What Is The Keto 30-Day Challenge?
Have you ever considered trying a low-carb eating plan for weight loss? If you have then the 30-day keto challenge could be the answer to your dieting and weight loss problems. In this article, we are going to expound more on what is a 30-day keto challenge, what foods you can consume while on it, as well as which foods are forbidden from this eating plan.
This is essentially a 30-day test whereby you only eat foods and meals that follow the keto way of life. But what is a keto diet? This is an extremely low-carb, high-fat eating plan. Those attempting this eating plan are required to drastically reduce the amount of carbs they consume a day and replace the deficit with fat (9).
An important fact to note is that while keto is essentially considered a low-carb diet, it should not be put in the same category as other low-carb diets available today. Unlike the other plans that focus more on your protein intake, this eating plan dials up your fat intake (8). Thus on the 30-day keto challenge you shall be consuming meals that are high-fat, low-carb and moderate-protein.
30-Day Keto Basics Challenge: What Are Some Important Facts To Know Before Attempting This Month-Long Eating Plan?
Before jumping in head first into this challenge for weight loss, it is best to first educate yourself on how this meal plan works. Here are some important facts to know before attempting the 30-day keto challenge.
What Foods To Avoid
As stated above this meal plan is quite restrictive on your carbohydrates intake. To stay true to the eating plan, here are some foods and drinks that must be avoided while on the 30-day keto challenge (3).
They are quite high in carbs and thus will take your body out of ketosis which may slow down your weight loss efforts on a keto diet. Examples of grains include rice, quinoa, oats, corn, and buckwheat. Bread and pasta made from whole wheat should also be avoided.
2. Most Fruits
Because most popular fruits like mangoes, bananas, oranges, apples, pears, etc. are quite high in sugar and carbs, people attempting the 30-day keto challenge are advised to avoid them. However, you will be allowed to consume some low glycemic options such as berries, avocados, tomatoes and olives.
3. High-Carb Vegetables
While most vegetables are quite low in carbs, some tend to have a lot of starch in them and are high in carbs. You should avoid starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, parsnips and white potatoes.
4. Legumes And Lentils
Like grains they are quite high in carbs and thus are not keto-friendly.
5. Sugary Drinks And Alcohol
They are high in sugar, something that is highly discouraged on keto. As for alcoholic drinks, some options such as wine, whiskey, light beer, rum, and gin are allowed on the diet albeit in moderation (4).
What To Eat On The 30-Day Keto Challenge
The following foods are considered keto-friendly (5)
- Meat and poultry.
- Fish and other seafood.
- Vegetables growing above the ground – i.e., leafy greens, cauliflower, bell peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplants, asparagus, and more.
- High-fat dairy such as butter, cream, and cheeses.
- Drinks – water, bone broth as well as unsweetened coffee and tea.
- Nuts such as pecans, macadamia and Brazil nuts are considered keto-friendly. Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and peanuts can be consumed, albeit in moderation. And finally, cashews and pistachios should be avoided as they are quite high in carbs (7).
Realize That You Shall Be Consuming A Lot Of Fat
Many people, even those who are not dieting tend not to consume high amounts of fat in their day to day. Others on low-carb diets will consume high protein meals instead. However, the 30-day keto challenge will demand that you increase the amount of fat, something that might take some getting used to.
You Might Experience The Keto Flu
Drastically reducing your carb intake can come with some side effects, commonly known as the keto flu. Symptoms of this include insomnia, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, lack of endurance when exercising, headaches, constipation, and dizziness. Thankfully, the keto flu is a short-term side effect that only lasts for a few days to a few weeks (6).
How Many Carbs Per Day On 30-Day Keto Diet Challenge?
While on the 30-day keto challenge 75% of your food energy intake should come from fats, 10 to 30% from protein while just 5% should be from carbs. This means that at the end of the day, your carbohydrate intake should be anywhere between 20 to 50 grams per day (1). It should, however, be noted that these percentages can sometimes vary.
Some suggest that 70 to 80% of your daily calories should be from fat, 10 to 20% from protein and 5 to 10% carbohydrate. Despite the changes in percentages, the remaining constant is that your number of carbs per day on the 30-day keto challenge should never go beyond 50 grams (2).
Now that you know how to start a 30-day keto challenge, here is a simple meal plan to help you better understand how to go about this challenge.
