How to be Successful at Keto

successfulI’ve been eating a keto diet for about eight weeks now, so it might seem a little bit rich for me to be preaching to you about how to be successful at this as it’s still early days, relatively speaking. However, when I went keto I went HARD keto, going from eating what I wanted every day to limiting myself to less than 20g of carbs straight away so my learning curve was steep to say the least. I’m not claiming to have all the answers or a world of experience, but there are a few things I wish I’d known before starting keto that would have made life a lot easier. Here’s a few things that I think would really help anyone planning to start a ketogenic diet and to be really committed to it:

Clear Your Cupboards

It’s a fact that the vast majority of Western diets are heavily geared towards being based on some sort of carb. Before I went keto, EVERY SINGLE MEAL would have had some sort of bread, potato, rice or pasta with it, which means that when I started my cupboards were packed with bags of pasta, bags of rice, various bread products and frozen potatoes in every form. None of this was of any use to me anymore, so aside from the things that I kept for my daughters I got rid of everything. Clearing the way like this was not only a symbolic binning of my old lifestyle but also a way to allow me to see my eating habits for what they SHOULD be. Where I’d once stored unhealthy carbs, now I stored things which were carb free and on-plan.

Plan Your Meals

When I say “plan”, I mean really PLAN. Research keto recipes, have an idea of meals you can eat and what you need to buy to make sure you aren’t left hungry when you get home. Standing in a supermarket with an empty trolley and no idea of what you want to buy is a massive pain in the bum and makes eating keto harder than it should be. Write a list of meals and snacks, break them down by ingredients and be prepared when you get to the shops.

Have Keto Snacks to Hand

This is kind of an extension to the point above, but being hungry and discovering there’s nothing keto friendly in the house is so annoying, especially on days when you’ve exercised and you’ve got that REAL hunger going (Tell me I’m not the only one who wants to eat my weight in food on deadlift days?!). All of the suggestions in my keto snack post are great, and there are LOADS of suggestions around the internet of things you can snack on which are low carb.

Use MyFitnessPal

You may prefer a different app for calorie and macro counting, but for me MyFitnessPal is an absolute essential. As well as allowing you to track your macros religiously, it allows you to enter recipes to calculate the carb count, keep track of your weight, your exercise and even how much water you’ve drunk (I don’t really use this feature but I’m sure it’s handy if you’re someone who forgets to hydrate). It’s been indispensable for me since I started counting carbs and I think I’d be totally lost without it.

Know Your Carbs

As I mentioned above, keto has been a learning curve and never more so than when I’m thinking about meals. There have been loads of times that I’ve cooked and eaten something only to discover that it had a MUCH higher carb count than I realised. Add your meals to your app BEFORE you eat them if you aren’t sure and really acquaint yourself with every nutritional information section on food packaging because there are hidden carbs in SO many things!

BONUS REMINDER:

Remember Calories

Not everyone who eats keto counts calories but if you’re trying to lose weight then you probably are. A couple of times, I’ve eaten a variation on something I often eat and found myself completely scuppered by the difference in calories. For instance, I often eat prawns in a seafood sauce that I make from mayo and low sugar ketchup and this comes in at around 200 calories. Last week, I was rushing around and grabbed a pre-made pot of crayfish tails in dill mayo, thinking it would be much of a muchness with what I already eat, gave the carbs a cursory look and forgot the calories. To my shock, this pot contained almost SEVEN HUNDRED calories and basically left me nothing for the rest of the day! All I’m saying is, pay attention to ALL of the macros!!

7 Handy (Portable) Keto Snacks

Something that I’ve noticed about keto is that the snacking can be quite tricky, purely because most traditional “snacks” are high in carbs. This means that when it comes to snacking, you often struggle to find something off the peg, so keeping a stash of things around that you can easily snack on is a good idea. I’m not saying that any of these are the BEST choices you could make in terms of nutrition, but they’re a convenient, grab-able option when you need it. Here’s a few of the things that I keep around as a snack when I’m feeling peckish or need to increase my fat/protein intake.

Biltong

Biltong

Biltong is an amazing snack when you’re eating keto because it’s literally dried meat with very little else added (be careful, some brands DO add sugar during the curing process and jerky, or BBQ flavoured varieties, are usually MUCH higher in carbs). We tend to buy ours in bulk of 1kg at a time and then weigh it out into 50g portions in ziplock bags. This is a great thing to grab on busy mornings when you haven’t got time to cook and a 50g portion will give you 2.5g carbs, 2.5g fat and 27,5g protein in around 145 calories (depending on the brand. We tend to opt for The Biltong Man)

Peanuts

Peanuts are full of good fats and are a great substitute if you’re a fan of crisps. I do like to snack on things which hve “crunch”, so these are perfect for me. Some people advocate unsalted nuts, but I like to have salted ones as I don’t add a lot of salt to the rest of my food. Be careful though, they’re high in calories, so I tend to measure mine into 25g or 50g portion before eating. A 25g serving of peanuts will give you approximately 1.1g carbs, 6.6g protein, 13.6g fat ans 158 calories.

Hartleys 10 Cal Jelly Pots

I discovered these by chance after being absolutely desperate for something sweet to eat. You often find with keto that you get a bit overwhelmed by the amount of savoury stuff you eat, so these jellies were like an oasis of happiness for me! They’re ready-made and in sealed pots which don’t need to be refrigerated so make the perfect thing to keep in your bag, car or desk and have less than 10 calories per pot (depending on flavour, usually between 7 and 10). They have an average of 1.8g of carbs with zero fat and protein and are a really refreshing way to have something sweet.

Cheese Strings

Okay, so cheese strings are probably not the most sophisticated way to eat cheese but the way they’re portioned make them an ideal keto snack. Each 20g stick usually has 4.5g of fat and 4.6g of protein depending on the variety you go for, with less than half a gram of carbs per stick, and they can be kept in a lunchbox or work fridge really easily.

Fat Bombs

These are a snack to make when you’ve got some spare time and come in a million different varieties, depending on your preferences. A lot of them are based on coconut oil and peanut butter, but I’ve also seem some lemon ones which look fantastic that I’m fully intending to make. They’re great because they keep your fat macros on target and contain MCTs which are great at keeping you in ketosis, plus you can make them in batches and portion out as and when you need them.

Peperami

Again, not exactly a sophisticated snack but definitely a convenient one. Each salami stick contains 130 calories, 0.6g carbs, 11g fat and 6g protein, which makes it a pretty tidy keto snack, in terms of your macros. Just don’t kiss anyone directly after eating it!

Pork Scratchings

There are SO many different varieties of pork scratching, some with more fat (and which feel “wetter” than others) but they’re all pretty good in terms of keeping your fat macros on target. We tend to opt for Awfully Posh Anglesey Sea Salt Crackling – each 40g bag contains just 0.2g carbs, 20g fat, 18.6g protein and 254 calories.