6 Tips for Staying Keto on a Budget
There’s misconception that the keto diet is expensive. Although it’s easy to be scared off by the hefty price tags on certain specialty items, going keto doesn’t have to cost you an arm and leg. There are plenty of ways to stay keto on a budget, and with a little planning, you can work on your health and save money at the same time.
It’s tempting and easy to purchase pre-made foods, keto-friendly substitutes, or pricey cuts of meat. However if you take the time to prepare and make some of your own keto-friendly foods at home using everyday items, you may be surprised to find that the keto diet is more affordable than you realize.
Here are six easy tips for doing keto on a budget:
Use Simple Ingredients
Rather than opting for pre-packaged food items that can run up a hefty bill, stick to whole-food ingredients that can be used in simple dishes at home. Recipe re-creations that require a lot of ingredients can be fun to try from time to time, but they can also suck your wallet dry. You may have one or two must-have items (like your favorite keto snack or a keto-friendly ketchup you always use on your eggs), but most meals should consist of a simple combination of meat, vegetables, and fat. Eating whole foods, rather than processed foods, is not only healthier, but will help you save money.
Buying a ton of ingredients, only to make a meal once, can be wasteful and costly. Figure out what foods you tend to eat the most, and make larger portions of them ahead of time to use throughout the week. This can be a whole meal, or just smaller components of the meal, such as baked chicken that you can use for multiple lunches or dinners. Utilizing the same ingredients throughout the week will prevent you from having to return for more at the grocery store.
Buy In Bulk
Foods tend to be much cheaper when you buy in bulk. Although it might seem extreme to purchase five pounds of chicken breasts or a half gallon of coconut oil, you can store them in your freezer or in your pantry, and use them over time. Joining your local warehouse retailer allows you to buy bulk items for less, or you can even check sites like Amazon.
When making a salad, you probably prefer fresh veggies, but fresh isn’t always better. Frozen food not only comes with a cheaper price tag, but it lasts longer, which means you won’t be letting food go to waste. Plus, frozen foods are just as healthy and in some cases, such as with frozen vegetables, they may even be more nutritious. If a vegetable isn’t in season, it’s going to be far more expensive, so keep some frozen vegetables in your freezer to mix into your meals. You can also buy frozen fish, poultry, and meat, which tend to be more budget-friendly.
Opt For Fatty Cuts
The fatty cuts of meat also happen to be less expensive which works out in your favor when doing keto — since the focus is on fat anyway. This means you’ll want to choose chicken thighs over chicken breasts or ground chuck rather than ground beef. Other cheaper cuts include pork loin, ground turkey, beef sirloin and bone-in pork chops.
Plan Around Sales
It pays to be a “couponer” —if you’re not keeping up with what’s on sale, you might be missing out. Most supermarkets have sales circulars that are available online, so check them ahead of time and make a meal plan around what items they have for sale. Check the butcher’s section for discounts as well, as meats tend to go on sale as they near their expiration date.
With a little planning, you can maintain a keto diet and keep your money in the bank. As long as you’re open to trying new foods, reusing ingredients, and getting creative in the kitchen, a budget-friendly keto diet will be a breeze.
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Carina Wolff is a health and wellness writer and food blogger based out of Los Angeles. She graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism and psychology. She writes for a number of websites, including Bustle, FabFitFun, Reader's Digest, and more. She also runs a healthy food blog called Kale Me Maybe, where she develops clean-eating recipes.