If you want to be successful at keto, it takes the right approach and a few strategies along the way to stick with it. Here’s what the experts recommend.
Make no mistake: The keto diet isn’t for everyone. The diet helps the body burn fat and shed pounds by severely restricting carbohydrates. But many have found success with the keto diet foods by forming a plan and sticking with it.
Of course, like any diet, having success with the keto diet isn’t always the easiest. After all, carbs are everywhere and are a key component of many of our favorite meals and snacks. Keeping a healthy mindset and having the right strategies prepared is key for when the going gets tough.
Tip #1: Build a balanced plate
Though the makeup of keto meals is different (much more fat, barely any carbs), Nicole Rittman, RD, a clinical dietitian at the University of Miami Health System, says that educating yourself on eating a balanced diet is still vital.
“I would focus first on mastering the principles of building a balanced plate while maintaining the keto guidelines and appropriate portion sizes,” she says. “I would say it’s more about eating food the right way, as opposed to eating it at the right time.”
Tip #2: Pick the right protein & fats
Some look at a keto meal plan as an excuse to eat as much red meat, cheese, and other foods loaded with saturated fat as they want. But Rittman advises against this approach.
“Although red meats, pork, and processed meats are applicable on the keto diet, they are high in saturated fats, which can have negative health impacts,” she says. “I would recommend having a favorable amount of fat be from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, also known as your heart-healthy fats. These can be found in avocadoes, walnuts, and olive oil. When selecting healthy protein sources, I would recommend using leaner protein items like chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, and dairy.”
Tip #3: Choose substantial keto snacks
Rittman advises making the same healthy choices when you feel noshy.
Her top picks for keto friendly foods are:
- Coconut shavings
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Turkey and cheese roll-ups
Tip #4: Make your carbs count
Since carbohydrates are minimal on the keto diet, so Rittman advises making the most of the ones you eat. “The diet allows for small quantities of carbohydrates, so I recommend taking advantage of ones that are also high in fiber,” she says. “Examples are fruits, avocadoes, and low-carbohydrate vegetables (spinach, collard greens, broccoli, asparagus).”
Tip #5: Hydration is key
The increased protein and fat intake in keto friendly foods makes more hydration particularly important. This not only prevents constipation, but it also enhances urinary excretion throughout the day. So be sure to ramp up that water intake.
Tip #6: Focus on portion sizes
Like any diet, the key to success on keto is to keep portion sizes reasonable and avoid overeating, says Rittman. “Maintaining appropriate portion sizes is still an important piece of any diet or lifestyle,” she says. “If you follow the ketogenic diet but are eating quantities that exceed what you need, you may have difficulty achieving weight loss.”
Wyatt Myers is a contributing writer for UMiami Health News.
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