One of the myths about the ketogenic lifestyle that may cause some people to avoid trying it is that it’s time consuming and requires a lot of work. While it’s true that your healthiest option is to cook your own foods so that you have complete control over the ingredients, it doesn’t have to be difficult or take up a ton of your time. Try some of these simple hacks to make sticking to your keto way of eating easier.
This could be a whole article unto itself (and actually it will be in the near future), but sitting down once a week (or month, or whatever suits your schedule best) and planning what you will eat ahead of time saves you time, money and effort.
No more overspending at the grocery store because you’ll already know exactly what you need to buy, and if you’re someone who likes to follow the grocery store sales, you can incorporate the discounted items into your menu to save even more. You also won’t have to stand staring into the refrigerator every night wondering what the heck to make for dinner, and you can incorporate any leftovers into your menu, which minimizes food waste.
Use a macros tracker
While you’re putting together your menu, using a macros tracker to see exactly how much of each food you need makes this really easy! There are several popular apps and websites available, and many of them have a free version. My personal favorite is Cronometer – it breaks down the amount of protein, fat and carbs in each food and also gives you estimates on the amount of a whole list of nutrients that it contains. This is great if you’re looking to increase the amount of a particular vitamin or mineral in your diet.
Another feature of Cronometer that I like is that you can enter custom foods or recipes, and it will give you the macros and nutritional information for each serving. Cool, right?!
Fat Bombs are the bomb!
There are a ton of fat bomb recipes out there, both sweet and savory varieties. Find a couple that you like, and keep them on hand for when you need something quick!
Ice cube trays
These are a super convenient way to prep things you will use when cooking. For example, when I make a batch of homemade bone broth, I let it cool then pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Transfer the cubes to a storage container or zip lock bag when they’re ready. Now I can pull out exactly what I need when I need it. How easy is that?!
I also use this method to freeze bacon grease (which I use to cook with later) and fresh herbs and spices to keep them from going bad – just mix them in a little butter, coconut or olive oil then freeze. Freeze coffee or tea into cubes if you like to make iced drinks.
Cook a whole chicken at once (for example) and use it throughout the week. Or make a big batch of soup or stew (I love my crock pot for doing this) and then freeze it into individual serving-sized portions. Throughout the week just defrost, reheat and eat!
Use a kitchen scale
Take the guess work out of how much of what you need. An inexpensive kitchen scale (I got mine for about $15) makes it super quick and easy to measure exactly how much you need of each ingredient.
Invest in some other useful kitchen gadgets
If your budget allows, having some cool kitchen gadgets can really save you a lot of prep time. For example, a spiral slicer (I recently bought this one and I love it!) or a mandolin (I have both) can help you prepare veggies in no time flat (whereas hand cutting will take quite a bit longer). Having a set of measuring cups and spoons makes it quick and easy to measure out exactly what you need. If you can afford to have a food processor, your job will be easy!
Opt for frozen organic veggies
If it makes more sense with your schedule or your budget, then buying organic frozen vegetables is also a great time saver. No prep work involved – just measure out what you need and you’re done!
Use homemade spice blends
If you find that you have certain spices that you use together all the time when you cook, why not make up a batch of them all premixed so you don’t have to measure out each ingredient individually each time? I like to save empty spice jars for this purpose, or you could use small mason jars (you know, the little ones they sell for putting jelly in).
Homemade salad dressings
I love to make my own salad dressings because it allows me to control exactly what ingredients go into it (store bought dressings almost always have things you definitely don’t want in a healthy keto way of eating!) Again, small mason jars are great for this, and making it up ahead of time saves you time because it’s ready to use. I’ve even been known to buy bottles of commercial salad dressing when they’re on sale really cheap and then dump the contents just so I can reuse the glass bottle it came in!
Keep some hard boiled eggs on hand
Organic pastured eggs are a great healthy keto food. Cook up a few (or a lot!) at a time and keep them in your refrigerator – super easy and convenient! Oh, and you know that little membrane under the skin? Eat it rather than throwing it away, because it’s pure collagen!
Make mini omelets in a muffin pan
Crack some eggs into a muffin tin (one per compartment). Add in some chopped veggies, meat or shredded cheese, and maybe a little touch of heavy cream (or all of them!) and bake. Store in the refrigerator to reheat and enjoy over the next few days. Grease the muffin pan first so your eggs don’t stick.
Buy meats and poultry with the skin and bones still in it
You’re paying more (sometimes a LOT more) for the convenience of having had the skin and bones removed from meats and poultry. Buying varieties that still have those included is not only cheaper, but it’s also healthier.
Cooking meats with the bones and skin still intact adds healthy fats and other nutrients. You can also save the bones for making homemade bone broth later. I simply freeze them in a plastic bag until I have enough to make a batch. And let me tell you how absolutely delicious baked chicken skins are – add some seasonings, bake until crispy and viola – so good, and they contain a lot of good nutrients.
Mason jar salads
You can probably tell by now that I really love mason jars! Yet another great use for them is to make up salads ahead of time. Mix all your ingredients and divvy them up into mason jars for a super easy grab-and-go option. Be sure your lettuce is dry before putting it in the jar so it will stay fresh longer. You could even put the dressing in first, at the bottom of the jar, then pile in the veggies. When you’re ready to eat, just shake and serve!
Mason jars are great for storing things like nuts and seeds too. Having them all in the same kind of container makes storage easier and more organized, and it’s easy to see what’s in each jar.
Use a salad spinner
Make washing and drying your lettuce (and other veggies) fast and easy by using a salad spinner. They’re relatively inexpensive and are available in the kitchen section of many stores, or you can order them online. Lettuce will stay fresh longer if it’s stored without a lot of added moisture.
Keto Made Easy
If you can set aside even just a little time each week to implement some of these ideas, you can reap the rewards for days to come! I hope these ideas will help you see how simple it can be to live a healthy keto lifestyle.
Keto on, my friends, and make it a great journey!