Is it possible to do Keto On A Budget? I can’t afford my shopping list & I have no idea how to meal plan! Is it possible to eat low carb without spending all of my money on groceries? I want to lose weight, but I’m on a tight budget! Help!
Sound familiar? Look, I know how frustrating it is to go on a keto grocery haul – spend way too much money – & get home & feel like there’s nothing to eat. It happens to the best of us.
But here’s the thing: with a little creativity & planning you can do it!
Keto On A Budget
1. Meal Plan – Around The Sales
Whether it’s for the week or the month planning your meals ahead will save you money – The trick is to plan your meals around the sales!
Example: Find a good deal on chicken or ground beef – then go searching for recipes using those ingredients!
Most of us get this backwards – I know I did – because it is the natural thing to think Ok, let me find my recipes – then make a list – then hope to find a deal
I want you to flip your logic here & meal plan like this:
1) Find Deals On Protein (Eggs. Chicken. Ground Beef. Pork. Fish.) Remember – you’re aiming for around 20 grams of protein per meal.
2) Find EASY & SIMPLE Recipes – Try Not To Go Over 5 Ingredients
3) Then Start Creating Your Meal Plan For The Week
2. Do A Kitchen Inventory Before Shopping/Making A List
Check your cabinets and freezer to see what you have on hand & use what you’ve got. I use 2 google docs to keep up with my what I have list vs. what I need list – you can use a Word doc – or an old-school pen & paper set up – either way – knowledge is power here!
Bonus: You won’t end up with 5 jars of cumin or veggies that will spoil before you use them
3. Comparison Shop & Find Sales
Technology is on your side here – let’s take a moment & be grateful we don’t have to run from store to store doing price checks.
Ah. Wasn’t that nice? Hope you enjoyed that moment of zen, because we’re treading into price-matching territory! Here’s the deal – the battle of price matching can only be won if you dive deep into the store policies. Once again – knowledge is power.
Walmart – No Longer Price Matches – Read More Here
Sam’s Club – Price Match Policy
Target – Price Match Policy
Use apps like Basket that compares in-store & online prices – & – finds unadvertised deals – so you know which store has the better price.
When you find a good deal – buy extra butter, meat, chicken – what have you – & – freeze it!
Here are 21 Keto Freezer Meals you can refer to later:)
4. Check The Flyers
Check the flyers before you go – try not to wait until you get to the store – remember – we’re planning here! You can find deals in the newspaper, at the store (they always have extra copies at the checkout) – or you can look them up online with My Grocery Deals. Plan your recipes & meals based on the sales.
99% of the time your grocery store will feature a cut of meat on sale – Aldi usually starts sales on Wednesdays – & – deals go fast – so go early!
Example: When you see that chicken drumsticks are on sale for $.89 per pound buy several pounds at a time. When you get home, repackage them into family dinner-sized portions – decide what you will use this week & freeze the rest for later. I do this with all cuts of chicken, ground beef, pork, & roasts.
5. Download The App
Safeway’s app lets shoppers to scan bar codes for deals and load digital coupons instantly. Other stores with apps:
6. Choose Recipes with Veggies That Are In Season When They Are Cheaper
- Broccoli – Spring & Fall
- Cabbage – Spring – Fall – Winter
- Green Beans – Summer & Fall
- Spinach – Spring & Fall
*Kale falls into the Most Expensive Category:(
You Don’t Have To Buy Organic – But – you may want to check out the Dirty Dozen list – which is a yearly round-up published by the Environmental Working Group that lists the fruits & veggies containing the highest amount of pesticides – AFTER washing & peeling. 2019’s list includes 6 low carb vegetables.
Keto Dirty Six (2019)
- Hot Peppers
7. Buy Frozen!
Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked & flash-frozen at their peak ripeness when their nutritional value is highest & can be healthier than fresh produce – They also have less pesticides.
