If you’re looking for how to make keto cheap and affordable, you have come to the right place. We live on a very tight budget so we’re passing on our tips for how to make keto cheap, because it can get expensive really quickly if you’re not paying attention. You might even look at the list of what foods you can eat on the Ketogenic Diet and think you won’t be able to afford it, but I promise it is very possible to live this lifestyle on a budget
Planning your low carb meals and shopping is a great way to ensure meals are organized for the week ahead. You get to buy only what you need, and you won’t be relying on the impulse buys that get tossed in the cart while you’re strolling through the store. See what’s in your pantry and fridge already, then plan meals that will use these ingredients to stop food wastage.
Planning shopping lists helps you stop unnecessary spending. Make a shopping list, and stick to it. Preferably only buy the things you need.
Also, bargain deals may appear to be good value but only if it fits into your meal plan, diet, or lifestyle. Buying chips at 3 bags for $5 may sound like a great deal because one bag is normally $3.50, but instead think of what low carb and healthier foods you could be spending that $5 on.
Plan to mostly avoid the center aisles of the grocery store which are filled with all kinds of unnatural foods our bodies are not meant to handle. Check out this Ketogenic Grocery List there are only a couple of items such as oils, nuts, or olives that are purchased from those center aisles. Everything else is fresh and can be found in the outer rim of the store. Plan to shop on that outside rim.
Want to learn how to meal plan? Or maybe you need a Sample 7-Day Keto Meal Plan to get you started, which includes a printable meal plan form that you can use to create your own plan.
Buy cheaper alternatives
Some low carb foods are ridiculously expensive, but here are plenty of cheaper options which are just as delicious, simple and healthy.
- Buy regular cheese, not specialty cheeses that can be pricey. Don’t buy pre-shredded cheese, buy in bulk and shred/grate it yourself.
- Make your own coleslaw and avoid expensive ready made coleslaw made with unhealthy oils. Coleslaw is incredibly easy and cheap to make yourself.
- Buy simple meats, not specialty cooked meats from the deli. Cooked meat can be great for a quick simple meal, but stick to the cheaper meats such as cooked roast beef or chicken drumsticks.
- Put back the kale that can cost a fortune and buy other leafy greens that are just as nutritious but much cheaper.
- Stop buying nuts because they can soon add up, especially macadamias. Walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts are great alternatives or stop buying them altogether.
- Buy almond meal, not almond flour which can be expensive. Almond meal is cheaper and interchangeable in most recipes. You can even make your own ground almonds in your coffee grinder.
- Buy avocado oil not avocados when they are out of season and expensive.
- Buy frozen or canned fish rather than fresh which can be a real budget breaker, especially salmon. Canned tuna is a cheap, handy snack to have in the pantry.
Buy the best quality you can afford
Organic vegetables have less pesticides, grass fed meat or butter has superior nutrition, and free range eggs are nutritious but expensive. Unfortunately these are simply out of the reach for those who need help the most, and who are living on a strict grocery budget.
For someone living on a diet of sodas, fries and fast food, swapping to regular eggs, regular vegetables and regular meat will still have an enormous impact on their health. The single most important factor to improve your health, is to cook from scratch at home. This is actually one of the comments I see the most in our Facebook Group (Keto Diet for Beginners), from the people that are used to eating out, take-out, or prepared frozen meals, is that this Keto diet forces you to cook all of your meals at home and that can be a big adjustment. It pays off in the long-run for those who can make those changes.
Buy free range eggs as often as your budget will allow, but regular eggs will still be a better breakfast option than cold cereal that is laden with sugar.
Buy in season
Buy in season and eat in season. Many vegetables can be bought when they are cheap and frozen. There are many affordable low carb freezer staples such as berries, spinach, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower, which are just as nutritious as fresh but much cheaper.
Buy cheaper store brands, buy discounted food near its expiration date, buy food with damaged packaging, buy from your local farmer’s market, and buy regular food not specialty foods from the deli counter.
