Keto is a great lifestyle, but eating tons of meat and low carb veggies can cost a little more than buying ramen by the crate. Fortunately, keto isn’t just for rich people. With a little forethought, keto can be done on the cheap.
The 'Dudes covered this topic in Episode 23:
Cheap Keto Staples
Some keto staples, like ribeye steaks, can be rather pricey, but there are plenty of foods that you can base your keto meals around that aren’t.
Here’s a few:
Eggs - In addition to being dirt cheap, eggs are the perfect keto food. They have a great fat ratio and provide a very high quality protein. Eggs are also versatile in the kitchen. They are a great canvas for flavor combinations and can be prepared in many ways.
Organic greens - Most grocery stores sell giant boxes of organic greens for around $4 / 1 lb box. Each box will make over a half dozen salads. I prefer spring mix or spinach myself. This also adds a lot of low calorie bulk to your meals, helping to stretch out your meat.
Ground Pork - Ground pork is a great cheap protein. It’s cheaper than ground beef and can be used to make my favorite cheap keto dish, crackslaw.
Cabbage - Cabbage is one of the cheapest things in the grocery store. In addition to using it in crack slaw, you can also roast it in the oven with salt.
Chuck Roast - One of your cheaper beef options. It tastes great slow cooked.
Pork Shoulder / Picnic Roast - If you’re looking to eat cheap, the pig is a magical animal. You can use this cut to make pulled pork or carnitas. Both of which are great batch cooking staples.
Whole primal cuts - If you’re willing to do some of the processing yourself, you can save significant coin by buying meat in large chunks. For example, a trimmed beef brisket is roughly 7 USD / LB. A whole unprocessed brisket is less than 3 USD / LB. I like turning a giant beef brisket into a week’s worth of meals. Pork tenderloin also comes in a large size that can be turned into pork chops or roasts for less than 2 USD / LB.
One of the keys to budgetary happiness is staying out of restaurants. It’s tough to do this when you get home from work and don’t want to cook, but batch cooking makes this easier. I like to sous vide a pile of meat over the weekend. During the week, I’ll pull out a bag, toss it in the oven or sear it and dinner is ready in less time than it takes to order a pizza. I also like making a big pile of carnitas and bagging them up into dinner sized servings. Carnitas + salad + sour cream is a great five minute dinner.
Soup is another great dish to batch cook. You can make a giant pot of soup and then dish it up into serving size bowls for the week.
When batch cooking, you don’t have to fully cook your food. I like to mostly cook (par cook) my food and finish it when I’m about to serve it. That prevents “leftover” flavor and allows you to finish the food based on your mood.
One of the main benefits of keto is that it makes fasting far easier. By limiting your feeding windows, you reduce the number of meals you need, which reduces your grocery bill. You can also avoid eating when it’s expensive. For example, I save roughly $200 / month because I don’t go out to eat for lunch anymore. I can eat cheap food at home and skip the restaurants. Even though keto food is more expensive than SAD food, you need far less of it.
You don’t need to take out a second mortgage on your home to follow a ketogenic diet. With a little though, cheap keto is well within the realm of doability.
Feel free to chime in on your best cheap keto tips.