So you want to start a keto diet. But you have a family. And they’re not ready to make that kind of change. How do you eat a keto diet when your family doesn’t?? It’s possible, and I’m here to tell you how to make it work.
How do I know it’s possible? Because I’ve been doing it since 2017! I often get questions about whether my husband and/or my kids eat a keto diet. The short answer is no. But the longer answer is that they do eat a lot fewer carbs than they used to.
So everything I write here is what I’ve learned from experience! I hope these tips help you as you start out. You can eat keto when your family doesn’t.
Be Clear on your why
Do your research. Know why you want to do this. Read my Keto 101 post so you understand the science behind why this works. You really have to be all-in when you start this diet, especially if your family isn’t.
If you’re not clear on why you’re doing it and what you’re hoping to get out of it, you’re going to have a very hard time getting past the first week when your body is switching over from burning sugar to burning fat.
To find out first hand how this diet will make you feel better, you need to commit to a solid two weeks of no cheating. So get yourself as motivated as possible so you can push through the hard part.
I suggest reading some success stories from Diet Doctor if others’ successes help motivate you.
Talk to your family
Even if your family is not ready to eat a keto diet themselves, talk to them about why you’d like to try it for yourself.
Find out what compromises they’re willing to make to help you be successful. If they’re not willing to completely give up some of your trigger foods, maybe they’ll agree to eat them when you’re not around.
Explain to your loved ones why you want to try this way of eating. The more you know about the potential benefits, and the better you can explain them to your family, the more likely they are to support you.
Bear in mind that some of your family members may have their own issues surrounding food that might make this difficult for them to accept. Don’t pressure your spouse or children to eat the way you do. Share with them why you’re doing it, and how it makes you feel better. They may decide to join you after they see your results.
Know your weaknesses
This one is really important.
I think we all have certain foods that are hard to avoid, or certain situations that tend to make us want to eat in a less than healthy way.
Knowing your weaknesses helps you to steer clear of both foods and situations that are likely to derail you.
If you have specific food triggers (for example, you know that when your spouse opens a bag of Doritos, it’s going to be really difficult for you to resist eating them) I would suggest finding a low carb substitute to have on hand.
Things like Moon Cheese, ParmCrisps, Quest Chips, or pork rinds can be an easy substitute for chips. I love HighKey cookies or Choczero chocolates for when I want a sweet treat. And I’m obsessed with Lily’s peanut butter cups.
And if homemade snacks and treats are more up your alley than buying store-bought, I have tons of recipes for keto snacks and desserts! Many of these can be frozen so you can keep them on hand for when temptation strikes.
If it’s situations that tend to get your eating patterns messed up, be mindful of how your thoughts push you into unhealthy habits. If you know a situation is coming up that is likely to bring you to that place, make a plan for how you’d like to handle it in a healthy way instead.
Important note: If you have disordered eating in your past, it’s important that you deal with the issues underlying that behavior. A new diet isn’t going to magically make them go away.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” While this saying is so very cliché, it’s a popular saying for a reason.
Planning your meals ahead of time will keep you from scrambling each evening, and will make it far less likely that you’ll find yourself calling for takeout.
And when you do just want to go out to eat or get food delivered, planning ahead will also help you know what places near you offer food that will stay within your plan.
Check out No Bun Please for a great list of keto options from common restaurants.
Keep it simple
Repeat after me: Keto meals don’t have to be hard.
I know, starting a new diet can sometimes feel daunting. Often food bloggers get focused on amazing meals you can make that are still keto. And while that’s true, you can also eat keto with minimal effort.
You don’t have to buy a bunch of specialty products. You don’t have to make fancier meals than you used to make. If you stick to meals that are simply meat + above-the-ground veggies, you’ll likely stay below 20 carbs per day without a lot of effort.
It’s one of my huge goals with this site to share recipes that are super easy while also being keto. That’s why I have six sheet pan dinners (and counting!) as well as quick and easy skillet meals to make your life easier.
Here’s the other way I keep things simple: I don’t make separate meals. I don’t have time for that, friends. I make keto dinners for my whole family, and I don’t make them extra things. If my husband feels the need for some carb-filled food to go along with whatever meal I make, he’s free to make that himself.
I know that everyone’s relationship is different, but this is an important boundary for me. My husband is a grown man. He is free to eat as he likes. But when I cook, I make delicious, nutritious, filling meals that don’t include high carb foods. And you know what? My husband has found he doesn’t miss having them on a regular basis.
I hope all this info helps you feel more comfortable about your ability to eat a keto diet when your family doesn’t! And if you have questions about other situations you run into, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to answer!
For more helpful info, check out my New To Keto page, and grab your copy of my Make Keto a Cake Walk guide!