Budget-friendly Keto: How to Do a Keto Diet Without Breaking the Bank
Are you interested in following the Keto diet but concerned about the increased cost?
If so, you might be surprised at just how affordable it can be when you slash your carb intake.
Plus, eating a ketogenic diet can be a cost savings in itself. As Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt M.D. says, “Eating more fat keeps you satiated for longer which means you can go longer between meals. Not having to snack constantly to keep hunger at bay is a saving tip all on its own.”
In any case, eating on a budget is tricky, regardless of the foods you’re buying. The good news is that with just a little extra preparation and effort, you can embrace the Ketogenic lifestyle without going bankrupt.
Whatever the many downsides to processed and packaged foods, they are undeniably cheap. When you switch up to fresh produce you could end up spending far more than you’d like to, if you don’t do your homework. We’ll show you how to avoid that.
Today, we’ll look at 6 of the best ways to shave a few dollars from your grocery bill without blowing your macros.
We’ll walk you through:
- Bulk buying
- Sticking firmly to a Keto meal plan
- Shopping online
- Embracing frozen produce
- Favoring seasonal foods
- Visiting the supermarket
We’ll get straight down to business showing you how to save money on your Keto food bill by making a few sensible but simple tweaks.
1) Buy Keto Ingredients In Bulk
The economy of scale means that the more you buy, the better the deal you will get.
If you can swallow the up-front cost of bulk-buying your Keto ingredients, you’ll end up saving quite a bit in the long run.
One of the best strategies for buying in bulk is to shop at a warehouse store. Many, like Costco or Sam’s Club, charge a nominal membership fee. You will rapidly recoup this cost even if you only focus on buying meat at a cut-rate price.
Once you’ve bought food in bulk, the next step is to store what you don’t need right away. Whether you’re storing dry or fresh foods, buying yourself a vacuum sealer is a great way to inject a bit of fun into the process while extending the lifespan of your food.
An extra bonus of sealing your food is that air is locked out, so even if you have a regular-sized freezer you’ll be able to fit more in.
Any way you look at it, storing large volumes of meat takes up plenty of space. Consider purchasing an additional chest freezer if you have the space to accommodate it.
Thinking of meat, how are you finding the expense of buying organic produce? If you want to make the budget a little more elastic, buy the leanest cuts available and add a little more fat when you’re cooking.
Keep in mind that if you’re freezing items or using a vacuum sealer the “use-by” dates printed on the original packaging may be extended by months or even years. Before storing an item, use a permanent marker to record the actual date by when it should be used.
The great part about buying in bulk is that you can apply the same tactics for all your food shopping if you have family members who don’t follow the Ketogenic diet.
2) Stick To a Keto Meal Plan
Planning exactly what you will eat over the course of the week is a smart move. It makes shopping easier and you’ll save time and money with fewer trips to the supermarket. You’ll also increase your chance of staying on track with Keto.
Spending as little as a couple hours each week planning your meals also helps you to dramatically reduce the amount of food you waste, which can have a significant impact on your weekly grocery bill.
Once you are making more and more meals from scratch, you’ll begin to accumulate a solid stockpile of basic kitchen supplies and ingredients. As you collection grows, so you’ll spend less each week at the store and your cost per meal will go down.
How about the rest of your family? Are they crying out for carbs?
Try prepping a Keto meal as your core and then whipping up some meat, veggies or rice for the rest of the family saving yourself time and money.
If you want to cut back on the amount you spend while also maximizing your chance of remaining in ketosis, proper planning is crucial.
3) Shop Online For Cheaper Offers On Specialty Keto Ingredients
Can you imagine driving all day from one supermarket to another in order to compare deals and prices or to find a specialty ingredient for your Keto recipes?
Nor can we. You just wouldn’t take the time or spend the money for gas to run from store to store hunting down a bargain or trying to find an unusual item.
While most of the fresh food you need to eat Keto is available at your local supermarket, you may find that certain items are harder to come by. And if you try to buy specialty items like almond flour in a store, you’ll often find it comes with an eye-watering price tag. Taking the time to source a bulk supplier online will pay you back in cost and convenience.
If you choose to shop from the comfort of your armchair, you can compare deals with just a few clicks and keystrokes.
Many online stores offer coupons and promotions, such as free shipping or discounts for new customers, so keep your eyes peeled for these and make full use of any savings that come your way.
A final word on hard-to-source specialty items – they can be great when you want to add variety to your Keto diet or try a new recipe. However, you can probably save time and money by limiting the amount of them you consume. You may find that you feel best on a Keto diet made up primarily of simple, whole foods available at your local market.
4) Buy Frozen Vegetables, Meats, and Fish
While fresh meat, fish, and produce are at the core of the Ketogenic diet, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with freezing that fresh food to make sure you have plenty in stock and also to save you money when you buy in bulk.
Again, if you’ve picked up a vacuum sealer this will serve as an invaluable tool.
If frozen veggies are on sale, stock up on them. Frozen vegetables can be as nutritious as their fresh counterparts (1), and they are much less likely to spoil.
Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Lara Clevenger, RDN says it’s important to check the label when you’re buying frozen veggies. “Make sure that the ones you are buying don’t contain any added preservatives, sweeteners, or color enhancers. The ingredients list should just read one item, and that should be whatever fruit or vegetable you are buying.”
You can buy whole chickens and freeze them so you’ll end up with far more economical cuts than if you stick strictly to white meat.
Shooting for cheaper, fattier cuts of meat and then freezing them will help you keep your fats up and protein down while spending less at the same time.
When it comes to protein, you could drill down on one source for the week to simplify your prep and keep costs down. This is a great time to pull your fish and meat reserves from the freezer.
Fish responds well to freezing and, once again, you can pick up whole fish rather than limiting yourself to more expensive steaks.
5) Stick To The Keto Foods Which Are In Season and Available In Your Local Area
An ideal way to stick to fresh foods is to focus on seasonal produce (2) wherever possible.
Certified Holistic Health Coach Katrine van Wyk says, “Simply supply and demand. When there’s abundance of a product, such as watermelons in the summer, the prices go down. Seasonal food is much cheaper to produce for the farmers who would rather sell their products for a lower price, than not at all. Cash in on the seasonal bounty.”
If you live somewhere coastal with plenty of fresh fish, it’s worth making contacts and picking up bargains on fresher fish at a lower price than the supermarket.
If you live near farms keep an eye out for opportunities to purchase meat in bulk from a local farmer.
While having a meal plan and sticking to it is one approach to slicing a few dollars off your bill, always retain a degree of spontaneity so you can take full advantage of special offers when they arise. Retaining the latitude to go off-menu when called for gives you the best of both worlds.
6) Eat Before Shopping and Always Take a List
Have you ever gone to the supermarket when you’re ravenous?
How did that work out for you?
Most of the time, food shopping when you’re hungry leads to unplanned purchases inspired by the cravings you’re undergoing.
Do yourself a favor by always shopping for food when you’re nicely full. You’re far more likely to stick to the grocery list and less likely to leave $20 poorer with a large bag of snack foods.
The discipline of planning and making a list are key if you want to consistently save money on your Keto food bill. Just make sure you take the list with you!
Eating a Keto diet is not radically different from any other way of eating when it comes to making small but important adjustments to achieve significant savings over time.
The added winner is that a little forethought and planning can also give you a far greater chance of sticking to those macros and eating the broad spread of nutritious and fresh food you need.
Make the effort to plan and prep your meals, don’t be shy of the freezer, and shop when your stomach is full. You might be pleasantly surprised at having a few bucks to spare while eating the best possible Ketogenic meals.
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