If you want to save cash on Keto, you're in the right place. This article will unpack exactly how to do Keto on a budget.
Can you eat a Keto diet for less than $10 per day? With a bit of planning, absolutely.
Don't worry. You don't need to lurk outside your local steakhouse to see what goodies appear in the dumpster. (Mmm, discarded ribeye fat!) That's not recommended.
What is recommended are common sense measures like buying in bulk, tracking costs, and embracing leftovers. You'll also learn recipes to make Keto achievable for under $10 daily. Let's get started.
Is Keto an Expensive Diet?
A whole foods Keto diet can be spendy. Low-carb or not, whole foods are more costly than refined foods.
According to the 2021 Broken Plate Report, healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, fish, etc.) are three times the price, calorie for calorie, of less healthy options. It's cheaper to buy a sack of white rice than a sack of purple potatoes.
Still, a clean Keto diet can be relatively affordable. It depends on how you structure it.
Your credit card will notice if you frequently enjoy dry-aged ribeye with organic broccoli soaked in $50-a-bottle artisanal olive oil. But if you thaw out a roast you bought on sale and soak your veggies with generic California olive oil, your budget should hold up okay.
Budget Keto Foods
Want to eat Keto for less than $10 per day? It's ambitious but certainly not impossible.
Many foods—grass-fed meats, fresh fish, organic vegetables, your favorite Keto ice cream—won't make the cut. If you're serious about your Keto budget, save these foods for special occasions and mooch off friends when appropriate.
The trick is to buy cheap (yet healthy) Keto whole foods. Oils, cheap cuts, and eggs are your staples.
The egg is a perfectly Ketogenic food—high in fat, moderate in protein, low in carbs, and rich in micronutrients like folate, iron, and choline. And though organic eggs are more nutritious, regular eggs are an acceptable (and affordable) substitute.
Here's a partial list of our favorite budget Keto foods:
- Broccoli (non-organic)
- Chuck roast (or other high-fat beef roasts)
- Chicken (whole bird)
- Organ meats
- Canned tuna
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Organic spinach or kale (depending on the deal)
Later, we'll cover other ways to save money on Keto. Next up: let's review some economical recipes.
5 Healthy and Cost-Effective Keto Recipes
These simple-yet-nutritious recipes will keep your costs down on Keto while appeasing your taste buds.
#1: Keto Chicken Salad
Chicken is rich in protein, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and many other nutrients. Want to maintain muscle as you age? Don't skimp on protein.
This Low Carb Chicken Salad calls for shredded chicken breast, but feel free to swap in leftovers from a whole bird.
Estimated cost per serving: $3.50
#2: Keto Sausage and Egg Breakfast
Get used to eating eggs on your budget Keto diet. Eggs aren't only high in protein, but the yolks are rich in choline to support liver health.[*]
This Keto Easy Breakfast Sausage and Egg Meal Prep calls for sausage patties, but any leftover meat will fit the bill.
Estimated cost per serving: $2.40
#3: Keto Beef Taco Soup
If you're not eating beef, you're missing out on a fantastic source of protein, iron, zinc, and choline. And oh yes, ground beef will keep your bank account fat.
Make this 5-ingredient Keto taco soup with ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, or whatever is on sale. Enjoy.
Estimated cost per serving: $3.15
#4: Low-Carb Chicken and Broccoli
We already talked about chicken, but this Keto chicken recipe also features:
- Broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable rich in anti-cancer compounds like sulforaphane[*]
- Olive oil, a staple of the Mediterranean diet, is linked to better heart health. (One study found that heart disease risk decreased by 10% for each additional 10 grams of extra virgin olive oil consumed daily.)[*]
Dig in. You can't go wrong.
Estimated cost per serving: $2.75
#5: Keto Vanilla Chia Pudding
Ready for dessert? This Keto chia pudding recipe is easy, healthy, and budget-friendly. It also makes a great meal prep breakfast option!
Chia seeds, by the way, are high in antioxidants, fiber, and ALA (plant-based omega-3s). Do like the Aztec warriors did and eat them for strength and vitality.
Estimated cost per serving: $1.65
10 Tips to Keep Costs Down on Keto
Saving money on Keto won't happen by accident. Without a firm hand on the wheel, you'll spend more than you'd like.
But with wise planning, you can keep some shekels to your name. These tips will help.
#1: Eat at home
Don't dine out when you can dine in. It's easier to stay Keto and easier on your wallet.
#2: Buy in bulk and freeze
Food (especially meat) is cheaper in bulk. Keep your meat cache fresh by freezing the excess.
#3: Cook in batches
Batch cooking saves both time and money. Since time is money, it pays to preserve both.
#4: Don't fear leftovers
Provided you don't have histamine intolerance, leftover food is your friend. A whole chicken, for example, offers several days of nutritious fat and protein.
#5: Pick and choose organics
Eating organic is almost always preferable, but be selective to save cash. Spend a little extra on organic foods (spinach, kale, celery, etc.) most likely to be contaminated with pesticides in non-organic form. (See the complete "dirty dozen" list here.)
#6: Buy generic brands
Skip name brands with bloated marketing budgets and opt for generic instead. The quality should be the same for a fraction of the cost.
#7: Choose fatty cuts
Fatty cuts like chuck, rump, and bottom round cost less than filet, strip, and sirloin. You can buy triple the meat for the same price.
#8: Eat eggs and oils
Eggs and oils, oils and eggs. You'll be eating plenty of these Keto staples on your quest to cut costs. Just be sure to opt for quality cooking oils such as olive and coconut. Skip the refined seed oils.
#9: Skip packaged Keto foods
Nothing against low-carb snack brands—we love them—but when the budget needs to be tightened, the snacks need to go.
#10: Track your costs
If you want to eat Keto on a budget, it helps to…well…create a budget. Sit down with a spreadsheet and chart your daily, weekly, and monthly food costs.
Same principle: tracking leads to success. Are you taking advantage?