Showing posts with label keto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label keto. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

 Losing weight is a piece of cake (so to speak) compared to keeping those pounds from coming back. If you are following a mostly clean ketogenic weight loss diet for an extended period, figuring out how to maintain your successes after you reach your target weight can be even more challenging.

This time last year, after celebrating the one-year anniversary of the start of my successful keto diet weight loss journey, I shared my best advice for preparing to succeed on a keto diet

Last week marked my second keto-versary, In honor of this important milestone in my transformational journey toward better health and wellbeing, I am sharing what I’ve learned during the past year about how to maintain the significant weight loss I achieved on a ketogenic diet.

image collage of woman at different weights between 2017 and 2020

The Best Tips to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss Success

In part one of my post about preparing to succeed on a keto diet, I shared my belief that there is no “one-size-fits-all” ketogenic weight loss diet that is optimal for everyone, that dirty, lazy and strict keto are not your only options, and that designing a personalized approach to this way of eating that best fits your unique needs, lifestyle, and priorities can improve your chances of success. Based on my own experience so far, I think it’s just as important to design a personalized plan to maintain your keto diet journey wins after you reach your target weight.

For the past 12 months or so, I have been working on and refining my long-term strategy to maintain not only my new, healthy weight but also the other profoundly positive changes that resulted from my switch to a mostly clean ketogenic diet. Although I will likely continue to experiment, evaluate and make further tweaks over time, I have gradually figured out a viable “new normal” that is meeting my needs, for now. 

The best advice I can share is to learn as much as you can from people who have transitioned from a keto weight loss diet to a healthy, sustainable maintenance diet and kept those pounds from coming back. Use whatever aspects resonate with you to help you design your own personalized plan, tailored to your needs, priorities, and preferences.

To help you get started, here are the seven strategies that have helped me maintain my nearly 60-pound weight loss so far. 

3 side-by-side photos of same woman before and after losing weight and keeping it off with a ketogenic diet

Make Small, Incremental Changes to Your Diet at a Time

Increase your carbs and calories very slowly, then wait at least a week or two to see how your body responds before deciding whether, what, and how much to change next. You also may want to try gradually decreasing your fat intake somewhat and evaluating the effects. I increased my carbs by 5 grams and added 50 calories every three weeks,  very small changes to my calories and macros roughly every 3 weeks so my metabolism would adapt to each minor change without overreacting to a perceived food surplus or famine. 

Use Most of Those Extra Carbs and Calories to Add Nutrients and Fiber

It’s okay to reserve some of your extra maintenance carbs and calories for a keto-friendly cheddar cheese and chive biscuit or a square or two from a healthy, sugar-free The Good Chocolate bar, but try to invest most of your carb and calorie “raise” into a broader range or slightly larger portions of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods, such as berries and root vegetables, especially if you plan to continue with a modified keto or low carb diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. You can also try introducing small amounts of high-fiber beans and legumes and see how they affect your blood sugar, insulin, energy level, mood, and mental clarity. 

Pay Attention to How Your Body Responds 

If you have (or had) a lot of weight to lose, start experimenting with very small, gradual increases to your calories and carbs when you are within three pounds of your target weight, even though it means waiting a bit longer to reach your “magic number” on the scale. Finding your personal nutritional “sweet spot” to maintain your new, healthier weight will require navigating uncharted territory. Switching your focus from losing those last few pounds to figuring out how to keep them off for good will give you a good head-start on testing the effects of those dietary changes and fine-tuning them by the time you  reach your weight loss goal. 

Don’t Revert to Your Former Bad Habits

To paraphrase Henry Ford, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. So, if you go back to eating the things that caused you to put on weight and made it hard to lose—especially sugars, refined starches and highly processed foods—you will soon put back any pounds you dropped on keto, and probably a few more, too boot. 

Keto cookbooks and baking books

Build On Your New, Healthy Lifestyle Habits

If you have been following a "dirty keto" approach, consider eating fewer highly processed foods and buying healthier, fresh, whole, or minimally processed foods, such as organic fresh berries and vegetables and grass-fed (and, ideally, grass-finished) beef and dairy products.

If you your meals have relied heavily on fast food restaurant chains or packaged foods, try cooking more of your meals and eating out less to help you control the quality and quantity and enhance the flavor and nutrition of the foods you consume. (You will probably also save some money in the process.) To expand your repertoire of quick and easy, delicious and nutritious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, I highly recommend Carolyn Ketchum's cookbook The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen: With More than 150 Inspirational Low-Carb, High-Fat Recipes to Maximize Your HealthMaya Krampf's The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook: 100 Simple Low Carb Recipes. 10 Ingredients or Less, Kyndra Holley's Craveable Keto: Your Low-Carb, High-Fat Roadmap to Weight Loss and Wellness, Natasha Newton's Southern Keto: 100+ Traditional Food Favorites for a Low-Carb Lifestyle, and Maria Emmerich's Keto Restaurant Favorites: More Than 175 Tasty Classic Recipes Made Fast, Fresh, and Healthy

If you miss traditional baked goods and have been disappointed by the keto recipes or packaged versions you've tried, invest in a couple of cookbooks with reliable recipes from a keto baking expert, such as Ketchum's The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking: Master All the Best Tricks for Low-Carb Baking Success or Hilda Solares' Essential Keto Bread: Sweet and Savory Baked Goods to Satisfy Any Craving.

