Ensuring you’re prepared for your first time on the Carnivore Diet can feel a bit overwhelming. But you can set yourself up for success by using these 10 tips to prep for a meat-only diet.
Are you considering starting the Carnivore Diet? If the thought of trying the Carnivore Diet for the first time overwhelms you, there are many ways that you can take small steps to ensure success on this diet. And don’t worry too much, because there are plenty of us out there who have been in your shoes who can offer tips to help you succeed.
With a little prep work and a lot of grit, you’ll be ready to jump into the Carnivore Diet with confidence. Check out my 10 tips for starting the Carnivore Diet for the first time.
PREPPING FOR YOUR FIRST TIME ON THE CARNIVORE DIET
1. Clean Out Your Pantry and Fridge
Before you start the Carnivore Diet, you need to remove all the visible temptations from your home. Be sure to toss your coffee creamer and any sugary items in your pantry. I even got my husband to hide our stash of nightly dark chocolate somewhere that I wouldn’t find.
If you have kids like us, make a special section in your pantry for your Carnivore foods (canned salmon and tuna, broths, salt etc.) so that you aren’t rummaging around through all the other food options.
2. Buy Enough Meat for Your First Month
When it comes to the Carnivore Diet, prep work is crucial. Be sure you have enough meat at the ready. We bought what we estimated for a month’s worth so that there was no last-minute trips to the grocery store hungry or temptations to deviate from the Carnivore Diet if we got in a punch. Even though our number estimation was slightly off, buying for the month also gave us a good idea of what we could afford. For our second month, we ended up upgrading to beef tenderloin in bulk because we realized our budget allowed for it.
Buying bulk meat for the month also ensures commitment and success. Whether you are committing to the Carnivore Diet for 1 month, 90 days or indefinitely, preparation is key.
3. Prepare Bulk Meat by Partitioning into Daily Servings
Once you have purchased all your meat for the month, it’s time to start preparing it to make your first days and weeks on the Carnivore Diet as seamless as possible. For us, that means patting out burgers and freezing them in small daily batches. We also cut our bulk steaks into daily size portions and pork belly into half a week portions using a meat slicer, then freeze with a vacuum sealer.
4. Meal Plan Your First Week
Now that you have your freezer stocked and your meat prepped for daily and weekly servings, it’s still important to meal plan—especially your first week. Many Carnivore Dieters eat steak twice a day for every meal. As a family with four kids, that is not in our budget and we all like a little variation. I write out our meals on our family calendar. This large calendar is my favorite and I hang it on the inside of my pantry doors.
Related: How to Meal Plan for the Week
Planning out weekly meals allows you to spread out your bulk meats in the freezer to give more variety. It also helps you to know which days you need to prep early in the morning (such as throwing a chuck roast in the crockpot) and which meals you can cook right at dinner time.
5. Prepare Meats Ahead of Time
The easiest way to break any commitment is due to lack of preparation. To ensure you don’t stuff the closest thing into your mouth when you’re starving, think ahead to prep meats ahead of time. Once you meal plan your week, you can stay on top of food prep so you are never hungry while waiting on meat to cook.
Throw a large chuck roast or Boston butt in crockpot at beginning of week. Use the shredded meat for dinner one night. Top it on your burger for lunch one day. Add it into your egg scramble for breakfast. If you’re like us and hamburgers are a daily staple, you can simple thaw out small servings every couple days. Also, you can stew whole chicken and prepare bone broth for the week to save on time for busy days.
6. Have Snack Options on Hand
Most Carnivores agree that if you choose to snack, you’re not eating enough at mealtime. But the first week or two on the Carnivore Diet, you are focusing on breaking habits, such as eating junk food and sugar, excessive snacking and grazing. And because you’re body has to adjust to eating larger amounts of meat at mealtime, it will take a while for your stomach to transition.
For the first 1-2 weeks on the Carnivore Diet, many people opt for snacks until their bodies adapt. Sometimes you truly are hungry, and sometimes snacking is simply habit, but if you can have snack-friendly food ready as you start the Carnivore Diet, there is less chance that you will reach for the wrong snack. My go-to snacks for the first week included Whisps, slices of cheese and jerky (clean ingredients—homemade is best).
7. Eat Enough Fat
You will hear this touted again and again on the Carnivore diet, but fat equals energy. Once your body is fat adapted, which could take weeks, fat is the first source it goes to for energy. If you are not consciously making an effort to eat a lot of fat, then your energy will likely wane.
Many Carnivores use a 1 to 1 ratio of fat to protein, and some have found that close to twice a much fat to protein is optimal. Experiment to see what is best for your body. We make Carnivore Coffee twice a day, adding 1 to 2 tbsps of unsalted butter for myself and 4 tbsps for my husband. We also cook our hamburgers, steaks, seafood and eggs in bacon fat or butter.
8. Plan Activities to Keep Your Mind Occupied
Despite starting out as newbies on the Carnivore Diet and cutting out all carbs at once, we actually upped our activity level. We increased our weekly workouts and hiking. We played pickleball and swam more often. We were active 6 to 7 days a week.
Why? Because it kept our mind focused on something other than food. Food prep on Carnivore takes the longest when you buy bulk meat. We do cook every meal, but eggs or hamburgers or steaks don’t take that long to cook. I was no longer making elaborate meals from scratch like before. This meant we had more time for hobbies since less daily time was focused on food.
If you are someone who is accustomed to eating out, trying outdoor activities to keep yourself occupied as well as to satisfy the social aspect of dining out with others.
9. Track Your Food Intake
One major benefit of the Carnivore Diet is not having to track your macros or weigh your food. But because this diet is so different from many others, I would suggest using an app to track your food intake for the first 1-2 weeks if this is your first time on the Carnivore Diet.
You may think you’re eating tons of fat or protein, when in reality, you’re getting half of what you need. Also, some people feel stuffed with two meals but they are undereating, which will zap your energy. I use the Carnivore diet option on the Carb Manager app to track my food intake.
10. Start the Diet Alongside Someone Else
I strongly believe that we’re all better together. My husband and I started the Carnivore Diet together. But if you’re single or your significant other isn’t willing to try this meat-diet, be sure to find support somewhere else for your first time on the Carnivore Diet. Search for groups on Reddit or Facebook. I even found a Carnivore for Women group on Facebook that I really enjoy being a part of.