To say that the ketogenic diet is divisive would be a massive understatement. On one side, you have the evangelists who say it can do everything from giving you better energy to shedding body fat quickly (true) to curing cancer (a little more far-fetched). Then, you have the folks on the other side, who shudder at the mere thought of eating that much fat and that few carbs.
Whatever side of the fence you’re on, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: the ketogenic diet is extremely all or nothing. There’s no having a cheeky pizza and balancing out with a salad the next day — you’re either in the fat-burning state known as ketosis, or you’re not.
So, it makes sense that the most difficult time of the year to be keto is the festive season— when you’re surrounded by people who are eating ALL of the Christmas carbs and wondering why you’re not doing the same. “Surely you can take one day off!” your well-meaning family and friends say. If only it were that simple!
The good news is, you can eat, drink and be merry during Christmas and still stay in ketosis — you just need to be prepared. And with these 7 low-carb hacks, you can be.
It may sound cliché, but starting your day with a satiating brekkie loaded with good fats is going to help stop you from diving headfirst into the carbs at Christmas lunch. Think poached eggs paired with avo and smoked salmon. For inspo, check out these 9 delicious low carb breakfast recipes. Not a huge breakfast person? These keto smoothie recipes may be more your style.
Still, don’t think you’re going to be able to resist the temptation of carbs at Christmas lunch? Have substitutes at the ready. Pretty much any of your favourite Chrissie comfort foods can be made low carb. Instead of potatoes to go with your roast, cook up some spaghetti squash or cauliflower mash. Can’t get enough of eggnog? Check out this low-carb alternative.
Here’s the thing, while alcohol won’t necessarily knock you out of ketosis, your body can’t actually burn fat while you’ve got alcohol in your system. That said, just because you’re on a keto diet, that doesn’t mean you have to be in fat-burning mode every day of the year. It is Christmas after all! If you are going to drink, go for the lowest carb options (we ranked them here) like vodka or gin with soda water and lime or champagne or a sparkling wine (just make sure you factor them into your carb count). In Australia, there’s also a low carb beer called Bighead which contains zero carbs.
One of the best thing about Christmas time in Australia is the BBQs. These are the jackpot for keto followers, as the low-carb options are endless. Whether you chuck sausages, steak, seafood, veggies or even haloumi on the barbie, you’ll be on the clear. Just be sure to keep an eye on your protein intake, as too much can kick you out of ketosis. The same goes for your meat during a roast lunch.
One of the best things about a keto diet is that the fat should keep you so full that you don’t have the urge to snack. That said, it is Christmas so no doubt everyone else will be grazing all day. Resist the urge to snack on carby things by having some keto-friendly snacks on hand. If you’ve got a pork roast, make a beeline for the crackling — it’s super low carb and makes a great crunchy snack. You can check out some other snack options here.
While Christmas pudding may be off the menu when you’re on a keto diet (unless it’s this one), that doesn’t mean dessert has to be! From pecan pie to keto ice cream, there are heaps of low-carb desserts you can whip up to enjoy while everyone else is tucking into their carb-laden treats. You can check them out here.
If you do happen to slip up and knock yourself out of keto, it’s not the end of the world. The key is to get back on track as quickly as possible. To quickly get back into ketosis, the experts recommend doing fasted (without eating) cardio in the morning to help burn up your body’s glycogen stores, loading up on good fat and getting your carbs only through leafy veggies for the next day or so.