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Keto on a Budget

budget keto

By Kelley Herring

With the current economic situation and rising inflation, it’s no secret that many of us are feeling the pinch when it comes to our food expenses.

But what if we told you that you can still enjoy a healthy and delicious diet without breaking the bank?

The ketogenic diet, known for its potential health benefits such as weight loss and reduced inflammation, can actually be surprisingly affordable.

In fact, many delicious keto meals can be made for less than the cost of drive thru!

In this article, we’ll share easy tips and tricks for eating keto on a budget, so you can nourish your body without sacrificing your wallet.

The Basics of a Keto Diet

As you probably already know, the keto diet focuses on high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate foods.

The macronutrient ratios for a typical keto diet are 70-80% fat, 15-20% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates.

To achieve these ratios, the majority of your diet should be focused on nourishing ketogenic foods such as meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, as well as low-carb veggies. Grains, fruits, and sugars should be avoided.

Let’s dig in and discover some budget-friendly tips to make your keto journey more enjoyable and affordable!

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Tips for Eating Keto on a Budget

As with most things in life, a little planning goes a long way to help you achieve your goals. By being proactive and using the tips below, you’ll be able to get the best deals, plan meals in advance to save time, and get in control of your food spending and grocery waste.

Shop for groceries strategically. One of the most effective ways to save money on a keto diet is to shop for groceries strategically. This means buying foods that are in season, on sale, or available in bulk. For example, in the summer months, you can find zucchini and other low-carbohydrate vegetables at a lower price than during the winter months. By planning your meals around these seasonal foods, you can save money on your grocery bill.

Fill your freezer. Buying frozen meat and seafood is particularly cost-effective as it allows you to take advantage of bulk purchasing power. Plus, buying frozen eliminates the risk of spoilage, meaning you can enjoy the food at your own pace without worrying about it going to waste. Additionally, buying frozen meat and seafood allows you to plan meals in advance, which helps avoid last-minute purchases that are often more expensive. Most frozen products are flash-frozen at the peak of freshness, locking in nutrients and ensuring optimal quality.

Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is a great way to save money on groceries, especially when it comes to high-fat foods such as nuts, seeds, and oils. These items have a long shelf life and can be stored in the freezer to extend their lifespan. When purchasing items in bulk, be sure to compare prices and calculate the cost per unit to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.

Emphasize whole foods. Processed foods can be expensive, especially when you’re looking for low-carbohydrate options. Emphasizing whole foods such as grass-fed meats, wild fish, eggs, and low-carbohydrate vegetables can help you save money while also providing your body with essential nutrients. These foods are also more filling than processed options, which can help reduce hunger and prevent overeating.

Plan meals around inexpensive protein sources. Protein is a crucial macronutrient on a keto diet, but it can also be expensive. By planning meals around inexpensive protein sources such as chicken thighs, grass-fed ground beef, larger cuts of meat (like chuck roast) and canned wild fish, you can save money without sacrificing nutrition. Canned fish, such as wild mackerel, sardines and salmon, are also great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to improve heart health and reduce inflammation.

Incorporate eggs and canned fish. Eggs and canned fish are budget-friendly keto staples that can be used in a variety of recipes. Eggs can be boiled, scrambled, or fried and used as a base for omelets or frittatas. Canned fish, such as tuna or salmon, can be used in salads or as a topping for low-carb crackers or bread.

Don’t waste food. Reducing food waste is not only good for the environment but can also help you save money. When following a keto diet, it’s important to plan your meals carefully and only buy what you need. Any leftover food can be used for meal prep or turned into a new dish. For example, leftover chicken can be used to make chicken salad for lunch the next day or added to a stir-fry for a reinvented leftover meal.

