New To Keto? Keep it Simple, Smartie!

Keto Chicken with Rao's Marinara
Keto Chicken with Rao’s Marinara

Fear not! If you are new to keto, you can start in the simplest of ways. Look at the meal above. Fancy, eh? Not really. It’s chicken and sauce from a jar. Seriously. You need just a tad bit of knowledge about the macro goals, which means that about 70% of your calories should come from fat, about 25% from protein, and about 5% from carbs in the form of mostly green veggies and a few berries. In other words, Keto is a high HEALTHY fat, moderate protein, low carb way of eating…designed to switch your body’s fuel source from glycogen that comes from carbs we eat…to STORED FAT that comes from our butts and hips (what I affectionately refer to as my fanny pack). It is a metabolic state known as nutritional ketosis, NOT to be confused with ketoacidosis.

But you don’t HAVE to eat all the fat…so don’t go overboard. The fat ratio is a top limit of what you should eat. But so many people new to keto FEAR fat, as we have been misinformed for decades that eating fat makes us fat. SO wrong!

Terms you will hear as you learn…
STRICT KETO: Sticking pretty tightly to the macro ratios. Eating clean food, meaning avoiding the processed stuff, avoiding the factory produced chemical sweeteners that are worse than sugar and STILL cause an insulin response. Using the healthy oils that do NOT have free radicals and are not sourced from corn. Good oils = avocado, coconut, olive, ghee, grass-fed butter, nitrate-free bacon fat.

LAZY KETO: it’s basically all of the above, but people do not track every single thing. I would think this is what you do AFTER you have tracked your macros for awhile and KNOW the value of what is going down the gullet.

DIRTY KETO: Adhering only to macros, not worried about source of food. Because keto has been so amazing for me in improving my overall health, energy levels, and reducing severity of depression, I am not a fan of dirty keto (beyond the fact that we all slide and err sometimes), because keto is for life. For health. It is sustainable. And for me, the goal is more than losing weight. Keto is for disease prevention. And there is no such thing as a beef and butter fast by the way, grrr. When you are ready for more detailed info on the keto way of eating, click here.

For the meal above , a few simple additions take a dish from plain jane to swanky, in this case olives and cilantro and fresh asiago. So do this:

  1. Saute’ chicken, celery and onion in avocado oil with salt, pepper, garlic and a soy substitute like coconut aminos. 
  2. When chicken is nearly done, add marinara or arrabbiata sauce for some spice, fresh shredded asiago or parmesan, black olive and cilantro. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

What is important in regards to Keto here? The oil and the sauce. Not all oils are created equal. Choose these for cooking: avocado, coconut, olive (not too high of heat), nitrite-free bacon greas, ghee, grass-fed butter (Kerrygold). Avoid: corn, canola, vegetable. And for the sauce: read the label! Rao’s is considered Keto because of its low sugar count. 4 net carbs per 1/2 cup compared to some sauces that are as high as 12-14 carbs.

Other super easy meals when you are new to keto and overwhelmed with dinner ideas: EGGS! They’re not just for breakfast anymore. Furthermore, while we’re touching on the subject of breakfast, you don’t HAVE to eat typical breakfast food. Think about what that means anyway: high carb cereal, donuts, pancakes, cream of wheat. Eat chicken of fish or cheese or whatever keto meal you want! These eggs are topped with low-sugar salsa and full-fat sour cream. Just a few berries, nitrite-free bacon, and avocados, which are high in fiber. Or add low-carb veggies cooked in bacon fat or butter! When you’re ready to take it up a tiny notch, try making a crustless quiche.

Dress up a burger by ditching the bun and adding sauteed mushrooms. I used tarragon on these for an amazing flavor. But parsley would do, or simply salt, pepper and garlic. The smell will have you salivating. These could top eggs as well. Add spinach for greens. And the Rao’s marinara again.

And don’t forget dessert. Watch this video for a step-by step guide to making keto ice cream in minutes. You won’t believe it’s not…sugar! And subscribe to the youtube channel or this blog for more keto goodness!

You can also find yourself some dark chocolate. I use 85% Moser Roth bars from Aldi, melt a bit in a pan with Kerrygold, and sweeten with a bit of stevia. You can add sugar-free peanut butter, which would be a fat bomb, or dip strawberries into them, chill and eat.


If you’re new to keto, please poke around the blog. I am pretty much a newbie, so I cook simply and explain the basics so as not to overwhelm. I am THRILLED with how much better I feel on keto: so much energy, reduced depression, drastically reduced body aches and pains, and a slightly smaller butt.

Click the following links for some basics:

Stock Your Keto Kitchen

Excellent Keto Book

Breaking Weight Loss Plateau


You might notice links to products I like. If you click through and make a purchase, you will not pay one penny extra, but I will earn a wee commission. I appreciate it very much!

What do I do when I am not ketoing? I am an author. Harper Collins bought my first novel in 2010, and I have since put out an electronic version of Escaping The Tiger. Check out these reviews. Would love for you to read it. Cheers, Keto Warriors!

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