Staying keto when you are very busy is always a challenge- the easiest, cheapest, and most widely available grab-and-go foods are carbohydrate bombs. Moreover, even if you are a champion of scanning the convenience store for keto-friendly snacks like cheese and nuts, high stress lowers your impulse control and makes it more likely you will head straight for the donuts.
Keto cooking can get as elaborate and gourmet as you can imagine, but when the most important thing is getting your macros in and having food available in advance of being hungry, sometimes you need the simplest possible plan. Here it is:
If you aren’t sure what your ideal macros are, use this excellent calculator to figure them out.
Now pick a protein that you wouldn’t mind eating for at least three consecutive meals. If you pick ground beef, you can Google (or my favorite: ask Siri!) “how many grams of protein are in one pound of 80/20 ground beef?” With some very basic arithmetic – a pad of paper helps if you’re long in the tooth, or a document to keep track of all your calculations – you can figure out exactly how much of that meat you need to hit all your protein macros for one day.
But that meat also has fat in it (even chicken breast has a little). Look up how many grams of fat are in x grams of ground beef, and then subtract that from your total fat macros for the day. The number of grams remaining can be divided by the number of grams of fat in a tablespoon of your favorite fat (butter is the food of the gods and should be used whenever possible). Now you have the exact amount of meat and fat needed to hit your daily macros.
To create a one-pot, super-easy Mound Of Food that meets all daily macros, we like to use the most bulk for the least carbohydrates- cauliflower rice and turnip noodles (“toodles”? Possibly even more ridiculous than zucchini “zoodles”) are two client favorites. Measure out as much bulky vegetable matter as possible to get to 20 grams of carbohydrate.
Now you’re ready to roll! Brown the meat in the pan, adding salt and pepper to taste and keeping all of the fat in the pan. Add the proper number of tablespoons of butter and let it all melt, then throw in the cauliflower rice (you can get easy-prep frozen stuff at many grocery stores now) and as many vegetables as you like that stay under 20 grams of carbohydrate. The vegetables will soak up all of that fat and you will have a delicious, moist, and flavorful stir-fry. Add some herbs and spices – being mindful of extra carbs – and saute until you like the consistency of the vegetables. Divide into single meal servings and stash them in your fridge or (if eating more than three days later) freezer
If you are feeling truly industrious and do not mind some monotony, it is perfectly possible to macro calculate, shop, prep, cook, and store a week’s worth of meals in a few hours. If absolute speed is not your goal, you can easily calculate a couple of different protein sources as well. These are also great emergency meals to pop out of the freezer.
Simple is good. Simple saves sanity. And with all of that extra time, maybe those recipes for keto chicken cordon bleu and fathead spanakopita will suddenly look very appealing.