Research has proven the keto diet to be an effective way of losing weight and maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol (3). It’s also been linked to many other health benefits such as improved mental clarity and increased energy levels. Critics of the keto diet point out that it can be difficult to sustain, due to its strict rules and labor-intensive meal prepping. Carbs are literally off the menu, and cravings for sweet and salty snacks can be hard to resist. Having a few helpful keto diet hacks up your sleeve can make following a ketogenic diet much more sustainable. Here are 15 easy tips to help you get the most out of your keto journey.
Keto Hack #1: The Pantry Overhaul
A changing of the guard is necessary when it comes to stocking up on keto-approved foods. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. When carb-heavy foods are easily accessible, it can be hard to resist the urge to indulge.
So, a pantry sweep of all the carb-filled foods, snacks and treats is a must. And because food wastage is a big no-no, consider donating non-keto food items to your local food bank. This includes canned goods and non-perishables.
Next, you want to stock up on items like healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and avocado, low-carb vegetables and fruits, nut butters, sugar-free condiments and sugar-free drinks.
Keto Hack #2: Have A Keto Meal Plan
The effectiveness of meal planning for weight loss has been well-documented. According to a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition Education and Physical
Activity, meal planning is associated with better dietary outcomes, better weight management and improved health. That’s probably because it gives you more control over what you’re eating, helps you resist unhealthy temptations, and can save time (4).
When following the keto diet, meal planning helps to keep you on track with your daily macros (protein, fat and carbohydrate goals). It also helps to reduce the time you spend in the kitchen preparing meals.
Consequently, it makes the process of following a keto diet much more manageable.
You don’t need a super strict plan. A weekly outline of what you’re going to eat and when is enough. That way, you can adjust and make sure that you’re staying on track with your goals.
Plan out your meals at the start of each week and make sure to shop for all the necessary ingredients in advance.
Keto Hack 3: Get Friendly With Labels
It is important to ensure that the food you’re buying fits with the keto diet. That means getting familiar with food labels and knowing what to look for on them.
Common terms such as “sugar-free”, “low-carb” and “keto-friendly” should be stamped somewhere. If the labels don’t specify keto, then check the nutrition facts panel. It should give you an indication of how many carbs per serving size. Anything more than 5g of carbs per serving is a red flag.
Hidden sugars and carbohydrates can be found in even the most keto-friendly food items. The best way to avoid being caught off guard is to become well-versed in label reading. If you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to turn to unprocessed, whole foods.
To help you get an idea of some hidden carb culprits, here’s a quick list:
- Sugary condiments and sauces
- Hidden maltodextrin and corn starch
- Processed nuts
- Fruit juice or juice concentrate
- Highly processed snack foods and even “low-carb” snack bars
Read More: Low-Carb Zucchini Fries – The Best Keto Recipe To Satisfy Your Taste Buds
Keto Hack 4: Use Keto Cheat Sheets To Stay On Track
The keto diet is complex and it can seem confusing at times. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a cheat sheet with you to keep track of your goals and progress. Keto cheat sheets are helpful tools that make following the keto diet much easier.
These cheat sheets can come in many forms, but ideally, they should contain a list of acceptable food items and snacks that fit into the keto diet. They can also include a breakdown of macro goals and tips on how to stay in ketosis.
Keto cheat sheets can be printed out and kept handy in the kitchen, or you can even set up reminders for yourself on your phone or computer. They’re also helpful when dining out as they help to take the guesswork out of ordering.
When buying keto cheat sheets, look out for:
- Accurate macro breakdowns
- Total net carb counts
- A detailed list of keto-friendly food items
- Readable and easy-to-follow format
- Color-coded categories (for example, red for high-carb foods, green for low-carb foods)
Keto Hack 5: Use Keto Substitutes
One of the most difficult parts of following a keto diet is having to give up some of your favorite foods. But with the right substitutes, you can still enjoy the same flavors without going off track.
Below are some foods you’ll be happy to know can be easily replaced with keto-friendly alternatives:
Pastries And Other Baked Goods
It goes without saying that a standard bakery item or cake won’t be keto-friendly. But there are several substitutes such as almond and coconut flour-based recipes or low-carb alternatives such as fat bombs.