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Free Sample Of A Keto 30-Day Challenge Meal Plan
The following keto 30-day challenge recipes will help you get started on your high-fat low-carb eating plan for weight loss. Please note that the calories for each day vary, and thus, be sure to increase or decrease the serving sizes to fit your recommended macro intake for the day. You can also add healthy keto snack options if the calories in either day are too low for you.
Berry – Avocado Smoothie
Ingredients – 1 cup water, 1/2 medium-sized avocado, 2 cups baby spinach, 2 tbsp hemp seeds
Method – Place all the ingredients in a blender, blend then all together till smooth. Pour into a cup and enjoy.
Calories: 280. Fats: 19 g, Proteins: 10 g, Carbs: 19 g.
Ingredients – For the chicken – 1 chicken thigh, 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing – 75 g mayonnaise, 75 g full fat coconut milk, 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp capers, 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, 1/4 tsp salt
For the salad – 1/4 head romaine lettuce, 235 g spinach, 1 boiled egg, 1/8 large avocado, 1/8 large cucumber, 60 g cherry tomatoes, 75 g olives, 75 g cooked bacon
Calories: 588. Fats: 42 g, Proteins: 38 g, Carbs: 17 g.
Ingredients – 1.5 ripe tomatoes, 0.25 cucumber, 0.25 red onion, 0.25 green bell pepper, 100 g feta cheese, 5 black Greek olives, 2 tbsp olive oil, 0.25 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste
Method – Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice the bell pepper and the onion. Add feta cheese and olives, and drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the salad. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Sprinkle with crumbled oregano and serve.
Calories: 593. Fats: 51 g, Proteins: 17 g, Carbs: 15 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1461. Fats: 113 g, Proteins: 65 g, Carbs: 51 g.
Ingredients – 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1/2 tbsp almond butter
Method – Place all your ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. You may add some ice cubes to help thicken your drink.
Calories: 392. Fats: 27 g, Proteins: 13 g, Carbs: 26 g.
Ingredients – 226 g ground beef, 0.5 tbsp chili powder, 0.25 tsp salt, 0.38 tsp cumin, 0.25 tsp dried oregano, 0.13 tsp garlic powder, 0.13 tsp onion powder, 57 g tomato sauce, 1.5 avocados, 0.5 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 0.13 cup sliced cherry tomatoes, 0.13 cup shredded lettuce, cilantro and sour cream
Method – Cook the ground beef until browned. Drain the grease and add the seasonings and the tomato sauce. Load the avocado pit with the taco meat, and top with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro and sour cream.
This recipe makes 3 servings.
Calories: 278. Fats: 22 g, Proteins: 18 g, Carbs: 2 g.
Egg and Bacon Salad
Ingredients – 225 g green asparagus, 40 g cooked bacon, 2 large, halved hard-boiled eggs, 1 tbsp avocado oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 0.5 tbsp Dijon mustard, 0.5 tbsp bacon fat, 0.5 garlic clove, half a pinch of salt and chili flakes
- Cut the asparagus into 3 to 5 cm segments and drop them into boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes, then take them out of the water and drop them into an ice bath.
- In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, bacon fat, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes. Plate the asparagus.
- Sprinkle the bacon over the asparagus and arrange the hard-boiled eggs over all of them. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and enjoy.
Calories: 542. Fats: 46 g, Proteins: 22 g, Carbs: 6 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1212. Fats: 95 g, Proteins: 53 g, Carbs: 34 g.
Keto Protein Smoothie
Ingredients – 2 tbsp cacao butter, 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 tbsp MCT or coconut oil, 1 tbsp chia seeds, some ice cubes
Method – Place all your ingredients in a blender and blitz till the mixture is smooth.
Calories: 369. Fats: 18 g, Proteins: 28 g, Carbs: 26 g.
Mac and Cheese
Ingredients – 1/4 head cauliflower chopped into florets, 0.75 tbsp butter, 0.25 cup cheddar cheese, 8 g heavy cream, 8 g unsweetened almond milk
- Preheat the oven to 232°C and line a baking sheet with foil. Melt some butter, drizzle it on the cauliflower florets, season with salt and pepper and toss everything together.
- Place the cauliflower florets on the lined baking sheet and roast them for about 10-15 minutes, until they are crisp-tender.
- Heat the cheddar cheese, heavy cream, milk, and remaining tablespoon of butter, stirring frequently until everything is smooth. Toss cauliflower with cheese sauce right before serving.
Calories: 294. Fats: 23 g, Proteins: 11 g, Carbs: 12 g.
