Want to eat keto but you're keeping a tight eye on your budget? Check out this keto on a budget guide to help you make decisions that will keep your wallet well stocked and never depleted!
Now, this is one of my favorite topics!
A comment I hear a lot when it comes to the keto diet - aside from people thinking it is too restrictive - is that will be too expensive.
And while it is true that you will be spending more on good quality meats and healthy fats, it doesn’t necessarily have to cost much more overall than what you’re spending now. Especially if you’ve been buying a lot of processed foods and regularly getting take-out up until now. Many people find that they actually end up saving money once they’ve adapted to eating a keto diet.
However - a lot of us are always looking for ways to cut back on our spending. And the grocery budget is one of those areas you can be flexible with. All it takes is a little planning and some creativity.
Here Are My Top Tips and Habits to Maintain Ketosis On a Budget
Keep It Simple
This approach saves both time and money.
Skip the elaborate recipes and fancy ingredients (keep them for special occasions), and keep your meals simple.
Luckily - putting together a healthy keto meal is a very simple process already - you just need meat, fat, and veggies. (At the bottom of this post I have put together a selection of simple and cheap keto meals.)
Get Creative With Spices
Using spices will add variety to your meals and keep things interesting. Chicken can get boring pretty quickly, but by using different spice combinations, you can shake things up a bit.
Go from Italian to Mexican, and all over the world depending on what spice mix you use.
Plan Your Meals
Each week, create a meal plan and accompanying grocery list.
Look for recipes that you can create in bulk, and when selecting the recipes for the week use ones that use the same ingredients, but in different ways (ground beef, for example). This will make shopping easier and cheaper!
By planning your meals in advance, you will also be able to have a look at what special offers, discounts, and sales you can make use of before you get to the store.
Prep Your Meals
This is one of the secrets to eating well on a tight budget and links to the step above about meal planning.
Meal prep allows you to not only save money by buying bulk but also save time by preparing and cooking most of your food in one go.
How you choose to meal prep is up to you. You can do it once a week, or once a month. You can prepare all your meals completely, or you can prepare the base ingredients (i.e. marinara sauce, cooked ground beef), and then put the meals together on the day.
Test out meal prepping to see what works best for you and your family.
Speaking from experience - keep your planning and shopping days separate to your cooking days. Trying to do it all on one day is exhausting and stressful.
If you have the budget and space - I recommend a small deep freezer. If you take your meal prep and bulk buys seriously, this can actually save you money in the long run.
Make Your Own
I’m not just talking about making your meals at home. Make your own ‘specialty’ ingredients, too!
Nut butters and low-carb flours can be quite expensive, so this is an area where you can save quite a bit if you make it yourself.
The raw, unprocessed form of the food item will be quite a bit cheaper than the processed form.
This will require having a good quality food processor. If you don’t have one already, keep an eye out for a good deal (or even at thrift stores!) It will be worth it in the long run.
Buy nuts (such as almonds) in bulk, and use your food processor to make your almond meal as and when you need it.
Find some here:
Nut and Seed Butters
Grind up your nuts or seeds until the oil starts to separate. It will take up to 20 minutes in your food processor (which is why you’ll need a good quality one). You can try with cheaper food processors, but they may not have the power - and may give up on you after a short time.
Buy In Bulk
No matter what diet you are following, buying in bulk is always a great way to cut back on costs.
While it is tempting to just go the nearest grocery store, the prices there will most often be higher than you will find at wholesales stores like Walmart, Sam’s Club, or Costco.
If you prefer to avoid the big box stores (or don’t have any near you), there are other options. Aldi and Trader Joes are also quite affordable.
Meat and seafood are where the bulk of your grocery budget will go to. Other great options for buying bulk are to look at farmers’ markets or a farmer or butcher who offers a subscription-based program or CSA. (Farmers and farmers’ markets may also have great deals on fresh produce.)
If you have a chest freezer, make good use of it by buying your meat in bulk and freezing the extra. Frozen vegetables can also be purchased in bulk, and stored in your freezer. Just make sure you are buying quality veggies! (Frozen veggies are cheap, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are always lesser quality than fresh!)
Buy Affordable Meat And Produce
Even with following the above steps, if you are purchasing the more expensive meats and produce, you can cut your budget even more by incorporating more affordable options.
Certain produce items, such as broccoli, spinach, and green beans are more affordable per pound. Cauliflower tends to be more expensive, but considering how versatile it is, it is worth the cost.
Affordable cuts of meat include:
- Chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on)
- Ground beef
- Nitrate-free bacon
- And, cod
Eggs are an excellent option - they are very affordable, and work well in meals and on their own as a snack.
Cheap Keto Meals
Now you know how to shop and prepare for your healthy cheap meals, I wanted to give you some keto meal ideas that are budget-friendly.
Budget Keto Omelets
The humble omelet is a perfect cheap keto meal. It is great for any time of day, and you use any number of fillings.
Good combinations to start with are:
- Deli ham, peppers, onion, shredded cheese
- Mushrooms, shredded cheese
- Spinach, feta cheese
- Sliced green chilies, shredded cheese
- Bacon, sliced chives, shredded cheese
You can also have a look at what you have left over in your fridge, and get creative with your fillings!
Budget Keto Stir Fry
I love the concept of stir fry, because all you need to do is throw a few ingredients into a pan, fry it up, and your meal is done!
Here are a few simple and budget-friendly combinations:
- Chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms
- Ground beef, broccoli, and peppers
- Chicken, broccoli, and konjac noodles
- Ground beef and cabbage
Budget Keto Casseroles
Casseroles are a great family-friendly meal. Especially in winter! I love how easy they are to make.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Chicken, cauliflower, crisp bacon, and homemade ranch
- Chicken thighs, cauliflower rice, and olives
- Sausage, spinach, and spaghetti squash
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