This post is a companion piece to the lazy keto article, which describes what lazy keto is and who might want to do it. The tl;dr (too long, didn’t read) version is that lazy keto is a simplified version of the keto diet where you only track carbs to make sure you’re under the limit to stay in ketosis. According to The Keto Reset Diet and Keto for Life, that would be about 50 grams total (gross) per day, with some wiggle room if most of your carbs are coming from non-starchy vegetables and avocados. Otherwise, you don’t micromanage your protein, fat, or total calorie intake.
Lazy Keto How-to
As I mentioned in the last post, lazy keto doesn’t necessarily mean that you keep your food simple. You can be a keto gourmet and only track carbs. That said, my experience is that many people who want to do lazy keto also want their diet to be relatively low fuss.
The easiest way to do lazy keto is… well, it’s to eat carnivore. But, assuming you want to eat veggies, it’s:
Eggs and bacon/sausage/ham/steak for breakfast every morning (minimal carbs).
Same basic Big-Ass Salad for lunch every day, varying the protein and dressing to keep it interesting.
Hunk of meat and side of veggies for dinner. This requires a little bit of measuring, but if you’ve eaten, say, less than 20 grams of carbs so far, you have lots of room for error.
Obviously this is just one option. Some people only eat one or two meals per day, which makes it even easier to stay under their carb limit (but which doesn’t work for everyone). Some people prefer to load more carbs in the morning or time them around workouts. This is very much a “you-do-you” situation.
Five-Day Lazy Keto Meal Plan
Here’s one example of how you might do lazy keto. Thanks to using leftovers, it’s less work than it might seem on the surface.
A few things to note:
This plan provides a basic framework. We expect that you’ll customize it and that you’ll eat however much protein, fat, and calories you need. For example, you might add more protein to your salads or double the portion size of a dish.
This meal plan obviously won’t work for all dietary restrictions and food sensitivities. Likewise, if you need to keep your carbs below 20 or 30 grams for health reasons, this exact plan wouldn’t work perfectly for you. But, you can still use it for inspiration.
Carb counts are an estimate. For packaged food items like sausage, adjust carb counts as needed based on the exact items you use.
You’re responsible for calculating how many carbs you routinely consume in things like morning coffee, evening adult beverages, pre-workout drinks or snacks, and the like, and adjusting accordingly.
We provided the Extras and Coconut & Dairy Products tables at the end to spare you from having to look up the macros in some common snacks and add-ons. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list of everything you might add.
Lazy Keto Info
From a carb perspective (but not a calorie perspective, obviously), these foods are “free:”
OK! This meal plan and the shopping list assume you are cooking for two people. All the carb totals are PER SERVING (i.e., for one person) unless otherwise specified. Save or print the Lazy Keto Meal Plan.
BREAKFAST: Bacon and eggs, optional bone broth latte
One serving is 3 eggs prepared in the manner of your choosing + 3 pieces of bacon (2 grams of carbs)
See the Recipes section below for how to make the bone broth latte (1 gram of carbs)
There are 8.3 grams of carbs total, 4 grams net, in the whole recipe with the broccoli slaw, or about 4 grams of carbs per serving.
Slice the remaining avocado and serve it on the side, or save it for dinner (4.5 grams of carbs, 1 gram net, per serving).
DINNER: Chicken Fajita Cauliflower Rice Bowls
1 bowl = 1 cup (85 g) of cauliflower rice, 4 ounces (115 g) of chicken, and ¼ of the Tex-Mex Fajita Veggies recipe below.
Cauliflower rice: 4 grams of carbs per cup (2 grams net). Prepare according to directions.
Suggested chicken recipe:Whole30 Instant Pot Ranch Chicken (2 grams of carbs per 4-ounce serving). Prepare 1 pound of chicken and refrigerate half for tomorrow’s lunch. Or, just use any grilled or baked chicken, or rotisserie chicken to save time.
NOTE: Portion out and refrigerate half the Tex-Mex Fajita Veggies for tomorrow’s breakfast.
TOTAL CARBS (per person)
Breakfast = 3 grams
Lunch (½ of collard recipe + ½ of remaining avocado) = 8.5 grams
Dinner = approximately 13–15 grams, depending on chicken
TOTAL = 25–27 grams
Comments and suggestions: That’s so much leeway with your carbs! You could add salsa (~1 gram of carbs per tablespoon), shredded cheese, even more avocado, and sour cream to your fajita bowl and still have room for a couple extra eggs at breakfast and some berries with your lunch.
BREAKFAST: Leftover veggie scramble
For two servings, scramble 6 eggs in butter or ghee with the leftover fajita veggies. This is 11 grams of carbs per serving.
Optionally add 4 slices of chopped cooked bacon and ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese. This adds <1 gram of carbs.
LUNCH: Big-ass salad with leftover chicken
Basic Big-Ass Salad (see recipe below; 14 grams of carbs total, 8 grams net)
Leftover chicken (0–2 grams of carbs for 4 ounces, 115 g)
For slow-baked salmon, see recipe below (0 grams carbs)
1 cup (about 140 g) of frozen green beans per serving, thawed and sautéed in butter = 9 grams of carbs (5 grams net)
NOTE: Refrigerate half the salmon to use for lunch tomorrow.