If you haven't been getting much exercise, look for ways to build a more active lifestyle.

Bagged piles of women's clothing to donate or sell

Get Rid of Clothes That No Longer Fit You 

Don’t sabotage yourself by holding onto this safety net in case you gain back the weight you worked so hard to lose. Try on every piece of clothing you own and sort it into the appropriate pile: throw away, give away, donate, sell, or bring to a tailor to be altered to fit your new size, depending on the style and how much would need to be taken in. If you’re having trouble letting go of some favorite pieces that would require too much alteration, think about how much good you will do by donating them to someone in need.

Digital body weight scale and tape measure

Keep Paying Attention (for the Rest of Your Life)

Body weight can fluctuate frequently for many different reasons, so stepping on the scale too often when you’re on a reducing diet can be frustrating, demotivating and even misleading. However, once you are close to your goal, more frequent weigh-ins can provide important feedback as you experiment with and fine-tune changes to your diet to develop a successful eating plan to maintain your target weight. 

Even after you have developed a maintenance diet framework that appears to work for you, it’s important to weigh yourself consistently, at the same time of day, at least twice a month. This is even more important if you stop tracking your calories and macros with nutrition tracker app such as Carb Manager after you reach your desired weight. 

The longer it has been since you reached your weight loss goal, the more likely it is that you will start taking your ability to maintain that weight for granted. I learned this the hard way after Carb Manager’s initial poorly implemented redesign of this popular keto and low carb diet tracking app early this year forced me to stop using it for several months. Recording and tracking everything I ate or drank against my daily calorie limit and macros in the Carb Manager app had been one of the keys to achieving my target weight and maintaining it for the next eight or nine months. So, when the initial launch of the redesigned app made it too time consuming and frustrating to keep using, I was nervous about losing the main tool I had come to rely on to help me keep my weight and my healthy eating on track. But it didn’t take long to become confident in my ability to maintain my weight without tracking every bit and sip. Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed that my tummy wasn’t as flat as it had been a year ago, and the scale informed me that I had gained back four pounds. I realized it was time to start learning to use the new version of Carb Manager and get back to tracking my calories and macros. I have already shed two of those four pounds and returned to weighing myself every two weeks, so that if my weight creeps up a pound or two, I can nip that trend in the bud and return to my ideal weight quickly and easily, simply by cutting back on the carbs for a week or two.


The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Hey Keto Warriors, Have You Seen the Ad for Magic Spoon Cereal?

A Personal Review of Magic Spoon Cereal

The advertisement for Keto Magic Spoon Cereal lands on my Facebook feed almost daily. Here's my review.

It looked and sounded delicious, but I didn't jump in to buy it. Honestly, I rarely buy from Ads on my Facebook feed (unless endorsed by someone I know) because I've been disappointed several times in the past.

A Delivery to Our Door, and a Surprise From My Son

One of my sons also saw the Ad, but I believe it was on his Instagram. He said, "I thought of you, mom, and had to buy it for you." So thoughtful!

How Does It Taste?

I have to admit, it's delicious.

Being on Keto, I miss cereal and am never hungry enough to make special Keto recipes. 

I eat basic Keto foods; meat, some veggies, good fats, and low healthy carbs. Reaching for treats while on Keto can be tricky when you rarely purchase or make any keto-dessert-related. Sometimes I'll end up munching on a piece of dark chocolate or peanut butter to satisfy those rare cravings.

This cereal fills my snack and dessert void.

The Magic Spoon Cereal Flavors

The four flavors are cocoa, frosted, fruity, and peanut butter.

Here's a photo of the boxes.


This cereal is high in protein, keto-friendly, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, wheat-free, with nothing artificial. It really is a childlike cereal for grown-ups.

Here's another photo from the Magic Spoon Cereal Box:



I devour Magic Spoon cereal with Almond Milk or Coconut Milk. I sometimes add a couple or three tablespoons of table cream as well. All I can say is, "double yum."

Another way to eat this cereal; straight out of the box as a snack.

Which Flavor is My Favorite

Here's my personal opinion on the best to the least favorite flavor according to my taste buds. Your tastes could be entirely different.

In this order, from best to least best (according to me):
  1. Frosted (yum! - has a vanilla taste)
  2. Fruity (Tastes like fruit loops)
  3. Cocoa (Not as chocolatey as it should be, but still good)
  4. Peanut Butter (Not my fave)

Here's the Nutritional Information

How Good is It, What's the Downside, and Where Can I Get This Cereal?

My son, a weight-lifter/workout maniac, loves the cereal and devoured most of it! Next time I'm hiding a box. Oh, and he's certainly not on Keto! The kid is fit.

The only two negatives are; it's a bit pricey, and the cereal may cling to your teeth a bit after eaten.

I've checked Amazon and don't see Magic Spoon Cereal available there yet. 