Ingredients – 3 g olive oil, 150 g salmon fillets, 35 g butter, a pinch of black pepper and salt, 1/4 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Grease a large baking dish with olive oil and place the salmon, skin-side down, in the dish.
- Place the lemon on the salmon and cover the fish with half the butter. Put it in the oven and bake it for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Melt the remaining butter and then add some lemon juice to it. Serve the salmon with the lemon butter.
Calories: 573. Fats: 41 g, Proteins: 37 g, Carbs: 1 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1236. Fats: 82 g, Proteins: 76 g, Carbs: 39 g.
No bread sausage-egg sandwich
Ingredients – 2 eggs, 3/4 tbsp heavy cream, 1/3 tbsp butter, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 2 sausage patties, 1/2 medium-sized avocado, a pinch of black pepper, salt and chilli flakes
- Place the eggs, heavy cream, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and season them with salt and pepper. Beat them together until they are mixed.
- Place some butter in a hot nonstick pan and once it melts pour the eggs and heavy cream mixture into the pan.
- Place the slice of cheese in the middle and let it sit about a minute. Slice the avocado into strips Fold the sides of the egg into the middle, covering the cheese and then remove from the heat.
- Serve the egg and avocado between the two heated sausage patties.
Calories: 611. Fats: 50 g, Proteins: 27 g, Carbs: 13 g.
Avocado Salmon Salad
Ingredients – For the dressing – 1⁄3 tbsp lime juice, 20 g mayonnaise, 20 g sour cream, 1⁄6 minced garlic clove, 1⁄6 tsp salt, 10 g finely minced red onions, 7 g white pepper
For the salad – 75 g cooked shrimp, 75 g cooked salmon, 15 g chopped tomatoes, 7 g chopped cucumber, 1/6 avocado, 1/3 tbsp fresh basil
- Combine lime juice, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, salt, pepper and onion in a bowl and set aside.
- In a bigger bowl, toss together salmon, shrimp, avocado, cucumber and tomato. Pour the dressing over this and toss gently to combine.
- Serve immediately or chill for 20 to 30 minutes before consuming
Calories: 439. Fats: 34 g, Proteins: 27 g, Carbs: 4 g.
Ingredients – 8 cups fresh broccoli, 0.25 cup diced red onion, 0.5 cup sunflower seeds, 113 g cheddar cheese, 0.75 cup mayonnaise, 5 tbsp low-carb sweetener, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 226 g cooked bacon.
- Combine broccoli, red onion, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and cheese in a large bowl.
- Mix the mayonnaise, sweetener and vinegar together until smooth then pour it into the salad and toss.
- Let the salad chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
This recipe makes 10 servings.
Calories for one serving: 266. Fats: 25 g, Proteins: 8 g, Carbs: 4 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1316. Fats: 109 g, Proteins: 62 g, Carbs: 21 g.
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Ingredients – 60 g almond flour, 1.5 tbsp pea protein powder, 2.5 g ground psyllium husk powder, a pinch of ground cinnamon and salt, 125 ml unsweetened almond milk, 3/4 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce, coconut oil
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and then stir in the almond milk to create a thick batter. Add the vanilla extract and the unsweetened applesauce and mix well.
- Add some coconut oil to a hot non-stick pan. Pour the batter onto the pan and cook as you would normal pancakes.
Calories: 414. Fats: 32 g, Proteins: 19 g, Carbs: 5 g.
113 g lean ground beef, 113 g ground pork, 17 g grated Parmesan cheese, 17 g heavy cream, 1/2 large egg, 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley, 0.5 tbsp finely grated onion, 0.5 grated clove garlic, 0.25 tsp salt, 0.13 tsp pepper
- Preheat the oven to 204°C.
- Add the beef and pork to a medium bowl and break up into smaller chunks, aiming for an even mix.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the meat and mix with a hand mixer until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix. Lightly oil hands and roll 6 meatballs.
- Place meatballs on a foil-lined or rack-lined baking sheet and bake the meatballs for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve with warmed sauce and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
P.S. The calories below do not include a sauce and the recipe makes about 2 servings.
Calories: 387. Fats: 22 g, Proteins: 19 g, Carbs: 1 g.
Lettuce and ham sandwich
2 slices of cheddar cheese, 2 slices of deli ham, and 2 slices of lettuce rolled together with 2 tbsp of mayonnaise
Calories: 480, Fats: 42 g, Protein: 20 g, Carbs: 4 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1281. Fats: 96 g, Proteins: 58 g, Carbs: 10 g.
