on January 2, 2019
The ketogenic diet — or keto diet — is a very low-carb diet researchers are studying for its many health benefits, including weight loss, disease prevention, energy, and longevity.
Early human studies suggest the keto diet may help fight obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease — even cancer and Alzheimer’s disease[ * ][ * ][ * ].
The short-term benefits of keto are also significant.
Fat loss, mental clarity, and higher energy levels are just a few of the benefits keto dieters report.
If you’re ready to try it out for yourself, follow this detailed keto diet plan for beginners and grocery list so you know exactly what to buy.
Keto Diet Plan for Beginners: 2 Prep Steps
The goal of a healthy ketogenic diet is to help you reach the metabolic state of ketosis and improve your health.
That means your body goes from using carbohydrates (aka glucose) as fuel and starts burning fat (as ketones) for energy.
Once you’re in a state of ketosis, you’ll truly start to see and feel the benefits — from sharp thinking to more energy.
But to start your diet and get into ketosis, you’ll need to prepare a bit.
It all starts with calculating your ideal macronutrient intake.
Don’t worry — it’s super easy.
#1: Calculate Your Macros
First, use the macronutrient calculator below to determine your specific carb needs .
For example, a common target on a keto diet is to limit your carbs to under 20 grams per day.
But this is a general goal and may not be right for you, especially if your job keeps you on your feet all day or you enjoy working out 5-6 times per week.
Because of that, it’s essential you determine your unique carbohydrate needs so you can safely support your lifestyle while still getting into a state of ketosis .
Using this calculator, you’ll be able to see how many grams of fat, carbs, and protein you’ll need to reach and maintain ketosis.
From there, it’s as simple as choosing the right foods and narrowing down the portions that will help you reach your targets each day.
Standard Ketogenic Calculator for a classic ketogenic diet of 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbohydrate (recommended) Select
Specialized Macronutrient Calculator to input specific amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrate
Choose what describes you best
No Exercise and Low Activity
Exercise 1-2x/Week (Low Intensity)
Exercise 1-2x/Week (Mid/High Intensity)
Exercise 3-4x/Week (Low Intensity)
Exercise 3-4x/Week (Mid/High Intensity)
Exercise More than 4x/Week (Low Intensity)
Exercise More than 4x/Week (Mid/High Intensity)
High Intensity Exercise 5x/Week + Active Lifestyle
Calorie Intake Goal
Input "0" to maintain your bodyweight
Input a surplus percentage for weight gain
Input a deficit percentage for weight loss
5-10% is a small deficit
10-20% is a moderate deficit
20-30% is a large deficit
Input Your Protein Ratio
Guide to picking your protein ratio
To maintain muscle, leave protein ratio between 0.60 to 0.80 grams per lb of lean body mass (1.3 to 1.7 grams per kg LBM)
To gain muscle, the protein ratio should be between 0.8 to 1.2 grams per lb of lean body mass (1.7 to 2.3 grams per kg LBM)
Input Your Total Carb Intake
Input the grams of carbs you want to consume on a daily basis
Net Carbs (g)
Calculate My Goals
Your Daily Macronutrient Goals
#2: Supplement And Hydrate
Hydration and electrolyte supplementation are both critical to getting into ketosis quickly and painlessly.
When you cut carbs, your body will naturally start to deplete its glycogen stores.
When this happens, it’s natural to urinate more frequently. That means you’re losing water and electrolytes — mostly sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
And the more dehydrated you are, the more susceptible you are to the keto flu — a physiological response that some people experience when they’re transitioning into ketosis.
The best way to combat keto flu is by staying hydrated and adding electrolytes back into your system through supplementation.
Light exercise, intermittent fasting, adding more dietary fat, and an exogenous ketone supplement can also help you get through the keto flu faster and makes the process less painful.
The Best Keto-Friendly Foods For Your Diet Plan
When you’re first starting the keto diet, it may seem like you’re limited to a small list of foods. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
You can incorporate most vegetables, pastured, organic meat, eggs, and fish, and plenty of healthy fats.
Read on to find low-carb, high-fat foods to support your ketosis goals.
Fats: Top Healthy Fats on a Keto Diet
To keep your diet healthy, it’s important to choose high-quality fats — ones that come from nutrient-dense, whole food sources — not packaged ones.
There are plenty of fats and oils out there that you should avoid, including highly processed seed oils, conventional meat, and processed cheese.
If you stick to low-quality foods like these, you may never see the benefits of ketosis.