However, Magic Spoon has its own website where you can order directly. The link to order Magic Spoon Cereal is here. By the way, I'm not an affiliate and do not receive anything for this endorsement. 

In summary, five stars from me.

Note:
A Bonus Recipe for Fellow Keto Warriors - Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding by Margaret Schindel

If you're interested, here's more on my personal Keto journey. I've lost over 60 pounds and have been following the Keto way of eating since May 4th, 2019. Still going strong.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

Keto and other low carb diets are increasingly popular, as the health benefits become better understood and more widely known. As someone who has lost a significant amount of weight (nearly 60 pounds) on a ketogenic diet and kept the weight off by maintaining a healthy, low-carb lifestyle, I'm reviewing my favorite gift ideas for anyone on your list who is trying to watch their carbohydrate intakes, or has plans to start a low carb or keto diet in the near future (perhaps once upcoming holidays, events, special occasions, or other celebrations—such as their, or your, birthday, graduation, anniversary, engagement party, wedding, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Valentine's Day, etc.). 

This special occasion or holiday gift guide is filled with thoughtful presents for any occasion that will support the health, wellbeing, and weight loss goals of the people you care about. There's no time like the present to give someone—including yourself—the gift of good health!

Main image: glitter background with text "The Best Gifts for someone on a Low Carb or Keto Diet"
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

Gift Ideas for Keto Diet or Low Carb Newbies

  • A reliable, accurate and reliable digital food scale to help them weigh and track their calories, carbs, and other macros. I recommend looking for one that has a convenient tare function (which zeroes out the weight of a plate, bowl, cup, or other container before adding the food to be weighed), weighs in pounds, ounces, kilograms, and grams, registers additions accurately in very small increments, has a large, easy-to-read display, a smooth, easy-to-clean surface, and is made by a company that stands behind its products. I highly recommend the Nicewell 22 Lb. Digital Kitchen Scale. It meets all the aforementioned criteria, has a smooth, wipe-clean, durable stainless steel and tempered glass surface, and has a wide measurement range of 0.1 ounce/2–3 grams to 22 pounds/10 kg, added in 0.1 ounce/1 gram increments. Mine also has been much more reliable than the two previous digital food scales I've owned (from well known brands), and the flat surface lets me weigh food on a large plate or in a large bowl, without taking up a lot of valuable kitchen counter space. At less than $37 (as of this writing), its high accuracy and excellent features compared to cheaper models make it a very good value.
  • A selection of low-glycemic, keto-friendly sweeteners. Since each person's palate, digestive system, and metabolism are different, figuring out which types of keto-friendly sweeteners taste best to them, which ones cause them to experience an unpleasant aftertaste or noticeable cooling effect, which ones cause them gastrointestinal distress, and which ones elevate their blood sugar or knock them out of ketosis. Some people are much more sensitive than others to certain types of sweeteners. So, for someone who is just starting out, especially if they have a sweet tooth, a range of different types of granulated, powdered, and brown sugar replacements would likely be a welcome gift. 
  • One of the best articles to help you understand the differences and which keto sweeteners are best for specific uses is Carolyn Ketchum's "The Ultimate Guide to Keto Sweeteners" on her All Day I Dream About Food website. My favorite sweetener by far is BochaSweet "The Supreme Sugar Replacement," which tastes virtually identical to cane sugar, has no aftertaste, and comes in both granulated and powdered (confectioner's sugar) forms. It's also more expensive than other keto-friendly sweeteners, so it's a luxury a keto newbie might not splurge on to buy for themselves. 
  • An accurate and reliable digital body weight scale to help them track their weight loss progress. Our house is old and has settled, so the wood floors aren't perfectly level. As a result, I never had a scale that reliably displayed the same weight reading five minutes apart, until I bought myself the Etekcity High Precision Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale with Ultra Wide Platform and Easy-to-Read Backlit LCD. In addition to its accuracy, I also love the big, easy-to-read, backlit digital display and the extra-wide, rock-steady platform (since my balance isn't that great when my feet are too close together). It measures within a weight range of 18–440 pounds (8–200 kg) in increments of 0.2 lb. /0.1 kg. Best of all, it costs less than $30!
  • A journal where they can track their progress against their goals in whatever way is most helpful to them—tracking food, exercise, sleep, water intake, body measurements, blood pressure, mood, how their clothes fit, how they're feeling, etc. Many food and exercise journals track just 90 days, and have limited (or no) flexibility in what you can track and in what format. I suggest choosing one like Eat Better, Feel Better, Live Better: A 52-Week Food Journal, which will allow your gift recipient track the things they care about most for an entire year. Even though I've used the Carb Manager app since the day I switched to a low carb keto lifestyle, I would have really benefited from also using a journal like this one where I could track more than just numbers.

Fun Gifts for Low Carb and Keto Enthusiasts

If your you're shopping for someone who is loving their low carb lifestyle, they're sure to love any of these.
Recovering Carboholic T-shirt
available on Amazon Handmade

  • Low carb or keto themed T-shirts or tank tops, like the ones from Epic Life featuring sayings like "Recovering Carboholic," "Living That Keto Life," "Keto Queen," or my favorite, "Keto Makes My Clothes Fall Off." Most come in a wide choice of colors and in both unisex and women's sizes (depending on the style). 