8. Choose Your Main Ingredients (Meat – Chicken-Pork) According To Cost Per Pound
Example: If the flyer tells you ground beef is $5.75/lb, but beef tips are $3.75/lb…Go for soups & stews & save the burger recipe for next week.
Use Your Crockpot To Cook Once – Eat Twice!
9. Beware of The Specialty Section
Step Away From That Magnificent Gourmet Meat & Cheese Display if you’re doing keto on a budget! Fabulously overpriced cheeses and pre-packaged Proscuitto will tempt you & cost you a fortune.
Stick to the basic cheese in blocks to shred later. It is better to shred your own cheese anyway since shredded cheese has additives & extra carbs! Bonus: You can freeze cheese so if it’s on sale go ahead & stock up!:)
10. Buy Generic & Save A Ton (Without Sacrificing Taste)
According to Consumer Reports – you’ll find the best generic brands at Costco, Trader Joe’s, Target, Publix, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Whole Foods & Wegman’s.
- Frozen Veggies: Trader Joe’s Brand – 10 Cents Less Per Serving
- Baking Powder: Walmart’s Great Value
- Mayo: Walmart – Whole Foods – Costco – Target
- White Cheddar: Sam’s Club & Costco Brand
- Sharp Cheddar: Whole Foods – 365 Sharp Cheddar (Block)
- Bacon: Walmart’s Great Value Brand
11. Just Know You May Have To Take A Knee Or Ask For A Ladder To Get To The Cheaper Stuff
Grocery stores are sneaky – they stock the most expensive products at eye-level. You’ll find the cheaper options on the top and bottom shelves. Don’t be afraid to ask an employee for help:)
12. Buy Bone-In Chicken: Boneless can be up to Double the Price!
13. Swap Ingredients In Recipes Based On What’s Cheaper To Buy
Don’t limit your possibilities based on “called for” ingredients: If you find a sale or have something on hand you need to use – swap ground turkey for ground beef, shredded pork for chicken – or chicken thighs for chicken breasts. The recipe police will not come for you!
14. Save Money On Seafood By Buying Canned Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel & Sardines
If you’re reading labels: Look for “skipjack” – usually sold as “light” tuna to avoid mercury. Albacore can have up to 3x the amount of mercury compared to “skipjack” + it is more expensive.
15. Know Your Meat Swaps & Save Up To 50%
Buy Chuck Roast Instead of Eye of Round Boneless
Buy Boneless Beef Chuck Steak Instead of Top Round
Buy Flat Iron Steak Instead of Flank Steak
*Fattier Cuts of Meat Are Always Cheaper Than Lean
16. Save Money At Whole Foods With Your Amazon Prime Membership
17. Save BIG On Chicken By Buying It Whole
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts run up to $5 a pound – whole chickens (broilers, fryers or roasters) are usually under $1 per pound. You’re getting more for your money & you can use the bones to make chicken stock.
If you find chickens at a good discount or you’re trying to stay away from the grocery store as much as humanly possible – buy more than one – & freeze it – whole or portioned out. According to FoodSafety.Gov it will last in the freezer for up to one year.
18. Make Life Easier – Learn How To Debone With Shears
19. If Buying In Bulk Is Out – Save Money By Buying Family Value Packs of Ground Beef, Chicken & Pork
Then – right when you get home from the store – portion out the amounts you need for meals throughout the week – in good quality ziplock style bags – & yes, you do need to buy good quality zip bags – otherwise you risk spoilage!
20. Shop Discount Stores Like Aldi and Save-A-Lot
Aldi carries Organic & Grass Fed & a ton of other keto grocery items! (Look for a link to that soon.) Don’t shy away from big box warehouse “clubs” like Sam’s Club & Costco – if you’re buying in bulk (especially meat & chicken) the membership fee is worth it. Just make sure that you don’t buy food that will spoil before you can use it
21. Now Make a Shopping List & Stick to It!
Having a master plan before you go shopping will keep you from getting distracted & making impulse buys + if you shop for the week ONCE – you’ll cut down on grocery runs – which saves you money!