Every year, a dozen new diet trends sweep the nation. Many of them make lofty promises and offer false hope for people who are just trying to better themselves.
One of the most popular diets right now is also one of the most effective. It isn’t just another fad diet, but a way of eating based on scientific principles. It is called the ketogenic diet (or keto diet for short) and it is a fool-proof way to shed fat fast.
The ketogenic diet is unlike other fad or temporary diets. It’s entirely based upon the principle of ketosis, in which your body burns fats cells for fuel.
Keep reading to learn the basics about the keto diet and to receive some simple-to-make recipes that will help you maintain ketosis to maximize your results.
What is the Keto Diet, Anyway?
In the simplest of terms, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb diet. The idea is to switch your body over from burning carbohydrates (glucose) for fuel to burning fat instead – primarily your stored fat.
Let’s take a closer look at how the ketogenic diet works.
The typical Western diet is very high in carbs – things like processed sugars and refined carbohydrates. When you eat high-carb foods, your body starts to break it down into its primary component, chains of glucose molecules. As those molecules are broken down, the glucose enters you bloodstream, so your cells can absorb it and utilize it for energy. Any excess carbohydrate is typically stored as fat and reserved for later use.
When you change your diet to reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase your fat intake, you are forcing your body to change its primary source of fuel. Instead of relying on quick-burning carbohydrates, your body is forced to start burning through your stored fat which results in rapid weight loss. The process that makes it all happen is called ketosis.
To enter a state of ketosis, you need to consume between 70% and 80% fat, 15% to 20% protein, and no more than 5% carbohydrates. Once your body enters ketosis you have a little wiggle room, but consuming too many carbohydrates will kick you out of ketosis.
Try These 5 Super-Simple Recipes to Help Maintain Ketosis
The key to seeing results with the ketogenic diet is to maintain a state of ketosis and that requires sticking to your macros. Though your daily calorie intake may vary, you always want to maintain a macronutrient ratio of 70% to 80% fat, 15% to 25% protein, and no more than 5% carbohydrates.
Sticking to your macros doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your favorite meals and snacks – you simply need to find keto meals! Here are some delicious keto-friendly recipes to help you maintain ketosis without feeling deprived:
1. Taco Breakfast Skillet
Loaded with tender beef, cheddar cheese, and eggs, this taco breakfast skillet is enough to feed the whole family or to leave you with leftovers for the week. Start by browning a pound of ground beef then season with taco seasoning. Whisk together 10 eggs with a cup of shredded cheese and ¼ cup heavy cream and pour it into the skillet. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes then top with more cheese, sour cream, avocado, green onions, and salsa.
2. Stuffed Avocados with Chicken Bacon Salad
Whether you’re looking for a hearty snack or a simple lunch recipe, these avocado boats stuffed with chicken bacon salad are sure to hit the spot. Start by cooking 12 slices of bacon until crisp then chop them into a bowl. Scoop the flesh out of three avocados and dice it up then add it to the bacon. Add 2 cups of shredded chicken, some sliced green onion, and a tablespoon or two of lemon juice then season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the empty avocado shells and dress as desired.
3. Bacon Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs
A tasty twist on a classic snack, these bacon blue cheese deviled eggs are loaded with fat and flavor – perfect for the keto diet. Start by hard boiling 8 eggs then peel them and cut them in half. Spoon the yolks into a bowl and mash with 1/3 cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup sour cream, and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper then stir in ¼ cup blue cheese and spoon the mixture into the egg white halves. Sprinkle with the chopped bacon to serve.
4. Pressure Cooker Crack Chicken
Spoon this crack chicken into a keto-friendly sandwich bun or dig into a bowl topped with crumbled bacon. Any way you eat it, you’re sure to enjoy! Start by cooking 2 slices of chopped bacon until crisp then set them aside. Combine 2 pounds of chicken thighs, 2 packages cream cheese, ½ cup water, and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar in an electric pressure cooker. Season as desired then cook on high pressure for 15 minutes before quick-releasing the pressure. Shred the chicken and stir it back in then adjust the seasoning and stir in ½ cup shredded cheese. Top with diced bacon to serve.
5. Hearty Beef Stew
If you’re looking for a recipe to keep you warm and satisfied, this hearty beef stew is the way to go. Start by browning 1 ¼ pounds of beef chuck roast (cubed) then sauté some mushrooms, celery, and onions. Add garlic then season the mixture with dried thyme and bay leaf. Stir in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and 5 cups of beef broth then bring to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours. When the beef is tender, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve hot. If you want a more complete meal, spoon the stew over garlic mashed cauliflower.
Remember, the keto diet allows you to eat what you want when you want it, as long as it fits your macros. You don’t necessarily need to count calories if you don’t want to, but you should always keep an eye on your carbohydrate, protein, and fat consumption.
Don't feel like cooking? Check out our pre-made keto meals here.