Gifts for Someone Who Loves Cooking or Baking

Learning to cook without grains, rice, potatoes, or other starchy vegetables takes effort. Learning to make sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free baked goods has an even steeper learning curve! Companies are coming out with more—and better tasting—low carb and keto foods and ingredients all the time.
In addition to the excellent digital food scale I mentioned previously, there are other types of kitchen tools and equipment I find myself using since adopting a healthier, low carb approach to eating.
Here are some gift ideas that would be welcome in any low carb kitchen.

  • A couple of really good, reliable low carb or keto cookbooks. Some that I can recommend highly are Carolyn Ketchum's cookbooks, especially The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking (my low carb baking bible), and The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen, filled with foolproof, seriously yummy recipes to suit a wide variety of tastes; Maya Krampf's The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook (simple, delicious recipes with no more than 10 ingredients); Southern Keto: 100+ Traditional Food Favorites for a Low-Carb Lifestyle by Natasha Newton for anyone who loves Southern food; and all of Maria Emmerich's cookbooks, especially Keto Restaurant Favorites and Keto Comfort Foods. If your gift recipient has or will be getting an air fryer or an Instant Pot, Maria also has written low carb cookbooks for using both those popular kitchen appliances.
  • A mini waffle iron for making chaffles. Chaffles are individual size, high-protein, low carb mini waffles, made from beaten egg, shredded mozzarella or other cheese, almond flour, and other ingredients, depending on the flavor. They're a favorite staple for many who follow a keto or low carb diet. There are myriad chaffle recipes, both sweet and savory. Chaffles are great topped with butter and sugar free syrup for breakfast, and can be used as a bread alternative for sandwiches, as a base for individual pizzas, or as a dessert, topped with keto-friendly ice cream, syrup, and/or whipped cream. They're quick and easy to make. They also freeze well and can be popped into a toaster or toaster oven for a grab-and-go meal or snack.

    Last year, about six months into my keto diet journey, I put the popular, very inexpensive DASH Mini Waffle Maker on my Christmas wish list, so I could see what all the chaffle buzz was about. It makes perfectly fine chaffles, and would be a great stocking stuffer. However, if you can afford a higher-end chaffle maker for your gift recipient, I would definitely recommend choosing one like the Cuisinart WAF-300 Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates, which can make as many as four (and as few as one) chaffles (or Belgian waffles, for household members who aren't watching their carbohydrate intake), and has an attractive, brushed stainless steel top cover; removable, dishwasher-safe, nonstick waffle plates (as well as a pancake plate that makes four perfectly round pancakes); lights that indicate when the unit has finished preheating and when the chaffles, waffles, or pancakes are done; and an audible alert beep. Although it has a large footprint, this waffle maker can be stored upright to save space, and comes with a set of tongs, a recipe book (for non-keto household members), and a 3-year limited warranty. I would love to receive this terrific piece of equipment as a gift for my keto kitchen (hint, hint)!
  • A selection of sugar free syrups made with a low glycemic sweetener, such as monkfruit, allulose, erythritol, and/or stevia. I love ChocZero syrups and have bought them in nearly every flavor they make (the current selection sold depends on the season). They're high in dietary fiber, low in net carbs, and extremely versatile. I use them often as toppings for low-carb pancakes, waffles, or chaffles. (I think ChocZero makes the best-tasting, low glycemic maple, maple pecan, and vanilla maple syrup on the market. Some people prefer the Lakanto maple flavored syrup, which is thinner and has a stronger maple flavor that I don't care for. To each his or her own!) ChocZero's line of syrups are also great for pouring over keto ice cream (Enlightened's yummy Keto Collection flavors are my favorites), and I love using these syrups for flavoring tea, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. They don't dissolve readily in cold liquids, so for cold drinks, I just dissolve a tablespoon or two of ChocZero syrup in two or three tablespoons of microwaved hot water, let it cool for a few minutes, and then stir the diluted syrup into it to my cold drink, along with a bunch of ice cubes. I also love Sukrin Gold syrup, which  has a taste and consistency surprisingly similar to honey, and is also sugar free and high in fiber.

    Make sure to tell your gift recipient to wipe the opening (and the surrounding area) of the ChocZero or Sukrin Gold syrup bottle with a hot, damp dishcloth right after they use the syrup. Otherwise, any residue in or around the opening will harden, and can make the lid/cap difficult to open next time. Also explain that these syrups should stored at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.

Low Carb and Keto Treats, Snacks, and Baked Goods

For many people, one of the hardest things about switching to a very low carb diet is having to give up their favorite starchy, salty, high carbohydrate snacks and baked goods, like pretzels, potato chips, cheese puffs, taco chips, crackers, and breads, rolls, and hot dog, hamburger, or sandwich buns, as well as sweet treats like candy, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, and muffins.

Although a very or moderately strict keto diet can help reduce or eliminate a person's addictive cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, and highly processed foods with little nutritional value, many of us who choose to follow a ketogenic diet for more than a few months find that including small to moderate amounts of healthier, low carb alternatives to the foods we used to crave makes this way of eating much more sustainable over the long term. So, unless your recipient follows a very strict keto diet (or plans to), they probably would be delighted to receive a gift of keto and low carb treats from you. Here are some delicious edible gift ideas.

