7-Day Keto Meal Plan and Guide for Beginners

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A keto meal plan is your key to success on the ketogenic diet. Knowing which foods to eat (and which to avoid), meal prepping, and following a ketogenic guidelines will help you reach your macro goals and stay in ketosis.

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This guide offers a sample one-week keto meal plan — perfect for your first week on keto. Feel free to follow it to the letter or tailor it to your individual goals.

Before you dive into the meals, review how to calculate your macros and which foods are keto-friendly. This will set you set you up for success after your initial week on the keto diet.

Which Version of Keto Should You Follow?

Why do you want to  start a ketogenic diet and follow a keto meal plan? Do you want to finally lose the stubborn excess body weight you’ve been lugging around? Are you looking for better mental clarity and more energy? Or will you be using a ketogenic diet for more specific health benefits, such as lowering your blood sugar, blood pressure, or decreasing your risk of type 2 diabetes?

Your approach to keto will differ depending upon your individual goals. Below are a few common keto objectives, and the keto diet type  best suited for accomplishing each.

For Fat Loss and Overall Health: Standard Ketogenic Diet

The standard ketogenic diet (SKD) is the most common approach to keto, and the most highly recommended method for beginners. Those who follow SKD are typically looking to achieve weight loss or fat loss.

The basic rules for SKD are:

  • Limit your carb intake to 20-50 grams of net carbs per day
  • Consume moderate amounts of protein
  • Consume high amounts of fat

An intake of 30 grams of net carbohydrates or less will typically induce ketosis.

For Improved Workout Performance: Targeted Ketogenic Diet

The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) is ideal for maintaining exercise performance, and therefore best for athletes or those who maintain a high activity level. How does it work? TKD allows for glycogen resynthesis without interrupting ketosis for extended periods of time.

To follow TKD, use these guidelines:

  • Consume 25-50 grams of carbs per day
  • Consume highly digestible carbs 30 minutes to one hour prior to exercise
  • Consume high amounts of fats and moderate amounts of protein

For Bodybuilders or Athletes: Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) involves alternating days of strict keto and high-carb consumption. For example, a week on CKD would involve eating 20-50 grams of carbs for five consecutive days, then eating a high-carb diet (over 100 grams per day) for two days.

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Athletes who follow a high-intensity, high-volume training schedule would be best suited for this approach. The goal of CKD is to completely deplete muscle glycogen between the carb loads while the TKD has a goal of maintaining muscle glycogen at a moderate level.

To follow the SKD, try this schedule:

  • For five days: Consume 20-50 grams of carbs per day
  • For two days: Consume over 100 grams of carbs per day
  • Following your two days of “carb loading,” return to restricting carbs to 20-50 grams

For Those Who Need More Protein: High-Protein Ketogenic Diet

If you lift four times or more per week, you might require more protein in your keto meal plan. While the standard ketogenic diet typically limits protein intake to 20% of total calories, the high protein ketogenic diet (HPKD) allows 35% of total calories come from protein.

To follow HPKD, try this:

  • Consume 35% of total calories from protein
  • Consume 60% of total calories from fat

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