Buy in bulk
Find a local butcher, and buy in bulk. Buy canned and frozen goods when they are discounted. Buying in bulk often attracts extra discounts and you know you will have a pantry and freezer full of ingredients just waiting to be turned into a meal.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat
Don’t buy the expensive lean meats, buy the cheaper fatty ground meat, buy the fatty pork chops, and buy the cheap chicken that still has the skin on.
Buy the cheap casserole/stewing meat and learn to love your Instant Pot or Crock Pot. It will transform cheap cuts of meat into a tender meal, and most recipes can feed you for a couple of meals.
Find a local butcher who sells pork skins to make your own crackling which is a perfect low carb snack.
Use bones from a roast dinner or from the butcher to make bone broth.
Cook simple meals
Simplicity is the key to healthy cheap meals. Each low cab meal should have some good protein, non-starchy vegetables, and plenty of healthy fats.
Meals don’t have to be complicated, in fact simple meals are easier to make, cheaper, and will encourage you to cook more often.
You don’t need all of the fancy recipes and fat bombs from Google and Pinterest. Those are great to add into your rotation, but eating simple meals is easy and affordable.
Cook dinner at home
Save yourself the carbs and the money by cooking all of your meals and snacks at home. This goes back to the plan & shop steps, because those are vital for being prepared in your kitchen.
Cook once, eat twice
Make a full recipe or double it, then put the leftovers in the fridge to have for lunch or dinner the next day. This will save you time and money.
Eat more fat
Add more healthy fats to your low-carb meals and you won’t want to eat so much. Once you become fat adapted your appetite reduces and so does your meal size. Healthy fats at each meal will keep you sustained and fuller for longer.
Add a flavored compound butter to your steak, put olive oil on your salad, or have 1/2 of an avocado with your eggs & bacon.
Eat more eggs
Consider adding more eggs to your diet. Eggs are a great source of protein, fats and other nutrients. They are a relatively inexpensive protein source, much cheaper than meat for example. You might get a little tired of eggs after awhile, so make sure to use them in a variety of different ways such as a bacon egg and cheese on 90-second keto bread, a crustless quiche, or egg & veggie cups that are baked in the oven.
Once you eat low carb you will eat less, in fact you will start to practice intermittent fasting sometimes without realizing. When you eat low carb, your appetite is under control and you no longer eat the volume of food you once did.
Planned intermittent provides numerous health benefits and allows you to eat less and save more money. I encourage you to research this process but also consult your doctor to be sure it is safe for you to do. We are not medical professionals and none of the information on this site should be mistaken for medical advice.
2. What to stop doing
Snacks are unnecessary and expensive. Snacks can easily add up to a fourth meal. If you snack often, think about the meals you are eating. If you are still hungry between meals, maybe you need to be adding more healthy fats to keep you fuller for longer.
Are you eating out of habit? Boredom? When you eat low-carb full fat meals, hunger will be reduced and you often can avoiding snacking altogether.
Stop food wastage
When you plan meals ahead, think about what you are buying and when it will be eaten.
Stop wasting food, stop impulse purchasing, stop throwing away ugly or misshapen produce, stop throwing away leftovers.
Look in your fridge and pantry before you go shopping and cook the food that will expire first. Save even small amounts of leftover vegetables and add include them in a frittata, on a salad, or soups.
Stop buying drinks
Drinks soon add up each week, so instead of buying expensive special coffees, make coffee at home or work with full fat cream.
Stop buying diet drinks, smoothies, juices and bottled water. Instead start drinking tap water and save big time. Tap water is free.
Consider buying your groceries online to avoid temptations in store. When you are at the supermarket, avoid the aisles that have temptations such as confectionery, snacks and the bakery.
Don’t visit the supermarket when you’re hungry.
Stop buying lunch – bring leftovers
Buying lunch every day is incredibly expensive. Invest just a few minutes each morning to make your own.
Stop buying processed food
Processed food is expensive. Stop paying the price for convenience and start cooking at home to start saving money.
Stop buying ready-to-cook vegetables, and wash or peel them yourself. It only takes a few extra minutes.