Fruits And Other Sugary Snacks
If you’re having a sweet tooth craving, there’s no need to worry. Keto-friendly options such as sugar-free jams, chia and flax seed pudding are all low-carb alternatives.
There are some great options for replacing pasta with keto-friendly alternatives such as zucchini noodles, shirataki noodles, and konjac noodles.
You don’t have to give up your favorite rice dishes. There are several delicious alternatives such as cauliflower rice, riced broccoli, and even shirataki ‘rice’.
A scoop of keto-friendly ice cream is one of the most delicious, low-carb treats you can enjoy. Coconut milk and almond milk options are great alternatives to regular ice cream.
Keto-substitutes are a great way to stay on track with your diet while still enjoying the flavors and textures of some of your favorite foods. If you’re ever unsure, make sure to check the nutrition label or do some research to make sure it fits within your keto goals.
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Keto Hack 6: Use Meal And Snack Prep To Make Keto Affordable
Meal and snack prepping is one of the best ways to save money on a keto diet, for several reasons.
Firstly, when you’re preparing your meals ahead of time, you know exactly what ingredients are going into them and how much food you’ll need. This makes it much easier to stick to your budget and avoid overspending.
Secondly, prepping also saves time. You can make meals in bulk, meaning fewer trips to the grocery store and less time spent slaving over a hot stove.
Finally, meal prep also helps to prevent food waste. When you plan ahead it’s easier to use up all of your ingredients, and avoid having to throw out food that’s gone bad.
So, if you want to make keto more affordable, here are our top meal prep tips:
- Set aside a few hours each week to plan and make your meals
- Use recipes that call for similar ingredients
- Buy in bulk and freeze what you won’t use right away
- Double up your recipes and save some for later
- Use mason jars or resealable containers to store the prepared items
- Understand food safety guidelines and make sure to store foods correctly
By following these tips, you’ll be able to keep your keto meals on budget and enjoy delicious meals all week long!
Keto Hack 7: Invest In Tupperware (Especially Lunch Boxes)
Investing in quality storage containers is non-negotiable if you’re trying to make keto work. Having the right containers will help keep your meal preps fresh, and make them easier to transport.
Furthermore, portion control becomes easier with the right containers, as you’ll be able to measure out each meal or snack accurately and make sure you’re eating the right amount.
When shopping for storage containers, opt for ones with airtight lids and that are labeled as freezer-safe and microwavable. This will ensure your keto meals stay fresh and are easy to reheat when you’re ready to eat.
A keto lunch box is also an incredibly useful item to have. Eating out or at work can be a challenge on keto, so having your own lunchbox will help you stay on track and make sure you always have something keto-friendly to eat.
Keto Hack 8: Get Comfortable With Frozen Foods
Frozen foods can be a huge lifesaver for all of us, but especially those following a keto diet.
Frozen meals, veggies, seafood and meats are all incredibly easy to store and freeze-safe for months. This makes them an easy option for when you’re running low on groceries or don’t have time to shop.
Furthermore, most frozen foods are incredibly budget-friendly, so you can still get the most bang for your buck.
Having year-round access to seasonal fruits and vegetables without having to worry about them going bad can also be incredibly helpful. This is especially true in the summer when farmers markets overflow with delicious fruits and veggies.
Since most produce is frozen at the height of ripeness, you’re guaranteed to get maximum flavor and nutrition out of each meal.
Look into purchasing pre-packaged frozen meals or products with minimal ingredients. This reduces the risk of hidden carbs and makes it easier to track your macros.
Read More: Keto Chili: No Beans? No Problem!
Keto Hack 9: Track Both Macros And Calories
There’s a popular saying in the keto world: “macros don’t lie”. That’s because tracking your macros can provide you with a more accurate picture of what works for your body.
