After reading about the astounding benefits of the keto diet, most likely you’ll at least consider to try it out yourself. Then, you’ll start looking for some fancy recipes… And yes, they may seem quite costly at first sight.
But don’t worry just yet! Today we’ll be debunking the myth of expensive ketosis and give you some real-life advice on how to go keto on a budget.
Rule #1: Get practical
Lobster meat is keto-friendly. Eggs are keto-friendly as well but they cost way less, so the choice here is pretty obvious if you have to reach ketosis cheaply.
Here are some other examples of expensive keto-friendly foods that you’d better avoid:
About 80 to 90% of your meals should consist of ingredients that anyone can afford: eggs, bacon, chicken, butter, all kinds of oils (olive and coconut oils are among the top choices for any budget), and so on. Then, for the last 20 to 10% of your menu, you can go for some sort of keto delicacy.
Also, keep in mind that the most expensive cuts of meat are usually the ”meatier” ones while cuts with extra fat often cost much less, and that’s great for going keto.
Rule #2: Cook your food yourself
The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular eating regimes at the moment, so it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of websites out there offering keto-friendly snacks, protein bars, fat bombs, and whatnot. They are often delicious, but rarely cheap.
The same things go for all-inclusive keto meal delivery services: fabulous, convenient, but quite expensive. And yes, the same is true for eating out.
Moral of the story: do your cooking yourself. It may not be as fancy as the stuff you’ll see around, but it can be effective. You’ll reach ketosis AND save a few extra bucks with each bite.
Rule #3: Buy, cook, and store in bulk
Imagine yourself coming across a fabulous offer at your local store. Let’s say, grass-fed beef at $1 per pound. For someone going keto on a budget, this is an opportunity that just can’t be missed: buy as much of the stuff as you can!
Buying in bulk is the universal and arguably most effective way of saving money.
The only requirement here is to have the means to store all this food properly. Specifically, we’re talking about the good ol’ freezer, preferably a big one. A vacuum sealing system is also highly recommended to have since it will allow you to store everything in a much more compact way.
Then, when you have enough time, try cooking as much of keto-friendly food as you can. Even if you don’t eat everything at once, just freeze the stuff for later. This easy trick will protect you from a lot of opportunities to indulge in those sweet carbs: just unfreeze and warm up a pre-made keto meal from your freezer and voila, you’re still in ketosis.
Rule #4: Always be on the lookout for coupons and discounts
Stay alert for special offers and coupons: you never know when you’ll find an amazing deal.
- Always check the newspapers and magazines you can lay your hands on: you never know when you’ll find a handy coupon. For extra deals, you can try out one of the many coupon apps out there.
- Actively search the internet for special offers in your area every three days or so.
- Make sure to check what’s on sale at your local store every week and adjust your meal plan accordingly.
Last but not least, don’t worry about buying meat that’s close to its expiration date. Sometimes these items can come with 25 to 40% discounts—and they’re still absolutely safe to eat as long as you do it fast!
Rule #5: Stay hydrated the simple way
Water is your best friend to stay hydrated while on keto, and it’s also the cheapest drink ever. Diet sodas, on the other hand, cost quite a lot and aren’t exactly keto-friendly.
Although they have little to no carbs, most diet drinks still include at least a few chemicals that could interfere with your ketosis. Scientific evidence on the matter is scarce at the moment, but it’s always better to stay on the safe side whenever possible.
To summarize, water is your best choice on the keto diet. Any sort of tea or coffee is acceptable as well, but slightly worse: the caffeine present in these drinks can somewhat mess up your calorie expenditure and water balance via increased heart rate.
Rule #6: Spice up!
There are a lot of keto-friendly sauces and salad dressings out there, but they aren’t always cheap. To level up your keto game AND stay within your goal budget, a better idea is to stack up on the spices. Here’s a list of our favorite options:
In terms of sauces and dressings, freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, vinegar, and soy sauce are among the best low-carb options. A lot of mayonnaise options are also keto-friendly but always double-check the nutritional value table to make sure they’re low on carbohydrates.
Conclusion: The ultimate keto grocery list
If you want to reach ketosis as cheaply as possible, focus on the following foods first and foremost:
- Chicken (thighs, whole chicken, breasts)
- Grass-fed butter
- Almonds (or any cheap nuts depending on your location)
- Green beans
- Spices (garlic powder, curry, turmeric, paprika, etc.) and simple sauces (lemon or lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce)
For most people out there, a diet that would mostly (80-90%) consist of the items above should be enough to reach ketosis in a safe, effective, and quick manner without investing a ton of money in the adventure.