Are you a new ketogenic diet beginner, or a veteran who’s hitting a frustrating weight loss plateau?
No matter what stage you’re at in your keto journey, we’ve got some keto tips and tricks that will help you make this diet a true lifestyle change.
Follow these simple keto hacks to kiss that extra weight goodbye!
Top 10 keto hacks
1. Stick with healthy fats
Healthy fats may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Eating sticks of butter is not going to do you good (blech!), no matter how few carbs you take in.
What you want to do is stay far away from both processed polyunsaturated fats and processed trans fats.
Here are some good vegetarian fat sources to incorporate into your keto diet:
- Avocado & avocado oil*
- Extra virgin olive oil*
- Coconut oil* & coconut butter*
- Macadamia nut oil*
- Cocoa butter*
- Chia seeds*
Steer clear of these fat sources, which contain compounds you want to avoid:
- Canola oil
- Soybean oil
- Sesame seeds & sesame oil
- Peanut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Processed products that use trans-fat oil (like crackers, fast food, etc.)
2. Don’t veer off track when you’re out and about
Going to a restaurant with no plan is like letting a kid free in a candy store and telling him he can’t have anything. Don’t stress out over trying to figure what you can eat, or give in and pick something that gets you off your keto track.
Here are a few keto hacks for eating out:
- Replace starchy side dishes with veggies, like swapping a burger bun or wraps with lettuce
- Research the menu beforehand
- Remember that some condiments, sauces, dips, and spreads are wonderful keto friends, while others are your diet enemy.
- Hot sauce
- Apple cider vinegar*
- Bbq sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
Pro tip: If you ask the server and he or she isn’t sure, then a good general rule of thumb is to confirm if a dish is prepared with cream or starch. If so, it probably has carbs, which means you shouldn’t order it.
3. Know your ketone levels
Nothing demotivates you faster on a diet than not seeing any progress for all the effort you are putting in.
Training your body to use fat (in the form of ketones) instead of carbs for energy isn’t as simple to measure as stepping on a scale.
So, use alkaline test strips* to help you gauge if your body is producing that desired energy source.
If alkaline testing is new to you, here’s a short rundown on how to use and read the strips properly:
You basically collect some urine and dip the end of a strip into it. Wait a while for the end to turn into a different color, which helps you determine the level of ketones in your body.
One popular, easy-to-use brand is Smackfat*. If you go with these strips, here is how you’d read the strip:
- 0.5 (lightest color): trace levels of ketones
- 1.5 (light pink): low levels of ketones
- 4.0 (pink): medium amount of ketones
- 8.0 (maroon): large amounts of ketones
- 16.0 (burgundy): high levels of ketones
If you want to know how dark your strips should be, the answer is...it depends.
Everyone is different, with different goals & different levels of progression. The best way to use these strips is to measure the amount of ketones in your body, then keep an eye on whether you are improving, rather than aiming to stick to a specific color.
Alkaline testing is most helpful when you’re starting out or if you know that you’ve been kicked out of ketosis. Keep in mind that once your body is keto-adapted, the amount of ketones in your urine may go down even though you’re still in ketosis.
Also, the strips might be darker if you’re dehydrated, so it might be a good idea to drink water and retest in an hour or so to double check for accurate results.
And like with any other health advice you read online, please make sure to confirm with a doctor on what you should follow instead of just relying only on online information, whether from us or any other sources.
4. Try these convenient low-carb snacks and dessert optionsSometimes, you just want a quick bite you can get from the store that doesn't require any of the hassle of throwing ingredients together to make something on your own.
That's where these keto desserts and snacks to buy comes in handy, so you're not stuck trying to figure out what is or isn't okay for your diet.
5. Flavor your foods with keto-friendly condiments and sauces
Want the convenience of knowing which store brands make keto-friendly condiments or to know how to make your own homemade sauces?
Check out our round up of best keto salad dressing recipes and commercial-made ones to buy.
FYI, the most popular brands of keto dressings include:
6. Fuel up with fat bombs
Fat bombs are so awesome, they seem too good to be true for ketogenic dieters! Fat bombs are basically keto-friendly, bite-size treats that you can eat whenever you're craving a snack, need a boost of energy, or want to replace a meal.
Having this super convenient option allows you to satisfy your sense of craving without falling off the keto cart.
On top of that, keto fat bomb flavors tend to be based on indulgent-sounding foods and flavors, like cheesecake, pizza, or cookies-and-cream.
Check out our round up of the best keto fat bombs we could find.
7. Check your breath
This is more of a keto hack for beginners.
