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Keto on a Budget: Save Money and Burn fat

The ketogenic diet can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding keto meals on a budget can be challenging because a lot of our old meal choices are just too high in carbohydrates (sugar).

If you’re reading this you are either already on a ketogenic diet or researching keto. However, a lot of people just want to eat healthier because they know how harmful sugar is, but they’re on a budget and don’t want to break the bank.

A lot of people say they want to do keto, but think it’s too expensive.

Doing keto on a budget is not only possible but quite easy if your willing to experiment with new food combinations. Some of your old mainstay meals can still be eaten if you know how to substitute some high carbohydrate ingredients for a low carb version.

This is one of the biggest keto myths out there. Keto doesn’t have to be expensive.

Substitute this:For this:
Sugar, cane sugar, agave, honey, corn starch, maltodextrin, and anything that says “syrup” etc. etc.Erythritol, stevia, monk fruit. Swerve is an excellent brand but stay away from sucralose (Splenda), saccharin, and aspartame.
Regular flour (wheat, corn, rice)Almond flour, coconut flour
Rice, potatoes, crackersCauliflower rice, *Japanese sweet potatoes, baked cheese crackers
Regular side dishes like corn, beans, pasta, noodlesVegetables cooked in bacon for flavor. Cheese, garlic, and heavy whipping cream are a good base to use.

*Japanese sweet potatoes help prevent keto constipation. However, they should be eaten in moderation as one medium-sized Japanese sweet potato can have approximately 12 grams of carbohydrates.

Keto on a budget works better if you buy in bulk.

To find keto meals on a budget you’ll need to become an expert on reading the ingredient list of whatever you are buying. This will take more time than just throwing stuff in your shopping cart, but it will be well worth it. A little research prior will also help.

I put together this list of what to look for while shopping for keto foods at Costco. Sams Club, Aldi’s, and of course Costco are great places to buy in bulk. Just put together an excellent keto diet food list and look for value buys and coupons.

Keto bread, avocados, frozen vegetables, cheese, eggs, and meat are a few examples.

When I explain the keto diet, I always tell people that keto is a great diet for those on a budget. Think about it, there are no fees or membership dues and you’re not eating out as often.

Additionally, if you conduct intermittent fasting and OMAD (one meal a day) you’re not eating as much food or as often. Also, as you lose weight with fasting and keto, your stomach will shrink and you won’t need to eat as much to feel satisfied.

Lazy keto is just fine for those doing keto on a budget

You can read more about dirty keto (lazy keto) here. But it’s just eating low carbohydrate food sources that might not be the expensive organic or pasture-raised versions. It also includes some boxed or processed food. But be cautious, excessive processed foods can be very unhealthy while you’re on keto.

Don’t buy the processed foods labeled as “keto friendly” or “keto approved.” Most are really expensive and while they might be lower in carbohydrates than the non-keto version, they really aren’t keto friendly. You want to focus on eating nutrient dense food, especially if your doing keto with a limited budget.

Basically, as long as you keep your total daily carbohydrates intake to 20-30 grams or under a day, you can eat almost anything you want. I say almost because you still want to eat the best keto-friendly foods. You just don’t have to break the bank doing it.

Here is a list of the best keto superfoods, but be careful because some of these can be expensive.

Grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, and organic vegetables are expensive. If you’re doing the keto diet on a budget then just eat the non-organic cheaper version.

If you’re doing keto on a budget, lazy keto is still better than no keto.

Buying frozen vegetables in bulk is a great way to do the keto diet on a budget.

Frozen vegetables for keto diet on a budget

A great way to save money on keto is to buy frozen vegetables in bulk.

Take only as much out as you need. Microwave them first, then fry them in bacon grease, parmesan cheese, garlic, cream cheese, and heavy whipping cream.

Most keto meals, while you’re on a budget, include vegetables. Almost all vegetables are keto-friendly, healthy, and inexpensive. Vegetables will be the primary replacement for your former unhealthy, starchy side dishes. Here is an informative article on the cheapest vegetables per pound.

Eating green leafy vegetables is a great way to prevent the keto flu when you’re first starting out on keto.

One of the best keto meals on a budget is a chefs salad.

I’m not saying you have to eat salads all the time while you’re on keto, but it’s a great cheap fall-back meal. Salads are super healthy, they are easy to customize and salad, by nature is almost carbohydrate-free.

As long as you’re careful with your salad dressing, you can eat almost as much salad as you want and still stay under your carb limit. Here is a great keto salad dressing recipe:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Lemon pepper
  • Parsley
  • *Blend ingredients in a blender or immersion mixer.
Salad is a great keto recipe on a budget
Salad is a great inexpensive keto meal

Eggs and chicken are great inexpensive keto food sources

Eggs, bacon, cream cheese, and chicken are keto staples. A keto egg fast is a great way to speed up keto (speed keto) and break through the dreaded keto stall. Boiled eggs are great to slice up and put on a salad. An omelet with cheese, bacon, and sliced vegetables is a great keto recipe on a budget.

Free-range, organic eggs are better, but if you’re doing keto on a budget just get regular eggs. You also might be able to get eggs from a local farmer. Those eggs might be cheaper than store-bought eggs.

Eggs are a great keto meal if you're on a budget
Eggs are a great keto meal if you’re on a budget

Bacon is another great inexpensive keto food choice. You can fry up some bacon and cook with the bacon grease. Furthermore, you can cook up the bacon and put it on salads, mix it in your vegetables, and eat it with eggs. Bacon is also inexpensive and you can buy it in bulk and freeze it.

keto bacon is cheap
Bacon and cream cheese

Cream cheese is another budget-friendly keto food. It’s inexpensive, delicious, and versatile. You can cook your vegetable with cream cheese and even make soup with it. It goes great on eggs and a dollop on meat helps add flavor and moisture. Cream cheese is also used in almost all of your low-carb keto deserts

food restaurant meal chicken

Chicken wings are cheap and easy to cook. Just eat your wings naked and non-breaded or make your own sugar-free sauce.

You can also buy frozen, whole chickens, freeze them, and use them as needed.

Don’t throw the bones away either. Boil them down into the chicken bone broth.

Following an OMAD diet plan might be one the best ways to do keto on a budget.

I touched on this briefly earlier, but I wanted to highlight OMAD which stands for one meal a day. OMAD is really a game changer. So, for example, if you normally eat 3 meals a day, with OMAD you would be eating approximately 35% less food. OMAD has really been my cost saving secret weapon.

I get it, the one meal you eat on OMAD will probably be bigger than what you would normally eat, but it still won’t equal the food volume that equates to your normal three meals.

On most days I drink a bulletproof coffee (keto coffee) in the morning, skip lunch and have a delicious low-carb dinner. It’s really not that difficult as your body gets used to not eating during the day. The keto coffee helps keep me fat adapted.

I don’t get hungry because my insulin/blood sugar stays low and my body just taps into my fat stores when it needs energy.

Robert Bryant
Robert Bryant

I’ve had so many people tell me they can’t do Keto because they can’t afford it. This article tries to dispel that rumor.

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