Stuck in a dinner rut? No idea what to make for dinner that will be delicious AND keto-friendly?
No problem, we’ve got your back! These 10 low-carb, Primal recipes will add flavor and fun to your next evening meal.
Pair the dishes below with one or more keto side dishes to make a complete meal that packs plenty of protein and healthy fats without the carb bombs that can torpedo your keto diet.
One of the biggest complaints about keto is that meals aren’t exactly quick to prepare. Lunch can feel especially tricky. Before keto, you might have made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or grabbed a quick sub on your lunch break. Keto-friendly lunches aren’t quite so simple.
But that doesn’t mean keto lunches are hard. Lunch can be as easy as grabbing last night’s leftovers or throwing together a quick salad with a can of tuna and your favorite Primal Kitchen dressing. You can even still have your favorite savory sandwiches; you just have to be more creative with the bread options.
Here are some of our favorite easy keto lunch ideas and recipes to prep ahead to make low-carb lunches a breeze.
Ideally, your keto diet comprises mostly animal proteins, low-carb vegetables, and healthy fats—but sometimes you have a sweet tooth that needs satisfying. Or maybe you’re going to a birthday party, graduation picnic, or other celebration, and you want to bring a treat that won’t derail your low-carb way of eating. That’s where these keto desserts come in. Typical desserts made with flour and sugar are off the menu for keto dieters due to their usually sky-high carbohydrate content. These 15 keto dessert recipes are made with keto-friendly ingredients—nut flours, coconut products, and low-carb, keto-approved sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia—that keep them low-carb and also Primal-approved. (Allulose and sugar alcohols are other acceptable sweeteners that you can sub into these recipes.) Enjoy! 15 Keto Dessert Recipes Chocolate-y Keto Treats 1. Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free) Our take on the classic, so good they’ll have you asking, “Chips a-who?” Get the Recipe 2. Fudgy Keto Zucchini Brownies The zucchini adds moisture and structure to these brownies. Looking for a way to get more veggies into your kids? Look no further. Get the Recipe 3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs Indulge in the perfect combo of chocolate and peanut butter. Get the Recipe Keto Cake, Pie, and Baked Desserts 4. Keto Strawberry Cream Pie This pie is best made with fresh summer strawberries. It tastes like sunshine in your mouth. Get the Recipe 5. Keto Angel Food Cake Sometimes keto-friendly baked goods are dense and heavy, but this angel food cake is the light, airy treat you expect—without all the sugar and grains. Get the Recipe 6. No-Bake Keto Coconut Cheesecake Need a dessert that everyone will go nuts for whether or not they’re keto? These no-bake cheesecake bites are it! Get the Recipe 7. Keto Sugar Cookies Perfect for the holidays or any time of the year. Get the Recipe 8. Keto Donuts These require the purchase of a silicon donut pan, but once you own it, you can try all sorts of variations on this recipe: chocolate, glazed, blueberry, cinnamon—yum! Get the Recipe Frozen Keto Treats 9. Keto Salted Caramel Ice Cream This creamy treat starts with a low-carb custard base that becomes the best keto ice cream you’ve ever had. Get the Recipe 10. Keto Coffee Frozen Pops Now your morning coffee is a cool anytime refreshment. Get the Recipe 11. Keto Ice Cream Bon Bons The only thing more fun than ice cream? Ice cream you eat with your fingers, of course. Get the Recipe 12. Collagen Fuel Fudge Pops When you’re feeling nostalgic for the endless summer nights of childhood, reach for one of these fudge pops. Get the Recipe 13. Primal Keto Ice Cream Top this low-carb ice cream with a shot of espresso for a keto-friendly affogato that’s pure bliss. Get the Recipe And Now for Something a Little Different… 14. Chocolate Bacon Keto folks love bacon, and we love dark chocolate, so why not put them together? Try it once, you’ll be hooked. … Continue reading “Keto Dessert Recipes”
A little appreciated (but important) fact: for most of human history, the average person would have been regularly exposed to ketosis. This was mostly light and transient, sometimes more protracted, but they were never far from a mildly ketogenic state. Food wasn’t always a sure thing, after all, and carbs weren’t necessarily readily available year-round. Ketosis was normal, it was frequent, and it was beneficial, even life-saving.
Today, few people achieve ketosis without intentionally fasting or following a ketogenic diet. The latter refers to any very low-carb diet—low enough that your liver churns out ketones that your cells can use for energy in place of glucose. It may feel like keto exploded into popularity out of nowhere, but doctors have actually been prescribing therapeutic keto diets to treat epilepsy for more than a century. Today, keto is popular mostly as a weight-loss diet, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits a keto diet has to offer.
