While this sounds promising, a lot of people find it difficult to start and maintain the diet for different reasons, such as the keto flu (at the start of their journey) or not having enough keto tricks to make it truly work for them.
The good news is that low-carb eating doesn’t have to be complicated.
In this article, you’ll find a compilation of the best keto hacks. These will not only help you stick to keto but also have fun with it. After all, food is meant to be enjoyed.
1. Replace high-carb foods from your pantry with keto staples.
This is one of the basic keto hacks for beginners. Go through everything and figure out which foods are no longer necessary at this point in your life. You can throw away (or better yet, donate) high-carb products like rice, oatmeal, bananas, traditional flour, potatoes, sugar, and honey.
Then, fill up your kitchen with low-carb and high-fat items, including eggs, grass-fed meats, fish and seafood, avocados, and nuts. Here’s a more detailed keto shopping list to use on your next trip to the grocery.
2. Follow an easy keto meal plan.
When starting a diet, some people can stay on track better if they know what meals to eat. It would be helpful to start small or with your existing favorites. For example, a simple omelet made of eggs, bacon, and cheddar cheese.
Contrary to popular belief, planning nutrient-dense keto meals is easy. As long as you have a list of keto staples — from meats to vegetables to condiments — you can put together three to five-ingredient recipes.
3. Have keto-friendly snacks available.
Snacking has often been associated with weight gain, but that usually happens if you snack excessively (or consume more calories than you burn) or consume snacks with too many carbs and added sugars[*].
Furthermore, you’ll never know when hunger strikes. Cheddar cheese slices, veggie sticks with nut butter, and mini egg muffins are healthy options. It also helps to bring store-bought keto snacks with you to work or while you’re on the road. Examples are keto bars, dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa content), almonds, and pork rinds.
When getting store-bought keto snacks, always check the nutrition facts label for the number of carbs per serving.
4. Make energizing fat bombs.
Fat bombs are like energy balls made of high-fat ingredients like coconut oil, MCT oil, natural peanut butter, and stevia (or another keto-friendly sweetener).
The difference is that while traditional energy balls are loaded with carbs and sugar, fat bombs aren’t. In fact, they’re helpful for keeping you satisfied in between meals or energizing you before a workout. All you need are one to two fat bombs to experience their benefits.
5. Know which alcoholic drinks you can have.
There are plenty of alcoholic beverages to choose from that fit your keto lifestyle. Drinks that are completely carb-free (so you won’t have to worry about carb counting) include rum, whiskey, vodka, and other pure forms of alcohol.
However, if you prefer beer, stick with low-carb options like Miller 64, Corona Premier, and Budweiser Select. For keto wines, go for dry wines since these have the lowest amounts of sugar. Examples are sauvignon blanc, merlot, and chardonnay.
With these keto secrets, there’s no reason to say no whenever you’re invited to parties and gatherings. Here’s the key: Keep your alcohol intake moderate.
6. Combine the keto diet with intermittent fasting.
If you’re looking to increase your weight loss — or you’ve probably stalled on keto — try intermittent fasting (IF). Research studies done on both animals and humans have revealed that intermittent fasting reduces your overall calorie consumption and allows your body to use ketones instead of glucose for fuel[*].
If you’re just starting the keto diet, it’s best to hold off on fasting or limit yourself to shorter fasts. This is to help your body get fat-adapted first. Intermittent fasting methods include fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window, and skipping breakfast (which is a beginner-friendly method).
7. Get enough electrolytes, especially when you’re just starting.
Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances are things you should watch out for during the first weeks of starting keto. It happens as a result of your body losing lots of water weight, which is driven by glycogen depletion (since glycogen is stored with water in your liver and muscles).
Stay hydrated throughout the day with plain water. In addition, replenish with an electrolyte-containing drink — preferably one with sodium, potassium, and magnesium — especially after exercising or being out in the sun for hours.
8. Have a list of restaurants with keto options.
Yes, you can dine at your favorite restaurant (or any restaurant) and still stay in ketosis as long as they have low-carb foods on their menu. Examples include grilled meat, seafood, and leafy green salads.
Additionally, you can make simple modifications, such as:
- Asking for extra butter on low-carb stir fry veggies
- Replacing burger buns for lettuce wraps (when ordering a burger or sandwich)
- Ordering sparkling water instead of soda
- Bringing stevia packets with you to sweeten your coffee
- Asking the waiter to not mix dressings or sauces in your food
9. Taking an exogenous ketone supplement.
Another reason for using exogenous ketones is to improve your post-exercise recovery and athletic performance. Furthermore, when recovering from a workout, be sure to include dietary protein for muscle preservation and repair[*].
10. Consider easing into ketosis.
Instead of going all out — by drastically reducing your carbs to 50 grams, combined with other strategies that put you in ketosis — consider a slow and steady approach. This offers certain advantages, such as:
- Avoiding the keto flu or making it less severe
- Helping your digestive system adjust to your new macros
- Creating sustainable habits
One of the keto diet hacks to slowly transition into ketosis is to reduce your carbs gradually. For example, eating a smaller serving of pasta than the usual or simply replacing regular soda with diet soda (if you consume regular soda often).
Making small adjustments along the way may be a better approach to hitting your goals.
11. Have low-carb pasta alternatives handy.
Pasta is high in carbs, whether it’s regular or whole wheat pasta. This means that pasta is off-limits on keto. If you love pasta, fortunately, you won’t have to give it up since there are lots of low-carb pasta options available.
Keto pasta substitutes include spiralized vegetables like zucchini (to make zoodles) and spaghetti squash. Or you can take the easy route by getting a pack of shirataki noodles, which are made from glucomannan fiber. Shirataki noodles have no carbs and calories, and they come in many shape varieties — angel hair, fettuccini, spaghetti, and even rice.
12. Start your day with bulletproof coffee.
Try this breakfast swap as one of your keto hacks. Bulletproof coffee is a combination of black coffee, 1-2 tablespoons of butter, and 1-2 tablespoons of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Bulletproof coffee, instead of a full breakfast, may be useful for increasing ketosis, weight loss, and reducing hunger. As an added tip, start with the smallest serving of butter and MCT oil to slowly build up your tolerance to dietary fat.
Make Keto Enjoyable and Sustainable
Whether you’ve tried keto before (but stopped shortly) or you want to optimize it, be sure to apply at least one of the keto tips and hacks above. These will take the guesswork out of making a low-carb lifestyle work to your advantage.
Furthermore, consider asking for help from someone with more experience on this diet — or a health professional (like a dietician or doctor) if you’re taking medications. Getting all the support you need keeps you knowledgeable and accountable.