Breakfast = 11 grams
Lunch = approximately 16–18 grams
Dinner = 9 grams
TOTAL = about 36–38 grams
Comments and suggestions:Optionally add slivered almonds (1.5 grams of carbs per tablespoon) and garlic (1 gram of carbs per clove) to the green beans. Serve the salmon over a bed of baby spinach (1 gram of carbs per cup) with Primal Kitchen Lemon Turmeric Vinaigrette and Marinade (2 grams of carbs per 2 tablespoons).
NOTE: Make chia pudding tonight for breakfast tomorrow (recipe below). Optionally, make the leftover salmon into the salmon spread for tomorrow’s lunch if you want to pack it in the morning.
BREAKFAST: Chocolate pecan chia pudding
See recipe below. Each serving has 10 grams of carbs (5.5 grams net).
LUNCH: Avocado stuffed with Primal Salmon Spread
Find the Primal Salmon Spread recipe here. Follow the linked recipe, skipping the first step where you cook the salmon, because you will use the leftover salmon from last night instead. Half the recipe contains 1.5 grams of carbs (1 gram net).
Instead of serving with nori chips, place each serving atop ½ avocado (6 grams of carbs, 2.5 grams net).
SNACK (optional, or eat with lunch): Veggies with ranch
1 small carrot, cut into sticks (5 grams carb, 3.5 grams net)
1 medium stalk celery, cut into sticks (1 gram carb, 0.5 grams net)
½ small cucumber, sliced (3 grams carbs, 2 grams net)
NOTE: The shopping list calls for 1 pound of ground beef. You need 6 ounces for tomorrow’s lunch. Use the remaining 10 ounces to make two 5-ounce hamburger patties for tonight’s dinner. Each hamburger has 0 grams of carbs.
Suggested toppings (per burger): 2 large lettuce leaves (2 grams of carbs) + 2 thick slices tomato (2 grams of carbs) + Primal Kitchen Mayo (flavor of your choice; 0 grams of carbs)
Prepare broccoli according to preference, either steamed, roasted, or sautéed. One cup (85 g) of broccoli florets contains 7 grams of carbs (4 grams net)
Breakfast = 10 grams
Lunch = 7.5 grams
Optional snack = 11 grams
Dinner (hamburger with suggested toppings + 1 cup broccoli) = 11 grams
TOTAL = about 28.5 grams without snack, 39.5 with snack
Comments and suggestions: Allot some of those extra carbs to raspberries on your chia pudding. Add cheese, bacon, and/or a fried egg to your burger.
NOTE: To save yourself time tomorrow, brown and crumble the remaining 6 ounces of ground beef for tomorrow’s lunch. Add salt and pepper to taste.
BREAKFAST: Broccoli slaw, zucchini, sausage sauté
Brown sliced chicken or pork sausage in fat of choice (carbs depend on brand of sausage). Add 1¾ cup broccoli slaw and 1 medium zucchini, sliced or diced (together they have 6.5 grams of carbs, 3 grams net, per serving). Sauté until veggies are just soft.
LUNCH: Cheeseburger salad
Start with the Basic Big-Ass Salad (see recipe below; 14 grams of carbs total, 8 grams net), or follow this recipe for Keto Cheeseburger Salad.
NOTE: You will make enough steak and asparagus for leftovers for tomorrow. Set aside 4–6 ounces of cooked steak per salad (tomorrow’s lunch). Divide the cooked asparagus in half and set aside one portion for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Prepare steak according to your preference. See how Mark prepares his steaks here.
Brown ground turkey. Add 2 cups of tomato sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Add zoodles and cook about 3 minutes until just warmed through. Optionally top with shredded parmesan cheese.
One serving = ¼ of recipe (11 grams of carbs, 9 grams net)
Breakfast = 6.5 grams
Lunch = 17–18 grams
Dinner = 11 grams
TOTAL = 34.5–35.5 grams
Comments and suggestions: If you’re not sick of salad, serve zoodles with a side spinach salad.
BONE BROTH LATTE
(Makes 2 servings)
3 cups (720 mL) chicken bone broth (or substitute beef)
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter or ghee (substitute coconut oil or avocado oil for dairy-free)
Fine salt to taste
Warm the broth. Add the butter or ghee and use an immersion blender to blend until frothy.
Divide between two mugs. Add salt to taste.
BASIC BIG-ASS SALAD
(Makes 2 servings)
3 cups (5 oz, 47 g) chopped Romaine lettuce
1 cup (3 oz, 85 g) broccoli slaw, store-bought
8 grape tomatoes (about 2 oz, 56 g), halved
¼ cup (1.25 oz, 36 g) diced cucumber
Divide lettuce between two serving bowls. Top each with half the broccoli slaw, tomatoes, and cucumber.
Add additional ingredients according to directions in the Meal Plan above.
Lindsay Taylor, Ph.D., is a senior writer and community manager for Primal Nutrition, a certified Primal Health Coach, and the co-author of three keto cookbooks.
As a writer for Mark’s Daily Apple and the leader of the thriving Keto Reset and Primal Endurance communities, Lindsay’s job is to help people learn the whats, whys, and hows of leading a health-focused life. Before joining the Primal team, she earned her master’s and Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also worked as a researcher and instructor.
Lindsay lives in Northern California with her husband and two sports-obsessed sons. In her free time, she enjoys ultra running, triathlon, camping, and game nights. Follow along on Instagram @theusefuldish as Lindsay attempts to juggle work, family, and endurance training, all while maintaining a healthy balance and, most of all, having fun in life. For more info, visit lindsaytaylor.co.