Jamie here! This is a post I wrote a few weeks after starting Keto in January of 2019. Now that it's been nearly a YEAR (wow!) I've added a few new favorites to this list that I recommend if you're getting started. I'm RE-starting Keto next week because I took a few weeks off for the Holidays. So just like you, I'm getting my supplies in place to help me succeed! You can read about my results at the end of this post 🙂
I have been a junk food junkie for ever and ever – but something changed in me on a Tuesday morning last January and I decided to just jump on the Keto bandwagon. Like right after I put down my third cup of sugary creamery coffee it was go time.
I'll back up just a couple steps and say that I have MANY friends and acquaintances who have done keto successfully for the last couple years. They are always offering to help me get started and I'm always like – LOOK FRIEND. STEP AWAY FROM MY BREAD.
But the thought's been rolling around in my head for awhile and seeing as I was my heaviest EVER this past winter – I decided it was time for a change. Keto here I come!
Now that I've done “lazy or dirty” Keto for a full year – I wanted to share a few things that saved me back when I was in this early transition stage. As with any diet – do your homework to see if the Keto diet is right for you! I'm no expert, these products just helped me keep with it 🙂
Amazon Keto Products I Love
**Please keep in mind as you're reading these that Keto folks only get to have around 20 grams of carbs a day (varies based on weight and goals). You get it. It's HARD! Anything super low carb is a glorious miracle food!
I miss my chips and crackers terribly when doing Keto – so a needed a salty, crunchy substitute. One with FLAVOR 🙂 The Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds are my go-to salty snack and at only 2 Net Carbs for a 1/4 cup – they fit right into my daily carb limit! (I'm usually munching on cheese and almonds a couple times a day so I get the nice big bag 🙂 )
2 . What's even BETTER than almonds in my opinion – are these Planters Pecans.
First of all – they're a little softer and have a sweetness to them that I like. Second of all – they are only 1 Net Carb for a 1/4 cup! That means I can have TWICE AS MANY! Sadly they're kinda expensive so I normally wait for the big bags of raw pecans to go on sale and salt/season/roast 4 lbs at a time. 🙂
They. Are. So. Good. The box comes with 14 peanut butter cups and I treat myself to one after dinner when the kids are all eating cookies RIGHT IN MY FACE. They're only 1 net carb!! The chocolate is a little darker and harder than a Reese's Cup – and the peanut butter is drier – but delicious considering you sort of thought you were never going to get a sweet treat again.
Also? They're Fat Bombs – which means they have LOTS of good fat and help you feel nice and full. (This is helpful when you're still trying to figure out how to get enough fat in a day at the beginning).
Other Sweet Treats: After doing Keto for a few months I started branching out into Russel Stover's Sugar Free bags, and other sugar free candies – but they alllll have the dreaded side effect of creating intestinal discomfort (and it is no joke friends!) They use a different kind of sugar alcohol – and the SlimFast Fat Bombs use Erythritol (that's the good one!)
4 . Coffee Sweeteners/Flavors:
Here are three popular sweeteners you can try in your coffee – my favorite by FAR is the Jordan's skinny syrup but it's also not really strict Keto since the sugar alcohol used in it is Sucralose (more likely to spike your blood sugar levels and kick you out of Ketosis.)
Jordan's Skinny Syrup – I was lucky enough to find this at a Tuesday Morning near me, but you can also purchase on Amazon! I love the Hazelnut but also they have a million yummy sounding flavors. The bigger bottle is a great deal! It doesn't spike my blood sugar- so I choose it for it's extra-yummy flavors and big bottles 🙂
SweetLeaf Sweet Drops – My mom just loves her Sweet Drops in Chocolate, so I finally ordered some. They're good! I need about 8 drops to get my coffee how I like it. But then I added a little splash of the Hazelnut Jordan's Skinny Syrup, and now I have chocolate hazelnut coffee that is my new favorite
Pyure Vanilla Stevia Drops – These are still good – but I needed a break from the vanilla. I like have a few varieties to keep my mornings exciting Also the pyure drops have more of a “diet sugar” aftertaste to me that I don't love.
As a newbie I had no idea if eating this new way was putting me in ketosis or not. These strips told me I WAS in ketosis and it was such a morale booster! Plus it will let me know when I go out of ketosis, so I can figure out what food caused it.
OH MY GOSH I can't even tell you how much almond flour is saving me. For a hot minute I thought I might not be able to eat bread anymore – but you can actually make coffee mug bread in the microwave with almond flour! WHAT??? I will show you!! Check out my Almond Flour Coffee Mug Bread Recipe here! (NOTE: I never make this anymore ow that I've learned how to make chaffles – just because it's not as yummy. See below!)
