foods, grains like barley, flour, oats, and rice, as well as legumes.

Getting all the benefits of a keto diet for weight loss or to improve your overall well-being depends on your ability to remain consistent. Keep this guide on hand to help you improve your meal planning. We hope you’ll see the results of the keto diet plan that you are hoping for.

References

  1. US National Library of Medicine. 2020. Ketogenic Diet. [Accessed 18 October 2021]
  2. US National Library of Medicine. 2020. Potential Health Benefits of Olive Oil and Plant Polyphenols. [Accessed 18 October 2021]
  3. Harvard T.H. Chan. Meal Prep Guide.[Accessed 18 October 2021] 
  4. Science and Education Publishing. The Metabolic Effects of Hawthorn Vinegar in Patients with High Cardiovascular Risk Group. [Accessed 18 October 2021]
  5. Harvard Health Publishing. 2020. Should you try the keto diet? [Accessed 18 October 2021]
  6. ATKINS. Helpful Tips: Ketogenic Foods to Avoid. [Accessed 18 October 2021] 

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