The Essential Guide to the Keto Diet: Tips for Starting on Your Low Carb Diet

Now that you have some knowledge about the keto diet, what you can eat, and what guidelines to follow, you need to get started.

These tips will help you start the diet in a way that promotes success and helps you transition into a new ketogenic lifestyle.

Remove All Temptations

To start with, remove all of the major temptations in your household. While some people find it easier to make small changes, this leaves room for you to have little cheats here and there, which keep you from ketosis. In order for the keto diet to work properly, you really need to reach ketosis from the very beginning. This means getting rid of all bread, rice, pasta, and most grains. Go through your fruit and veggies and get rid of any of them that are high in sugar and carbs. Stick with veggies like broccoli, kale, spinach, and cauliflower, as these are still approved by the keto diet.

Choose Only What is On Your Grocery List

When you are first starting out, it is hard to remember what you can and can’t have. Start by creating a meal plan that includes every single meal and snack you and your family intend to eat for the first week. Take that meal plan and create a shopping list that is detailed and includes all ingredients you will need. When you go to the supermarket, you should only be purchasing what is on the list, and nothing more. This allows you to stick to the diet, but also to get just what you need for the meals you have laid out.

Get Rid of the Cheat Days

Some other diets might give the option to have a cheat day, which is one day a week where you can eat whatever you want. This might be fine for a typical low-calorie diet, but it does not work well with the keto diet. You will discover that is harder for your body to recover from a cheat day, even if you didn’t actually gain any weight from it. You are going back and forth between ketosis and not, which can be really hard on your digestive system, so it is best to hold off on the cheat days. If you want to have a little treat every once in a while, that is better than dedicating an entire day to French fries, cookies, and pasta.

Avoid Eating Out in the Beginning

Eating out can be a struggle when you are still transitioning to this new lifestyle. While you will learn ways to eat out and still be on the keto diet, you might want to hold off for now. Wait at least a few weeks before you start going out to eat on this diet.

Eating Out on the Keto Diet

While you should stay at home and cook as much as possible, there will be moments when this isn’t plausible. Whether you are eating out at fast food or a sit-down restaurant, you need to make smart choices to remain on the keto diet.

Remove the Bun or Tortilla

An easy way to start eating out and sticking with your keto diet is to order a meat-based dish, but get rid of the tortilla or bun. The bread or tortilla in any meal is often one of the items that adds the most carbs, in addition to some vegetables. It is easy to eat your meal without it as long as you have utensils. You can get a chicken sandwich or cheeseburger, then get rid of the bun and think about the remaining condiments and whether or not they follow with the keto diet. For things like fajitas, it is easy to eat your chicken and veggies with salsa, and just skip adding the filling into the tortilla. In fact, this is one of the best options available at Mexican restaurants.

Don’t Eat Pasta or Rice as a Side Dish

When you are going to sit-down restaurants, you also need to be careful with your side dishes. Many dinner options, even those on the healthy side of the menu, will come with either rice or pasta as a side dish. These are a big no-no on the keto diet since they add in a lot of carbs you don’t need and that are not included on the menu. Try to think of other alternatives instead of always having pasta or rice on the side of your main course.

Always Get a Salad or Veggies on the Side

An easy way to substitute these high-carb side dishes is by asking for salad or veggies instead. Many restaurants are more than willing to give you a side salad instead of the pasta the chicken or fish usually comes with. If you are going to a fast food restaurant, choose their little side salad along with your grilled chicken sandwich, instead of getting fries.

Tips For Specific Fast Food Restaurants

When you order food at a sit-down restaurant, it tends to be a little easier to stick to a keto diet than if you were to eat fast food. Fast food offers less options overall and rarely have substitutions. Here are some ideas for having a low-carb, keto meal from these popular fast food restaurants:

Burger King, McDonald’s and other burger joints – When you go to a burger joint, you have two main options: you can either get a chicken sandwich or an actual cheeseburger. If you can, try to get a chicken sandwich since they tend to be a little healthier than burgers. Ask for a grilled chicken sandwich instead of one that is breaded if it is an option, and of course don’t have the bun. These burger joints also usually have some type of salad, so you can either get a side salad or forego the burger altogether and get a big salad. Just don’t use the croutons and be careful with the type of dressing you use.

Wendy’s – At Wendy’s, you have many of the same choices, though they do tend to be better with their salad options. On occasion, you can also choose to get a small cup of chili, but don’t eat the crackers. While their chili does have some carbs, it is still less than something with breading or having French fries.

Subway – If you can choose a sandwich shop you are probably going to be better off. This is a good option because you are building the food item yourself, so you have complete control. Many sandwich shops, like Subway, allow you to create a salad or wrap instead of using a big roll, so that helps you remain on keto.

We hope that you learned a few things about the keto diet and maybe even got some ideas for how to start, but we want to hear from you.

Do you have any questions or comments?

As always, feel free to leave us a comment below!

Josie Pena
Josie Pena

Josie is a mother of two girls (3 years and 5 years old). She's a SAHM that works remotely on various internet projects. She spends her free time exploring local parks, learning new things, and recording content for her YouTube channels. You can find her blogging over at

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