Chances are you’ve heard the buzz on the keto diet (and for a good reason—it works)! Wondering if it's right for you? Worried that you might have to give up some of your favorite foods?
In our beginner's guide to keto, we'll help you get started with the ketogenic diet basics. But, first, let's review what you need to know to start losing weight today.
What is the Keto Diet?
Before starting any diet, you should always check with your doctor and follow their recommendations. Keto isn't right for everyone, but cutting back on carbs and calories, in general, is a surefire way to lose weight. Here’s a keto guide to help you get started.
The ketogenic diet basics are high fat, low carbohydrate, high protein. The keto diet guidelines mirror some other popular diets like Paleo and Atkins, with a few modifications. The diet was initially developed to treat patients with epilepsy, but doctors found that the keto guidelines helped followers regulate their insulin and blood sugar levels as well. An additional benefit was that it helped dieters slim down too.
The keto diet basics may sound counterintuitive—eat more fat to lose weight? But when you reduce your intake of carbs and swap in fats and protein, your body starts to get energy from fat rather than carbs and sugars. The state of getting energy from fat instead of carbs is called ketosis. After about four days of following a low-carb, high fat, high protein diet, your body will go into the state of ketosis. This shift changes the way your metabolism uses food.
There are many reported benefits of keto. People often say that they feel more mental acuity. Keto followers often report more energy, better sleep, and improved focus on the diet. The keto diet can also help with weight loss. When people cut out carbs from their diet, often they’ll see a significant reduction in their waistline. There is usually an adjustment period where users experience "keto flu" (which isn't actually the flu, but rather sugar withdrawal). Once the initial feelings pass, keto dieters are usually amazed at the amount of energy they have.
Does keto sound like the diet plan for you? If you’re ready to give keto a try, here are the keto basics to help you get started.
Beginner’s Guide to Keto Diet Basics
According to the keto guidelines, the ideal ratio for keto followers is to get 75% of their calories from fat, 20% from protein, and the remaining 5% from carbohydrates. Keto guidelines often require a shift in eating, but thanks to the satiety and flavor provided by most high-fat foods (hello, bacon and avocado), most people find it easy at first.
We crave fatty foods. That's why we love ice cream, butter, and nuts. Most people also crave sugar with fat, and following a keto diet can help you break through those sugar cravings for healthier choices.
We all know why sugar isn’t so great for us. It can make us feel hyped up, and then we crash a short time later. In addition, sugar leads to tooth decay and weight gain. The extra weight increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other health issues. Researchers have also found that sugar reduces collagen in the skin, causing us to look older and age faster.
When we think of sugar, we probably think of candy, soda, and sweets, but there are many hidden sugars in other foods as well. Salad dressings, cereals, bread, sauces, and other processed food items may contain hidden sugars. Ingredients like corn syrup, maltose, or lactose are all sugar.
So what about carbs? Carbohydrates include sugars, starches, and fiber. The sugars and starches in simple carbohydrates are broken down first. However, fiber is a complex carbohydrate, meaning our body doesn't easily digest it. Instead, fiber often helps waste products and toxins move through and out of our bodies. Therefore, it's essential to consume enough fiber from complex carbohydrates while avoiding sugars and starches.
How does this all play into the keto diet? Keto encourages us to get plenty of healthy fat and protein. It's not actually fat that makes us, well, fat. It's the way our body breaks down, uses, and stores the fat that can lead to weight gain. If we consume a diet with the right balance, our bodies will use the fat to create energy.
When following keto basics, users should limit the amount of carbohydrates significantly. Unprocessed meat, eggs, and some dairy are free of carbohydrates. On the other hand, plant-based foods like vegetables, grains, and fruits generally contain at least some carbohydrates, although many are high in fiber. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds like chia and flax.
Animal-based fats like butter, cheese, and cream are also acceptable when following keto guidelines. Of course, it's essential to focus on healthy fats as much as possible. Even on keto, an all-bacon diet is a bad idea. Remember all things in moderation.
Beginner’s Guide to Keto Foods
If you're ready to try keto, stock your kitchen with healthy keto-friendly food options. When you shop at the grocery store, stick to the perimeter—the meat, dairy, and produce sections. Keto foods are typically whole and minimally processed. Are you wondering where to start?
- Chicken breasts or thighs
- Turkey slices
- Bone Broth
- Ground Beef
- Green beans
- Herbs—basil, thyme, cilantro, parsley, etc.