  • Pork rinds. These light, crunchy snacks are a great keto friendly alternative to starchy potato chips. Crushed pork rinds are also a terrific substitute for bread crumbs!
  • Cheese crisps - you can make these yourself by placing squares of sliced Parmesan, muenster, Fontal, or other good "melting cheeses" two inches apart on a large nonstick griddle, heating them until they melt, spread out, and get bubbly, and letting them cool, or you can buy ready-to-each cheese crisps in single-serving bags. The two commercial brands of cheese crisps I've tried are Whisps and HighKey Keto Cheese Crunch, which are both good, but much more expensive than making them yourself.
  • Moon Cheese crunchy keto puffed cheese snacks - the high protein, low carb answer to Cheez Doodles and Utz Cheese Balls. They make five flavors: Cheddar, Gouda, Pepper Jack, Bacon Cheddar, and Garlic Parmesan. If you don't know your gift recipient's favorite type of cheese, there are also 5-pack and 10-pack variety assortments that include all five flavors.
  • Low carb crackers - it's hard to find ones that don't taste like cardboard, but the Fat Snax Almond Flour Crackers get excellent reviews, and there is a variety pack option that includes all three flavors: Cheddar, Sea Salt, and Everything (seasoned similarly to an "everything" bagel). They're also expensive (currently $14.99 for a bag of three on Amazon). 
  • Keto cookies. I'm absolutely crazy for HighKey mini cookies, so much that I keep multiple bags of every flavor they make (so far—they keep adding new ones!) in my pantry, including their crisp mini almond and chocolate chip biscotti. Each serving of 5 to 8 cookies (depending on the flavor) has 3–5 grams of protein, 9–14 grams of fat, 1–3 grams of dietary fiber, and only 1–3 net carbs and 110–150 calories, They've also just come out with larger, individually wrapped coconut macaroons and cocoa coconut macaroons, which have just 1 net carb and 90 calories each, plus 1 gram of protein, 7–8 grams of fat, and 5 grams of dietary fiber, and are chewy, filling, and absolutely scrumptious. 
  • Sugar-free, grain-free baking mixes for making great-tasting, quick and easy keto treats with wholesome, high quality ingredients. There are so many wonderful mixes on the market, it's hard to choose just a few to include in this gift guide. In recent months, I've share my reviews of some of my favorite low carb and keto cupcake and muffin baking mixes and several flavors of Good Dee's low carb cookie mixes here on Review This Reviews. Good Dee's coconut snack cake mix absolutely delicious. In fact, I decided to use it as the cake layer for my birthday cake this year, which I split, filled, and iced with cream cheese frosting, topped with toasted unsweetened coconut and fresh raspberries. My husband, who also loves baked goods but doesn't follow a low carb diet, liked it so much that he asked me to make the same cake for his birthday the following month! If your gift recipient is more interested in savory baked goods, one of the key ingredients in my keto cheddar cheese and chive biscuits recipe is HighKey's excellent buttermilk biscuit mix. Livlo also has a very good biscuit mix. 

Gift Baskets

Arranging several related items to create an attractive composition inside a tissue paper-lined basket, wrapping it in a large sheet of cellophane, and tying it with a big bow is a simple way to create an impressive gift. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Keto Pasta Party Basket

For someone who loves pasta, having to give up delicious, starchy, comfort food favorites like spaghetti and linguine on a ketogenic diet can be a difficult sacrifice. Imagine their surprise when they open your gift basket and see four bags of delicious, nutritionally dense, low carb, Gnooda keto pasta, a couple of large jars of Yo Mama's Original Marinara Sauce (no added sugar and just 4 net carbs per 1/2-cup serving), a wedge of good, imported Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, and a festive red Microplane fine cheese grater so they can grate fine shreds of salty, cheesy goodness over the plates or bowls of warm pasta! To make it extra special, you could line the basket with a classic red and white checkered tablecloth, reminiscent of a typical Italian trattoria, wrap bright red, white, or green cloth napkins around the marinara sauce jars, imported cheese, and cheese grater, and add a couple of red, green, or white pillar candles, jar candles, votives, or tapers to help your gift recipient create the right ambiance for their pasta party, even (or, perhaps, especially if they're dining solo).  

Gnooda keto pasta is made from nutrient-dense lupin flour and fresh eggs, using age-old Italian pasta making techniques. A one-cup serving of cooked Gnooda pasta contains a whopping 22 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, 7 grams of fat, and only 3g of net carbs and 165 calories. As of this writing it is only available in the radiatore shape, and can only be purchased in four-bag increments directly from the company's website, Gnooda.com. Also, Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce is a good alternative if you can't get Yo Mama's Original Marinara Sauce.

