I was tired of Googling "is this food keto-friendly" a million times.

By Samantha Lefave
Advertisement

If there's one thing that's for sure right now, it's that the ketogenic diet is insanely popular. People searching for how-to info, detailed meal plans, and high-fat recipes such as keto-friendly smoothie recipes, vegetarian keto recipes, even meals that'll work in the Instant Pot has been steadily increasing throughout 2018. (Related: Is the Keto Diet a Good Idea for Vegetarians?)

But the keto diet is also super restrictive on the carb front, limiting people to less than 50 grams a day. And because a lot of foods have carbs (yes, even your veggies have 'em), that makes navigating the diet a little tricky.

Which is why, for a monthlong experiment with the keto diet, I decided that the less I had to think about, the better. So instead of meal planning for every single morsel of food all by my lonesome, I strategically turned to food companies that make following the keto diet easier.

Case in point: When I didn't have time to whip up a homemade keto snack-or even when I needed a keto-friendly dessert for my book club-I turned to Nui cookies. Not only did it satisfy my craving for a freaking cookie (the snickerdoodle and double chocolate flavors were my favorites), but they also use monk fruit extract, a sweetener that's reportedly 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar (less is more!), so I didn't have to worry about going into carb overload from one cookie. In fact, I could have two. (Related: The Best Healthy Keto Packaged Snacks You Can Buy)

The biggest lifesaver, though, came at dinnertime. While I'm okay with sticking to a routine during the day, my dinners have to be different each night. So rather than fall into a trap of Googling "Is fill-in-the-blank-food keto?" I turned to HelloFresh. The subscription meal company recently acquired Green Chef, a company that develops gluten-free menus for those following a keto or paleo plan. (Related: What's the Difference Between the Paleo and Keto Diets?) This means that three nights a week, I didn't have to think about whether the foods in my dinner had too many carbs or not enough fat, or go grocery shopping and spend hours reading nutrition labels. (You'd be shocked at how much sugar, a no-go on keto, is hiding in foods that have no need to be artificially sweetened.) All I had to do was pull the fresh ingredients out of the fridge, follow the recipe, and dig in.

Having the meals delivered each week also meant I knew what I would be eating for dinner that night-something that's key to sticking to the keto diet all day. The plan revolves around meal planning and counting your macronutrients, and if you go over your percentages in any category (people generally eat 70 percent fat, 20 to 25 percent protein, and 5 to 10 percent carbs while on keto), you could kick yourself out of ketosis. If that happens, then you go right back to burning carbs for fuel instead of fat, which is the whole point of keto. Knowing in advance what meal would be on the table that night made it easier to adjust the rest of my day, so I felt confident that I wouldn't mess up my macro counting.

Of course, one of the biggest benefits of the keto diet-aside from the weight-loss results many see-is the creativity reboot it can give your meals. A lot of healthy foods are banned because of their high carb count, so following the keto diet forced me to experiment with other ingredients, like cauliflower rice and tuna. Since I'm a creature of habit during the day, dinner was the time to play, and the recipes that Green Chef delivered really pushed my husband and me out of our comfort zones. One of our favorite discoveries? Shirataki noodles, a zero-carb Japanese noodle made from yam husks. They work perfectly as a pasta alternative. We enjoyed them in this Pasta with Italian Sausage recipe, but since the noodles easily take on the flavor of the ingredients they're paired with, you could sub them into any favorite pasta dish.

Plus, the creativity behind the recipes meant I didn't miss takeout or dining out. Navigating restaurant menus can be tough when you're on such a restrictive diet-you can't be shy about asking the chef exactly how a meal is prepared-and that just wasn't worth it while on this very specific eating plan. The big bonus (and a surprising one) was the affordability. Each meal is priced at about $30 per couple, and given that we live in New York City, it's easy to spend a hell of a lot more than that during a typical date night. (Related: HelloFresh Is Making Meal Prep So Much Easier With Their New Dinner 2 Lunch Option)

All in all, the biggest takeaway I got from trying the keto diet for a month (other than losing 11 pounds and 3 percent body fat) is this: Life is hard enough, so if you decide to go on a "diet" or drastically change your eating patterns, don't make it harder on yourself. That's a surefire way to fall off the wagon or give up. If you're hell-bent on trying keto but meticulous meal planning isn't your thing, that doesn't mean it isn't going to work for you-just that you need a little help. If that comes in the form of meal kits, so be it.

Comments (7)

Anonymous
January 18, 2020
Thanks! It was helpful. I would like to help people out there through my experience. Being on a diet is pretty much difficult as I used to have these cravings for pizzas and sandwiches. So one fine day my friend suggested me this so called keto bread. It is a recipe guide book by a nutritional biochemist, Kelley Herring. After going through her website: //*https://bit.ly/379hIZv*// and found the 100% money back guarantee she's been assuring , I have learnt that gluten free products contain arsenic that lead to headaches, fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, heart disease, cancer and diabetes in a long run. Also, that traditional bread produces certain compounds that trigger receptors in our brain causing pleasure whenever we consume cheese, pizza,etc. This, over a time causes cravings, eventually making it impossible to burn fat, which is the worst we can do to our body. And then I bought her book and trust me it's not just a book but a complete baking program. I ended up baking grain free low carb bread and trust me, I never felt the need to cheat on my diet and the best thing is that the taste was all same. I have a healthy body now, in a shape I dreamt of. Her book saved a lot of my time too. I would highly recommend you to go through her website asap, she is assuring 100% cash back guarantee.
Anonymous
January 7, 2019
The keto diet can be an effective tool for rapid weight loss. It may also be useful against epilepsy and polycystic ovarian syndrome. However, keto is not for everyone. There are a few downsides, like constipation and the keto flu. So, is the keto diet for you? Find out..... http://www.easyketomealplan.org/
Anonymous
October 8, 2018
I am sharing my experience, one of the guide helped to reduce weight within few weeks, It’s working for both men & women. That I burnt my 21Lbs Exactly 30 day’s routine simple workout and food. It’s really awesome one!!! No words to say about it. Watch the video here: https://weightlossin3weeks.com
Anonymous
August 30, 2018
I believe lemons should be an important staple in every diet.I used to have big problems with weight loss tips, but am getting in better shape now. Here’s a good site I found that really helped. It gave me great methods and and showed me what I was doing wrong before…there’s even lots of free articles on the site - http://medicationdiabetes.com
Anonymous
August 29, 2018
I struggled with weight, especially around the mid-region. I have the typical apple shaped body and after my pregnancies, it got worse. Along with severe bloating and fat in the tummy, I hated shopping for clothes. What worked for me is healthier eating (not dieting), strength training, and detoxing. I can't stress how much detoxing helped reset my body to be more efficient and boost my metabolism. I tried green tea but due to hypersensitivity to caffeine, I would get jittery. Then a friend turned me on to a tea which has no caffeine and has worked wonders in helping my overall health and weight-loss journey. http://bit.ly/2Kw7wP2
Anonymous
August 12, 2018
I am really surprised with the huge great articles on this magazine,and I believe lemons should be an important staple in every diet.I used to have big problems with weight loss tips, but am getting in better shape now. Here’s a good program I found that really helped. It gave me great methods and and showed me what I was doing wrong before…there’s even lots of free articles on the site - https://bit.ly/2GRnwdE
Anonymous
August 9, 2018
Following a Keto Diet has given me great results. I found this recipe book very useful. https://bit.ly/2EBANEY Contains lots of recipes and meal plans.