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
- Cream cheese
- Hard cheese like Parmesan
- Cream & Sour Cream
- Butter and ghee (clarified butter)
Snacks & Extras
- Unsweetened almond butter
- Cheese sticks
- Hardboiled eggs
- Nuts—almonds, cashews
- Seeds—pepitas, chia, flax
- Beef jerky
- Spices and hot sauce
- Sugar-free sauces and dressings
- Olive, avocado, or coconut oils
Once you've stocked up on keto-friendly foods and stacks, it's time to get cooking! Fortunately, you can meal prep and make most keto-friendly foods ahead. Make a few hardboiled eggs, pack up some individual servings of almonds, and pre-chop vegetables. Cook extra chicken or steak at dinner so you can enjoy it in a lettuce wrap for tomorrow’s lunch.
Once you get the hang of the keto basics, following the diet is simple.
Beginner’s Guide to Keto: Sample Keto Meal Plan
- Breakfast: Scrambled egg with two strips of bacon; coffee with cream.
- Lunch: Lettuce wrap with sliced turkey, cheese, and avocado with a hardboiled egg on the side.
- Snack: Almonds or low-sodium beef jerky, with a glass of unsweetened iced tea.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken breast with a side of asparagus, avocado mousse for dessert
Now, this likely sounds like a yummy menu and is easily doable for at least a few weeks. But how can you make a longer-term shift towards a low-carb lifestyle? Eventually, you're going to get a hankering for some bread, cake, or PASTA! So how do you control cravings on keto? We’re going to let you in on a little keto-friendly secret.
The Keto Pasta Solution
Life without pasta sounds a little depressing, doesn’t it? Yes, chicken, avocado, and bacon are delicious, but after a while, most of us crave a yummy bowl of spaghetti, fettuccine alfredo, or Chinese takeout.
Does keto mean giving up the foods you love forever?
Of course not! If you want the new diet to stick (and be successful), you’ll need a low-carb solution to help make your pasta dreams come true (while still helping you stay on track with your diet). Now, chances are, you’ve seen or heard about some keto-friendly pasta swaps. There are noodles made from zucchini, or “zoodles.” There’s even spaghetti squash.
But anyone who's tried these low-carb pasta substitutes has probably felt at least a little disappointed. These vegetable-based alternatives are okay, but we can all admit that they still taste like eating a bowl of vegetables. When you're craving a yummy, garlicky bowl of pasta goodness, zucchini “ain’t gonna cut it.”
Meet It’s Skinny. It’s Skinny pasta is a different take pasta that fits a low-carb lifestyle. This keto-friendly pasta has 0g of carbohydrates. It contains 2 grams of dietary fiber and only 9 calories per container (that's two servings). It's Skinny is the best keto pasta to help you hit all your cravings without the carb crash.
How do we do it? It’s Skinny is made from a plant called konjac. Konjac noodles are sometimes referred to as shirataki noodles, and they've been a popular dish in Asian countries for years. Konjac is used as medicine as well as food, thanks to its high fiber content that keeps you full and fit.
What is konjac? It's a not-so-pretty root vegetable that happens to be a perfect foil for pasta. The konjac plant is a leafy herb with a lily-like flower. The knobby root is similar to a turnip or even a potato. When harvested, the konjac becomes delicious, low-calorie pasta.
Working with It’s Skinny pasta can be a little daunting for newbies, but it is shockingly simple. Open the bag, add the pasta to your already-cooked sauce and toppings, heat through, and enjoy. Unlike traditional pasta, It's Skinny takes only a minute to prepare—no boiling salted water, tossing noodles at the wall, draining, and straining. Instead, all you do with It's Skinny is open, heat, and eat!
We offer It’s Skinny keto-friendly pasta in a variety of options, so you can enjoy all your favorite dishes while following keto guidelines. Choose from spaghetti, fettuccine, angel hair, and even rice! Yes, you can get all the delicious rice you crave while still sticking to keto too.
Unlike some other pasta alternatives, It's Skinny doesn't have a strong taste or an overly chewy texture. It’s Skinny pasta takes on the flavor of the other ingredients in the dish, making it a perfect base for any favorite pasta meal. Add your favorite sauce, protein, and of course, cheese, and you’ll enjoy a healthy, nutritious, keto-friendly meal any night of the week.
Try some of these delicious recipes made with It's Skinny Pasta:
- Healthy Chicken Pesto with 9 Calorie Angel Hair Pasta
- Low Carb Healthy Chicken Fried Rice
- Thai Drunken Noodle
- Low-Carb Poke Bowl Recipe
If you're ready to start following the keto basics, don't miss out on It's Skinny. This delicious, keto-friendly pasta will keep you on track and satisfied. You can have all the comfort food you crave and still lose weight and feel great. So try It's Skinny today! It's available to order on Amazon in a convenient four-pack. You'll be amazed at these 9-calorie noodles!