Not only that, you’re more likely to see adverse side effects like weight gain and high cholesterol when that doesn’t have to be the case.
Some of the best healthy fats on a keto diet include:
Grass-fed meats and organ meats
MCT Oil and MCT oil powder
Avocados and avocado oil
Macadamia nut oil
Nuts and seeds
Protein: Best Protein Sources on a Keto Diet
Conventional animal protein contains hormones and antibiotics you won’t find in grass-fed, pastured meat and eggs.
Plus, pastured protein tends to have more nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamins A and E.
The best protein options to reach for are:
Grass-fed, fattier cuts of meat like steak and ground beef
Darker, fattier cuts of chicken, duck, or turkey
Pork options like tenderloin, chops, bacon, or ham
Fish, including mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout, halibut, cod, catfish, and mahi-mahi
Oysters, clams, crab, mussels, and lobster
Grass fed, full-fat dairy, including grass-fed butter , heavy cream, and cottage cheese
And lastly, while you won’t be enjoying the same carbs on keto, there are some carbs you’ll still want to include.
Carbs: Safe-on-Keto Carbohydrate Sources On A Keto Diet
As you’ve probably seen in your macronutrient calculator results , somewhere between 5-10% of your calories will come from carbohydrates.
Reach for low-carb, nutrient-rich options such as:
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, swiss chard, bok choy, and romaine
Nuts (almonds, macadamias, Brazil nuts, and walnuts)
Raspberries and blackberries
Chia and flax seeds
These healthy sources of carbs also have plenty of fiber, which can help you feel fuller faster so you’ll consume fewer calories.
High fiber veggies, nuts, and seeds can also help balance your gut microbiome, help prevent constipation, lessen symptoms of IBS, lower blood sugar, reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, and can decrease your cardiovascular and stroke risk[ * ][ * ][ * ][ * ][ * ].
But, that’s only if you practice portion control.
Just because these carbs are safe on keto doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all.
To help you get started, below is a sample 7-day keto diet plan which also includes a free printable grocery list.
Super Simple 7-Day Keto Diet Plan For Beginners
This meal plan contains keto recipes that won’t take long to whip up and they’re so delicious that everyone in your family — including picky eaters — will enjoy them.
Here’s the sample plan:
With this information and sample meal plan under your belt, you’re ready to take the next step.
Keto Beginner Grocery List For Your Diet Plan
Take this printable keto beginners grocery list with you when you go shopping so you can fill your cart with keto-friendly options and you’re not tempted by unnecessary carbs.
After a few weeks of this, it will all become second nature.
And hopefully, by then you’ve reached ketosis and have experienced the positive side effects that come with it.
Keto Beginner Grocery List
1/2 cup strawberries
4 large zucchinis
6 stalks green onion
4 cups romaine lettuce
1 medium tomato
2½ cups spinach
2½ cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
3 small onions
Juice of 1 lime
2 large cloves of garlic
2-inch nub of ginger root
4 baby bella mushrooms
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
12 oz. frozen riced cauliflower
1 pack of frozen wild blueberries
1 medium green pepper
2 cups cauliflower rice
1/2 cup cilantro
1 large avocado
1/2 cup favorite salsa
2 small limes
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage or sweet Italian sausage
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked
14 pieces of bacon
16 oz. (1lb) shrimp (peeled, tail on)
12 slices pepperoni
4 lbs. 85% lean grass-fed ground beef
Dairy & Eggs
15 oz.full-fat ricotta cheese
40 oz.of shredded mozzarella cheese
10 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup bleu cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. cheddar cheese
29 large eggs
3 tbsp. grass-fed butter
7 oz. heavy whipping cream
4 oz. sour cream
Oils and Condiments
Butter, ghee, coconut oil, or lard
MCT oil or liquid coconut oil
8 oz. beef bone broth
Herbs & Spices
Salt & Pepper
Mixed Italian herb seasoning
Red pepper flake (depending on how spicy you want this dish)
1 box of unsweetened almond milk
Stevia or monk fruit sweetener
1 package of coconut flour
1 package of almond flour
16 oz. Rao’s marinara sauce
No-salt-added tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of diced tomatoes
Cream of tartar
Supplements More Resources To Kickstart Your Keto Diet
Want even more ideas, tips, and tricks on how to get into ketosis and stay there?
Check out our complete guide to ketosis,
the Keto Kickstart program.
It includes everything you need, from comprehensive food list print-outs to grocery guides.
You’ll also learn how to eat out, stay in ketosis while traveling, and how to maintain ketosis in the long-term. And it’s completely free.