Fit and Fabulous Basket

Fill a gift basket with things to support their fitness goals, and tailor the contents to their favorite form of exercise. For example:

  • For someone who doesn't have the time to get to the gym on a regular basis or travels a lot, you could fill a large gift basket with a nice-looking, breathable, lightweight T-shirt and leggings, a digital fitness tracker, and a canister of low carb, sugar free, powdered electrolyte drink mix (my favorite is Key Nutrients' Cherry-Pom Electrolyte Recovery Plus Replenishment Drink). Depending on how much you want to spent, you could also include a gift card to Amazon, Dick's Sporting Goods, or another sports equipment store for them to pick out a piece of at-home or on-the-road workout equipment, such as a medicine ball, a set of dumbbells or free weights, or a set of resistance bands they can use both at home and on the road.
  • For someone who hates to exercise but loves to dance, put together a "it's my (dance) party" basket, featuring a jazzy, comfortable, lightweight T-shirt with a matching or coordinating leggings or yoga pants and sweatband (the crazier and more fun and festive, the better), and a fun, upbeat, easy-to-follow dance workout, like Body Groove's Delicious Dance DVD Collection, Dance Your Heart Out DVD Collection, or Young at Heart DVD

Relax and Unwind Basket

Most people associate certain foods with comfort, and when we're feeling extremely anxious, stressed, upset, sad, hurt, or overwhelmed, many of us have the urge to soothe those feelings with familiar and, often, unhealthy "comfort foods." Unfortunately, giving into the impulse to "eat our emotions" can be self-sabotaging for someone who is trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle, and after the short-lived immediate gratification, they usually feel even worse after consuming a pint of ice cream or a bowl of macaroni and cheese. So, if someone who is following a low carb diet (or has any other type of dietary restrictions) is going through a rough patch, one of the ways you can support them might be to give them something other than food that can help them escape their troubles and help them feel better (even if it's only a temporary reprieve) without sabotaging their health and wellness goals. Here are some gift ideas to include in a customized "relax and unwind" basket: herbal teas; a mug with a personalized saying or image that has a special meaning for the recipient; traditional or flameless LED wax candles (preferably with one of the person's favorite scents); music to help them relax or lift their spirits; a soft, cozy robe, sweater, or throw; a guided meditation recording or DVD; an electric heated neck, shoulder, or back massager.

One of my favorite herbal teas is the lovely, floral Republic of Tea Organic Elderflower and Green Rooibos Super Herb Tea. Also consider some of the herbal teas reviewed by my fellow contributors on Review This Reviews, including Louanne's Arbonne Essentials Herbal Detox Tea review and Pure Peppermint herbal tea review, Cynthia's Aveda Comforting Tea review, and BarbRad's Lifestyle Awareness Teas review.

We have flameless LED candles in every room of our house, some that we purchased and others that we received as gifts. Our favorites by far are the Luminara real wax flameless LED candles. Their LED "flames" are signicantly more realistic than their competitors', thanks to Luminara's proprietary moving flame technology, which has been imitated but never equaled (at least, not so far). Ours have interchangeable remote controls, any one of whicht can turn all the Luminara candles in a room on and off with a single click (even though we've purchased them at different times, and from different stores), which is extremely convenient, considering how many candles we have. For the Luminara candles in our bedroom, we use the optional timer feature, which is on a 5 hours on/19 hours off cycle. (We set them to turn on at 6 pm and turn off at 11 pm, so we can go to bed by candlelight.) They're more expensive than other brands, but we think they're well worth the higher price.

Are you or someone you know following a keto diet or low carb lifestyle? If so, what other gift ideas would you add to this Low Carb and Keto Gift Guide ? I'd love to see your suggestions!


The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Gifts by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Recipe Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

Today, I'm delighted to share my review of my luscious new hot chocolate recipe, just in time for Christmas and other winter holiday celebrations and the long, chilly weather during the months that follow them. 

Once you taste this decadent cold-weather treat, you'll never want to settle for ordinary hot cocoa again! It's so rich, thick, intensely chocolaty, and indulgent, no one who tastes it will ever guess—or even believe—that this fabulous beverage is also sugar-free and very low in carbohydrates. That means you can enjoy it with your family and friends, even if some of are following a low carb or ketogenic diet.

My carb-loving husband and I, both serious hot chocolate snobs, agree that it's The Ultimate Hot Chocolate Recipe, keto or not! 

Main image - mug of cocoa against snowy background, overlaid with text "The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe"
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

Gourmet Hot Chocolate Any Chocolate Connoisseur Will Love (Just Don't Tell Them It's Keto!)

'Tis the season for hot chocolate! During Christmas and other winter holidays, and straight through the cold weather months, hot cocoa a welcome indulgence, warming us from the inside out after we come in from the cold (and especially after we've been playing outside in the snow...or shoveling it!). Unfortunately, for those of us who follow a low carb or ketogenic diet, most keto recipes for low carb hot chocolate just aren't all that tasty or satisfying.

After trying and being disappointed by five or six different keto recipes for hot cocoa and a couple of low carb hot chocolate mixes, I finally realized the only way to find a keto hot chocolate recipe that would live up to my very high expectations standards would be to develop one myself. 

It took a lot of experimentation, but the final result definitely has been worth all the time and effort I invested into the process. In fact, this is the closest thing I've ever sipped to the gold-standard chocolat chaud L'Africain at the world-famous Angelina café in the Rue de Rivoli in Paris (where I had the good fortunate to enjoy a cup once, many years ago). 

