Deciding to start a ketogenic diet to speed up weight loss is a great choice. However, most people think that it’s not possible to keto on a budget.
But the fact is that you can get your essential macronutrients with just $5 per day in keto meals.
So, if you have the impression that ketosis can be expensive, know that it won’t break the bank.
Instead, you may realize that following a keto diet with a set budget may help you make better eating decisions.
Why Are People Switching To A Keto Diet?
The Standard American Diet is packed with salt (sodium), sugar, saturated fats, and unhealthy oils. What this diet lacks is fiber, greens, fruits, and almost anything else that can be considered to be healthy.
Unfortunately, while the Standard American Diet tastes great, it’s resulted in 70.7% of Americans being classified as overweight or obese (1).
Nowadays, people are waking up and realizing that if they don’t change their diet and lose weight, they may not live to see 60.
So, along with the hundreds of weight-loss diets that can be found online, the Keto Diet has also gained popularity.
This diet focuses on high fat, low carb ratio to put your body into the state of ketosis. Keto Pills that do the same with exogenous ketones are also a great alternative.
However, if you want to achieve ketosis on the cheap, here are 13 tips and tricks that are sure to help.
1: Get Some Fatty, But Cheap Store Brand Oils
For most of your cooked meals, you are going to need at least a little oil, right? But you don’t want to spend a lot on expensive and exotic ‘healthy’ oils.
So, I suggest you look at oils that are high in fat but come with a low price tag.
My favorite is extra-virgin olive oil from big-box stores like Walmart or Target. Get their store brand oil with is far cheaper than the other brands with little difference in quality.
Along with extra-virgin olive oil, you can also go for some Avocado oil too. This can give you the monounsaturated fats from avocados without being as expensive as fresh avocados.
This way, I also don’t have to worry about shopping for oil for several months at a time.
2: Buy Frozen Over Fresh
If you want to get on the healthy-living bandwagon, you are going to limit your cooked foods and opt for more fruits.
However, fresh fruit can be costly and some fruits are seasonal. So, why not choose frozen fruits instead?
Frozen berries contain loads of fiber and very little carb in comparison to other fruits.
Also, frozen berries are 1/3 of the cost of fresh berries.
They can also last a lot longer when they are kept frozen (until needed).
I like using frozen raspberries to make some delicious keto smoothies.
3: Go Big With Your Meat Of Choice
The benefit of buying in bulk is not limited to oil and frozen foods.
In fact, your local butcher shop may offer you the chance to buy half or a quarter of a cow.
If you do choose to buy your meat in large quantities, you are probably going to need a separate freezer. However, considering that you can save over $5/lb. in bulk buying, investing in a freezer should pay itself off quickly.
For those that don’t want tens of pounds of meat in their freezers, they can opt for meat share.
This is a new concept where you buy a share of meat from the farm (or supplies) and have it delivered to you when needed.
A whole beef share can cost $3000 upfront. However, you get access to 300 pounds of meat from 100% grass-fed, humanely raised cows.
However, from the reviews I read on some of the online subscription companies, this is indeed more affordable than buying from the store.
4: Start Meal Planning (It’s A Life Saver, Trust Me!)
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the average American household wastes $1500 worth of food every year (2).
Now, imagine if you correctly planned your meals and only made what you are going to eat with zero-waste. Even without the money saved, this is a great choice you can make easily. You are also doing your part to save the environment and curb the excessive agriculture that’s destroying the rainforests.
Observe your diet and find out how much you actually need to feel full. Also, find out how you can store your foods properly so that they don’t go bad.
Cooking up softened or wilted vegetables can also be a great way to maximize your food and lower your grocery bill.
My app of choice is Yummly, which is free for both Android and iOS devices.
5: Be Smart With Your Grocery Shopping
You can find keto-friendly foods and ingredients in most grocery stores.
However, if you spend some time and do a little research, you will be able to save a lot of money.
I know that many stores provide bargains and discounts that can’t be found in other stores. There are also days where they get rid of old produce by putting them on massive discounts.
If you check out a few different stores, you should be able to save an extra 20-30% in your grocery bill.
You should also check your local stores to see if which ones have the best deals.
Also, check online stores as they also provide some great deals.
6: Don’t Skip Almonds, Walnuts And Other Keto-Friendly Dry Fruits
Nuts and other dry fruits like Almonds and Walnuts are a great way to get healthy fats in any keto diet.
However, dry fruits are often expensive and can blow your budget very quickly. But doing some bulk shopping can be a big help in minimizing the costs.
The thing to keep in mind with buying dry fruits in bulk is to store them properly. They can get moldy if you aren’t careful when storing them.
Also, don’t forget to evaluate and plan how much of each dry fruit you are going to eat for the month to prevent wastage.
If you are going to start a keto diet soon, ensure that you include almonds and walnuts on your shopping list.
This applies, regardless of if you are going for keto on a budget or not.
7: Pick The Right Cuts While Buying Meat
If you aren’t going to invest in a meat share, you are going to have to buy your meat from the store directly.
While this is fine, you should keep an eye on the cuts of meat you are buying.
Some cuts are often cheaper over others. For example, when buying beef, you should buy the roast cut over the rib eye because it’s cheaper.
In the case of pork, the pork shoulder roast is cheaper than the pork chops. For chicken, get the chicken thighs instead of buying the boneless skinless chicken breast.
These are simple choices that won’t affect the quality and taste of your keto meals. However, you will be spending a lot less on meat with this tip.
However, I am familiar with picking budget-friendly cuts of meat.
The only except I make for this is when I buy a rib-eye steak, which I like well done.
8: Eat Some Veggies For The Essential Carbs Your Body Needs
For healthy living, you are going to have to pick up a few veggies, along with your favorite meat, for your meals.
However, you shouldn’t take the shortcut of buying precut vegetables as these are more expensive with little added value.
Instead, I suggest you watch some YouTube videos that can make you into a veggie-cutting pro.
You should also eat veggies as they contain plenty of fibers that can add volume and support satiety.
They also have carbs. However, don’t forget that will the keto diet focuses on a high-fat diet, carbs are still an important macro you can’t just ignore.
So long as you limit your carb intake, you can still eat your favorite foods.
9: Eggs – The Perfect Budget-Friendly Source Of Healthy Fat
While fat from avocados can be a tad expensive for most, eggs are more affordable.
One egg provides 4.8g fat, 6.3g protein, and 0.4g carbs – the perfect macro ratio for your keto diet.
This means that eggs can be a staple food for you when you and your keto on a budget.
There are many ways in which you can cook your eggs, most of them being keto-friendly.
You should also include veggies in your egg-based meals as a balanced diet is essential for effectively achieving ketosis.
10: Don’t Be Obsessed With Organic And Grass-Fed Produce
You will find many keto articles that suggest you go for organic veggies and free-range/grass-fed meats.
However, if you go down this route, you are going to blow your budget out of the water.
Here’s what most people don’t tell you: the organic veggies aren’t going to revolutionize your keto diet any more than regular veggies.
Of course, organic foods are a better option as a whole but not really an avenue for someone on a tight budget.
So, if I get beef from a grass-fed cow, I am happy. But if I can’t find the grass-fed variety, I’m okay with regular beef.
11: Don’t Buy Packaged Keto Diet Products
Keto bars and cookies taste great while being keto-friendly, at least that’s what the packaging claims.
However, the truth is that these are processed foods that go against the whole-foods approach of keto diets.
Instead of these keto diet products, go for keto foods and ingredients to make the keto treats yourself.
There are plenty of recipes online for keto cookies and bars for you to choose from.
So, I won’t forbid you from eating them. But I would suggest you avoid eating them when possible.
12: Meal Prep For The Week
Diets often go off track became we are too lazy or tired to cook. This has happened to me, and I’m sure it’s happened to you too.
So, how do we avoid falling prey to fast-food joints and mid-meal snacking?
Take your meal prep seriously and cook your whole weeks’ worth of keto meals. This can take time, but it will ensure you don’t go off track.
It will also save you money as you won’t have an excuse to eat out like you usually do.
That said, I suggest you don’t repeat your meal menu too often, or you will end up resenting your food very quickly.
As they say, ‘variety is the spice of life.’
13: Try Intermittent Fasting To Speed Up Keto
Eating three full meals a day is a good idea for anyone starting with their new keto diet.
However, if you want to get the most out of your weight loss, going for an intermittent fasting diet is also worth considering.
It’s also possible to try Intermittent fasting while on a keto diet. In fact, this fasting can help boost ketosis.
My Thoughts On Trying To Achieve Keto On A Budget:
Following a keto diet to achieve ketogenic weight loss is possible, even if you are on a budget. All it requires are a few smart choices and some planning.
This article contains some of my tried and tested (for the most part) tips to achieve keto on the cheap.
Some of these suggestions are expensive at the start. However, they turn out far more affordable in the long run.
That said, there are plenty of other tips and tricks that can help you follow a healthy keto diet online.