No bread sandwiches
Ingredients – 50 g Romaine lettuce, 15 g mayonnaise, 30 g Gouda cheese, 1/2 medium-sized avocado, 4 cherry tomatoes
Method – Rinse the lettuce leaves thoroughly and shake them to dry. Spread the mayonnaise on the lettuce leaves, then layer the cheese, avocado, and tomato on top.
Calories: 383. Fats: 34 g, Proteins: 10 g, Carbs: 5 g.
Ingredients – 340 g boneless pork chops, 0.5 small onion, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tbsp olive oil, 0.5 cup heavy whipping cream, 14 g cream cheese, 22 g chicken broth, 22 g parmesan cheese, 0.25 cup cheddar cheese, 0.5 tbsp Italian seasoning, 0.25 tsp pepper, salt to taste
- Brown pork chops, onion, and garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat for approximately 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
- Remove pork chops from the skillet and add the rest of the ingredients.
- Cook them on medium heat while stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.
- Add pork chops back to sauce mixture and simmer on low for 5 minutes or until done.
This recipe make 3 servings.
Calories: 438. Fats: 33 g, Proteins: 30 g, Carbs: 2.7 g.
Ingredients – 680 g ground beef, 0.5 tbsp sesame oil, 0.5 onion chopped, 0.25 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp brown sugar substitute, 1 tsp chili garlic sauce, 0.5 tsp ginger paste, 2 tsp minced garlic, 0.25 cup chopped cashews, green leaf lettuce leaves, salt and pepper to taste
- Heat up the sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and then add the chopped onion to the heated skillet. Cook them until softened and starting to brown.
- Mix in the ground beef, and cook until the beef is completely browned.
- Stir in the soy sauce, swerve brown sugar substitute, chili garlic sauce, ginger paste, and minced garlic. Stir to combine well.
- Continue to cook down the mixture, lowering the heat to medium until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Mix in the chopped cashews, and remove the skillet from the heat.
- Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, and then add spoonfuls of the beef mixture to the green leaf lettuce cups, and top with freshly chopped green onions before serving.
Calories: 408. Fats: 31 g, Proteins: 25 g, Carbs: 4 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1184. Fats: 98 g, Proteins: 65 g, Carbs: 11.7 g.
Ingredients – 50 g cheddar cheese and 15 g butter
Method – Cut the cheese in very thin slices with a sharp knife. Cover the cheese with butter, roll it up and enjoy.
Calories: 331. Fats: 30 g, Proteins: 13 g, Carbs: 2 g.
Ingredients – 2 tbsp hemp hearts, 2 tbsp almond flour, 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 tbsp flaxseed meal, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/4 tsp granulated stevia, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt
Method – Add all ingredients except the vanilla extract to a small saucepan/pot over low heat. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Calories: 453. Fats: 36 g, Proteins: 18 g, Carbs: 15 g.
Ingredients – 4 tbsp unsalted butter, 340 g shrimp, 2.5 minced garlic cloves, 16 g chicken stock, juice of half a lemon, 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp, salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
- Add garlic to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chicken stock and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until melted and smooth.
- Stir in shrimp and gently toss to combine.
This recipe makes 2 servings.
Calories for one serving: 278.3. Fats: 23.3 g, Proteins: 15.5 g, Carbs: 2.6 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1062.3. Fats: 89.8 g, Proteins: 46.5 g, Carbs: 19.6 g.
The Bottom Line
If you are intent on attempting the 30-day keto challenge then the above recipes and tips on how to start a 30-day keto challenge will come in handy for you. However, always remember to consult your doctor before making any sudden changes to your eating plan.
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. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A Keto Diet Meal Plan and Menu That Can Transform Your Body (2020, healthline.com)
- Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss (n.d., hsph.harvard.edu)
- Helpful Tips: Ketogenic Foods to Avoid (n.d., atkins.com)
- Keto Diet and Alcohol: The Best and Worst Drinks to Choose (2018, healthline.com)
- Ketogenic diet foods – what to eat (2020, dietdoctor.com)
- Keto diet side effects: What to expect (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Keto nuts – the best and the worst (2020, dietdoctor.com)
- Should you try the keto diet? (2020, health.harvard.edu)
- The Ketogenic Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide to Keto (2020, healthline.com)