One of the hardest parts of following any diet is all the planning that is required. A lot of times when you’re on the go, you just don’t have time to cook everything carefully. If you’re hungry and away from home, you need a quick snack. And then, when you get home after a long day of work and running errands, the last thing you want to do is spend hours cooking your meal.
Sometimes, diet plans are so much work they hardly seem worth the effort. We get it. We also know how expensive the call ahead frozen dinner meal plans are, and that many of them are very bland and don’t offer tons of variety. What a drag – especially if they’re not working very quickly, as promised.
The keto diet has been rapidly gaining popularity. It’s a bit less restrictive than other diets, there are a lot of possible flavor combinations, and it produces pretty rapid results. Furthermore, if you’re careful and talk with a doctor about it, the keto diet can become a long term lifestyle change to keep your weight off for good!
The only issue is that it does require tons of planning, and there’s no great call in boxed solution. If you want to observe the keto diet without having to spend more time than it is worth every day, or falling off the wagon because you absolutely had to have a snack while you were out, then you should consider meal prepping.
Meal prepping is a great way to plan ahead so that you have prepackaged and ready to eat meals and snack on hand that you can grab and go when you need to take them with you, or when you’re home and don’t want to cook. This guide can help you with keto friendly meal prep plans and ideas so you’re ready to take on the world!
The key to meal prepping is to plan your meals ahead of time. You should look for ingredient combinations that can be used repeatedly throughout the week in different combinations, or be willing to eat the same meal multiple times in a prep period.
Each meal needs to include healthy fats, lean protein, vegetables, and a limited amount of keto-friendly carbs that are filled with fiber. You can use a keto macro calculator to help you determine your personal food levels and balances based on your goals.
Plan your menus in advance after calculating your macros. Write them down, and find somewhere to save your favorite recipes because a lot of meal prepping involves eating the same food multiple times a prep period.
Decide whether you want to eat different foods each day, or if you’re okay eating the same meal multiple days. If you like variety, try to plan several different meal flavors around one key ingredient, like beef or chicken, so you don’t have to cook as much but still get variety.
When you finish planning, it’s time to shop. You don’t want to spend forever meal prepping, so having a list can make shopping trips faster. It also means you won’t forget anything you need, and will keep you disciplined so you don’t pick up something that won’t fit on your diet plan because you’re craving it.
Try to section your list out according to a grocery store layout. This will save you time because you can gab multiple ingredients from one aisle and move on, instead of hunting for one ingredient here, another across the store, then going right back to where you were fro the next.
Include exact amounts of each ingredient so you don’t over or under purchase. If you do decide to grab something on sale or something that catches your eye when it isn’t on the list, make sure it’s a whole food. A lot of packaged products that advertise themselves as keto friendly aren’t as great as you think, especially for prepping.
If you’re not a fan of cooking, then don’t spend forever doing it. A common misconception when it comes to meal prepping is that it has to take up your entire weekend or your only day off. You don’t need to do this. Just set a timer for a few hours, prep during that time, and when it dings move on to something else. You can prep more than you think in that period of time.
Start with your meats because those will take the most time to cook. Get all of your chopping and dicing out of the way while you’re waiting for them to cook. Knocking out multiple tasks at once makes it easy.
Speaking of chicken, you can definitely cook that ahead of time. Pre-roast your chicken on your prep day and you can use it throughout the week for soups, salads, and sandwiches. This way, you don’t have to break it all down and distribute it in one day, but you also don’t have to cook chicken every day, when we all know that takes forever.
You can also batch cook your bacon. Buy a giant pack of it and cook it all at once, then keep it on hand in the fridge or freezer for when you need it later.
What makes life super easy these days is using an Instant Pot or a Crock Pot. With an Instant Pot, you can just toss everything in and voila it’s dine very quickly. A Crock Pot will take longer, but it will require very little out of you. For example, pot roasts just require you to rub your meat, drop in the ingredients, set it to cook for 6 or 8 hours depending on what you’re making, and then leave it alone, checking on it every once in a while to make sure it’s cooking evenly and your flavors are balanced properly.
These options all take very little time to assemble despite the cook time. Most pot prepped meals take a maximum of 15 minutes of prep time chopping and adding ingredients. After that, you just set the timer and walk away!
Meal prepping becomes far less stressful when you know you’ve got the right things on hand. Having everything ready to go only to discover that none of your Tupperware lids match their bottoms is painful. Don’t do it.
