A Week of the Keto Diet: 7-Day Keto Meal Plan


Written by Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc. on May 28, 2019.

Scientifically reviewed by

Jonathan Clinthorne, Ph.D. Human Nutrition.

Hands cracking eggs into a skillet while making a keto-friendly breakfast

Ketogenic diets—a subset of low carb diets—have been around for decades, with different forms of ketogenic diets being used to help facilitate weight loss and manage conditions like diabetes and epilepsy. 1 Ketosis is when your metabolism starts to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs and sugar, and during this metabolic shift, the liver also produces ketones in a process known as ketogenesis. 2 Atkins 20® or Atkins 40® are ketogenic diets, but unlike the standard keto diet, these versions of Atkins are less restrictive because as you climb the carb ladder, you get more food choices and a better balance of macronutrients. 3

With Atkins 20®, net carbs are restricted to 20g or fewer per day for a two-week induction phase to guarantee that ketosis is achieved, before gradually adding small amounts of net carbs back into your diet. Consuming a well-constructed keto diet that’s low in carbs, moderate in protein, and high in healthy fats—as you do on Atkins 20® or Atkins 40®—has shown to be safe and effective. 4 Typical of Atkins 20®, this 7-day keto plan is broken down as follows:

  • 60–70% fat: Keto diets replace the calories that typically come from carbs with an increase in the percentage of calories coming from fat. 5 But not all fat is created equal. Reach for healthy fats from high-quality plant and animal sources, such as olive oil and coconut oil as well as eggs, avocados, cheese, and fish.
  • 20–30% protein: Following a keto diet requires eating an adequate amount of protein to supply your liver with amino acids, which help make new glucose for the cells and organs in your body that can’t use ketones as fuel. Eating too much protein can suppress ketosis, but not consuming enough can lead to a loss in muscle mass. 6
  • 5–10% carbs: On a keto diet like Atkins, you’ll limit your net carb intake to 20 to 40 grams per day. To ensure you’re getting all of your required nutrients, especially fiber, it is important that the carbs you do eat come from vitamin and mineral-rich foundation vegetables.

Sample Keto Diet 7-Day Meal Plan

Most people can consume up to 50g total carbohydrates per day and maintain ketosis. 7 This sample 7-day keto diet plan, with an average of 20.5g net carbs per day, will show you how to eat right, not less, with Atkins keto while still enjoying a variety of satisfying foods.

Day 1: Monday

Total net carbs: 20.7g

Keto tip of the day: Low carb diets like Atkins keto have a diuretic effect, 8 so make sure you’re drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. Not consuming enough water—especially when starting a new low carb diet—can lead to constipation, dizziness, and sugar/carb cravings. Also make sure you add extra salt to your diet in order to make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes. Try sipping on full-sodium broth or adding a little extra salt to your food.

Day 2: Tuesday

Total net carbs: 20.1g

Keto tip of the day: Keto tip of the day: Get moving! Exercising regularly can help you achieve ketosis by aiding your body in using up its carbohydrate stores. 9 It’s normal to feel a bit sluggish when starting a keto diet, so if you’re new to the low carb lifestyle, stay active with low-intensity movement like yoga and walking. When you’re feeling more energized, add in some high-intensity exercise a few days a week.

Day 3: Wednesday

Total net carbs: 19.7g

Keto tip of the day: If you are new to a low carb lifestyle, you might start to come down with what’s known as the keto flu. A term coined by the keto community, this is a temporary side effect experienced by some people when they start the keto diet. 10 If you are experiencing headaches, weakness, and poor concentration, don’t throw in the towel! Electrolytes and water are quickly depleted when you first start a keto diet, so make sure you are drinking plenty of water and consuming a little extra sodium and potassium. It also helps to get adequate sleep and make sure you are eating plenty of healthy fats.

Day 4: Thursday

Total net carbs: 19.3g

Keto tip of the day: Craving something sweet? Whip up a decadent dessert with this easy recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie Bites suitable for all Atkins phases. Note that one serving of this recipe will add 1.8g net carbs and 7.1g of fat to today’s menu. Browse Atkins extensive recipe database for more low carb dessert recipes.

Day 5: Friday

Total net carbs: 21.9g

Keto tip of the day: It’s the end of the work week, so meet up with your friends or family for dinner! Living low carb doesn’t mean you have to cook every one of your meals. Stay on track when dining out by asking the restaurant for nutrition information, choosing meat and veggie dishes, opting out of starchy sides like mashed potatoes, and avoiding sugary condiments like BBQ sauce. And check out these other keto-friendly restaurants!

