Blue Apron's Keto-Friendly Prepared & Ready Meals Explained By Our Nutritionist

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Promoted by celebrities, made popular by books, and spoken widely about on social media, keto diets were in the top three most searched diets on Google in 2021.

Short for ketogenic diet, a keto diet is characterized by high fat, high protein, low carbohydrates, and high fiber and "absolutely no grain," explained nutritionist, holistic practitioner, and massage therapist at Seraphim Wellness, Stephanie Olton, speaking exclusively with Health Digest.

When on a keto diet, your body's primary fuel source becomes ketones made using fat; not glucose. This is known as ketosis. Those on a keto diet have "put their metabolism in a state where carbs or sugars are not accessible for energy so fat is utilized instead," added the expert. In fact, your body won't be the same after you start a keto diet, especially if weight loss is your goal. You'll shed the pounds as quickly and healthily as possible, per Olton. "The high protein intake can also help build strong muscles while the high fiber content cleanses and keeps the gut healthy," she said.

Following a keto diet, however, requires quite a bit of meal planning. For example, despite being on a high-fat diet, there are fats you should avoid when you're on a keto diet. Eating out can be a challenge too. At times like these, meal delivery services can be an effective way to ensure you're eating what you should be eating. Olton commented on Blue Apron's new line of fresh, ready-to-eat, non-frozen offerings, Prepared & Ready Meals, which contain quite a few keto-friendly options and come together in as little as two minutes.

The company also offers traditional meal kits with high-quality ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions.

Blue Apron's creamy pesto chicken offers a low-carb, high-fat dinner option

The premade creamy pesto chicken with riced broccoli and asparagus takes five minutes to prepare and contains 460 calories per serving, according to the Blue Apron website. It has 35 grams of fat (12 grams of saturated fat and 0.5 grams of trans fat), 26 grams of protein, 4 grams of dietary fiber, and 10 grams of carbs.

The recipe is made up of diced chicken thighs and asparagus tossed in alfredo sauce and basil pesto, served next to riced broccoli, garlic and herb butter. If you're preparing it in the microwave, it goes in for 2 to 3 minutes on high heat, and if it's in the oven, for 15 to 18 minutes at 400°F.

"Broccoli is low carb, high fiber, and is even a high protein vegetable. This makes it an ideal food for the keto diet," explained Olton. Apart from being high in protein, chicken thighs contain more fat than white meat chicken, again, another plus for those following a keto-friendly diet, she added.

"Alfredo sauce consists of heavy cream, cheeses, and milk," Olton noted. "All are high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates."

As for the asparagus, you're looking at another low-carb ingredient, much like broccoli. "It's high in fiber and contains antioxidants, making it a disease prevention tool as well as keto-friendly," shared the nutritionist.

Rounding out the list of ingredients is the pesto, which again is very low in carbs and high in fat, per Olton.

Get a keto-staple of pork with Mediterranean-style pork and vegetables

There's a reason why pork is a staple in many keto diets, according to Olton. "It's high in protein and most times, high in fat," she said.

The Mediterranean-style pork and vegetables is a pulled pork and kale dressed in a vinaigrette and feta cheese dish, served with a side of zucchini with lemon-caper butter. This 480-calorie meal includes 36 grams of fat (14 grams saturated and 0.5 grams trans fat), 11 grams of carbs, 2 grams fiber, and 27 grams of protein, per the website.

If you're on the keto diet, you'd like to stick to certain foods, like low carb, high fat, high protein cheese options, for instance, and feta can do that for you, per the nutritionist.

"Zucchini with lemon-caper butter is a side option. Zucchini has a low carb, high fiber content, and lemon-caper butter sauce is a delicious fat source," added Olton.

Kale dressed in a vinaigrette makes for an accompaniment that is both rich in nutrients and rich in fiber, shared Olton. "High fiber content in the kale helps cleanse the body while vinegar aids overall digestion."

For the beef fans: Blue Apron's cheesy shredded beef and riced broccoli

Beef is one of the best meats to include when you're on a keto diet.

The cheesy shredded beef and riced broccoli meal kit is made up of shredded beef brisket and kale, covered in tomato pesto and an Italian-style cheese blend, served alongside riced broccoli and lemon-caper butter.

"Apart from its high-protein content, beef brisket is quite a palate-pleasing, fatty cut of beef," shared Olton. While kale in tomato pesto makes the high fiber, low carb component of the meal kit, the Italian-style cheese is the high protein and low carb element, explained the nutritionist.

"Riced broccoli with lemon-caper butter is a low carb, high fiber, and high-fat selection, which is great in place of your traditional grain or starch," she explained.

The dish contains 550 calories, 41 grams of fat (17 grams saturated and 0.5 grams trans fat), 13 grams of carbs, 6 grams of dietary fiber, and 33 grams of protein, per the website. It takes about five minutes to prepare and goes in the microwave on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or at 400°F for 15 to 18 minutes in a regular oven.

The metabolism-boosting jalapeño dish: Cheesy Mexican-style beef and riced cauliflower

This 510-calorie meal kit contains jalapeño, which according to Olton, boosts your metabolism and fat-burning. "They are also proven to reduce appetite," added the nutritionist.

Your typical beef brisket (shredded) gets a Mexican touch with guajillo chile pepper sauce, Monterey jack cheese, and pickled jalapeño. You also receive a side of riced cauliflower with garlic and herb butter.

There are 39 grams of fat in this meal (21 grams saturated and 1 gram trans fat), along with 11 grams of carbs, 4 grams of dietary fiber, and 29 grams of protein, per the website. Again, the beef brisket brings in the high-fat protein source, while the riced cauliflower stands out as an ingredient with an even lower carb concentration than riced broccoli, per Olton. "It is to rice what zucchini is to spaghetti – a high fiber, dense nutrient, low carb replacement for grain or starch," explained Olton. Finally, the fatty, low carb sauce of garlic and herb butter ties the dish together.

Meal delivery services aren't a novel concept, but Blue Apron's offerings have been noted for their quality and gourmet-style meals. Perhaps you'd like to give these keto-friendly Prepared and Ready options a go. They might come in handy if you're just starting out on a keto diet. Speaking of starting out, perhaps you'd like to check out the ultimate beginner's guide to a keto diet.

Blue Apron's Keto-Friendly Prepared & Ready meals are available to order as part of a subscription through the Blue Apron website and mobile app. Select Prepared & Ready meals are also available without a subscription through Blue Apron's Market. Prepared & Ready options are also available to purchase at Wonder stores in New York and New Jersey.