One of the ketones that your body produces, called acetone, may be responsible for weird, stinky breath that many in the keto community refer to as dragon breath. Not everyone will experience this unpleasantness, but if you do, then know that you’re on your way to making your body keto-adapted, so silver lining?
To avoid potentially awkward social situations, like at a huge presentation for work or on a first date (yikes!), you may want to keep something minty on hand.
Remember though, mints usually contain sugar, which is a no-no on keto. Instead, go for a keto-friendly sugar-free gum, like this one.
8. Avoid the pain
Know what’s worse than hunger pangs? When you have actual physical pain from major cramps or constipation.
This can totally happen to you if your body doesn’t have enough hydration and electrolytes, so let’s try to avoid that by making sure you’re drinking sufficient liquids throughout the day, kay?
Not a fan of plain water? Here is a keto-friendly flavor enhancer* you can mix in.
Prefer another option? Switch up your beverage of choice by incorporating these keto-friendly teas. Tea’s a perfect choice since it’s a zero-calorie drink that works any time of day.
9. Don’t give up on your carby favorites
One thing that makes diets hard for people is the feeling of restriction, when you have to give up all of your beloved guilty pleasures.
You’ll have better success sticking to your diet if you have at least some things to look forward to and enjoy, rather than every meal being an unmotivating chore.
With keto, just because carbs are the culprit, it doesn’t mean that you have to cut the things you crave hard out of your diet completely.
The two foods you’re probably craving most: bread and dessert. Luckily, there are recipes to satisfy those fixes.
10. Don't hold yourself back on desserts
Speaking of sugar cravings, don't deny them if they come. Instead, find low-carb dessert options that will let you get your fill so you're not salty (yup, pun intended) from the deprivation.
Chances are, sweet chocolate will come to mind at some point, so when the desire hits, try any of these keto-approved chocolate desserts. You're welcome.
Bonus hack! Do intermittent fasting and feasting to accelerate your keto weight loss
This keto hack for weight loss has helped many to shed those unwanted pounds faster.
The idea behind keto is to stop giving your body glucose as a fuel, so that it has no choice but to switch to burning your stored fat as its energy source.
Since fat provides more calories than glucose, you shouldn’t need to eat as much, and reducing your food intake can help you lose weight.
In a nutshell, fasting is a deliberate way to ensure that you consume less than your body burns. It is virtually impossible to lose weight if you take in more calories than you go through, so fasting is another technique that helps with weight loss.
Now, if you combine the two weight-loss techniques of keto AND fasting, you’ll blast through what little glucose you consume very quickly and start burning huge amounts of fat right away.
An important word of caution: fasting is not necessarily suitable and healthy for all people.
Although it is generally fine for most people, there are some types of medical conditions where fasting may cause more harm, such as diabetes.
As with any type of dieting or medical advice you see online, you should always consult with your doctor to make sure it's a good plan for you.
There are all types of fasting intervals but the most popular one is probably the 16/8 option, where you fast for 16 hours per day before allowing yourself to eat during the remaining 8 hours.
The smartest way to get through this is to include your sleeping time during the 16 hours. For example, many people fast from 8 pm to noon the next day.
Try your hardest to stick to the fast, but if getting through the morning is super rough, you can try a keto coffee during the first few days you are getting used to the fast.
12. Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan
They say planning makes perfect, and keto weight loss is no exception.
Let’s be real: the keto diet can be challenging, with all the food temptations we face everyday.
Instead of leaving yourself vulnerable to making poor choices, just make the choices ahead of time by meal planning so that you don’t have to even entertain non-keto options.
Meal planning can help you do a lot of things:
- Choose only keto-friendly food options.
- Plan for variety in your meal choices.
- Ensure that the foods you select will meet your macro goals.
- Save money.
- Save time.
To get you started, we’ve got a 7-day vegetarian keto meal plan available that includes options for all three meals plus snack and dessert each day. Daily totals never exceed 1300 calories or 25g net carbs.
Oh, and before you scroll past at the word "vegetarian," just think about this: especially if your weight loss is plateaued, then obviously what you're already doing isn't working and you need to take your ketosis to the next level.
If people follow the keto diet for weight loss and others follow the vegetarian diet for weight loss, why not combine the best of both worlds and reap more benefits?
Besides, what do you have to lose, except more unwanted pounds by doing this, eh eh?
Reaching and maintaining ketosis in a healthy, sustainable manner is key to doing your body good on the keto plan.
We’ve got lots of keto tips and tricks to help you conquer your keto weight loss goals. Be sure to follow these simple keto hacks to get the most bang out of your keto diet.