Hi there, Keto Newb with a strict food budget lookin for advice/meal ideas!

(Alex F) #1

Hi there, I’m a 33 year old Transwoman from the UK, I’m around 170lbs at the moment, comfort eating has been bad lately. I’ve been on estrogen treatment for just over a year now and I’m finally feeling confident enough, at least mentally, to wear some more flattering clothes, however I do need to flatten my stomach a bit. I walk usually twice daily around 2 miles per walk, sometimes further, with my dogs, they’re pretty big so I also get a lot of “resistance” training in while trying to prevent them yanking me in every direction known and unknown to humankind.

Though I know the biological basics of a keto diet I’m very bad at meal planning especially on my current budget of max £50 a week for meals and £12 a week for snacks, totalling in at a food budget of £248 a month (so no one has to do any mathematics). I’m looking to lose weight down to about 150 over a 2-3 month period, and I do intend to add more exercise into my daily life including isometric training days and “normal” training days, with yoga every day when I wake up. Can some lovely person maybe help with a basic meal plan? Only foods really out of the question that’re involved in the diet are Lamb, seafood and cottage cheese.

(Shawn Patrick Malone) #2

I would start here:
It’s in the stickies section on the left side of the opening page. Plenty of good information.

(Little Miss Scare-All) #3

Ughhhhh and first thing that came to mind to give you was my award winning lamb seafood cottage cheese parmesean recipie.

I’m of no help because I live on hamburger patties currently.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #4

Many people have internalised the standard advice to “eat less, move more” to the point where it is hard to shake loose from it. But exercise, despite it’s many other benefits, is hopeless for losing weight; and cutting calories can be counter-productive, because it makes our metabolism slow down.

A well-formulated ketogenic diet is basically very limited carbohydrate intake, moderate protein intake, and fat to satiety. This means that you probably don’t need to alter the amount of protein you are getting, but you need to reverse the proportions of fat and carbohydrate that are normally recommended.

The good news is that these proportions are in terms of calories, and fat is much more calorie-dense than carbohydrate (9 kcal/g vs. 4 kcal/g). This means that it only takes 133 g of fat to provide the same number of calories as 300 g of carbohydrate.

We strongly advise eating enough food to satisfy your hunger; there are scientific reasons for this, having to do with how the body’s hormonal responses to the foods we eat cause said foods to get partitioned (either to be metabolised or to be stored as fat).

While we advise eating a real, whole foods diet, there is nothing to say you can’t subsist quite happily on MacDonald’s burgers (without the bun or fries, of course). Stay away from the local chippie, but doner kebab should be fine (in terms of keto, anyway; the kebab shop round the corner from my ex’s in London was rather dodgy—but that was many years ago)—just don’t eat the pita bread.

As you adapt to this way of eating, you may find that your budget is actually coping better, without all the expensive processed carbohydrate in your diet. Also, fat is cheap. See if your local butcher will sell or give you trimmed scraps to render for tallow to cook with. Also, if you like bacon, save the bacon grease to cook everything else in.

And lastly, Aldi and Lidl are your friend. There is probably one or the other near you, and they often have good deals on meat. Buy the fattier cuts, and don’t fear fat.

(Megan) #5

Hi Alex-F, welcome to the forum. I ate super simple on keto - just steak or chops or roast pork with a few green leafy veg and cruciferous veg, with some greek yoghurt and frozen strawberries sometimes, and a bit of colby cheese, so I’m no help when it comes to recipe ideas lol. I can congratulate you on adding 12 pounds to your meal budget tho! The idea on keto is to eat until you’re satisfied then eat another meal when hungry again, with very limited snacking, if any at all. Being hungry for a snack often means you need to make your meals a bit bigger.

Good luck and keep us posted!

(Robin) #6

Welcome! I need to caution that your goal to lose this many pounds in this amount of time may not pan out for you. It’s a process and done properly (and patiently) will lead to success… weight loss and Improved health in general.

And what is your plan after the 2-3 month period, assuming you have reached your goal weight? If you call it good and then attempt to add the carbs back in, it will probably backfire.

Also… you don’t have much weight to lose. That will make the process much slower. It’s those last 20 pounds that confound many of us who have been at this for a long time.

Then there is the added unknown of how your estrogen treatment and hormones will respond to yet another “transition’.

As for recipes, meal plans, etc… SOOO much info at your disposal in our various categories.

I wish you great luck. You may end up being a much needed unique voice on this forum. Let us know how you do. Glad you’re here.

(Alex F) #7

This is definately something I’m curious about, my plan is to continue keto albeit on a fitting amount to maintain the weight, i don’t want to become stick thin again, being 5’9" I don’t want to go below 145ish otherwise I’ll look quite gaunt however I’d like to maintain around 145-155 overall, I don’t mind fluctuating in that sort of area. I’m quite aware it’s generally not going to be a quick process, I do however intend to add in a lot more exercise than I currently have which should keep both my metabolism and muscles working consistently over time and help me tone the areas of my body that (honestly speaking) give me a lot of problems with gender dysphoria, currently mostly the bottom of my stomach/obliques area, and more fat may equal more boobs (sorry if this is a bit crass, just being honest about it haha) which can only be a good thing for my self-image. I think I’m going to aim for around 2000-2200 calories a day and adjust based on the first 3-4 weeks of experience.