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Top 20 Budget-Friendly Keto Meal Ideas

Still need more inspiration? Here are the top 20 budget-friendly keto meals that are not only healthy and delicious but you can enjoy for a dollar or two per sumptuous serving:

  1. Keto egg salad – This is a perfect breakfast or lunch option that’s easy to prepare and budget-friendly. Just mix boiled eggs with mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs.
  2. Chicken curry – This is a hearty and flavorful dish that’s perfect for dinner. Simmer chicken with curry powder, coconut milk, and vegetables such as cauliflower, zucchini, and spinach.
  3. Zucchini noodles with meat sauce – This is a great alternative to traditional pasta that’s both low-carb and budget-friendly. Simply spiralize zucchini and serve with a meat sauce made from grass-fed ground beef, tomatoes, garlic, and onion.
  4. Grilled chicken salad – This is a simple and healthy option that’s perfect for lunch. Marinate and grill chicken and serve with a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and your favorite Paleo, low-carb dressing (like Primal Kitchen).
  5. Cauliflower rice stir-fry – This is a tasty and easy-to-make dish that’s perfect for dinner. Buy frozen cauliflower rice or chop cauliflower into rice-sized pieces and stir-fry with your favorite vegetables, protein, and seasoning.
  6. Broiled wild salmon – This is a great source of protein and healthy fats that’s perfect for dinner. Season salmon fillets with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and broil for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps – This is a low-carb and budget-friendly option that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. Simmer cook chicken thighs with buffalo sauce and serve with lettuce leaves.
  8. Turkey and cheese roll-ups – This is a simple and tasty option that’s perfect for a quick snack. Roll turkey slices with your favorite cheese and enjoy.
  9. Cauliflower pizza – This is a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional pizza that’s both low-carb and budget-friendly. Create a crust from cauliflower rice, add your favorite toppings, and bake.
  10. Bacon and egg breakfast muffins – This is a great breakfast option that’s easy to prepare and budget-friendly. Whisk eggs with cooked pastured bacon, grass-fed cheese, and your favorite seasoning, and bake in muffin cups.
  11. Grilled chicken skewers – This is a simple and delicious option that’s perfect for dinner. Skewer chicken with low-carb vegetables such as bell peppers, onion, and mushrooms, and grill until cooked through.
  12. Spinach and feta stuffed chicken – This is a tasty and filling option that’s perfect for dinner. Stuff chicken breasts with spinach and feta and bake until cooked through.
  13. Bacon-wrapped asparagus – This is a delicious side dish that’s perfect for any meal. Wrap asparagus spears with bacon and bake until crispy.
  14. Cauliflower mac and cheese – This is a comforting and low-carb option that’s perfect for dinner. Whisk together a cheese sauce from cream, cheese, and butter, and mix with chopped cauliflower.
  15. Spicy sausage and peppers – This is a hearty and flavorful option that’s perfect for dinner. Roast sausage with bell peppers and onion on a sheet pan, and season with your favorite spices.
  16. Avocado and egg salad – This is a great breakfast or lunch option that’s both healthy and budget-friendly. Combine avocado with boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and your favorite herbs.
  17. Turkey and vegetable soup – This is a comforting and healthy option that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. Sauté ground turkey with your favorite vegetables such as carrots, celery, and onion, and add in chicken broth and seasoning.
  18. Greek salad – This is a refreshing and healthy option that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. Chop Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion, and top with feta cheese and olives, adding grilled chicken or shrimp for more protein. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.
  19. Keto chili – This is a hearty and flavorful option that’s perfect for dinner. Brown ground beef with tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin, and add in your favorite vegetables such as bell peppers and onions.
  20. Cauliflower soup – This is a comforting and low-carb option that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. Simmer cauliflower with chicken broth and cream, puree to a creamy consistency, and season with garlic and onion powder.

The ketogenic diet can be a great way to improve your health, lose weight, and feel great. And it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to follow.

By shopping strategically, buying in bulk, emphasizing whole foods, and planning meals around nutritious and budget-friendly protein sources, you can save money while still following a healthy low-carb lifestyle.

With these tips and low-cost meal ideas, you can enjoy all of the health and flavor benefits of a keto diet… without breaking the bank.

Read more of Kelley Herring’s Health and Nutrition articles on our Discover Blog.

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Kelley Herring

Love comfort foods, but not the carbs? Check out Kelley’s FREE new book – Carb Lover’s Keto – with 100 recipes for all of your favorite comfort foods. From Chicken Parmigiana and Coconut Shrimp to Buffalo Wings and Pizza. Discover how you can indulge – 100% guilt free!


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