So, you’ve signed up to do the 800 Gram Challenge on Keto but are stuck for recipe ideas or need tips on how to manage? Don’t worry, I’ve got you! Below you’ll find what I’ve got planned for the challenge plus any new recipes I develop. At the end of the week I’ll update how it went and any learnings/tips.
800 Gram Challenge – Week 1 Summary
- What is the 800 Gram Challenge?
- Why diversity matters
- Challenges of the 800 Gram Challenge on Keto
- My Keto 800 Gram Challenge Meal Plan for Week 1
- End of week summary
What is the 800 Gram Challenge?
The 800 Gram Challenge is a nutrition challenge developed by Optimize Me nutrition founder EC Synkowski.
The premise is very simple – you eat 800 grams of vegetables and fruit every day.
You don’t have to cut anything out – if you still want wine, chocolate, burgers whatever, you can have it!
You just have to keep pushing yourself to meet that 800 gram goal each day, and diversity is encouraged with a point system, leaderboard and prizes throughout the challenge.
EC is connected with Crossfit gyms around the world and is a coach herself, but has a strong focus on nutrition which I think is AWESOME.
The old saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet” is SO true, and no amount of exercise will undo a bad diet.
My Crossfit Gym, Functional U in West Melbourne is running a 6 week challenge using the 800 Gram framework to help us all get through a tricky time in Melbourne – our second lockdown period!
The real challenge comes for Keto eaters like myself though, because we all know a lot of fruits and starchier veggies are higher in carbs.
As soon as I heard about this challenge, I knew I had to give it a go and develop a meal plan that works for Keto!
There are a few small rules – no dried fruits, no fruit juices and you need to be able to weigh the fruit or vegetable (ie. you are cooking it, not buying a pre-packaged meal!
You can read all the details here, and also the background of the challenge and WHY they focus on 800 grams a day.
Why Diversity Matters on the 800 Gram Challenge
When I first told my husband about the challenge, he said “Great, 800 grams of potato chips here I come!”
Aahhhh not in this challenge, nice try.
Eating more than 6 different types of fruit and vegetables is rewarded with additional points to get you up that leaderboard.
You also have to eat at least 25 grams of each vegetable for it to ‘count’
As EC puts it, this stops people trying to game the system by eating 790 grams of potato and a slice of cucumber.
So why does diversity matter? Can’t we just have 15 avocados in a day and consider ourselves healthy?
We’ve all been told to ‘eat the rainbow’ and this is crucial for our overall health. Here’s a few reasons why you should eat a diverse range of fruits and veggies every day:
- Improve your gut microbiome – eating a variety of different foods provide diversity in your gut bacteria (good and bad). This lowers inflammation and is the cornerstone of good health (did you know your immune system is in your gut?)
- Lower your risk of food allergies/sensitivities – Do you have that friend that didn’t eat bread for 5 years, and then became gluten intolerant? Yet, your gut bacteria has adjusted to not eating something, and no longer produces the enzymes to break it down. Diversity lowers your chance of running into these problems.
- Nutritional Synergy – you may not know that many of things we eat have natural ‘pairs’ that help you get the most nutrients out of them. For example, pairing plant based iron with vitamin C gets the most out of both – so have an orange after your beans! More pairings are listed here if you’re interested.
- Sustainability – keep things interesting! Eating the same foods over and over can get really boring. Challenging yourself with new recipes and ingredients can inspire you to stay on track.
Challenges of the 800 Gram Challenge on Keto
So, for a high carb diet, eating 800 grams of fruit and vegetables should be pretty easy.
Load your plate up with beans, potatoes, sweet potato and chuck in a few apples and you are there.
But what are we to do if we want to maintain being in ketosis while also completing the 800 Gram Challenge?
I will be making one higher carb allowance – having a banana pre-workout and a post-workout banana protein smoothie.
Boy have I missed bananas while being on Keto.
I’ve been doing this for a few months around my CrossFit workouts and found I really need that extra carb fuel for the high intensity workouts.