(Alex F) #8

I do love a good rump or ribeye. and honestly I could probably eat steak and bacon for breakfast with a slathering of some sort of cheese. What sort of “cheat” carbs would I be able to have in small amounts (truth be told I’m rather partial to eating tubs of haagen das ice cream “once in a while” (aka when I can get one haha)


Hi and Welcome Alex _F,
I’m in the U.K. too and have just started this way of eating, I’m on week 3 so still finding my feet.
I’m feeding myself (3 meals a day) and two puppies (4 meals a day) on about £50 per week. I started out on a lot of steak but it isn’t fatty enough and my protein numbers were far too high so I’m buying pork joints.
These staples are from Lidl:
1KG Mature Cheddar Cheese - £3.99.
15 Free Range Eggs - £2.09.
1KG Bacon - £1.49
1.5KG Pork Leg Joint - £5.79
1KG Chicken Thighs - £2.09.
1KG Chicken Wings - £1.99.
Cream Cheese - 79p.
500g Mushrooms - £1.30.
500g Baby Spinach - £1.59.
400ml Coconut Milk - £0.69
Basil & Corriander Plants 69p each.
Limes - 17p each.
Broccoli- 69p
Cauliflower - 85p.

I’ve never cooked until 3 weeks ago so I’m not much help with recipes but there’s tons of info on the Recipe Section and members have been terrific.

I’m on a whack of estrogen which I thought might slow things but it hasn’t - yet!

Good luck!

(Allie) #10

So do I :rofl:

(Allie) #12

Scrap the snacks and make your food budget £62.00 a week

I spend £40 a week total on a Tesco click & collect which includes loads of fresh green veggies and bananas for my chooks, as well as the boring stuff like washing up liquid and shampoo.

Chicken thighs and minced beef (ground beef for our American friends) make up the bulk of my diet, along with eggs from the best cared for hens in the whole of the UK… :rofl: Nothing highly processed, nothing in fancy colourful packets, just bare basics. It’s easy doable.



Considering I need to look up how much that is in HUF (Hungarian Forint, one of the weakest currencies ever), I has to but it’s easy. OK, so you have at least 3 times as much food money as me (I have no good idea about mine since HUF got even weaker than before), that sounds good even with higher prices (some items are cheaper though if I remember correctly but I only have little info about it).
Oh I’ve read @VictoriaA’s prices. I am so envious, bacon for the fragment of the prices here, only crap cheese is that very cheap… Wow. Chicken, pork and eggs are the same and that’s what matters to me.

I can’t make a meal plan to myself unless I go simple… I may have ideas but what if one fancies something else on that day? And tastes, preferences, needs differ.
I personally focus on meat and eggs. Pork and turkey as I can’t afford more expensive stuff regularly but I really love these tender things. I consume dairy too but not much. If you want, you can eat some vegs too.
I don’t know what you like and how high level variety you need…
But meat and nothing/eggs/some other meat/vegs sounds good for a base meal, many use that. I did vegetarian keto, that was trickier, I half-lived on cakes and ice cream to keep my carbs low. It’s WAY easier with meat as a staple. Especially for people like me who gets most satiation and satisfaction from the right meat (people who has problems with eating enough are different but I tend to eat too much). Less (about zero) worry about proper nutrients when I have enough meat too… Simple and nice, what not to like? :smiley: I just need other things too but that’s quite fine.

You may look at the “What did you keto today?” (and a ton of other texts after that), it even have wonderful photos! I got very good ideas from there, ideas that even worked for my high-carber SO. It’s always a joy when I can make something for both of us, it got harder and harder as I lowered my carbs and appreciated simplicity more…

I don’t know a word as “cheat” as in a diet. I go off or don’t. You eat something wrong but staying on keto or not…
It’s up to you how you eat. I don’t understand why anyone wanted a non-keto ice cream but tastes do differ… I am partial to biscuits, well those are significantly harder to make tasty and extreme low-carb… What’s worse, I can’t bake good ones even using carbs. And I can’t buy some (well I do but regret and I rarely regret things related to food) because I will eat it up right away after I open the package (or in a few hours if I am super good) :frowning: We all have our weaknesses. Except some super special ones :smiley:
Keto doesn’t ban any items though most of us has some that we can’t eat in small enough quantities and most of us are health-conscious too so we don’t just go for low enough carb. I am pretty relaxed but I am very seriously against added sugar, that is obviously no good for anyone. Our body can handle a little, I understand that sometimes it is worth it but it should be kept at a minimum and if we can keep away without losing sanity or something, we should.
There are good keto versions for many things, it’s quite individual, I almost never find carby and very low-carb things even remotely similar, good things I don’t want a specific things just “a crunchy thing” or “creamy dessert” and those are doable on keto. The crunch is more problematic because I don’t want cheese whisps and I don’t often have the right skin to fry either…
We don’t need to eat every kinds of tasty things. Unless it’s a real need (even if it’s “just” mental, I am quite familiar with that), try not to add high-carb stuff. And if you must, don’t add it too often or in too big amounts. Figure out what you should forget about as you have no control and where small amounts work. I got super good at tiny amounts, it took some years (and carnivore times) for certain items though…

Good luck!

