What I Learned When I Ate 48 Premade Keto Meals in One Month

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As I stack another ice pack into the freezer, the thought occurred to me the hardest part of going on Kettlebell Kitchen’s meal plan has nothing to do with food.

One week into my month-long trial of pre-selected, keto-friendly meals, and the biggest issue has been where to store the giant red freezer bags filled with ice packs that keep getting dropped off at my door. There are no instructions for this part, and I’m now faced with a moral dilemma I wasn’t anticipating as part of the program. Growing up in a household that preached the value of saving every—and I mean every—single grocery bag made it difficult to just throw everything away.

However, there’s simply no room or reason to keep everything that’s been delivered, which will bother me throughout the entirety of this experience. By the time I’ve completed the program, I’ve donated nearly half of my Kettlebell-branded bags to New York City’s trusted recycling system, which means I left them in my basement for someone to use. I’d like to think this actually was the hardest part of this meal plan.

But it wasn’t.

Stop idolizing excess

A recent article by The Washington Post reported that what men eat and drink may ultimately have an impact on their child’s health. When it comes to healthy eating habits, the life of a food and lifestyle writer is not a diet that should be replicated. I eat out at restaurants often, yet never think to ask for a calorie count. When I cook for myself, it’s rare I make sauce without adding butter, salt, and some type of meat thrown in for extra flavor. Serving sizes are nice but I tend to eat until whatever makes me full, while attempts at healthy decision making are immediately ruined by a new restaurant opening invite popping up in my inbox.

KettleBall Kitchen’s meals stacked in a fridge.
Courtesy of KettleBall Kitchen

While all of these decisions sound amazing in principle and would likely draw a crowd of zero to sympathize with my plight, the health consequences are real. I’m 36, and at my last physical, my doctor told me to lose weight or he was going to put me on Lipitor. When faced with the reality that changing your diet is the only way to extend your life, a meal plan makes a whole lotta sense. And if I’m going to do one, I l pick the one with some fat in order to at least guarantee what I’m putting into my body has flavor. After all, some studies have concluded a diet that includes a generous amount of omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial. (What are you in for if you’ve made the decision to ditch a life of excess?)

Portion control

Perhaps the biggest benefit of going on the Kettlebell Kitchen Method keto meal plan—meal prep consists of sticking a plate in a microwave—was that I remembered to eat throughout the day. Though I can’t speak for all writers, I’ve convinced myself coffee is a food group and legitimately qualifies as breakfast and lunch. Productivity may work for the office, but it doesn’t always benefit personal health.

Having two meals per day that ranged anywhere from 560 to 580 calories ready to go in a matter of minutes became essential for someone whose livelihood depends on deadlines. Portion sizes helped me realize I didn’t have to eat everything in one sitting because I finally realized what an actual serving looks like. “Healthy eating is not all about weight loss,” says Kettlebell Kitchen nutrition consultant Jessica Cording. “Having energy and feeling like what you’re eating helps you thrive are key.”

Beware of ‘keto flu’

Out of the 48 meals sent my way, chicken made the most appearances as far as featured proteins, but I’m convinced it was to help make the other meals more memorable. The site of bison beef sliders atop a bed of greens was a welcomed sight, while a Cuban-style roasted pork was juicy and easy to pull apart. I even grew to respect the taste of broccoli. Though most meals were accompanied by sauces like a bacon ranch dressing, one of the perks of the keto plan, I often found their addition unnecessary. After all, if you’re trying to train your brain to appreciate the natural tastes of meat and vegetables, adding sauce will do you no favors.

The Lomo Saltado dish from Kettleball Kitchen. The company is a goal based meal delivery and subscription service based in New York.
Courtesy of KettleBell Kitchen

Changing my diet suddenly did have consequences: I felt under the weather the first few days, which I chalked up to the infamous keto flu I’ve heard so much about. “Keto flu refers to the symptoms people may experience when starting a Keto diet such as headache, nausea, and fatigue,“ Cording explains. Like any change in diet, I expected my body to react strongly to being denied its weekly dose of prosciutto, but didn’t feel as though my choice of keto caused my body any prolonged physical discomfort. To be honest, it felt like my body and mind overcame a challenge, which made me even more excited to continue.

Healthier choices

Among the best features of Kettlebell’s meal plan were the additional resources I had at my disposal. From consulting with a nutritionist to writing entries in a notebook documenting my mood, it became easier to avoid poor choices. “While there are so many different diets out there, many of them don’t take people’s individual needs into account,” says Sarah Schmalbruch of Kettlebell Kitchen.

From being able to customize my meal plan with personal information to having a built-in support system, I found myself making smarter lifestyle decisions beyond just my diet. My ability to maintain energy throughout the day helped me sleep through the night, which is even more impressive considering I live down the block from a police station.

Though I wound up dropping a few pounds, it was letting go of unhealthy eating habits that will likely prove to be my biggest achievement from this exercise in dining and dieting. After all, as much as you’d like to, sometimes it’s best not to try and keep everything in the freezer.

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