The Best Keto Diet Menu Ideas for Beginners

Updated: May 19, 2024

Use this keto diet menu to plan low-carb meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You'll find keto-friendly snacks and desserts, too.

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The keto diet is popular for its weight loss benefits. Researchers have also found that following a keto diet could support treatments for cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. To achieve these benefits, stick to a keto diet menu that consists of 70% fats, 25% protein and 5% carbs. This ratio causes you to enter ketosis, where your body starts using fat as its primary energy source.

For most, a keto lifestyle means eating 50 grams of carbs or less per day and consuming plenty of healthy fats. To stay on track, create a weekly keto meal plan with low-carb, high-fat and protein-rich meals. The keto recipes in our menu below all fit the bill.

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Keto Breakfast

There’s no better way to start your day than with a nourishing breakfast—and that’s super easy to do when you’re keto. The ideal keto breakfast still maintains nutrient balance like a normal breakfast, just slightly altered. You’ll want to aim for a source of protein, a large serving of fat and a small serving of carbohydrates in the form of produce (fruits or veggies). With keto, a full serving of fruit would likely knock out your carbs for that meal, so vegetables are typically a better choice.

Many classic breakfast foods are still on the keto menu including eggs (like spinach-mushroom scrambled eggs), cheese, bacon, sausage patties, veggies and even certain Starbucks drinks. No need to rack your brain trying to come up with breakfast ideas, but if you’re stuck, look through our keto breakfast recipes.

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Two Plates of Delicious Feta Salmon Salad

Keto Lunch

The hallmark deli sandwich and chips are off the table when following keto, but we can recommend far more delicious options. Like breakfast, this part of the keto diet menu should achieve the keto balance of low carb, high fat and moderate protein while also including some leafy greens.

Conveniently enough, keto-friendly salads fit this bill perfectly. For more protein, consider lettuce wraps, nitrate-free deli meat roll-ups and bunless burgers.

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best deviled egg recipes
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Keto Snacks

The 2 p.m. slump can be the hardest time to resist the temptation of carb-heavy pretzels, candy and cheese puffs. Here’s the good news: It’s pretty simple to whip up satisfying keto-friendly snacks.

Aim for a hefty source of fat, protein or both. Include a side of veggies for added micronutrients and fiber. This could look like stuffed mushrooms, a cruditès platter and creamy dip or even deviled eggs.

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salmon in foil with lemon slices on a baking sheet with a side of potatoes in a bowl

Keto Dinners

There’s lots of opportunity for creativity for keto dinners. The meal can center around a hearty protein, like fish, poultry, steak or eggs. Pair with a delicious vegetable-forward side dish and a serving of healthy fat, and viola, the perfect keto dinner. Keto soups, salads, sheet-pan meals and zoodle pasta dishes all work beautifully too.

To take the headache out of meal planning, here are some of the best keto dinner recipes to try.

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Keto Strawberry Cheesecake Shake Vertical1 A

Keto Desserts

You’d be surprised at how many keto dessert recipes can be found! The only health goal for a keto dessert is not to overdo it with the carbs. However, bonus points are awarded if nutrient-dense ingredients make their way into your dish. People often make keto fat bombs, keto brownies and peanut butter-rich sweets (with no refined sugars, of course).

Keto Diet FAQ

What are some essential ingredients to have in a keto kitchen?

Some of the best ingredients to have on hand include an array of fats, proteins and produce. Healthy fat sources include avocado, olive oil, cheese and coconut milk. Protein options range from nuts and seeds to poultry, red meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Meanwhile, produce like low-carb fruits and non-starchy vegetables are key for overall nutrient balance.

What cooking oil is best for keto?

The best cooking oils for the keto diet include olive oil, avocado oil, MCT oil and coconut oil. This is because they’re full of heart-healthy fats that will help you achieve ketosis while increasing satiety. Options like canola and other vegetable and seed oils are less optimal as they contain higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.

What are the best low-carb fruits for keto?

When it comes to fruit, keto eaters should be discerning because many options are high in carbs. However, some of the best keto-friendly fruits include avocado, blackberries, lemon, raspberries, strawberries and watermelon. However, moderation is still important even for low-carb fruits, as the numbers can add up quickly.