Dirty Keto Diet Meal Plan

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Written by Bridget Nalwoga, Certified Nutritionist and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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There are many words you can use to describe the ketogenic diet, but easy is not one of them.

For this reason, it is no surprise that some people would want to find the most convenient way to follow the lifestyle.

On the traditional ketogenic diet, it’s important to eat mostly whole minimally processed foods. This is already a challenge for many people, even without sticking to a low-carb diet.

Some keto eaters have found that they are able to stay under their daily carb limit, but consuming only whole foods is a bit much. As a result, dirty keto was invented.

This guide will give you the details on what a dirty ketogenic diet is, how to do it, and more. You will also get to see what a sample meal plan looks like.


What is dirty keto?

A dirty ketogenic diet is a low-carb high-fat eating plan that allows you to eat whatever you want as long as you stay within your macros.

As long as you eat 70-80% fat, 20% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates, you are good to go.

This is different from a traditional or clean ketogenic diet, in which eating whole nutritious foods is just as important as eating high-fat low-carb foods.

Take bacon, for example. It’s a keto-approved food: high in fat and low in carbs.

The problem is that bacon is highly processed, with loads of sodium, some unhealthy fats, and additives. Bacon is allowed on a clean keto diet only once in a while, but on a dirty one, you could technically eat it every day.

However, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

In fact, dirty keto eating should only be done in moderation. It can be a good way to stay on track and maintain ketosis during challenging times — like when traveling, out with friends, or experiencing intense cravings — but it’s not a healthy way to eat in the long term.

The “anything low-carb goes” mentality should be temporary, either as an occasional treat or as a stepping stone on your journey to a cleaner, healthier ketogenic diet.


Benefits of a dirty keto diet

The dirty ketogenic diet has one main benefit over clean keto: convenience.

It allows you to enjoy some of the benefits of eating low-carb (such as weight loss) without fully committing to food that may be too expensive or time-consuming to acquire.

Due to this added convenience, you will allow yourself more freedom on the diet, for example:

  • You have more options at restaurants and social events.
  • You can have fast food. Remember this should not be sustained over a long period of time if your goal is better health.
  • You can purchase convenience foods and snacks that save time and money.
  • If you are new to keto, having less restrictions can help manage cravings.


Drawbacks of dirty keto

The goal of most diets is to eat in a healthier way. However, this is not the main focus in this case. For this reason, the style of dirty keto itself is a drawback.

Other side effects include:

  • Constipation. Dirty keto is more likely to lead to constipation. This is because it doesn't emphasize eating fruits and vegetables, which are the best sources of fiber on a ketogenic diet.
  • Dehydration. Ultra-processed foods often have low water content and a much higher salt content, so it’s important to drink more water and also eat hydrating fruits and vegetables.
  • Malnutrition. Eating lots of highly processed foods is a recipe for a diet low in vitamins and minerals, which can result in deficiencies such as iron and magnesium.
  • You may miss out on some of the benefits of keto, like better cholesterol control and improved skin health.


How to start a dirty keto diet

For those coming from a clean ketogenic diet, the transition will be much easier as you will have more freedom with the types of foods you can include.

However, those with no experience with low-carb eating will have to make adjustments to their lifestyles. Just because dirty keto is more convenient doesn't mean it will be a breeze.

For a smoother transition, follow some of these tips:

  • Do not overindulge. Even if you have the liberty to eat whatever you want, you should still try to watch the amount of highly processed food you eat.
  • Eat lots of greens and other non-starchy vegetables to meet your fiber needs and to get more micronutrients. This can help improve digestive health, prevent constipation, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
  • Supplements. While supplements do not qualify as a replacement for a healthy diet, you should consider adding them to your lifestyle to provide you with more nutrients.
  • Beware of hidden carbs in processed foods. Foods that seem low-carb can sometimes have more carbs or sugars than expected. Such foods include tomato sauce or ketchup.




What can you eat on a dirty keto diet?

On a clean ketogenic diet, you eliminate or limit processed and high carb foods like:

  • Rice
  • Wheat flour and other products
  • Corn
  • White and sweet potatoes
  • Non-keto fruits: bananas, pineapples, mangoes, apples, and jackfruit
  • Sugar, honey, and maple syrup

In addition to healthy ketogenic foods like meat, dairy, fish, and eggs, you can enjoy processed and junk foods that are low in carbs:

  • Fried chicken with keto breading
  • Ketogenic tortilla chips
  • Pork rinds
  • Bacon
  • Mayonnaise
  • Bunless burgers

How dirty your diet gets is up to you. It is best to seek a balance between convenience and nutrition by including healthier foods.


