Updated: Jun 5, 2020
So you want to start eating keto, and you are overwhelmed looking at all the expensive high quality food. Grass-fed beef, store bought bone broth, healthy mayo, pasture-raised eggs and raw cream (oh my! 😱)
I've got some tips for how I eat keto on a budget. Keeping your wallet full but your waistline slim.
I keep things as simple as I can while still keeping my meals interesting. I am a foodie after all and I don't like boring or bland 😋
Share with me your budget saving tips in the comment section below, and share this post with others who may need to save a buck on groceries!
1. Stock up on grass-fed ground beef
While grass-fed beef can get pricey, you can find some high-quality ground beef at a very reasonable price. I often find it on sale at Sprouts for as low as $4.99 a pound. Trader Joe's sells a pound for about $6 or $7. I always have a small stock of ground beef in my freezer. There are so many ways to cook and flavor this up into a delicious meal. Plus ground beef has its muscle fibers already broken down so it's easier to eat and digest, especially for those transitioning into a higher meat diet. Think of it this way, you can spend $7 at a fast food joint for a low quality burger, or $7 for some grass-fed ground beef and make 4 burgers for your family. Some ways to cook with ground beef without getting tired of it:
Make it into meatballs I like to make all kinds of different flavored meatballs (especially with liver hidden inside! 👏) Per 1 pound of ground beef, I add between 1/4-1/2 cup of almond flour and 1 egg to bind it. Then the fun happens with flavorings. I love fun flavor combos, so I like to keep a variety of spices handy. This is a secret to adding flavor and nutrients when on a budget too! Spices have a lot of immune boosting and antioxidant properties, therefore they add a lot of flavor without a lot of 💰. Flavor your meatballs with curry powder and turmeric for Indian inspired flavors, smoked paprika, cumin and coriander for a BBQ flavor, italian seasoning, pecorino cheese and garlic for a traditional meatball, cheddar and jalapeno, and bacon, stuff them with cheese, add spinach, sundried tomatoes and feta... as you can see, the combinations are endless!
Make burgers I know this is an obvious one, but you can have a lot of fun with burger toppings to keep things interesting! I love caramelized onions, on any burger. Sauteed mushrooms, arugula, yummy cheese options, any pickled vegetable for a bite, a fried egg, bacon, sliced tomato... again the possibilities are endless. Omit the bun, of course, or go for a lettuce wrap instead. I enjoy just eating them with a knife and fork because lettuce wraps often get so messy and are hard to eat!
Make a hearty chili Make chili keto by omitting the beans! It's still a rich hearty and flavorful dish. Top with bacon, cheddar, sour cream, chopped red onion, cilantro and avocado, and you will never miss the beans!
Make a stir-fry with cauliflower rice A spin on fried rice! Saute ground meat in a skillet and add fresh ginger, garlic, coconut aminos or whatever flavorings you like, and add cauli rice and chopped up non-starchy veggies (zucchini, asparagus, mushroom, onion, bell pepper, chile peppers...) Scramble in some egg at the end and done!
Have a taco night! Use your favorite taco seasoning and lettuce wraps in place of the tortilla, and your favorite topping. I recently found jicama wraps at Trader Joe's and prefer them to lettuce wraps, they hold together better plus you can some really good prebiotics from the jicama!
Here are some keto approved recipes featuring ground beef to give you even more inspiration: Korean ground beef bowl recipe
Instant pot beef and bacon chile
2. Cook with eggs in multiple ways
While pasture raised eggs are the best, you don't have to purchase them to still get some high quality nutrients. Eggs are the only other food that comes close to the amount of nutrients found in organ meats, while not having to get grossed out at the thought of eating them 😆 I do recommend at least buying organic and free range eggs so you aren't exposed to GMO-feed that is given to the chickens. A dozen eggs can range from $3-$8 depending on the quality. But how much would you spend at a breakfast place like Denny's for an omelette? They range from $8-$10, and you don't even know what kind of eggs your're getting. Buy a dozen eggs yourself, and make at least 6 meals for yourself consisting of eggs (that's if you consume 2 eggs per serving) There are literally thousands of ways to cook and prepare eggs, so get creative and add some variety to your preparations! Some ways to cook with eggs without getting tired of them:
Make a frittata using a variety of different veggies, cheeses and seasonings
Poach, fry, boil or scamble (the obvious)
Make a tasty egg salad with avocado oil mayo (or even cheaper, make your own mayo! Avocado oil mayo
Make devilled eggs
3. Stock up on frozen vegetables
Frozen organic veggies are actually a great pantry staple. They often are less expensive than fresh, and they are frozen at the peak of their season. It's easy to forget about your veggies on keto, but it's really important to load up on the non-starchy types for fiber to keep things moving. Antioxidants from veggies are also important for our health. I like to add these to many of my simple meals. Throw them into bone broth for a quick gut-healing veggie soup. Saute veggies in plenty of grass-fed butter and garlic served alongside you protein of choice. Or cook them in some curry and full fat coconut milk or coconut cream for a delicious vegetable curry!
Frozen veggies to keep on hand: Cauliflower and cauliflower rice Broccoli
Brussels sprouts Green beans Spinach and other leafy greens
4. Make a weekly meal plan that sticks to recipes with the same basic ingredients
If you’re on a tight budget, there’s no need to buy so many ingredients. I've been guilty of this in the past where I got excited to try all these new fun recipes all in the same week that called for so many different ingredients! Although it can be fun to experiment with different recipes, your budget will stretch further if you try only one new thing at a time. You’ll also want to search for recipes that only use the same few ingredients you typically keep on hand. Fewer ingredients mean less money spent, so to save your wallet, always keep it simple. To do this well, it helps to plan your meals out for the week. Write out what meals you plan to make for the week and shop accordingly so you only stick to a list of ingredients that you need for that week, and ingredients that will serve for multiple meals.
5. Shop what's in season
When buying fresh produce, if you buy what is in season, not only will you save money but you will reap the most health benefits from that item because chances are if it's in season, it is locally sourced as well. Fresh in season produce is higher in antioxidants and nutrients than produce flown in from around the globe. Imported produce also isn't naturally ripened in the ground and with the sunlight, but often times when it's shipped over, ethylene gas is used to unnaturally ripen it. So see what's in season in your area, check out this website.
👉🏼 Bonus tip: Cut down on snacking
Technically, snacking can sabotage your goals to be an extremely efficient fat burner. If you are always feeding yourself, you body will burn what you ate before burning its own fat for fuel. So removing snacking will not only save you money (snacks can be expensive!), but will help you burn more fat. You will want to make sure all your meals are extremely satiating so you are too full to feel the urge to snack. Keep your meals high in fat, fiber, and always include protein. For example, if you have soup for lunch (bonus points of your soup is made with bone broth), make sure it has plenty of veggies for fiber, meat of some kind for protein, and has plenty of fat. You can blend butter or coconut oil (or MCT oil) into a brothy soup for a spin on a "bulletproof" drink, top your soup with avocado, or make it with a fattier cut of meat. I like to drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top of my soups as well for extra flavor and healthy fat!
These tips can encourage and empower you to eat healthy while on a budget!