The ketogenic diet, or keto diet is a radical lifestyle change that will help you lose weight and attain a state of optimal health. When people think of a healthy diet, they think of a balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, and fats. Keto differs from that because it is a diet that consists of high fat, high protein foods, and very low carbohydrates and sugars.
Most people are wary to try new diets as they usually burn a hole in their pockets because healthy food is typically more expensive than then its evil opposite. Keto can also be pretty expensive if you follow the gurus. But with a little bit of planning and creativity, the keto diet doesn’t need to break the bank to achieve health goals. Here are 10 ways to do keto on a budget:
1. Fill your basket with eggs
Feasting on eggs is a cheap way to meet your protein and fat needs when doing keto. A large egg has 4.8 grams of fat, 0.4 grams of carbohydrates, and 6.3 grams of fat. Eggs do not cost that much and open up a lot of variations for your meals. You can try mixing your eggs with cheese and some leafy vegetables for an omelette or boil some eggs to make an egg salad. The possibilities with eggs as your main ingredient are endless.
2. Eat green, leafy vegetables
We were taught that all veg are healthy, but for keto, not all veg are created equally. The best indication of which vegetables are allowed is this: if the veg grows above ground, it has less carbs and it’s a go, but below ground veg has more carbs so best to avoid.
Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, kale, and lettuce have low carbs and provide good fiber. Buy fresh vegetables when they are in season, buy them frozen for the rest of the year.
3. Prepare your own meals
Whenever a new diet becomes a trend, companies that provide meals that fit the new diet trend pop up. They offer meals that fit the nutritional requirements of the diet, but at a premium price. Some of these products come in pre-cooked and are sold in groceries. Sure, they can save you some time in preparing your meals, but if you want to save your hard earned cash, prepare your own meals.
4. Buy in bulk
As the ketogenic diet is not a short-term diet, but a lifestyle change, you should buy in bulk. Buying in large quantities usually costs less. Buy nuts such as almonds and walnuts in bulk in stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.
5. Minimize food waste
Minimizing your food waste will save you money because you can cook meals with parts that you usually discard. This goes hand in hand with the next tip, plan your meals ahead. When buying meat, use the bones to make broth instead of throwing them out right away. The broth can be the base for your next meal.
6. Plan your meals ahead
Planning your meals ahead of time can save you some dough. Plan your meal for 3 days or a week in advance and then bulk buy the required ingredients. Groceries have weekly sales and if you can get a good deal on meat or vegetables, make a menu based on what’s on sale. Planning ahead can also minimize your food waste.
7. Pass up on organic, free range, and grass-fed
Some keto advocates suggest purchasing organic vegetables and grass-fed or free-range meat. While eating organic vegetables and grass-fed and free-range meat have health benefits, they are not required when doing keto. These are premium products that cost more, if you are doing keto on a budget, skip these variants for now.
8. Go for off-cut meats
Off-cut meats are usually cheaper than premium choice cuts. If you are craving chicken, chicken thighs are usually cheaper than chicken breasts. Chicken thighs have a higher fat content than chicken breasts, which is required for keto. If you are craving pork, go for pork shoulder instead of bone-in pork chops. Not only do pork chops cost more, but most of the weight also comes from the bones, and opting for pork shoulder will net you more meat.
9. Buy frozen, not fresh fruit
If you’re doing keto, low carb fruits are very limited. You can pretty much just eat berries if you want to incorporate fruits into your diet. Buying frozen berries will save you money and give you a number of options on how to use them. You can eat them as is, or make a berries smoothie. You can also thaw them to use them as a syrup for your keto pancakes.
10. Supplements and boosters? Are they necessary?
There are numerous keto boosters available on the market. The most common examples are exogenous ketones and electrolytes. However, there is not enough evidence to support that these supplements can help with your weight loss.
Supplements are good to have to fill in nutritional gaps but are not necessary. Intermittent fasting and quality sleep are still the best keys to maximum fat-burning while on keto.
Being healthy does not always mean you need to spend more, as there are ways to be healthy even if you are on a budget. I hope these 10 ways to do keto on a budget will get you started on your keto journey and to a healthier you.