That's why I'm confident that my recipe truly is worthy of the title, The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe. In fact, second only to Angelina's iconic L'Africain, I think this may well be The Ultimate Hot Chocolate Recipe, period.


Photo of two large mugs of keto hot chocolate, sitting on a pink and ivory flowered cloth placemat
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved
High carb or keto, hot chocolate doesn't get any more sumptuous than this recipe!

Hot Chocolate or Cocoa? Both!

As my fellow Review This Reviews contributor Wednesday Elf explained in her recent review of National Cocoa Day (which is just five days away, on December 13), although both terms for this beloved beverage are often used interchangeably, the main difference is whether they are made with real chocolate (often ground) or with cocoa powder. 

As I experimented with different combinations and proportions of ingredients for my recipe, I found that mixing my favorite Dutched cocoa powder, sugar-free chocolate chips, and Good Dee's Sipping Chocolate low carb hot cocoa mix resulted in the perfect, intense, dark chocolate flavor I wanted.

Combining the cocoa and dark chocolate with macadamia milk (instead of the more commonly used almond milk), heavy cream, and 1/8 teaspoon per serving of xanthan gum, and then using a handheld immersion blender (aka stick blender) to emulsify all the ingredients and thicken the mixture, worked synergistically  provided the rich, creamy taste and smooth, luxurious consistency that other low carb hot chocolate recipes and mixes I had tried lacked. Salt and pure vanilla extract to complement the dark chocolate flavor that, together with the smoothness and creaminess  rounded out the flavor profile, smoothing out the intense, dark chocolate flavor with to create The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate. 

Regular, Mint, and Salted Caramel Keto Hot Chocolate

Once I had perfected the recipe, I decided to take this challenge to the next level, creating low carb versions of my husband's favorite hot cocoa flavors that we could both could enjoy: keto mint hot chocolate and keto salted caramel hot chocolate. 

I hadn't thought this recipe could get any better, but I was mistaken. The mint and salted caramel variations turned out to be even more delicious than the original version!


The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

You Don't Have to Follow a Low Carb Diet to Love It!

Years ago, I developed a fabulous sugar, fat, and calorie-laden hot chocolate recipe for my husband, and it spoiled us both for any other hot cocoa. I never wrote down the recipe or measured the ingredients; it was all in my head, and I just tasted and adjusted the amounts and proportions as I went along each time I made it.
©2020 Margaret Schindel,
all rights reserved

Unfortunately, after I made the decision for medical reasons to follow a ketogenic diet, I stopped making my husband's favorite winter treat because I could no longer taste and adjust the flavor during the process (because of the sugar). And we both missed it a lot. 

So, I challenged myself to come up with a new low carb hot chocolate recipe that would taste as rich and decadent as my original recipe, and could meet or exceed my husband's extremely high standards for his favorite beverage. 

I succeeded beyond either of our wildest dreams. Now, I'm sharing the recipe so you and those you love can enjoy it, too, whether or not they are watching their sugar or carbohydrate intake. 

Prep Time:  
10 minutes

Cook Time:
10 minutes

Total Time:
20 minutes

Recipe Yield:
Four servings
(approximately 6 fluid ounces per serving)

Calories:
136 kcal
per serving

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Measure the dry ingredients (Good Dee's Sipping Chocolate, Ghirardelli Majestic Premium unsweetened cocoa powder, granulated BochaSweet sugar replacement, xanthan gum, and salt) into a small bowl. Mix well (pressing out any lumps of cocoa) and set aside. 

  2. Pour the Milkadamia unsweetened vanilla macadamia milk into a 2-cup Pyrex glass measuring cup and microwave for 60 seconds or until hot. Remove from microwave.

  3. Place the sugar-free chocolate chips and ghee or butter into a 4-cup Pyrex glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 45–60 seconds, depending on how powerful your microwave is. Stir the mixture well to melt as much of the chocolate as possible, then repeat, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.

  4. Stir the hot macadamia milk into the melted chocolate mixture in the 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup until well incorporated. Then, microwave for another 60 seconds. 

  5. Stir in the dry ingredients, and then use an immersion blender (without any attachments) to blend the contents of the measuring cup. (I find it helpful to glide the immersion blender slowly over the bottom of the cup and tilt it slightly in different directions.) 

  6. Add the heavy cream, then blend with the immersion blender for 20–30 seconds, until the mixture thickens slightly. 

  7. Microwave on high for 30–60 seconds, or until very hot, and stir in the vanilla extract.

  8. Divide evenly among four small mugs or two large mugs. Top with optional whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately. 

Keto Mint Hot Chocolate Recipe Variation

For the best peppermint or mint hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted:
  • Replace the vanilla extract with 3/8 to 1/2 teaspoon (to taste) of pure peppermint extract or pure mint extract. 
I highly recommend using either Watkins Pure Peppermint Extract or Watkins Pure Mint Extract (which contains a blend of spearmint and peppermint oils). Either one will let you enjoy the fresh, minty flavor of a traditional candy can stirrer in your hot cocoa, but without all the sugar, corn syrup, and artificial flavoring and food coloring. 

