While on this low-carb, high-fat diet, you’d have to reduce carbohydrates from your meals to nudge your body into ketosis. At the same time, you’ll also need to manage your protein intake and increase the amount of fats you consume.
If you’re looking for guidance on building a keto-friendly meal plan, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explore some tips on how you can personalize your keto diet. We’ve also included a 5-day sample keto meal plan for beginners.
What’s the Carb Limit for a Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a strict low-carb diet. The goal is to bring your body into a state of ketosis, which means that fat has to replace carbs as the primary fuel source. There’s no one fixed rule that determines the carb limit for a keto diet. However, most guidelines recommend having less than 50 grams of total carbohydrates daily while on this diet .
Many people track their net carbs instead of total carbs on keto. In this case, the recommended limit ranges from 15-30 grams of net carbs daily.
This carb restriction differs from one person to another. Some individuals may only enter ketosis when consuming less than 20 grams of total carbs per day.
But in general, the lower your carb intake, the easier it is for you to reach and maintain a state of ketosis.
How Much Protein and Fats Do I Need on a Keto Diet?
There are no universal guidelines depicting what a keto diet has to look like. But in general, a keto diet should be high in healthy fats and deliver a moderate amount of proteins and a low amount of carbohydrates.
Here’s what the macronutrient ratio of a keto diet may look like: 
- 55% to 60% of total daily calories from fat
- 30% to 35% from protein
- 5% to 10% from carbohydrates
A gram of protein contains 4 calories. The same applies to carbs. Meanwhile, one gram of fat yields 9 calories.
Let’s say that you’re on a 2000-calorie diet. Around 60% of your calories come from fat, 30% from protein, and 10% from carbs. In this case, 1200 calories are from fat, 600 calories come from protein, and 200 calories are derived from carbs.
In other words, you’ll consume 133 grams of fat, 150 grams of protein, and 50 grams of carbs each day.
This example shows how your intake of fats, proteins, and carbs will differ based on your total calorie intake for the day. Some individuals need to consume even more fat and fewer proteins and carbs to reach ketosis. So a person’s fat intake may sometimes go up to 70-80% on a keto diet.
But in most cases, it’s best to ensure that you only consume up to 50 grams of total carbs per day.
What Foods to Eat on a Keto Diet
You shouldn’t go overboard on your carb intake for the best results. This is why your diet must be centred around low-carb and high-fat foods that will help to fuel your progress.
Here are some of the best low-carb foods to include in your keto lifestyle:
- Meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood
- Full-fat dairy products like Greek yoghurt
- Plant-based milk, such as macadamia milk or almond milk
- Certain cheeses, such as cheddar and goat cheese
- Non-starchy veggies, including leafy greens, bell peppers, and zucchini
- Most nuts, including macadamia nuts, almonds, and pecans
- Certain seeds, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds
- Berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries
- Fats and oils, such as olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and butter
While certain types of foods and snacks, such as ice cream or bread, aren’t inherently keto-friendly, you may still find variations suitable for a keto diet. Because of this diet’s popularity, many companies and brands have released keto-friendly options of popular foods, which you can find online or at your local mart.
Keto Diet Plan: A Sample Menu for Beginners
Here’s a sample 5-day keto diet meal plan for beginners. It includes ideas for a keto breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
These keto recipes provide fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day.
- Keto chia pudding (2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 cup of low-carb milk like almond milk or macadamia milk, a low-carb sweetener like stevia)
- Carbs per serving: ~12.5 grams
- Pan-fried barramundi with asparagus (200g of barramundi fillet, tomatoes, garlic, lemon, butter, olive oil, asparagus, and seasonings)
- Carbs per serving: ~9 grams
- Baked chicken with broccoli and bell peppers (100g of chicken breast, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 cup of chopped bell peppers, and seasonings of your choice)
- Carbs per serving: ~10 grams
Total carbohydrate intake: ~31.5 grams
- Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes (2 large eggs, half a cup of spinach, and a handful of cherry tomatoes, olive oils, minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste)
- Carbs per serving: ~3 grams
- Broccoli salad (1 cup broccoli, red onions, walnuts, and shredded cheddar cheese; mayo, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, and black pepper for the salad dressing)
- Carbs per serving: ~14 grams
- Chicken Parmigiana (150g of chicken breast, 20g of pizza or pasta sauce, 10g of ham, 25g of mozzarella, seasonings)
- Note: Use full-fat mozzarella instead of low-fat mozzarella
- Carbs per serving: ~22 grams
Total carb intake: ~39 grams
- Breakfast muffins (3 eggs, 30g of grated cheddar, 50g of broccoli, 40g of corn, 10g of spinach, spring onion, and your seasonings of choice)
- Carbs per serving: ~ 14 grams
- Egg salad (2 large eggs, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, sea salt, black pepper, chopped scallions)
- Carbs per serving: ~3 grams
- Thai red curry (Chicken breast, pumpkin, green beans, zucchini, carrots, Maesri Red Curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime, garlic, vegetable oil, and other seasonings)
- Note: You can enjoy the curry with a low-carb rice substitute like cauliflower rice
- Carbs per serving: ~10 grams
Total carb intake: ~27 grams
- Strawberry smoothie (60-70 grams of frozen strawberries, 60 grams of heavy cream, 1 cup of almond or macadamia milk, vanilla extract, keto sweetener)
- Carbs per serving: ~8.6 grams
- Avocado and chicken salad (70 grams of chicken breast, small avocado, cucumber, red onions, chopped and fried bacon, lemon juice, lettuce, olive oil, salt, and pepper)
- Carbs per serving: ~8 grams
- Grilled salmon with asparagus (1 salmon fillet, lemon juice, olive oil, butter, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper)
- Carbs per serving: ~5.5 carbs
Total carb intake: ~22 grams
- Deviled eggs with bacon (2 eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, chopped and fried bacon)
- Carbs per serving: ~2 grams
- Keto seafood chowder (Boneless fish fillets, bacon, onions, turnip, heavy whipping cream, butter, and other seasonings)
- Carbs per serving: ~6.3 grams
- Pork chops and Brussels sprouts (Boneless pork chops, sliced mushrooms, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, baby spinach, and other seasonings)
- Carbs per serving: ~15 grams
Total carbs intake: 23 grams
Tips for Curating a Personalized Keto Menu
If you’re planning on starting the keto diet, here are a few tips that may help you out:
- Stock up on keto staples. Prepare a shopping list of basic keto snacks and foods, including eggs, chicken, cheese, seafood, and low-carb vegetables. You can also purchase low-carb variations of common sauces and dips like mayonnaise.
