I’ve already gotten a lot of questions from people on how I’ve been eating while I’m running my ketogenic diet research experiment. The answer? Not that much differently than right now. As I wrote in the original article, I had already been doing about 60% ketogenic diet, and the main differences will be an increase in fat and decrease in protein.
Below are five quick keto breakfast recipe ideas you can use if you’re trying to kickstart a ketogenic diet.
1) High fat keto coffee
This has been a popular staple for people not even on the ketogenic diet for a few years now for the benefits of satiety and mental boost. Adding high levels of fat to your morning brew can help you get into a state of ketosis while getting the benefits of some intermittent fasting as well. You can elevate ketone levels from MCT oil and other easy to digest fat in your drink.
Keto coffee is not that bad of an idea. I frequently run with this option because I get up so damn early (5-5:30a) and am just never really hungry enough at that point to choke down any food, but do feel much better if I eat something. I also know that I want to get some calories in me to be able to get enough throughout the day and keep me satiated. Otherwise I tend to not eat until lunch and don’t eat enough throughout the day.
This general idea was popularized with Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof version, but you don’t have to buy any special beans or oils for this to be effective.
My recipe is as follows:
I like the egg yolks for the nutrient density, fat, as well as high levels of choline which help my mental production in the morning.
I also like the higher amount of coconut oil as MCT oil can be great and all for quick fats and energy, but there’s a lot of beneficial components and nutrients in raw coconut oil that you just don’t get in MCT oil. Also, a huge draw of MCT oil is that you’re getting a source of fat that can turn into ketones readily. For me, if I’m in a deep state of nutritional ketosis, I don’t really need to be getting ketones from my food. My body will be making ketones regardless.
The collagen is added because I like to supply my tissues with complimentary amino acids, and I will get plenty of muscle meat later in the day. I also like to keep joint surfaces, skin, ligaments, and tendons healthy which is tough to do without a decent amount of collagen.
Cinnamon is added for taste and to keep any insulin sensitivity where I want it, especially with the powdered collagen that is going into the drink which can sometimes spike insulin levels.
I usually don’t care about eating until about 6-8 hours after this fat + caffeine bomb. This is perfect for me as it usually coincides to after my workout.
2) Sardines, oysters, eggs and broccoli
This is the breakfast popularized by expert ketosis researcher Dominic D’Agostino. The sardines and oysters are canned and in oil which definitely helps up the fat content. The nutrient density compliment of all of these foods is actually quite impressive and admittedly much better than you would get with a high-fat coffee.
1 can of sardines with oil
1/2 can of smoked oysters with oil
Broccoli or asparagus
Note that this breakfast is actually fairly high in protein relative to other macronutrients, but given that Dom is a beast of a man and is able to deadlift many times more than you for reps, this probably makes more sense for him. You can always sub out one of the protein sources for a little more fat, or just remove them entirely if you note that this kicks you out of ketosis. Remember to test your levels of protein.
3) Eggs, bacon, avocado and sauerkraut
Welcome to the Keto Grand Slam. The new American breakfast. This is an amazing combo that used to be a staple for me in grad school to get a high-fat meal to power me through the next 8 hours or so of non-stop class before we had a break.
Keto Grand Slam recipe:
2 slices bacon
1-2 cups of sauerkraut
I would eat this more now, but like I said in #1, I just am not that hungry when I wake up. That and I’m not super motivated to cook and make a messy kitchen at 5:00 am.
Make sure the bacon is high quality. I can’t stand this low-quality keto popularity. Source of food matters. Get heritage/pastured pork sources so that it is nutritious and you’re not feeding into the non-sustainable, CAFO problem.
Just like Dom’s breakfast above, this is a pretty high amount of protein and would be important to check to see if this amount of protein is enough to kick you out of ketosis, if that’s your aim. For some people it is, for some people it isn’t.
If you’re sourcing your bacon properly, you can also try keeping some of the fat in the pan and cook the eggs in it to up the fat:protein ratio.
The sauerkraut is added for a few reasons. First, fermented foods are critical for gut function and micro biome diversity. Second, you get tons of fiber with sauerkraut, which people severely miss in their diets, especially on a ketogenic diet.
4) Exogenous ketones and BCAAs
This is sort of between a complete fast (#5) and the fat bomb coffee mentioned in #1.
Since your body doesn’t have to process a lot of calorically dense food, you retain a lot of the same fasting benefits if you were to not eat anything at all, but you also get the help from exogenous ketones as readily usable energy and BCAAs to supply your muscle tissues with some reserves. This combination helps preserve lean tissue mass and ensure that your body is burning ketones and not muscle tissue > glucose for energy.
I’ve been toying around a little bit with this, but a lot of times I get too hungry and have to eat sooner than if I have my fat bomb coffee because I usually work 6-8 hours after that first drink. I do notice that I have higher peaks of mental output with this option, which is nice.
I will use these ketones if I know I will be working out in the morning within a few hours. I do this because I know that after I workout I will usually have a large meal (huge salad with a decent amount of a protein source) and don’t need the giant fat bomb with the coffee to keep me full.
This would be a true “intermittent fast” of just skipping breakfast. I would not recommend what most people do in this scenario however, which is to skip a meal and not make it up for somewhere else. You’ll end up in a super hypocaloric state which leads to a lot of unnecessary hormonal problems.
I don’t necessarily think breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you’re not hungry and you feel good on not having breakfast, don’t have it. There are plenty of extremely healthy people who don’t eat breakfast in the morning. Your body and energy levels won’t be destroyed, and this will be completely fine unless you have underlying metabolic issues.
I do this a lot when I travel and don’t have good sources. Especially at hotels that offer the continental breakfast of juice, rolls, cereal, fluorescent cheese, and bananas. Skip.
If you feel like you’re starving or if you’re especially active in the beginning of your day, don’t be ridiculous and eat something. A quick on the go snack and alternative for me here has been a handful of nuts with some coconut oil.
An important note: If you skip breakfast, you should be increasing the amount you eat elsewhere. Being super hypocaloric (eat too few calories) over a long period of time is not an effective strategy for, well, anything. Make sure to make your other 2-3 meals a little bigger or add some more fat if you’re using this strategy.
There you go, five quick keto breakfast recipe ideas. Any questions on why these are my favorites or how they work? Do you have any keto breakfast go to recipes or meals? Hit me in the comments and share!