When starting a ketogenic diet, grocery shopping can become a confusing task. You may begin to question each item, unsure if it supports or hinders your new eating approach. Is this the right kind of fat? What cut of meat should I be buying? Does this constitute “very low carb?” I created this guide to simplify your next trip to the grocery store. Don’t feel like you have to buy every item listed. See these as options to get you started. As you learn what foods you prefer, and what your version of keto looks like, you can customize as you go along. This breakdown is organized by section in the typical grocery store, but don’t limit yourself to shopping the supermarket. Check out your local farmer’s market and co-ops. Peruse online retailers for good deals to fit your budget, as well as community supported agriculture (CSAs) shares. CLICK HERE to download a pdf of the Keto Shopping List! Produce (Fresh or Frozen) All vegetables are “allowed” on keto. The trick is finding the ones that have the fewest carbs and, hence, the most bang for your macro buck. Fruit is harder to include because of the relatively high sugar content, but it’s not strictly forbidden. Thus, there is some nuance to choosing the most keto-friendly produce options. Here are some of my favorites to get you started, but it’s not an all-inclusive list: Leafy Greens Arugula Beet greens Dandelion greens Endive Lettuce (romaine, red, green, bibb, etc.) Mustard greens Purslane Spinach Swiss chard Watercress Cruciferous Veggies Bok choy Broccoli Brussels sprouts Cabbage (red and green) Cauliflower Collard greens Kale Other Produce Artichokes Asparagus Avocados Bell peppers Berries Broccolini Chili peppers Cucumbers Eggplant Fiddlehead ferns Garlic Green beans Leeks Lemons Limes Mushrooms (all varieties) Okra Olives Onions (green, red, white, yellow) Rhubarb Spaghetti squash Sprouts Summer squash Tomatoes Zucchini Fermented vegetables (refrigerated) Pickles Sauerkraut Kimchi Meats/Fish/Eggs Prioritize pastured, grass-fed, or organic meat and wild-caught seafood when possible. Seafood Anchovies Bass Clams Cod Flounder Halibut Mahi Mahi Mussels Oysters Salmon Sardines Scallops Shrimp (wild) Sole Trout Tuna Meat/Poultry Beef Chicken Duck Elk Lamb Pork Rabbit Turkey Venison Organ meats Cured/Preserved Meats (sugar-free) Bacon Biltong Ham Jerky Pemmican Prosciutto Salami Sausage Eggs Chicken eggs Duck eggs Goose eggs Quail eggs Dairy Prioritize pastured, grass-fed, or organic varieties. Hard Cheeses Cheddar Emmental Gouda Parmesan Swiss Soft Cheeses Blue Brie Cream cheese Crème fraîche Feta Goat cheese Queso fresco Other Dairy Full-fat cottage cheese Full-fat Greek or regular plain yogurt Half & half Heavy whipping cream Healthy Fats and Oils Avocado oil Butter (preferably pastured and organic) Coconut oil Duck fat Extra virgin olive oil Ghee Lard (preferably pastured and organic) Macadamia nut oil Tallow (preferably pastured and organic) Walnut oil Pantry Items (Packaged, Shelf-stable, and Bulk Bin Foods) Broth/stock Canned wild fish (anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna) Coconut (manna aka coconut butter, shredded coconut) Coconut milk Collagen peptides Dark chocolate (85% or higher cacao content) Nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, … Continue reading “Keto Shopping List”
Now and then I’ll read comments on keto discussion forums that gloat about being able to eat anything if they’re just sure to stay below 50 grams of carbs a day. I’ll be direct here and say this is the wrong way to do keto. Unfortunately, many people get overzealous about macro counts and lose sight of the bigger picture. Reaching ketosis is never the end goal. You want health, energy, vitality. How you get there matters. It’s true that the ketogenic diet uses a macronutrient framework that looks roughly like this: Carbohydrates below 50 grams per day (around 5-10% of total caloric intake) Protein sufficient to meet physiological needs and goals (generally 15-25% caloric intake) The rest from healthy fats Within that framework, there is generous room to fulfill your body’s nutrient requirements and include ample vegetable—and even some fruit—intake. My hope is that this guide will leave you feeling you have an incredibly vast array of appetizing, nutritious options. The truth is you CAN create an effective keto diet from an expansive range of whole, nutrient-dense foods. Healthy Fats Because we want to increase our healthy fat intake on a ketogenic plan, I’m starting with fats. First and foremost, avoid industrial seed oils. Steer clear of anything hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Choosing the right fats to keep your fatty acids in balance is important, but it’s not something to get overly stressed about. Use fats appropriately at temperatures and in storage conditions that maintain their stability and nutrient value. Here are some healthy fat options: Saturated and monounsaturated fats: Great for higher temp cooking and for making fat bombs. Cheese (see dairy) Butter Ghee Coconut Oil Lard Tallow Sustainably Sourced Red Palm Oil Avocado oil Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs): Best for low temp sauteeing and cold use. Extra virgin olive oil Extra virgin avocado oil Bacon fat—actually a mix of saturated and monounsaturated, but surprisingly high in monounsaturated fat; great for sautéed vegetables Duck fat—also a mix of saturated and monounsaturated, but surprisingly high in monounsaturated fat) Macadamia nut oil—very