- Reorganize your refrigerator and pantry. Clear your kitchen of high-carb snacks and foods like pasta, sugar-loaded snacks, and candy. You can donate them to friends or family members. The harder it is to reach for these kinds of foods, the more likely you are to stick to your new keto lifestyle.
- Read product labels carefully. Have a good look at the serving size of the food item. Sometimes, one packet may contain 3-4 servings, and you’d want to avoid overeating. Aim for products that are low in net carbs, moderate in proteins, and high in healthy fats. Additionally, look through the ingredient list provided and avoid items with added sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
- Don’t eliminate fibre from your diet. Don’t neglect fibre on keto, even though it is a form of carbohydrate. Fibre isn’t counted in the net carb intake as it doesn’t get digested by the body. Getting adequate amounts of this nutrient is important to keep your gut happy and healthy. Some foods that fit well into a keto diet include zucchini, leafy greens, celery, and certain nuts and seeds like almonds, macadamia nuts, and pumpkin seeds.
- Meal prep in batches: This will save you a ton of time and energy. If you’re most free on the weekend, you can prepare meals in advance and keep them frozen or refrigerated.
- Look into getting keto meals delivered. If you do not have time to meal prep each week, sticking within your carb limit can be difficult. One solution to this is getting keto meals delivered to your doorstep, which is a huge time and energy-saver. Check out our list of the best keto meal providers in Australia.
- Consult your dietitian or nutritionist. It’s always best to seek the advice of a healthcare professional when making significant changes to your diet. This is especially crucial if you have any medical conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding. For starters, experts agree that the keto diet can be unsafe for pregnant women. Ultimately, this form of restrictive dieting isn’t suitable or safe for everyone.
How to Prevent and Manage the Keto Flu
You might experience the keto flu within the first week of having low-carb meals. The keto flu is a group of symptoms that occur as your body adjusts to a reduced intake of carbohydrates.
Some symptoms of the keto flu include: 
- Feeling fatigued
- Feeling irritable
- Sleeping problems
- Brain fog
- Changes in heartbeat
Fortunately, there are various steps you can take to lower your chances of having the keto flu and reduce any symptoms you experience.
Here are some tips that might help:
- Stay well-hydrated.
- Increase your intake of electrolytes.
- Ensure that you get enough healthy fats on the keto diet.
- Avoid high-intensity workouts.
- Ensure that you get enough quality sleep.
- Transition into a keto lifestyle by gradually cutting back on your carb intake.
Keto flu symptoms can last anywhere from a couple of days to a month. They should eventually reside as your body becomes accustomed to the reduction in carb intake.
How to Check if I’m in Ketosis
The most accurate way to check if you’re in ketosis is to measure the amount of ketones in your blood, urine, or breath.
There are different ketone-testing devices and equipment to help you measure your levels of ketone.
A blood ketone meter requires a small blood sample, which you can obtain using a lancing device to prick your finger. An alternative is the breath ketone meter that you’ll exhale into. The most popular and widely-used method is the urine test strips, which will change colour upon contact with urine to indicate the estimated levels of ketones.
These devices will come in handy if you’re looking to take the keto diet seriously.
Getting Started on a Keto Diet as a Beginner
The keto diet can be a challenge to adopt. It will take time for your body to adjust to the decreased carb intake.
Start by determining your daily caloric intake and target macronutrient ratio. For beginners, a total carb intake of up to 50 grams per day is a good target to start with.
Feel free to check out our complete guide to the keto diet and our top picks of the best keto foods, snacks, and meal providers in Australia.
Explore in more detail
- The Keto Diet for Beginners: Pros, Cons, & Tips to Get Started
- Best Keto-Friendly Foods to Try (& What to Avoid)
- Best Keto-Friendly Snacks: Ideas for Beginners
- 15 Keto Breads You Can Buy in Australia That Are Low-Carb
- Best Keto Meal Plans: A Beginner’s Guide + Sample Menu
- The Top Keto-Friendly Meal Delivery Services In Australia
- The 6 Best Keto-Friendly Restaurants In Sydney
- How To Tell If Your Body Is In Ketosis
- 9 Ketone Testing Devices To Check If You’re In Ketosis (Including Strips And Breathalysers)
- Keto Sweeteners In Australia (2023): Best & Worst Substitutes For A Low-Carb Diet