Keto Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe Variation

Transform this beverage into a keto salted caramel hot chocolate so divine, it will make you close your eyes and purr with pleasure when you take your first sip! Just make these simple tweaks to my original recipe:

  • Increase the amount of salt to 3/4 teaspoon.
  • Increase the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon.
  • At the end of step 4, blend in 4 tablespoons of ChocZero Caramel Sugar-Free Syrup to the hot chocolate mixture.

Optional Whipped Cream Topping

This sumptuous hot chocolate is even better topped with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Here's how to make a delicious low carb version. 
  1. At least 30–60 minutes before you plan to make this Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe, put some heavy whipping cream in a mixing bowl, stir in a few drops of vanilla, mint, or peppermint extract, and sweeten to taste with your favorite keto-friendly, natural, powdered sweetener (confectioner's sugar replacement), such as powdered BochaSweet, powdered monkfruit allulose blend sweetener, or powdered allulose. Place the mixing bowl with the flavored cream in the refrigerator to chill, along with a wire balloon whisk or the whisk attachment of your electric mixer. 

  2. After making the hot chocolate recipe through step 6 (before you heat the hot chocolate mixture for the last time and stir in the extract), whip the cold, flavored, lightly sweetened cream in the chilled bowl with the chilled whisk.

  3. Finish preparing the hot chocolate recipe (steps 7 and 8), topping each mug with a cloud of freshly whipped cream. Finish the whipped cream topping with a light dusting of unsweetened cocoa, if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Good Dee’s Sipping Chocolate is a key ingredient in this recipe! You can order it, as well as the Good Dee’s Dark Chocolate Chips, either on Amazon or on the Good Dee’s website. Consider adding some of the delicious Good Dee’s keto cookie mix flavors I’ve reviewed previously to your cart while you’re at it. After all, what’s better than cookies and hot cocoa on a chilly day, especially around the holidays?

    Note: If you don't get Amazon Prime free shipping, or the Good Dee's products you want are out of stock on Amazon, or you'd prefer to shop the full selection of Good Dee's products, you can save 15% off your total purchase price any time you use my Good Dee's website affiliate shopping link and enter my unique discount coupon code GOODDEES15MRS during checkout. 
  • Using Ghirardelli Majestic Premium Cocoa makes a big difference in the taste of this decadent hot chocolate. The more expensive nib-alkalization process gives it a richer, smoother, better flavor. Even though the generous 2-pound (32-ounce) canister looks as though it would be a lifetime supply, I use this extraordinary cocoa powder so often in this and other recipes, such as my luscious low carb keto chocolate yogurt chip pudding parfait recipe (my favorite quick and easy breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or snack when I’m in the mood for something sweet), that I have to replenish my supply a few times a year.

    If you are unable to get the Ghirardelli Majestic Premium and need to substitute a different brand or formula, please make sure to choose a high-quality, unsweetened, alkalized or Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Although your hot chocolate won't taste the same as my original recipe, if you use a different brand of alkalized or Dutch-processed (aka Dutched or "Dutch"), it should still be delicious!

  • Making this hot beverage in a large, flat-bottomed Pyrex glass 4-cup measuring cup lets you can see what's at the bottom of the hot mixture, so you know whether the chocolate chips have melted completely and, if so, whether all the melted chocolate has been incorporated into the hot macadamia milk and melted butter mixture. 

  • Using an immersion blender on medium speed creates the perfect consistency. If you don't own one, you can use a regular blender, and use a slim silicone scraper to make sure you get all of your delicious hot beverage out of the container. My decades-old stick blender was a gift from someone who knew how much I enjoy cooking and baking, and that model was discontinued long ago. However, if you're looking for a good one, the powerful Müeller Austria Ultra-Stick 500 Watt 9-Speed Stainless Steel Immersion Blender has more than 20,000 5-star ratings on Amazon.

Nutrition Facts

I entered this recipe and its variations into Carb Manager to help me calculate and track the calories, macros, and other nutrition data, based on the specific ingredients and brands I used. I usually drink one-quarter of the recipe, while my husband prefers to indulge in a larger portion. So, here are the nutrition facts for both the smaller, typical serving size (6 fluid ounces) and a double-size serving (12 fluid ounces).

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe (Original, Mint, or Peppermint) Nutrition Facts

One quarter of this recipe (6 fluid ounce serving) contains 1 net carb, 136 calories, 4.7 grams of dietary fiber, 2.8 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fat. 

Half the recipe (12 fluid ounce serving) contains 2 net carbs, 272 calories, 9.4 grams of dietary fiber, 5.7 grams of protein, and 26.1 grams of fat. 

The Ultimate Keto Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe Nutrition Facts

One quarter of this recipe (6 fluid ounce serving) contains 1 net carb, 136 calories, 4.7 grams of dietary fiber, 2.8 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fat. 

Half the recipe (12 fluid ounce serving) contains 2 net carbs, 272 calories, 9.4 grams of dietary fiber, 5.7 grams of protein, and 26.1 grams of fat. 


The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Recipe Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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