low in PUFAs Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs): Know the difference. Some should be completely off the menu, like over-processed vegetable oils (corn and canola), but others can have a regular place at the ketogenic table. Most seed-based oils are high in polyunsaturated fats. Unfortunately, seed oils are typically extracted in ways that can destroy the nutrients. Be sure to look for cold-pressed versions, and don’t heat these oils. Hemp oil Flax oil Chia oil Vegetables and Fruits Many people falsely assume they have to forgo the benefits of vegetables and especially fruit with a keto diet. The best source of vegetables are above-ground varieties, which are nutrient-dense yet low in carbohydrates. Dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are excellent options. Take time to learn how many carbs are in each kind of produce. I recommend carefully limiting root vegetables and tubers, as well as most fruits, during keto phases. These don’t deliver the best bang for your buck in terms … Continue reading “What to Eat When Going Keto”
Sometimes folks who are interested in losing weight or getting healthier get so focused on the minutia of ”optimizing” their diet, supplements, exercise, and lifestyle that they gloss over the basics. This is a mistake. No matter your goal, you have to lay a good foundation before worrying about the finishing touches. When starting a keto diet, that means gradually reducing carbs to build a base of metabolic flexibility and get into ketosis. To be clear, you can slam your body into ketosis by dropping from several hundred grams of carbs per day, typical in a modern diet, straight to the very low carb intake required for keto. I don’t recommend it, though. For one thing, jumping from a high-carb diet into keto sets you up for the world of hurt known as keto flu. When you suddenly deprive your body of glucose, you can expect to experience headaches, lethargy, brain fog, and an inability to perform your typical workouts. Gradually reducing carbs gives your body the opportunity to upregulate its ability to burn fat for fuel, a necessary prerequisite of ketosis. Not for nothing, a gradual transition also gives the people in your life time to get on board. You might be excited about your big lifestyle change, but I hear all the time from people who are struggling because their partners, kids, or roommates aren’t exactly supportive of them tossing all the junk food and refusing to go through the drive-thru on the way home. Even if you’re already following a moderate-carb Primal way of eating, I still recommend taking the time to make your transition as seamless as possible. No matter where you’re starting, the best way to reach ketosis is to gradually and systematically reduce your carb intake. This is the same approach that I describe in The Keto Reset Diet, and it’s worked for the thousands of people who have participated in our Keto Month challenges. What Is Ketosis? Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your liver is making ketones, which are molecules that any mitochondria-containing cell can use for energy. Your brain and heart especially thrive on ketones. To get into ketosis, you must deplete liver glycogen (the glucose stored in your liver) and keep insulin levels low. Very-low-carb diets and fasting, or a combo of the two, will get you there. Glycogen-depleting exercise helps, too. Ketogenic (“ketone making”) diets are popular for everything from losing weight to lowering insulin and blood sugar to augmenting traditional cancer treatments. Inflammation is at the root of every chronic illness, and ketones are anti-inflammatory. They are also an efficient fuel source, and athletes across the sport spectrum are experimenting with using low-carb diets to burn fat and ketones during exercise. The Primal Blueprint qualifies as a low-carb eating style, especially in comparison to the high-carb Standard American Diet, simply by virtue of the fact that it eliminates the major sources of carbs in the typical modern diet: grains and sugar. The version of keto I recommend … Continue reading “How to Gradually Reduce Carbs to Reach Ketosis”
When the keto diet first skyrocketed in popularity in the late 2010s, it quickly gained a reputation as the “bacon and butter” diet. Vegetables might appear on one’s plate as a small side of spinach or, more likely, cauliflower masquerading as everything from rice to pizza crust to wings. By and large, the focus was on limiting consumption to “keto vegetables” while focusing mainly on increasing fat intake. (I’m talking mainstream keto, mind you, not the Primal Keto Reset approach.) This, as you’d expect, led to no end of pearl-clutching from mainstream medical professionals and the popular media, who quickly branded keto as a dangerous fad diet, a heart attack in the making. It was true that many early adopters of keto went hard on butter, cream, cheese, bacon, and other high-fat foods, probably as an understandable backlash against the low-fat diet dogma that dominated the previous four decades. Some people still do, I’m sure. However, I think most keto folks now understand that they cannot (or should not, anyway) live on butter alone. At least in more forward-thinking health circles, contemporary keto looks less bacon-and-butter and more like a lower-carb version of the Primal Blueprint way of eating, complete with bountiful salads and larger servings of protein. Personally, I’m all for keto eaters embracing a wide array of