Macros are the nutrients that make up the energy you need to fuel your activities, and they refer to proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Depending on the type of keto diet you’re following, you may need to adjust the ratio of these macronutrients. Below are the types of keto diets and the recommended macronutrient ratios (5):
- Standard keto diet (SKD): 5% carbs, 25% protein, 70% fat
- Cyclical keto diet (CKD): 5-6 days of SKD and 1-2 days of higher carb intake
- Targeted keto diet (TKD): 5-10% carbs, 20-25% protein, 65-70% fat
- High protein keto diet: 5-10% carbs, 35-40% protein, 55-60% fat
In addition to tracking your macros, it’s a good idea to also keep an eye on your calorie intake. This will help you to avoid overeating and make sure you’re getting the right energy balance.
Be aware that counting macros requires a bit of math, but there are a number of websites and apps that can help you simplify the process. Take advantage of these tools and you’ll be able to stay on top of your macros and calorie goals.
Keto Hack 10: Keep An Eye Out For Fiber
Many people on the keto diet forget to account for fiber when tracking their macros. In the process of eliminating carbs, they may be taking out a lot of fiber that’s naturally found in whole grains and other carbs.
Fiber is an important part of a balanced diet, as it helps to keep you full, reduce the risk of constipation and lower cholesterol (2). For this reason, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet.
The best sources of fiber on the keto diet are non-starchy vegetables and nuts. If you’re not getting enough from your diet, consider taking a fiber supplement. Just make sure to watch out for added sugar or carbs in your supplement.
Keto Hack 11: Hydrate
Staying hydrated is incredibly important for keto dieters for a few reasons.
First, it helps to keep you feeling full and can help prevent overeating. Second, staying hydrated helps your body process nutrients and flush waste more efficiently, which can help reduce fatigue and brain fog. Finally, it can help to keep your electrolyte balance in check (1).
Make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water a day (1). And if you’re feeling extra thirsty, consider adding electrolyte-rich drinks like coconut water or bone broth to your diet. Here are some hydration tips to help you stay on track:
- Carry a water bottle with you at all times.
- Always drink water before meals and snacks.
- Eat foods with a high water content, like cucumbers and melons.
- Keep track of your daily water intake.
- Infuse your water with fruit, herbs or cucumber for a flavor boost.
Keto Hack 12: Embrace Community
It can be difficult to stay on track with your keto diet without support. Not only do you need someone to cheer you on during times of temptation, but it also helps to have people who can provide guidance and accountability.
One great way to find support is to join a keto diet community.
There are countless groups online where you can connect with other keto dieters, ask questions and get tips from experienced members. These communities can provide a great source of motivation and support that will help you stay on track.
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Keto Hack 13: Identify Keto-Friendly Restaurants
Eating out while on the keto diet can be a challenge, but it’s definitely doable. The trick is to find restaurants that offer keto-friendly options. Try looking for places that offer more vegetables, proteins and healthy fats.
When dining out, be sure to read the menu carefully and ask questions if you’re unsure. Many restaurants are happy to accommodate special requests and will provide keto-friendly alternatives. You can also check online reviews to see which restaurants offer good keto options.
Keto Hack 14: Consider Having Lazy Keto Days
It’s okay not to eat clean every single day. Life can be stressful and sometimes, it can be hard to stick to your diet no matter how motivated you are. That’s why it’s important to give yourself a break on occasion.
Consider having lazy keto days where you don’t focus as much on tracking macros or calories, and just focus on eating whole, unprocessed food. This can help you to stay motivated and give yourself a break from the strict rules of keto.
Keto Hack 15: Consider Making Complimentary Lifestyle Changes
While the keto diet can help you to lose weight and improve health, it’s important to consider making complementary lifestyle changes as well.
For example, making sure you get enough sleep, minimizing stress and engaging in regular physical activity can all help to support your keto diet. That’s because these lifestyle changes can help to optimize your hormones, reduce inflammation and boost your energy levels.
The Bottom Line
Making the switch to a keto diet can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these simple hacks, you can make the transition to a keto lifestyle much easier. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to living a healthy, keto lifestyle.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 10 Reasons Why Hydration is Important (2021, ncoa.org)
- Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet (2022, mayoclinic.org)
- Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients (2004, nih.gov)
- Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults (2017, nih.gov)
- Types of ketogenic diet (2022, diabetes.co.uk)