Keto Meal Prep Ideas To Save You Time

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Whether you are new to keto, spending time weekly meal prepping can make staying on track easier, especially for those with a busy life! Here you’ll find five easy and cheap Keto Meal Prep Ideas and tips that save time.

collage of photos for 5 easy keto meal prep ideas

What To Know About Starting A Keto Diet

Once you clearly understand the ketogenic diet and low-carb foods, you’ll get more comfortable making food choices and make it more customizable to YOU. Unlike most “diets” we have tried in the past, eating keto is entirely different. Usually, the primary source of fuel for our bodies is carbohydrates. A ketogenic diet drastically reduces the number of carbs and increases fat, which creates a state of nutritional ketosis in our bodies. We change our “fuel tank” of energy from burning carbs to burning fats when this happens.

What is the First Thing You Do On The Keto Diet?

When I started keto, I began researching first. There are many great resources online. You can download How to Get Started with the Keto Diet ebook, where all the information you need is in one place in a simple downloadable format without needing to read multiple blog posts.

Next, begin to look at quick recipes that you would enjoy. Use these recipe ideas to create the easiest keto meal plan with foods you love. I have never been at a loss to find delicious low-carb foods. You’ll find many of my most popular easy, and delicious recipes throughout this post.

What Can I Expect on My First Week of Keto Diet?

You may experience undesirable side effects initially, like the keto flu, which is typically short-lived and can be minimized with electrolytes.

Tip: Keto Flu: What is it? Symptoms & How to Treat it is a fantastic resource for a detailed explanation.

Some of the long-term health benefits of being in ketosis are losing weight, higher energy levels, and consuming less processed foods and added sugar.

How do I Meal Prep for the Week of Keto?

Most foods will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3-5 days, so you may need to make low-carb freezer meals or prep an additional two days or so at the end of the week. Keep it simple and think about proteins, low-carb side dishes, and garden salads. Don’t make it complicated. Other easy keto meal prep ideas are Keto soup recipes and keto casseroles, as they are fantastic for making ahead and can last several days.

How do you start Lazy Keto?

Research is your friend. Most who follow a lazy keto diet aren’t concerned with every ingredient in their foods. Mostly they look for foods that are low in carbs and enjoy commercially made keto products. Lazy keto dieters may not count macros or use an app but keep a general idea of how many carbs they eat per day.

If you aren’t familiar with low-carb foods, I explain the difference between keto vs. low carb and the differences and benefits in detail.

What Can I Eat on the Keto Diet?

The keto diet is high in fat, moderate protein, and low in carbs. The exact percentages are generally 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. To calculate net carbs, subtract fiber from carbs as many use net carbs in their daily macro percentages.

Example of Net Carbs: If a nutrition label shows 8g of carbs and 2g of fiber per serving, then net carbs are 6g.

When you follow this type of eating, your body depletes its glycogen stores and begins burning fat for energy. The ketogenic diet is high in healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, and various fatty meats. Having a printable shopping list is helpful when grocery shopping to help guide you to low carbs foods.

Get a FREE Keto Diet Foods Shopping List printable for a comprehensive keto and low carb grocery list to bring on your grocery trips!

How To Meal Prep On A Keto Diet

Since starting Keto over two years ago, I have found that a few low-carb meal prep steps make life easier. I am not a planner or organized person by nature, so I have to keep it simple.

I start each week by creating a cheap keto meal plan for our dinners, with the ingredients to make those meals. Then I head to the grocery store. Planning makes it easier to stay on track when life gets hectic. You won’t have any excuses to cheat or give up on eating healthy. My family likes to stick with simple, family-friendly keto meals without elaborate ingredients.

The idea of meal prep is to prepare as much as possible in advance. The hope is to save a considerable amount of time later in the week, so you can stay on course and easily enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner quicker!

I also share my meal plan each week. You can access over 90 FREE keto meal plans.

Can Meal Prep Last 7 Days?

Most recommended foods prepped ahead can be enjoyed for 3-5 days when refrigerated. To make it easier to prep for an entire week, perhaps make a casserole or soup ahead and freeze it. Then, towards the end of the week, allow to thaw in the fridge before baking.


Tips For Keto Meal Prep Planning:

#1. Use a set grocery list for keto meal prep!

Each week I meal plan our dinners. It is not something I look forward to since it does take some time, but I am always so relieved once everything is planned and prepped!