produce (keto-carnivore diets notwithstanding). At some point, though, the carb question comes into play. By definition, keto requires you to limit your carbohydrate intake to keep glucose and insulin low enough to facilitate ketogenesis. All vegetables contain carbohydrates, some more than others. You can’t eat unlimited amounts of vegetables, especially the higher-carb ones, if you want to stay in ketosis all the time. So how do you decide which ones are best? What Vegetables Are Best for Keto? In order to achieve ketosis, most people need to limit carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 30 to 50 grams per day. Hence, the best vegetables to include on a keto diet are the ones that deliver the most nutrients with the fewest carbs. That sounds straightforward, but in practice, it can be hard to know where to draw the line. The internet is rife with lists that sort foods into discrete “allowed on keto” and “not allowed on keto” categories. They mean well—and they do help simplify the often confusing transition from SAD eating to keto—but they lack nuance. No food will knock you out of ketosis in a single bite. There are no “bad” vegetables. There are only serving sizes and carbohydrate content and fiber. Why does fiber matter? Because fiber is not absorbed into the bloodstream and converted into glucose. It’s counted as a carbohydrate, but it does not contribute to the glucose-induced insulin spike you want to minimize on keto. Fiber, especially the soluble type, is mostly just food for your gut microbes. From a ketosis perspective, fiber is neutral. And in vegetables, especially the leafy and above-ground non-starchy varieties, much of their carb content is actually fiber, meaning their glucose/insulin impact … Continue reading “Keto-friendly Vegetables”
When people think of comfort food there’s a good chance that mac and cheese comes to mind. This creamy, gooey, and cheesy dinner time meal can easily transport you back to childhood days when you wished every meal could be mac and cheese. While we don’t suggest having mac and cheese every night, this keto cauliflower mac and cheese recipe is a great option for when you’re craving that nostalgic taste.
Made with a helping of cauliflower this recipe leans into a variety of spices, such as paprika and mustard powder while also being topped off with our new No-Dairy Cheez Sauce. If you’re looking to switch it up you can also swap out half of the instructed cauliflower for butternut squash, which is perfect for the fall season.
How to make keto cauliflower mac and cheese
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, in a bowl, combine the avocado oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, thyme, mustard powder and salt. Fold in the cauliflower until the spice mixture coats all of the pieces of the cauliflower. Lay the cauliflower out in a single layer on a baking dish or sheet pan. Roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and golden. Allow everything to cool slightly.
Place the cauliflower in a bowl and pour the No Dairy Cheez Sauce on top along with the milk. Stir to combine and then stir in the almond flour. Pour the cauliflower mixture into a greased 9×9 baking dish.
Crush up your pork rinds in a bag. Crush them so that about half of the pork rinds form a coarse powder and the rest crushed up a bit less in order to give the mixture texture. Pour the pork rinds into a bowl and combine with the parsley and almond flour. Pour this mixture on top of the cauliflower and spread it all over the top of the cauliflower.
Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the pork rinds are golden. Allow to cool slightly and serve!
The great thing about making your own snack food at home is that you control what goes into it. This Sweet and Savory Keto Trail Mix combination is no exception. You can have a little sweet and a little salty together without any fear of sending your healthy diet into a nosedive. When you make this recipe in your own kitchen, tailor it to your own preference. Add a little more or less everything but the bagel seasoning. Cut back on the chocolate if you like, or, for that matter don’t add any – the coconut flakes will add plenty of sweetness for some. However you make it, this trail mix is still a fresher, healthier option than most store-bought versions.
The combination of nuts and seeds brings plenty of healthy protein and fat to this snack mix. You can make these separately or toss them together to enjoy a combination of sweet and savory. This is a perfect non-perishable snack to take hiking or camping (it is, after all, trail mix) or, keep an airtight container in your car or at work for snacking during the day.
How to make savory keto trail mix
Briefly baking this combination of nuts and seeds gives it a rich, toasted flavor and slight crunch that’s hard to beat. First preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Lay them out on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake the mix for 7-10 minutes, tossing them once while cooking. Keep an eye on them to ensure nothing burns while cooking. Give the trail mix another toss and allow it to cool before eating.
How to make sweet keto trail mix
For this recipe combine all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy! For another variation, you can melt the chocolate with a small dollop of coconut oil and toss the nuts in this mixture, then lay the trail mix out on a pan in a single layer and refrigerate until a hard bark forms.