Proper planning is important for success in any diet, but even more critical with respect to keto. When starting out on a conventional diet, you can still be successful if you fall off the wagon from time to time, and some of these diets even recommend cheat meals, or cheat days, as a discipline-support strategy. Keto is a little different, especially in the beginning.

To capitalize on all the benefits of the keto diet you must become fat adapted. That is, you must reprogram your body to target fat instead of glucose as its primary fuel source. To achieve this, it is necessary to be extremely consistent with the diet during the first few months. Unlike other diets however, things do get easier the longer you are on keto.

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The Benefits of Meal Plans

Done-for-you meal plans are often recommended by keto experts, especially when first starting the diet, and many people that have successfully adopted the keto lifestyle swear by them. The benefits of structured meal plans are often listed as follows:

  • Takes the guesswork out of meal planning and grocery shopping.
  • Ensures that you are getting the proper macronutrient ratios each day.
  • Eliminates the need to track individual food items or meals.
  • Saves time – planning, and some food prep can be done during a focused period, Sunday evening for instance, freeing up time during the week.
  • Saves money – purchasing only the foods needed on the plan reduces waste.
  • Ensures that keto friendly meals are always available and convenient. Limits the temptation to hit the drive through.

Meal Plans Aren't for Everyone

I didn’t utilize a structured meal plan when I first started keto, but in retrospect there weren’t any good options that suited my needs at the time. My attempts to remove dairy from a standard keto meal plan, or adjust the macronutriets of a paleo meal plan proved to be quite cumbersome, so I ended up just creating my own each week. 

My main issue with mean plans is that they unravel too easily. In many instances the meals from one day rely on leftovers from the day before, but what if you decide to have a second helping, or someone else in your household consumes more than the allotted serving? Seems like a quick way to add some unnecessary drama to dinner. 

What if you simply don’t like some of the meals in the plan, or are unable to get ahold of some critical ingredients needed for that week?

I haven’t had much luck following a structured meal plan to the tee, but I do review prepared meal plans for ideas when making my own. 

I have my reservations about meal plans, and I don’t think they are necessary for success. But, if you respond well to a more structured approach, if you have had prior success using meal plans, or you feel like you have tried everything else and need a little more support, then a custom meal plan may be for you.

Custom & Pre-Prepared Meal Plans

A key benefit of a fully customized keto meal plan is that it is tailored specifically to your height, weight, activity levels and weight loss or management goals. 

Pre-prepared keto meal plans, in books or available online, can be beneficial, but will often require you to make your own substitutions for foods you can’t eat or don’t like. 

With a fully customizable plan, like the one mentioned below, you complete a survey beforehand that allows you to include or omit certain foods from the beginning. 

The price for keto meal plans varies. You can go online and find one-size-fits-all keto meal plans for free, you can purchase a cookbook that includes a meal plan or plans for $20-$25, or you can sign up for the customized keto meal plan below for $37 (currently offering a 7-day trial for $1).

Which one is best for you depends on how specific you need it to be. Would you prefer to have all the guess work taken out, or are you content making your own adjustments as you go.

Both options however, are considerably less expensive than working with a dietitian one-on-one.

The Custom Keto Diet Meal Plan

One of the most popular custom keto meal plan programs currently available is aptly called the Custom Keto Diet. All of the resources associated with this program are offered conveniently on your computer, notebook, or phone.

This program was designed by dietician and fitness expert Rachael Roberts in response to her own struggles with health and weight, and the challenge of finding something that fit her needs specifically.

The first step of the program requires you to complete a short quiz that includes the following questions.

  • Activity level – various options to choose from
  • Meat options to include or exclude. Vegetarian option is available
  • Vegetable options to include or exclude
  • Other foods to include or exclude – eggs, nuts, cheese, cottage cheese, butter, and coconut
  • Some personal stats including your age, height, current weight, and target weight

Once you have completed the survey you will be directed to a summary page that provides the following:

  • Your custom target daily calorie range
  • Your target daily macronutrient ranges for fat, carbs and protein
  • Your recommended daily water intake
  • Your current body mass index (BMI)
  • A projection of your achievable weight after 30-days on the program

What the program offers:

  • A custom 8-week meal plan created by a team of experts including nutritionists, personal trainers and chefs
  • A diet optimized to your personal calorie and macronutrient needs
  • Delicious meals based on your specific food preferences
  • Step by step recipes for each meal
  • A downloadable grocery list for each week

The Price for the Custom Keto Diet is $37, with a 60-day money back guarantee. If you are interested in the program they are currently offering a 7-day trial for $1

Pre-prepared Keto Meal Plans

Two of the hard copy dairy-free keto cookbooks that I personally own and recommend also offer a variety of prepared meal plans, and digital versions of these books are also available if you prefer. 

Easy Dairy-Free Ketogenic Recipes

Maria Emmerich’s Easy Dairy-Free Ketogenic Recipes cookbook includes a great introduction to keto, several tips for success, and four different meal plans including:

  • 28-day basic meal plan
  • 28-day egg-free meal plan
  • 7-day nightshade-free meal plan
  • 7-day vegetarian meal plan
All of the recipes for each meal are included, and Maria has conveniently prepared weekly grocery lists for each plan. Note: all of the recipes in this book are dairy-free.

Dairy-Free Keto Cooking

Kyndra Holley’s Dairy-Free Keto Cooking cookbook also includes a very extensive introduction to keto, several tips for success, as well as her personal approach to a slightly more relaxed style of keto. 

All of the meal plans in this book are dairy-free and include: 

  • 7-day egg-free meal plan
  • 7-day nightshade-free meal plan
  • 7-day nut-free meal plan
  • 7-day sweetener-free meal plan
  • 7-day 30-minute meals meal plan


The main take home here is that you don’t have to go it alone. You can build a pretty stable foundation using any one of the resources listed above. One of my top recommendations when starting out on keto is to get at least one good cookbook, hard copy or digital.

Two of my favorites have a few focused meal plans that may meet your needs, but if you prefer an even more personalized approach, then perhaps the Custom Keto plan is worth a try.

|RELATED| Dairy-Free Keto Food List – Free

Do you use a keto meal plan? How has it worked for you? Is there a keto meal plan option you would recommend? Please consider sharing your experience by commenting below to help support others navigating a healthy keto lifestyle.

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