Most keto diet meals consist of low-carb proteins, such as meat or eggs, oils, non-starchy vegetables, and high-fat foods, such as avocados, coconut, or nuts.
Here are some tips for filling up on these keto meal components when money is tight:
- Buy in bulk. Buying foods in bulk can help you reduce expenses. Items such as nuts, seeds, and shredded coconut can be found in bulk at most stores, while cooking oils can be purchased online or at a discount store in bulk.
- Look for sales and stock up. If you have room in your freezer, stock up on meats, vegetables and even avocados (you can freeze the pulp) when they are on sale. You can also take advantage of non-perishable items such as nuts, seeds and oils at reduced prices and stock up your pantry.
- Buy vegetables in season. Seasonal vegetables, as well as locally grown ones, tend to be cheaper than those that are out of season. Plan your meals around the season of certain nonstarchy vegetables.
- Choose frozen over fresh. Most frozen fruits and vegetables, such as berries, cauliflower and broccoli, are more affordable than their fresh counterparts. They also last longer, so you won’t have to worry about wasting money on produce that will spoil if not consumed quickly.
- Start planning and preparing your meals. Planning meals before you go grocery shopping can help you avoid unnecessary purchases. Also, preparing some meals or foods such as hard-boiled eggs and shredded chicken in advance can help you stick to your plan during the week and avoid expensive take-out orders.
- Opt for cheaper proteins. Eggs are an incredibly inexpensive and keto-friendly food that you can use in a variety of meals to reduce your food costs. You can also save money by buying cooked whole chickens and using or freezing all the parts, and buying cheaper cuts of meat such as pork, rib-eye steak, ground steak, and chicken thighs.
- Skip packaged foods for weight loss. Ice cream and keto snacks may be tempting, but their price can be high. Instead of stocking up on these foods, buy whole foods first and reserve more sophisticated options for palate pleasers.
Shopping list on a budget
- Meat/protein: eggs, canned tuna, whole chickens, chicken thighs, pork ribs, frozen ground meats, discounted fresh meats to keep in the freezer, cottage cheese, whole Greek yogurt.
- Healthy fats: shredded coconuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and nut butters in large quantities; avocado and olive oils; avocados for sale (freeze the pulp for later use); frozen coconut cubes and canned coconut milk; cheeses, butter, and ghee for sale
- Non-starchy vegetables (in season, on sale or frozen): zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery, green beans, squash, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, arugula, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers.
- Low-carb fruits (in season, on sale or frozen): raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, plums, clementines, cherries, blueberries, kiwi.
In addition to sticking to these foods, you can shop at Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Costco or discount grocery stores to get the cheapest prices.