(Marianne) #14

I never had a “meal plan” per se. Instead, early on I made a database of all of the clean keto foods (natural, one ingredient) that I enjoyed and captured their carb, protein and fat grams so I would have a general sense. My “meals” consisted of throwing a combination of these together, usually on the fly. Breakfast was always scrambled eggs and a little bacon or sausage (I like things easy). Lunch was whatever I could pull out of the fridge (leftover meat, simple tossed salad with cheap greens and home made blue cheese dressing, 4 oz. cream cheese, deviled eggs, etc.). Dinner was almost always a steamed vegetable (brussels sprouts - never tired of them), in butter and salt, and a pan seared or grilled piece of meat (large enough to satisfy). If you have a big discount club/store (Sam’s, BJs, Costco, etc.), we buy our meat in bulk and break it down into single servings when we get home and freeze. Cheaper cuts of beef and pork are very economical in bulk, especially. “Roasts” are cheaper and last several days when sliced. 73/27% fat hamburger is relatively inexpensive (that is great sauteed in shredded cabbage in its fat - yes, that would constitute a meal for us). Eggs are cheap. Generally, you will save money on whatever you can buy in bulk. Just keep the total carbs as low under 20g/day as you can and eat clean food. If you are hungry, you’re not eating enough. Don’t count calories. Exercise because you want to, not as another form of purging calories. I think walking your dogs is plenty. That’s about it; no magic formula to keto, just basic, simple principles - and it works. Good luck to you!


Hi Alex!
I’m also in the UK. I’m from Suffolk.
I have found that I spent a little more to begin with but my meals are actually a lot cheaper than they were before.
The general advice is to go organic, grassfed, meat of the highest quality you can afford.
However… I believe that simply eating the right macros are the most important thing, and you can fine tune the quality of your meats when you can afford it.

So, extra virgin olive oil is about £2.50 a liter in aldi. That’s 8200 calories.
Corned beef is £2.30 for 340g which is 46g of fat and 86g of protein in a tin.
Aldi mild cheese is also around £2.30 for 400g. Which give you 140g of fat and 100g protein.

I never use to buy butter because it is quite expensive, but when you use that £1.50 as part of your diet, you are getting 200g of fat. Which is pretty good value.

Good luck on your journey.
I am also on a tight budget so don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Where on earth are you getting 1kg of bacon for £1.49?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #17

I’d stay away from anything containing sugar, because that triggers my carb addiction big time. The carbs I generally can eat safely are leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower.

I find it helpful to think of eating ketogenically as a permanent way of eating, not as a diet on which one can “cheat.” Though as a carb addict, I certainly understand the urge to raise insulin to damaging levels! :grin:


Just triple checked the weight and receipt, Lidl. I bought 3 packets!

(Little Miss Scare-All) #19

I have a beautiful Lidl 10 minutes away. You guys have inspired me to plan a trip to go peruse their meat section.

I know my mom’s boyfriend keeps urging me to go, but I’m kind of weird with meats from certain places, call me bougie or whatever, but I’m freakin odd, ok? But I’m gonna see what kind of deals they have.

(Jane) #20

You may find your food budget a bit higher at first, but as you become fat-adapted (6-8 weeeks typically) and your hunger diminishes most of us only eat 2 meals a day and no snacks. Then your food budget should go down.

The good thing about this way of eating is we are allowed the fattier cuts of meat, which are cheaper. I don’t know how the stores are laid out in the UK, but here is the US we shop the “edges of the store”. All the processed crap foods are in the middle aisles.

If you can’t afford free-range eggs, buy regular ones. If you can’t afford grass-fed meat, buy what you can afford.

For some simple meal plans: bacon and eggs for breakfast, salad with lots of protein (chicken, cheese, ham, eggs) and olive oil and vinegar dressing for lunch, hamburger patty (or 2) with cheese, steamed broccoli with cheese.

Other meal ideas: tuna, chicken or egg salad on a bed of lettuce, make your own cole slaw and leave out the sugar. Grilled pork chops, chicken thighs stuffed with ham and cheese.

I eat a lot of cheese and that can be a problem with some and others not so much.

One of my favorite meals is finely shredded cabbage mixed in with no sugar spaghetti sauce with some browned mince in it and topped with Parmesan cheese – faux spaghetti. I cook the cabbage until soft but still a bit crunchy and not limp.

(Marianne) #23

No, I don’t know why - maybe because I always burned them. I have heard people say they are so delicious, however. I don’t eat veggies anymore, but if I do sometime, I will give it a shot.