The first few times I tried to complete a Crossfit workout while being purely on low carb foods, I crashed hard.
After a few minutes I was on the ground, dizzy and nauseous. Add in a banana and that never happened again.
I also went back into ketosis within an hour after my workout, despite having consumed 2 bananas in a short span, because I was burning that sugar so quickly.
This method is known as Targeted Ketosis Cycling and you essentially target your carbs at your workout to give you a quick boost of energy.
The key is to not then continue on eating carbs all day!
You’ll see in the meal plan below there are a few other mentions of higher carb foods like sweet potato.
These are very limited, and I will aim to keep my overall carbs to around 30 – 40grams a day, which keeps me in ketosis when I’m exercising every day and taking long walks.
I thought I ate a lot vegetables anyway, but once I started really thinking about it there was no way I was getting 800 grams a day.
It’s very easy to slip into a ‘meat and cheese’ Keto diet, ignoring the benefits of a diverse range of vegetables in your diet.
You know I love my veggies, but this is going to be a whole new level of veggie consumption!
Another challenge is that I naturally fast every day, I haven’t eaten breakfast for years.
This means one less meal a day to get veggies in.
You can read about the different types of fasting here.
My Keto 800 Gram Challenge Meal Plan for Week 1
With all of the above in mind, it’s time to workout my meal plan and order all that produce!
Step 1, clean out the fridge because we’re going to have to fit a LOT of fresh produce in there…
To ensure I’m eating the freshest produce, I’m going to buy 2 – 3 days of groceries at a time.
One challenge – I am moving house next week! So I will need to be extra prepared and make sure I don’t resort to exhausted Uber Eats.
Batch cooking my lunch for the week will make a quick and easy lunch open, with lots of added veg in a delicious bacon and veg soup.
Week 1 Meal Plan – 800 Gram Challenge on Keto
|Monday||Veg soup with bacon, zucchini, carrot, onion, celery, broccoli, cabbage||Chicken stir fry with capsicum, onion, broccoli, mushrooms||8|
|Tuesday||Veg soup with bacon, zucchini, carrot, onion, celery, broccoli, cabbage||Chicken Burrito salad with capsicum, onion, avocado, tomato, salad mix, corn||11|
|Wednesday||Veg soup with bacon, zucchini, carrot, onion, celery, broccoli, cabbage||Spag bol with zoodles, grated carrot, celery, onion, mushrooms, grated zucchini||7|
|Thursday||Veg soup with bacon, zucchini, carrot, onion, celery, broccoli, cabbage||MOVING HOUSE – Roast chicken and roast veg salad: eggplant, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, roast sweet potato||11|
|Friday||Veg soup with bacon, zucchini, carrot, onion, celery, broccoli, cabbage||Unpacking Day – Lemon baked fish and steamed broccolini, cauliflower mash||8|
|Saturday||Eggs, smashed avo, spinach and broccoli||Shakshuka (tomatoes, celery, onion, carrot, eggplant)||8|
|Sunday||Scrambled eggs with avo, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms||Roast Veg Frittata (sweet potato, onion, broccoli, goats cheese, spinach, eggplant, capsicum)||10|
In addition to the above set meals, I’m planning to have the following snacks as needed:
- Celery sticks and avocado dip or peanut butter
- Cucumber slices with cherry tomato
- Post workout banana protein shake
- Pre-workout banana
- Adding sauerkraut to meals where possible
You can see from my veg count on the right of the table, if I stick to this plan plus add some snacks, I’ll be smashing the diversity part of the challenge.
This gives me a bit of flexibility – if I can’t stomach the thought of more broccolini with dinner, no worries as I’ve already got my 6 vegetables in with my soup!
The biggest challenge will be still cooking after busy days of moving house I think. I need to make sure I’ve got the ingredients there and ready to go, but at least I’ll already have had a healthy lunch if the motivation disappears.
End of week summary – 800 Gram Challenge on Keto Week 1
So, how did it go for Week 1?
Not sure how to start Keto?
Here’s some resources to help you!