Once my meal plan is ready, I make a grocery list to coincide with what we will be eating that week. To make this process even easier, I will often order groceries online! Walmart online and Instacart are my friends; if you are a first-time Instacart user, use code T9678481A9 for $10 off your first order. You can order your groceries at home from the app, and they show up at your door within hours.

Thrive Market is a great online grocer with lots of keto-friendly specialty products. They will even recommend other products based on your healthy eating lifestyle.

Get your FREE Keto Diet Foods Shopping List printable to bring on your grocery trips!

Need some keto dinner ideas?

You can find an extensive list of keto recipes in my keto/low carb recipe index. Find seven recipes you like (one for each night of the week) and write down what ingredients you’ll need. Check out my past keto meal plans for those who need an example of an entire weekly meal plan with recipes! I have multiple weeks planned out for you!

cutting board with raw ground beef on it along with spices for keto meal prep

#2. Cook your MEATS in advance!

Since meats take the longest to cook, you’ll want to prepare any meats in advance! This way, you defrost and toss it into your pan or dish!

Some of our favorite proteins for keto recipes are: 

  • Chicken breasts, thighs, wings, and drumsticks
  • Ground Beef
  • Ground Chuck Beef Roast
  • Steak
  • Smoked Sausages
  • Pork Chops
  • Pork Roast
  • Seafood
  • turkey
  • bacon

Many keto recipes have ground beef or shredded chicken as the main protein. Making shredded chicken in the crockpot is a HUGE time saver!

How To Prepare Shredded Chicken in Bulk

I purchase a large, inexpensive pack of breasts or boneless thighs in large batches and toss a bunch into my crockpot. Then set it on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours with some chicken broth or water. You can also boil chicken on the stove in a large pot of water or broth until the chicken is cooked through. Then remove the chicken and shred it.

With the shredded chicken, an easy make-ahead recipe is Keto Chicken Salad. It can be served on a lettuce wrap, a low-carb wrap, or make this delicious keto chaffle recipe for a sandwich.

Tip* If you add onions, celery, and fresh garlic to your water along with chicken, you can turn the water into a delicious chicken broth for soup later on! Add fresh herbs such as parsley, poultry seasoning, lemon pepper, thyme, and rosemary for an incredibly flavorful broth. 

How to Brown Ground Meat in Bulk

I buy several pounds of beef (you could do the same for turkey, ground chicken, or pork) and cook ALL of it at once in a tall stockpot on low. Next, I set my timer for 20 minutes; then, I stir the ground beef with this ground beef chopper tool when the timer goes off. (This is a fantastic tool to have!) Then I re-set the timer for 20 more minutes. I repeat this for about an hour or until the ground beef is cooked through and nicely browned.

After browned, I drain the ground beef and portion 1 to 2 lbs into freezer-safe zip lock bags. Once it has completely cooled, I press the air out of the bags and pop them in the freezer.

*Tip: Add water or broth to loosen any brown bits that stick to the bottom of your pan to make it easier to wash. 

There are many ways to use precooked browned ground beef that makes mealtime faster. Some of our favorites include Keto Stuffed Bell Peppers (Mexican style), Keto Taco Meat, Low Carb Ground Beef Recipe Keto Italian Skillet, and Cheesy Bell Pepper Keto Nachos (don’t forget to garnish with your favorite toppings such as sour cream, diced onion, jalapenos, cilantro, diced tomatoes, olives, etc.).

How To Cook Bacon in Bulk

Bacon is a popular keto protein for breakfast, lunch, a snack, OR dinner! In my house, we go through bacon quickly.

Baking Bacon in the Oven

The best way to prepare bacon in larger batches for keto diet meal prep is to use your oven! See how to cook bacon in the oven. (I like to use a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.) Once your bacon is cooked, let it cool and then crumble/chop it into small bits to use in casseroles later, leaving some whole for meals and snacks. Bacon freezes very well, so freeze in small bags or freezer-safe containers.A small white plate of fried bacon strips for keto diet meal prep

Tip* A time-saving tip that will make meal prepping even faster is to purchase a large bag of pre-cooked chopped bacon. See if your grocer sells them! I buy them at Costco or Sam’s. This is a hack I do all the time.

How To Store and Freeze Your Proteins

Divide your meats into proper portions once your meat is cooked through and ground up/shredded. For families of 3-4, you will most likely want to freeze your meat in 1 lb. portions. If you are meal prepping for one person, freeze in smaller amounts (this depends on the person.) The portions will also depend on the recipe!

