For a while, it seemed like a “lazy keto” diet was the absolute easiest way to speed off weight. Then we started hearing about no-cook lazy keto. The idea is simple: You enjoy low-carb meals that help you melt fat without any diet math or even an oven. “Some people do it to avoid heating up the kitchen in the summer, but other people — myself included — we get busy, we get tired and we just need something that’s zero stress,” says 140-pounds-slimmer Stephanie Laska, mega-selling author of DIRTY, LAZY, KETO (buy on Amazon, $13.99), who has hundreds of thousands of devotees.
Duke University expert Eric Westman, MD, agrees: “When getting a keto dinner on the table takes less energy than going to the drive-thru, you’re 100 percent set to succeed! Try it for a week, and your hunger’s gone, you feel better and the scale is going down,” he says. “It’s a way to make keto doable long-term, which is the real key to reaching an optimal weight and health.”
How Stephanie Lost 140 Pounds
“On a fateful roller-coaster ride seven years ago, my belly kept the safety bar from coming down far enough, and my son almost flew out on a hill,” recalls Stephanie Laska, then 300 pounds.
Instantly vowing to get healthy, she went keto. “But I made it realistic for me. I ate what I could afford, didn’t log anything and looked for shortcuts.” That meant lots of easy no-cook meals: whatever’s-in-the-fridge salads, rotisserie chicken with microwave veggies, lettuce wraps. “You can literally relax and lose all the weight you want!” says the California mom, now 46 and 140 pounds lighter.
For those who aren’t familiar, here’s the keto diet in a nutshell: “You keep carbs under 40 grams or so per day, replacing starch and sugar you’d normally eat with protein and plenty of high-quality fat,” explains Dr. Westman, whose patients have shed more than 26,000 pounds.
Hate reading labels and tracking what you eat? No-cook lazy keto lets you skip it — and that’s fine with the doc. “When you keep carbs low and eat real foods, everything else tends to fall in place,” he notes. “As carb intake comes down, blood sugar naturally drops and your body needs a new energy source. It starts turning fat from fat cells and food into compounds called ketones that become your fuel.” Fat burn accelerates.
Plus, studies show that ketones slash appetite, so you end up eating fewer calories as metabolism spikes. “It’s unbelievable what a difference you can make just by changing your food,” Dr. Westman says. “The puzzle that needs to be solved is how to keep doing it consistently — and that’s where no-cook meals come in. Anything you do to make keto more convenient gives you a big advantage.”
The Dirt Lazy Keto Diet
If you Google “no-cook keto,” you’ll quickly find there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Use your microwave or skip it. Batch-cook protein once a week or buy meat ready-to-eat. The important thing, says Laska, is to relax and do what appeals to you.
One buzzed-about option that’s especially easy to customize is a “charcuterie board” or antipasto platter — fancy ways of saying you pile up your favorite meats, cheeses, and low-carb accompaniments, then dig in. “I add celery, zucchini, and pepper slices, jarred pesto as dip, canned artichoke hearts, avocado wedges, nuts,” says Laska, a bargain shopper who budgets $100 a week for her family of four. “You can even throw in some low-carb beer or wine!”
Rotisserie chicken is perhaps the most popular no-cook keto staple, one that can be enjoyed with a simple salad or in about a zillion other ways. Also a hit: sandwiches made with any keto filling rolled in lettuce leaves or low-carb tortillas.
Laska is personally a fan of milkshakes (made with cream, nut butter, cocoa, zero-carb sweetener, and ice). And the internet is packed with no-cook desserts, from freezer pops to cookies and cheesecake. “No-cook hacks make it easier to eat keto than to cheat,” Laska insists. “They make it more delicious too!”
The Dirty Lazy Keto Plan
On a strict keto diet, you get about 70 percent of your calories from fat, 25 percent from protein, and 5 percent from carbs. But on a “lazy” keto diet, you simply aim to keep carbs down (avoiding starch and sugar) while getting plenty of satisfying fat (from foods like cream, olive oil, and marbled meat). Our no-cook sample recipes make it even easier, keeping meal prep simple and your kitchen cool. As always, get your doctor’s okay to try any new diet.
Breakfast: Combine 1⁄2 cup coconut milk, 1⁄2 cup berries (fresh or frozen), 2 Tbsp. chia, a dash of vanilla and a dash of zero-carb sweetener; cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Lunch: Mix drained tuna with no-sugar mayo and diced veggies (such as cucumber and onion); roll in a low-carb wrap and enjoy with veggie sticks or pork rinds.
Snack: Devil precooked hard-boiled eggs with no-sugar mayo, a little mustard, vinegar and salt; add optional garnishes like paprika, chopped pickle or real bacon bits.
Dinner: Top heat-and-eat meatballs and a steam-in-bag riced cauliflower medley with jarred pesto or any low-carb sauce you like.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.