I use my bread circles for mini pizzas, little sandwiches, I toast it and cut it up like “croutons” to sprinkle in soups, or to add texture to other dishes, etc… My next goal is to figure out almond flour tortilla chips 😉
6 . And if you want to get REALLY happy about bread-like things – get yourself this Mini Waffle Maker.
It's magical ability to turn cheese and egg (and sometimes almond flour) into a crispy waffle-type item is a game changer. I use mine for buns for sandwiches, and little pizzas. You can even make thin ones for taco shells!
Now that I've done Keto for nearly a year – I've learned that meal prep is everything for staying on track. I often make a batch of Chaffles (waffles made mostly of cheese/egg) on Sunday and get them ready for mini pizzas, hot ham and cheese sandwiches, garlic bread, etc… to help me stick to my way of eating for the week. This Mini Pizza Chaffle recipe is my go-to!
7 . Whisps
Seriously – if you are a cracker or chip addict, do yourself a favor and grab a bag to try. These are JUST cheese that's been baked into little crackery chips. I took a ziploc baggy of them with me when we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant on Sunday. I dipped them in salsa and munched away so I wouldn't be too tempted. It worked so well! (I was so proud of myself for not giving in to the chips)
By the way – you get to eat 23 of these and it's only 1 carb! You can make your own with shredded cheese and a skillet – or a microwave – or an oven – but if you're looking for convenience, it's a nice thing to have on hand.
So let's address the elephant in the room. These are $9 A BAG chocolate chips. Also – I DO NOT CARE.
Guys – when you're really excited about losing weight and you know what normally trips you up (sweet tooth here) – you can talk yourself into anything. I found these before I found the SlimFast Peanut Butter Cups – and I was just grateful that I was able to have chocolate period. (These are just 2 net carbs per 60 chips!)
There are a gazillion recipes out there where you can make yourself some keto candy with these – like Keto Almond Bark. (YUM) You'll also want to pick up some baking essentials if you plan to make your own Keto-friendly cookies, muffins, etc…
The two most popular sugar substitutes for Keto folks are Monkfruit (which lots of people swear tastes the best for baking)
…and Swerve (which the other lots of people swear tastes the best for baking) This Swerve 2-Pk is a great sweetener to have on hand! (You'll use the granular Swerve like regular sugar, and the Confectioner's Swerve to make icing and whatnot)
I've tried BOTH and I like BOTH – although they do both give a slight cooling effect in your moth – which doesn't bother me much.
10 . MCT Oil Powder– If you pick only ONE SUPPLEMENT to take – I would take MCT Oil. In my quest for regularity, I was told my multiple folks to add MCT oil to my coffee. Other side effects include boosting your energy and clearing your brain fog. Honestly, I DO actually have more energy after having this in my coffee for two days in a row. The brain fog might take more than 2 days to clear This one was an investment – but since I'm also testing things for the rest of us I thought it was worth it.
11. Magnesium – About a week and a half after I started Keto I started getting some achey legs at night. I asked MANY people who had been on Keto for a long time, and I found out that I was likely low on electrolytes and magnesium. I ordered this Nature Made Magnesium Citrate – and it even had a nice 40% OFF coupon on the 60ct bottle! (Make sure to get Magnesium Citrate and not Magnesium Oxide. They're more expensive but the body absorbs them much better!)
12 . Biotin
Biotin is one of the B vitamins and will help you metabolize fats, carbs and proteins better. Big bonus – it will help keep your hair, skin and nails nourished and healthy while you completely overhaul your way of eating. I had never in my LIFE had long fingernails until I started Keto and began taking Biotin!
13 . Collagen
Collagen will help with hair, skin, nails and joints and I took it daily for the first several months. I am restocking now that I'm about to hop back into Keto!
More Keto Snacking Favorites:
14 . Giant Queen Olives or Pickles
These are my 11pm go-to (along with the last item on the list). Almost no carbs. Like I can eat 2 or 3 and it's still less than a carb. They're that salty, briney and kinda crunchy thing I'm craving around 11pm. If you're a pickle person – it's sort of the same thing with those! Those Olives to Go or Olive Snack Bags would be super handy too!
Want to know the perfect I-have-all-the-cravings late night snack? Put several giant olives on a plate, a handful of pecans/almonds/pistachios or whichever nut I'm loving that week, and a Slim-Fast PB cup. Snuggle up with a good book or some social-media stalking, and make your way slowly around the plate a few times. You're welcome 😉 (Only like 2 net carbs!)
15 . Coke Zero
Please don't judge me friends. I'm just being honest here – if I weren't able to have a sip of Coke Zero now and then (which has no carbs) then I might be a meaner mom. It makes me “lazy keto” because it's not a natural sugar – but that's a-ok with me!