Day 6: Saturday

Total net carbs: 20.7

  • Breakfast (4.9g net carbs): Red Bell Pepper Filled with Creamy Eggs and Spinach
  • Snack (1g net carbs): Atkins Strawberry Shake
  • Lunch (2.5g net carbs): Tuna salad with 4 oz tuna, 2 stalks celery, 1 dill pickle spear, 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • Snack (4.5g net carbs): 1 portobello mushroom cap, ¼ cup Salsa Cruda, and 1 oz pepper jack cheese
  • Dinner (7.8g net carbs): 5 oz Italian sausage, ¼ medium onion sliced, and ½ red bell pepper sliced with a side of 2 cups baby spinach, ½ cup sliced mushrooms, and 2 Tbsp Blue Cheese Dressing

Keto tip of the day: If you’re feeling celebratory or are out on the town, enjoy a low carb drink without throwing off your week. One 3.5 ounce glass of dry red wine has 2.6g net carbs, and 1 ounce of bourbon has 0g net carbs. However, watch out for hidden carbs in mixers, and remember that these are additional carbs to today’s menu. You can easily keep track of your daily net carbs with the Atkins app or this guide.

Day 7: Sunday

Total net carbs: 20.8

Keto tip of the day: Head to the supermarket and meal prep for the upcoming week to stay on track with your low carb lifestyle! Switch things up by making some of your favorite meals with low carb ingredient swaps. And brush up on how to avoid the most common keto mistakes.

Atkins has even more diet plans and meal plans personalized for your lifestyle, as well as an incredible library of 1,000+ delicious low carb and keto recipes.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine, 2003: A review of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets

In response to the emerging epidemic of obesity in the United States, a renewal of interest in alternative diets has occurred, especially in diets that limit carbohydrate intake. Recent research has demonstrated that low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets can lead to weight loss and favorable changes in serum triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine, 1983: The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: physical and biochemical adaptation

These findings indicate that the ketotic state induced by the EKD was well tolerated in lean subjects; nitrogen balance was regained after brief adaptation, serum lipids were not pathologically elevated, and blood glucose oxidation at rest was measurably reduced while the subjects remained euglycemic.

Further Reading
Everyday Health, 2018: What’s the Difference Between Keto and Atkins?

There are a lot of moving parts with Atkins and its four phases. The ketogenic, or “keto,” diet, on the other hand, promotes one way of eating for the entirety of the diet. You’ll cut your carbs down to about 5 percent of your daily intake. Seventy-five percent of your remaining calories will come from fat and 20 percent from protein….

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine, 2007: Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight Loss Study: a randomized trial

Weight loss was greater for women in the Atkins diet group compared with the other diet groups at 12 months, and mean 12-month weight loss was significantly different between the Atkins and Zone diets (P<.05)…a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diet may be considered a feasible alternative recommendation for weight loss.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine, 2021: Alternative Dietary Patterns for Americans: Low-Carbohydrate Diets

The decades-long dietary experiment embodied in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) focused on limiting fat, especially saturated fat, and higher carbohydrate intake has coincided with rapidly escalating epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes…

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine, 2019: Effects of a Personalized VLCKD on Body Composition and Resting Energy Expenditure in the Reversal of Diabetes to Prevent Complications

The reversion of diabetes and the treatment of long-term obesity are difficult challenges. The failure mechanisms of rapid weight loss are mainly related to the wasting of lean mass. This single-arm study aims to evaluate the effects of a very low-calorie ketogenic diet (VLCKD) on body composition and resting energy expenditure in the short term reversal of diabetes mellitus Type 2…

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine, 2021: Alternative Dietary Patterns for Americans: Low-Carbohydrate Diets

The decades-long dietary experiment embodied in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) focused on limiting fat, especially saturated fat, and higher carbohydrate intake has coincided with rapidly escalating epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) that are contributing to the progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other diet-related chronic diseases…

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,  2019: Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

People on ketogenic diets experience weight loss, because of lower insulin levels, a diuretic effect, and a decreased sense of hunger.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine, 2021: The Effects of Exercise on β-Hydroxybutyrate Concentrations over a 36-h Fast: A Randomized Crossover Study

This study assessed β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) concentration during a short-term fast and the degree to which an initial bout of exercise influences the rate of ketogenesis.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine, 2020: Consumer Reports of “Keto Flu” Associated with the Ketogenic Diet

A commonly discussed side effect of KD in media and online forums is “keto flu,” a cluster of transient symptoms generally reported as occurring within the first few weeks of KD.

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