Freezer Bags and Containers

To properly freeze food, use the heavy-duty freezer-safe Ziploc bags or containers. The less AIR in your bags or freezer-safe containers, the better. I prefer Ziploc bags best for freezer meal prep as they take less room. They are great for preventing freezer burn and are microwave and dishwasher safe! See the freezer items I recommend below.

rinsing brussels sprouts in a colander for keto diet meal prep

#3. Prepare All Produce After Each Grocery Trip!

It is easy to buy fresh produce with great intentions only to spoil in the fridge. As soon as we get home from the grocery store, I wash all the produce at once. I fill my sink with approximately four parts water to one part vinegar and soak the veggies for a few minutes. After washing, I rinse and lay all the vegetables out to dry on a large towel on my counter.

Then, based on your recipes for the week, chop up those veggies that need chopping. Dice your onions if the recipe calls for it. Shred your cheese if you’ve purchased blocks of cheese. (or do this in your food processor to make it much quicker!)

Example:

If Chicken Lombardy is on the menu for the week, I will go ahead and chop the mushrooms and onions, then store them together in a container in the fridge. Then, when it is time to prepare the meal, the veggies are already ready. I keep fresh produce in individual containers or Ziploc bags for easy access.

Tip* To make meal prepping even easier, LABEL your Ziploc bags before you throw them in the fridge! So for this example, write “Chicken Lombardy” on the label, so you know which bag goes with which meal!

My goal is to use all the produce weekly before it goes bad in the fridge. At the end of the week, I roast vegetables we haven’t used together for a delicious low-carb side dish. By doing so, there is less waste, which ultimately helps to save money on groceries.

#4. Invest In Freezer-Friendly Products!

Freezing food can save money when done correctly. If you’ve experienced freezer burn before, you know it ruins food. Here are a few tips to avoid freezer burn.

  • Vacuum Sealers: A FoodSaver,‘ aka vacuum sealer, can be extremely helpful in freezing food. It will remove ALL air from your food, allowing you to preserve food for longer, which means less spoilage and, therefore, less wasted food! That is more money in your pocket! You can also infuse more flavor into your food by marinating it in vacuum-sealed bags. Read more about why you should vacuum seal your food.

image of a vacuum sealer

  • Freezer Bags: If you want to freeze your food in bags without using a vacuum sealer, you can, but you will need to choose the BEST freezer bags. The sturdier, the better! Your bags should not leak any air! If they do, throw them out and do some research. Ziploc brand bags are always reliable. Yes, they cost a little more, but you won’t be throwing food out!
  • Freezer Safe Containers: There are many different brands and sizes! Invest in a good, solid brand that keeps air OUT. Remember, air is the enemy! Here are some of my favorite containers. I love Pyrex and lock n lock containers. I have had my Pyrex set for over 25 years.

pyrex glass storage containers

  • Freezer Safe Casserole Dishes: I make delicious keto casserole recipes because they’re easy and great for meal prepping! I like these because they have locking lids and are freezer safe, dishwasher safe, and oven safe.

#5. Keep it Simple & Don’t Stress!

One thing for sure is I am not the Keto police, nor would I want one around. I have learned that I have to keep life simple and choose my battles. I don’t freak out about a packet of ranch seasoning used sparingly here and there.

My best advice is – you, do you as you find healthy meals you love. Make the best decision that will help you stay focused. Most of us have busy lives, and finding ways to eat healthy without causing undue stress is key to long-term success.

Whole pecan nuts on white background for meal prep on keto

What Kind of Snacks Can I Prepare on Keto?

It is best to only snack when necessary because it creates an insulin response in your body each time you eat. However, sometimes, it might not be feasible to wait for the next meal. There are many keto snack options to tide you over until the next meal in these cases.

Keep in mind that too much snacking may cause you to stall, so be mindful of portions. Struggling with hunger between meals may indicate that you need to add more fat at mealtimes for satiation.

A few easy keto Snack Ideas:

  • deli meats
  • Cheese – cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, white cheddar cheese, gruyere cheese, gouda cheese, Colby cheese, or another favorite variety.
  • nuts (pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and peanuts)
  • sliced avocado

Breakfast Keto Meal Prep Recipes low carb healthy breakfast burritos plated for keto meal prep

Breakfast is an easy meal to prep ahead. Simply make a keto breakfast casserole, a batch of keto muffins, low-carb breakfast burritos, hard-boiled eggs, or pancakes/waffles to enjoy later. It is always smart to cook extra to always have leftovers on hand. With that being said, the recipes below are quick, easy, and delicious.