They make a lot of great reusable meal prep containers now that prepping has become popular. They are proportioned, divided, and ready to go. Grab a nice set or two and make sure that you are getting great containers that will seal your food properly to avoid early spoiling or wilting produce.
You can grab freezer tape for the containers and a market, so you can label each meal with your macro information and when it was prepped and needs to be consumed. Motivational messages are also welcome on these tapes!
You will definitely need a skillet for meal prepping. Cast iron skillets are long lasting and easy to clean. You also need a high quality chef’s knife. This higher quality knife will avoid slipping and sliding and last much longer. Proper chef’s knife let you chop and slice with one tool easily.
Food processors and blenders are also great for prepping your cauliflower rice, keto friendly salad dressings, breakfast smoothies, and more. Instant pots and Crock Pots (slow cookers) are also nice because you can “set and forget” them to reduce the amount of time spent slaving in the kitchen.
When it comes to meal prepping fruits and vegetables, you’ve got a few options. There’s no wrong answer here, just choose the one that works best for your budget, preferences, and style.
If you’re on a budget, then you can choose your recipes based on the stuff that is in season. This ensures delicious recipes that last a while, and you won’t burn out on them too fast. I adore the fall season because all the squash is super cheap, which means I can gorge myself on keto-friendly pasta dishes by substituting spaghetti and butternut squash. Then, when the summer comes, it’s all fresh basil and tomato and mozzarella deliciousness.
The downside to this option is that it will add time. If you’re not a huge fan of cooking, and don’t want to spend a long time prepping on your prep day, then this option will take longer because you’ll have to wash, cut, and cook the fruits and vegetables yourself.
Another great budget option is to buy fruits and vegetables in bulk and freeze them. Again, I adore fall flavors, so I do a lot of this when I have room in the freezer so I can enjoy some pumpkin and squash soups and pastas later on in the year, when they are nowhere to be found.
You can also buy frozen fruits and vegetables. These often have more nutritional value than fresh ones because they are picked at the peak of their ripe ness and instantly frozen to preserve that freshness. If you decide upon this option, then go ahead and buy some that are already cut. This will save you tons of time and doesn’t cost that much more. It’s a very worthwhile tradeoff, especially for busy moms!
A lot of times, prepping feels like tons of work and you’re so over it. Here are some of the different things you can do if you’re finding yourself grumpy, or resentful of prep time to the point of reducing it and avoiding it.
If you know you’re not going to bother prepping everything, then jut prep what you need to get you through hangry and weak moments when you’re ready to grab whatever is in sight and tear into it.
This strategy allows you to keep keto-friendly snacks on hand. While you can often find keto-friendly meals at a lot of restaurants for that ravenous, need-food-can’t-wait moment, it’s harder to find snacks that fit… or to have the discipline to order them in the moment.
Making sure you have prepped for that moment in the office afternoon or while waiting in the carpool line means that you can just grab the snack bag out of your purse or the desk drawer and satisfy that gnawing hunger craving, without falling off the wagon and ruining your diet.
Cooking is a lot of fun to some people, and to others it feels like a chore. If you’re someone who hates cooking, then find some ways to make it fun. For example, cranking up a playlist that gets you pumped up and dancing while you cook can help the time fly by faster. Or, if you’re more chill, then put on some nice and relaxing music and grab a glass of keto friendly wine to drink while you cook.
If these tricks don’t work, you can host a party with your friends. Prepping is a great idea for busy people, and cooking feels like less of a chore when there are a lot of hands to share the work. Get together with your friends and plan menus that everyone loves, then cook together in one massive bulk batch and share.
A hard part of most diets is that they tend to feel like deprivation at some point. Keto diet foods can already feel like smaller portions than you’re used to, and leftovers rarely look appealing. When you meal prep, you need to make sure your food doesn’t feel like leftovers mentally.
You want to make your meals look beautiful and visually appealing, the same as restaurant food does. Adding grill marks to chicken or putting together contrasting colors will really make an impact on how you feel about your meal prepping.
There are some staples that everyone on a keto diet should consider keeping stocked with their regular pantry items. These items are used in tons of different keto recipes and can prevent you form having to run to the store several times for forgotten ingredients.
3. Nut butters
4. MCT oil powder
5. Sugar free spices: