Any diet can be affordable or expensive, depending on your food choices and consumption habits. So, yes, it is possible to do keto on a budget.
The key is to plan ahead, know which meats and vegetables are less expensive, and prioritize whole foods (or clean keto). This will allow you to meet your health goals while saving money.
Read on to learn how to do this, including a sample cheap keto meal plan for a week and budget-friendly keto snacks to eat.
Tips for Following a Keto Diet on a Budget
Most meals on the keto diet include low-carb proteins such as meat or eggs, oils, non-starchy vegetables, and high-fat foods such as avocados, coconuts or nuts.
Here are some tips for stocking up on these keto food components when money is tight:
Start a meal plan and prep routine
Having a plan for your meals before you go to the store can help you avoid unnecessary purchases. What’s more, preparing some meals or foods ahead of time, such as hard-boiled eggs and shredded chicken, will help you stick to your plan throughout the week and prevent expensive takeout orders.
Buy in bulk
When you budget your food expenses carefully, it makes sense to buy in bulk. Just make sure you shop at wholesale stores like Costco, Walmart and Sam’s Club. If you have extra time, you can even save more by comparing prices. However, remember that you don’t have to buy everything in bulk. Choose wisely. If you need ideas for buying keto foods in bulk, these would include frozen vegetables, spices, nuts (in the shell), and frozen meats and poultry.
Look for sales and stock up
If you have room in your freezer, store meat, vegetables, and even avocados (you can freeze the pulp) when they are on sale. You can also take advantage of discounted prices on non-perishable items such as nuts, seeds and oils and store them in your pantry.
Buy vegetables that are in season
Seasonal vegetables, and locally grown vegetables, tend to be cheaper than non-seasonal vegetables. Plan your meals around the seasons of certain non-starchy vegetables.
Go for frozen over fresh
Most frozen fruits and vegetables, such as keto-friendly berries, cauliflower and broccoli, are more affordable than their fresh counterparts. Plus, they last longer, so you don’t have to worry about wasting money on products that will spoil if you don’t eat them soon.
Opt for cheaper proteins
Eggs are a very affordable, keto-friendly food that you can use in a variety of meals to reduce food costs. You can also save money by buying cooked whole chickens and using or freezing all parts and getting cheaper cuts of meat such as pork, tenderloin, ground meat and chicken thighs.
Skip the packaged keto-friendly foods
Keto ice cream and snacks may sound tempting, but they add up to a price point. Instead of stocking up on these foods, buy your whole foods first and make these fancier options a treat.
Budget-friendly Shopping List
Here’s a brief overview of must-use, inexpensive keto-friendly ingredients. Take this list to your next store to make sure you notice the cheapest keto-friendly options.
Spinach, lettuce, asparagus, celery, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms, arugula, celery, green beans, spaghetti squash – best bought in season, frozen or on sale.
Shredded coconut, almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, nut butter spreads, hemp hearts, avocado and olive oil, canned coconut milk, cheese, ghee or butter.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, kiwi, plums, raspberries, clementines – best bought in season, frozen or on sale.
Chicken (thighs/legs/whole), pork (shank/shoulder/belly/neck), lamb (shank/scrag end), eggs, cottage cheese, plain full-fat Greek yogurt, organic soya beans.
Sample Keto Meals on a Budget
This budget keto diet plan includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods that are less than 30-50 grams of carbohydrates. In addition, they are rich in protein and healthy fats.
- Breakfast: 3 egg and cheese omelet with spinach, side of frozen berries
- Lunch: chicken soup with shredded chicken, broth, celery, garlic, herbs, and topped with plain Greek yogurt
- Dinner: pork chops with sautéed green beans and almonds
- Breakfast: bulletproof coffee (plain coffee, butter, and MCT oil)
- Lunch: chicken bites wrapped with bacon, served with mayo or cheese
- Dinner: baked tilapia and asparagus
- Breakfast: smoothie with frozen raspberries, nut butter, spinach, and coconut milk
- Lunch: tuna salad stuffed in red bell peppers
- Dinner: cauliflower “rice” (bought on sale or made in the food processor) stir fry with frozen broccoli, shredded chicken, sesame seeds, garlic, and ginger
- Breakfast: pancakes (made of eggs, almond flour, and cream cheese)
- Lunch: beef-stuffed cabbage rolls
- Dinner: pork chops with garlic cream sauce
- Breakfast: full-fat Greek yogurt with nuts
- Lunch: salad with hard-boiled eggs, cheese, sliced peppers, mushrooms, and lemon olive oil dressing
- Dinner: ground chuck meatballs served over spaghetti squash, tossed in avocado oil and Parmesan
- Breakfast: tuna, egg, and avocado slices
- Lunch: sauteed ground pork, cabbage, and cauliflower rice
- Dinner: roasted chicken and green beans
- Breakfast: nut and seed porridge made with canned coconut milk
- Lunch: egg salad made with plain Greek yogurt on celery sticks
- Dinner: pork tenderloin, eggplant, and zucchini cooked in butter and topped with cheese
Budget-Friendly Keto Snack Ideas
Most keto foods are filling enough that you may not feel the need to snack on them. However, if you’re hungry between meals, try one of these affordable keto snacks:
- 1–2 hard-boiled eggs
- Cheese slices
- Canned tuna
- celery sticks with cottage cheese or pimento cheese
- full-fat Greek yogurt with frozen berries
- homemade kale chips roasted with healthy oils
- Nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts)
- Strawberry and avocado smoothie
There you have it, keto-friendly ingredients that are affordable and will help make your keto journey a breeze. Of course, ketosis means you’ll have to make a lot of your own food, because store-bought food or ordering takeout isn’t usually the best option! It’s not as much of a hassle as it seems because you can easily plan your meals ahead of time. It’s not as much of a hassle as it seems because you can easily plan your meals ahead or make some quick dishes. If you need some recipe ideas, read our blog for some easy meal inspiration!