6 Keto Breakfast Recipes for Meal Prep

  1. Healthy Low-Carb Breakfast Burritos (make ahead for meal-prep)
  2. Keto Breakfast Bake with Ham, Eggs, & Cheese
  3. Light & Fluffy Keto Waffles (this recipe makes a big batch)
  4. Mouthwatering Keto Sausage Balls (I always make a double batch and freeze half)
  5. Keto Mixed Berry Muffins 
  6. Easy Keto Chaffle Recipe 

Soup Recipes Are Fantastic For Lunchstuffed pepper soup in white bowls for easy keto meal prep

I often make a big pot of soup at the beginning of the week for lunch. Even with four kids at home, soup generally lasts for several days and often tastes better leftover as it gives the flavors more time to merge. Some of our favorite keto soup recipes make keto meal prep simple.

7 Keto Soup Recipes for Meal Prep

  1. Rich & Creamy Keto Chicken & Cauliflower Rice Soup
  2. Instant Pot Keto Chicken Taco Soup Recipe
  3. Queso Keto Taco Soup Recipe
  4. Keto Broccoli & Cheese Soup
  5. Down Home Keto Vegetable Soup with Ground Beef
  6. Low Carb Chicken Fajita Soup {Keto Friendly}
  7. Low Carb Cheesy Smoked Sausage Soup

I also make spaghetti using a low-carb marinara sauce that we enjoy for several days as an easy keto meal prep idea the entire family enjoys. We use low-carb noodle options, are zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Check out a complete list of keto/low-carb pasta alternatives for more options.

Tip: This is an easy meal for a family as I make my kids regular noodles, and we all enjoy this meal.

Easy Casseroles For A Make-Ahead Dinner

Keto meal prep Jalapeno Chicken Casserole in a white dish

Casseroles are fantastic for easy keto meal prep for beginners, especially. Often, casseroles make 9-12 servings, so most people will naturally have leftovers. You are also prepping for meals later that week when you make dinner since you know there will be leftovers in advance.

9 Recipes Keto Casseroles for Meal Prep

  1. Keto Ground Beef Casserole
  2. Quick & Easy Keto Zucchini Lasagna Recipe
  3. Low Carb Chicken Casserole 
  4. The Ultimate Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole Keto Recipe
  5. Keto Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole With Broccoli
  6. Healthy & Low Carb Mexican Taco Bake Casserole
  7. Quick & Easy Keto Chicken Enchilada Casserole 
  8. Keto Buffalo Chicken Casserole
  9. Mouthwatering Keto Pizza Casserole

Quick and Easy Keto One-Pan Meals

sausage & Peppers keto recipe in a skillet

One Pan Meals are quick, easy, and delicious. With little prep time and minimal dishes, you can have dinner on the table in a snap after a busy day, and they are fabulous for making ahead for keto meal prep.

6 Keto One-Pan Meals for Keto Meal Prep

  1. Keto Sheet Pan Sausage & Veggies
  2. Keto Oven Baked Pork Chops & Broccoli
  3. Most Popular Recipe – Keto Ground Beef Casserole
  4. One-Skillet Chicken & Asparagus
  5. Keto Cheesy Mexican Skillet Chicken
  6. Keto Smoked Sausage with Peppers & Onions 
  7. Quick Keto Egg Roll in a Bowl

My Favorite Keto Meal Prep Tools

food saver image

FoodSaver– Great for freezing food

image of an instant pot

 

Instant Pot – fantastic for cooking chicken or boiled eggs in bulk FAST!

image of the ninja 4-in-1 cookerNinja 4-in-1 Slow Cooker – I love that it has a slow cook and a stovetop function.

image of a waffle iron

Waffle Maker for Keto Breakfast Prep – Make a huge batch of waffles and freeze them for later.

image of dash mini waffle maker

  • Chaffle Maker (For making delicious keto waffles and chaffles!)

 

image of cast iron skillet

Cast Iron Skillet (For making one-pan meals)

 

image of parchment paper muffin linersimage of parchment paperParchment Paper & Parchment Paper Muffin Liners

lock n lock food storage containers

Food Storage Containers (These have locking lids!)

Don’t forget to get your FREE Keto Diet Foods Shopping List printable to bring on your grocery trips!


5 SIMPLE Keto Meal Prep Ideas To Save You Time

5 easy keto meal prep ideas collage of pictures

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