Dirty keto shopping list

The only thing out of bounds on dirty are high-carb foods. Otherwise, you can shop for anything else that is high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein. 

A week’s shopping list for dirty keto would look something like this:

  • Beef
  • Bacon
  • Beef jerky
  • Chicken
  • Pork rinds
  • Salmon
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Almonds
  • Peanut butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Avocado
  • Butter
  • Greek yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Prepackaged keto snacks


Dirty keto meals for 1 day

A dirty keto menu should not be difficult to design. Below is an example of what a day could look like:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and avocado
  • Morning snack: Kiwi fruit
  • Lunch: Hot dogs with buttery green beans and tomato
  • Evening snack: Olives
  • Dinner: Steak, avocado, and cabbage

Calories: 1,791 | Macros: 31.1 g net carbs, 84.5 g protein, and 140.7 g fat.

BREAKFAST Ingredients Serving Size Calories Net Carbs(g) Protein(g) Fat(g)
Scrambled eggs Eggs 2 144 0 12.4 10
  Olive oil 1 tablespoon 115 0 0 12.8
Avocado Avocado Half a medium fruit 114 1.3 1.4 10.5
Calories Net Carbs Protein Fat            
373 1.3 g 13.8 g 33.3 g            
MORNING SNACK Ingredients Serving Size Calories Net Carbs(g) Protein(g) Fat(g)
Kiwi Kiwi fruit 1 fruit (75 g) 44 8.3 0.8 0.3
Calories Net Carbs Protein Fat            
44 8.3 g 0.8 g 0.3 g            
LUNCH Ingredients Serving Size Calories Net Carbs(g) Protein(g) Fat(g)
Hot dogs with buttery green beans and tomato Beef frankfurters  2 pieces (97.2 g) 302 2.8 11.4 27.2
  Butter 20 g 148 0 0 16.4
  Canned green snap beans 1 cup 34 3.7 1.7 0.7
  Grape tomatoes 1 cup 47 5.2 1.3 1
Calories Net Carbs Protein Fat            
531 11.7 g 14.4 g 45.3 g            
EVENING SNACK Ingredients Serving Size Calories Net Carbs(g) Protein(g) Fat(g)
Olives Olives 200 g 290 1 2 30.6
Calories Net Carbs Protein Fat            
290 1 g 2 g 30.6 g            
DINNER Ingredients Serving Size Calories Net Carbs(g) Protein(g) Fat(g)
Steak, avocado, and cabbage Beef 1/2 a steak (180 g) 382 0 49.2 20.5
  Avocado Half a medium fruit 114 1.3 1.4 10.5
  Cabbage 1/4 head 57 7.5 2.9 0.2
Calories Net Carbs Protein Fat            
553 8.8 g 53.5 g 31.2 g            
DAILY TOTALS   1,791 cal 31.1 g net carbs 84.5 g protein 140.7 g fat




Dirty keto frequently asked questions

If you still have questions about this style of eating, keep reading as we answer some of them.

No, they are not the same.

With lazy keto, you only keep track of your carbohydrate count, but you still focus on eating healthy foods. Dirty keto gives you more freedom to eat unhealthy foods, but you track your intake of all three macronutrients: carbs, protein, and fat intake.

Yes, you can.

As long as you eat in a calorie deficit, you should see a change in your weight. However, your body will not be healthier if you are eating lots of low-quality food. It’s better to focus on health rather than weight loss.

Ideally, you shouldn't do dirty keto at all. However, if you find yourself having a rough week or couple of days, it can be a safety net for a short period of time.

Yes, bacon is highly processed with high sodium and other disease-promoting compounds like nitrates. It should therefore be considered a treat rather than a staple.

KFC grilled chicken and the side of green beans are okay for dirty keto. However, at the end of the day, KFC is a fast food chain, and any dish served there is very likely to contain a high amount of unhealthy fats, salt, and sometimes hidden carbs.

Yes, in small doses. The best approach is to allow yourself to occasionally have a dirty day or meal, for example when travelling or during an especially busy week, but not to make it a habit. This way of eating is not ideal for sustaining good health.


Other diet plan alternatives to dirty keto