Ketchup is my best friend – and I really needed it to come on this journey with me – but did you know regular ketchup has about 5 carbs per squirt? That's ONE THIRD OF MY DAILY ALLOWANCE!
The sugar free ketchup really helped me stay on track – and I even took it with me to restaurants. When I get a big bunless burger covered in cheese and mushrooms, and I know I can dip it in ketchup, I can be a happy woman 🙂
**NOTE: Not everyone's carb limit is 15 per day – mine was based on my height, weight and goals – given to me by a free tracking app I used called Carb Manager 🙂
If you love cereal – I hope this helps you out! I didn't NEED to have this – but I have a bag I've eaten out of about 4 times and it's just nice to know it's in the cabinet for when those milk and cereal cravings hit 🙂 I like the Vanilla and Almonds Sola Granola (only 5 Net Carbs) and a healthy splash of an Atkins Vanilla Shake (almost no carbs).
18 . Beef Jerky
I didn't eat beef jerky very often – but I kept a few sticks in my purse for emergencies. Beef Jerky is super tricky because they like to sneak sugars in there – so read the label carefully! Here are a couple good options
- Tilamook Country Smoker Sugar Free Beef Jerky (0 carbs!)
- Slim Jims (1 Carb for 4 Sticks! Very purse-friendly…)
- JackLinks Zero Sugar (1 carb)
19 . Pork Rinds and Queso Dip
UGH. I wanted to like Pork Rinds but I could not for the life of me get on board with them when I started. You can get really creative with them, subbing them out for breadcrumbs to make chicken nuggets, and all sorts of things – and obviously as a crunchy snack to replace popcorn and chips.
I finally found that dipping them in queso really made a HUGE difference. I like the microwave pork rinds here the best (I know – crazy that such a thing exists right?) and I get a queso dip similar to this one from the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store.
When everyone else is munching microwave popcorn during family movie night – I have myself something to fall back on 🙂
KETO PROGRESS UPDATE – JANUARY 2020
January 2019 vs July 2019
Over the first 7 months of doing “dirty” or “lazy” Keto (January – August) – I lost 56 lbs. I lost a bunch of inches. I lost my constant heartburn (what a fun benefit!) and I gained a lot of confidence and joy 🙂
My friend Tessie did Keto with me and that was a major factor in my success, I just know it. We meal prepped together and shared our dishes (that way we didn't get too burnt out on the same things). We were always checking in and being encouraging and celebrating little wins (I went to the movies with my popcorn eating family and managed to stick to eating the Smoked Almonds in a ziploc bag in my purse – WIN!)
Here's my friend and I during our first month – trying to get out and get more active!
If you don't have a support friend like that – this is the Keto/Low Carb Facebook Support group that I love and have belonged to since day 1. It's a welcoming, safe place to ask all your questions and get new ideas for recipes, etc…
Fast forward to August….. Very, very, ecstatically, unbelievably happy to be in a size 6 jeans after starting at a 16 – I decided I was content there and began my maintenance phase. 🙂 I researched a TON before deciding to try to slowly phase in foods that were high carb, but only in short bursts. I am still successfully maintaining that weight loss by doing Keto during the week and enjoying carbs on the weekends. Keep in mind – this might not work for everyone – but it's been working for me (knock on wood!) for the last 4 months.
Typically I eat out with my family and relax on Sat/Sunday (for instance, I can have chili WITH all the beans!). When I wake up on Monday I do intermittent fasting and drink lots of water until late afternoon. Then hop back into Keto eating with renewed energy. I sometimes also fast half the day Tuesday as well if I've binged a little extra on the weekend.
When I do fasting – I allow myself lots of water and coffee. I use no creamer, but add in some Jordan's Skinny Syrup or other sugar-free sweetener (which doesn't spike MY blood sugar but may spike someone more sensitive). Giving my body time off from calories lets it burn through the weekend's carbs so it can get on board with fat burning again during the week.
If you like the idea of an on again – off again relationship with carbs – good news!
Laurie actually uses a diet plan that incorporates keto a couple days a week and it's called Faster Way to Fat Loss – you can check that out here! She sincerely loves it guys – no kidding. She tells her whole success story here if you want more information before jumping in.
Looking to do strict Keto the right way?
If you want to do Keto with some extra hand holding – Our friend Jennifer offers this great Get Started course! It is super inexpensive and she holds your hand through the whole process 🙂
Now I really want to know – do you have any favorite keto foods or products that help you stick with it? What about recipes? I truly want to hear what they are – please leave me a comment so I can try it out!
More Keto Posts:
- What it was like those first couple of weeks
- How it all changed around week 3
- and What happened when I had a massive cheat day around week 8
- Also this Almond Flour Coffee Mug Bread saves me weekly
- I also love saving money on Keto-friendly foods by following this Keto Shopping List for Aldi
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