What to Look For in a Vegan Keto Meal Plan

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Starting out on a vegan keto diet can be a little overwhelming – not only is this way of eating quite different from the Standard Western Diet, but for many of us, tracking calories and macronutrients (particularly net carbs) adds another layer of challenge. I’ve always found that following a meal plan, even loosely, can provide some guidance and inspiration so you don’t feel like you’re tied to constant mental math around meal time, or stuck in a cycle of eating the same things over and over, like some sort of culinary Groundhog Day.

Of course, there are a few things to consider when choosing a vegan keto meal plan in order to make sure that it’s actually safe to follow. I’ve seen so many plans on the market with dangerously low caloric and protein content, and others that don’t even provide low enough net carbs to achieve nutritional ketosis! One such plan with crazy low carbs and protein and very high net amounts of net carbs is a plan designed by a doctor and is touted as being “vegetarian”-friendly, while including seafood. Following a plan like this is going to leave you malnourished and hungry all the time, while your body breaks down its own muscle tissue to obtain sufficient protein. So, let’s look at what you want to find in a meal plan to make sure you’re getting into ketosis in a healthy and beneficial way!

When selecting a vegan keto meal plan, it’s essential to find one that balances macronutrients while keeping your daily net carb intake below 50 grams. This threshold helps maintain a state of ketosis, where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Most people can achieve a state of ketosis eating between 20-50g of net carbs, so this is a great target to reach for. If you are relatively sedentary, or want to accelerate the process somewhat, looking for a plan closer to 20-30g of net carbs will be the best for you.

Additionally, the meal plan should provide a sufficient caloric intake—ideally between 1,500 to 1,800 calories daily. This range promotes healthy weight loss without depriving your body of the energy it needs for daily activities. Most people will be in a caloric deficit eating around 1,600 calories per day. If you are active, are taller and thus have a higher resting metabolic rate, or if weight loss isn’t your goal, you can always add some snacks in the plan to boost calories. This is another reason why seeking out ketogenic plans at around 20-30g of net carbs daily is better: it’s much easier to add snacks and stay in ketosis if the plan is already on the lower side of net carbs.

Protein intake is another critical component. Ensure the meal plan offers at least 65 grams of protein per day to maintain muscle mass. This is particularly important in a vegan keto diet, as plant-based proteins can sometimes be less bioavailable than their animal-based counterparts. Good sources of vegan protein include tofu, tempeh, seitan, and high-protein seeds like hemp, chia, and flax. I’ve seen many plans out there (including some created by doctors!) that contain dangerously low levels of protein, some as little as 17g daily (!!!). Consuming this little protein (far below the WHO’s recommended 53g for the average woman) will cause your body to break down its own muscle in order to maintain proper functioning.

However, a common pitfall with many available meal plans is that they are not always designed with a deep understanding of nutritional science. Without proper formulation, these plans can lead to nutritional deficiencies and are not safe to follow in the long term. It is crucial to select a plan created with input from some with a background in nutrition to ensure that the meal plan is balanced, covering all essential nutrients while adhering to the principles of a vegan keto diet. The vegan keto plans in my shop are all nutritionally balanced, with sufficient protein and calories while keeping the net carbs well within the range for achieving nutritional ketosis.

When choosing a vegan keto meal plan, also consider the variety of the foods included. A diverse menu not only prevents dietary boredom but also ensures a broader intake of different nutrients, further enhancing the diet’s effectiveness and sustainability. Make sure the plan includes a wide range of vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins to keep your meals interesting and nutritionally complete. This also ensures that you’ll have a least a few meals you can switch around!

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