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Eating Keto on a Budget: Shopping List, Meal Plan, and Pricing Breakdown

<article> <section> <p>Switching to a keto diet has a ton of benefits for your whole life, including <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">more energy</a>, <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">improved sleep</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">weight loss</a>. Best of all, it doesn’t have to slim your wallet along with your waistline!</p> <p>Eating keto doesn’t need to be expensive. You can feast like royalty on a shoestring budget if you learn a few good habits and plan ahead. Shed pounds and save dollars with our guide to budget low-carb shopping.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Is It Expensive to Eat Keto?</header> <p>When you’re first starting a keto or low-carb diet, you might worry about blowing your grocery budget. After all, grass-fed beef, avocados, and full-fat dairy are expensive! Carb-laden packaged foods seem cheap by comparison. </p> <p>But those cheap foods are also low on healthy nutrients, good fats, and muscle-building protein. Long term, they cost far more in damage to your health than the few pennies they might save you!</p> <p>But delicious keto-friendly foods don’t have to break the bank. It’s not much more expensive to eat a healthy, low-carb diet. When you do keto right, you’re eating fresh, whole foods that support your metabolism—and those foods can be far less expensive than grabbing a box of processed, packaged carbs.</p> <p>When you switch to a low-carb diet, you don’t have to exist exclusively on pricey cuts of prime beef and pork. In fact, on keto, you won’t eat more protein than before—instead, you’re <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">dropping unhealthy carbs</a> and loading up on good fats and <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">metabolism-boosting veggies</a> alongside sensible portions of <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">tasty proteins</a>.</p> <p>Chicken thighs, eggs, cheese, and yogurt, peanut butter, and other keto-friendly staples are very affordable, especially if you shop smart. Even more expensive ingredients like avocados or grass-fed butter can be found on sale or at a discount store, giving you tons of flavor and nutrients without going overboard on your grocery budget.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="produce-vegetables-market"> </picture> <header>How Do You Do Keto on a Tight Budget?</header> <p>Eating keto on a budget is all about making the right choices. Instead of feasting on filet mignon every day, opt for tasty chicken thighs a few nights a week. Craving steak? Stretch it by making <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Korean beef bowls</a> out of that <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">grass-fed</a> strip steak. Buy frozen salmon instead of fresh—the salmon in the seafood case may have been frozen and thawed more than once before reaching your fridge, while the frozen filets were preserved at the peak of freshness.</p> <p>Use less expensive ingredients like cauliflower rice to stretch more expensive proteins—you can get three or four hearty meals out of just a pound of chicken if you make <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">bowls</a> or <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">casseroles</a>.</p> <p>Try prepping your own ingredients. A 10-ounce bag of frozen cauliflower rice costs $2 at Target, but a 2-pound head of fresh cauliflower is only $2.50. Whirl it in the food processor to make your own cauliflower rice and you’ve saved more than 50 percent!</p> <p>Meal plans are key. Cook only one meal for everyone—don’t buy carb-loaded ingredients to cook for the rest of the family and then buy separate low-carb food for yourself. Experiment with filling, family-friendly recipes like <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers</a> or <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Keto Chicken Tenders</a> and no one will complain about the lack of potatoes!</p> <p>Have really picky eaters? Try using zucchini noodles in place of half of the spaghetti when you’re making a low-carb marinara or <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">pesto</a>; serve that to the family and put yours over a full serving of veggie noodles. You’ll amp up everyone’s health plus save on groceries.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="organic-indoor-market"> </picture> <header>How Can I Make Eating Keto Cheap and Easy?</header> <p>No matter what diet you follow, one of the best ways to save money on groceries is to shop smart! That can mean changing the stores you go to or the brands you buy, buying in bulk, and making a meal plan based on what’s on sale.</p> <div class="sub-head">Best Grocery Stores for Keto</div> <p>Although you can get great groceries at tons of stores, some are more expensive than others. High-end chains like Whole Foods pride themselves on local produce and sustainable options. But did you know that you can find organic, gluten-free, and low-carb foods at discount chains, too? Mid-tier groceries like Hannaford, Publix, and Kroger all have fantastic organic sections and huge produce and meat offerings to help you eat well on a budget.</p> <div class="sub-head">Low-Cost Grocery Stores for Keto Shopping</div> <p>You can save even more by checking stores with more focused offerings, like Aldi, Lidl, or Save-a-Lot. These chains slash prices by relying on house brands rather than major brands like Kellogg. They have half the selection of a big-box grocery but what they <i>do</i> stock is great for keto! They offer organic free-range whole chickens for $1.29/pound instead of $4+, grass-fed beef for just $3/pound, and 32 ounces of Greek yogurt for $3.25. You can even find top-quality olive oil, coconut oil, and organic produce for less than half what you’d pay elsewhere. Who’s going to say no to a $1 organic avocado?</p> <p>You might not find everything you need there, but if you get your basic purchases at a discount chain and round your shopping out with a trip to a more expensive store for, say, grass-fed butter, you can save big.</p> <div class="sub-head">Save with Store Brands </div> <p>No matter where you shop, if you choose store brands, you can save a bundle—there’s often up to a dollar or more gap between a name brand like Philadelphia Cream Cheese and the generic store brand with no difference in quality.</p> <div class="sub-head">How to Buy Bulk Groceries Better</div> <p>Purchasing ingredients you use often in bulk can rack up the savings. But beware of buying too much in bulk—always check the “price per unit” on the shelf tag. In some cases, bulk packaged foods like keto-specific snacks can cost far more than making low-carb goodies yourself. For example, a box of 12 keto bars goes for $40 on Amazon, but you can make two dozen <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls</a> for under $10 (and still have enough ingredients for more batches).</p> <p>Similarly, if you’re not going to use the product up by the time it expires, you’re not <i>really</i> saving. Consider buying a 16-ounce jar of coconut oil at a discount store for $3.50 instead of the 84-ounce bulk version for $25 if you’re not going to use it quickly—the per-ounce savings won’t matter if it spoils.</p> <p>Go through a ton of almonds? Definitely buy the jumbo pack at Costco! But be mindful of your eating habits, and you’ll be able to stretch your grocery budget while sticking to a low-carb diet.</p> <div class="sub-head">Substitute Similar Ingredients</div> <p>Instead of picking up whatever you stumble across in huge quantities, buy certain foods that you eat a lot of in bulk with your meal plan in mind and look around for the best prices. You might get better deals by purchasing some items in a slightly different form than you’re used to and adapting.</p> <p>For example, a pound of skinless, boneless chicken tenders often costs up to $4 per pound. But a bulk pack of chicken thighs—boasting more heart-healthy fats and more flavor—will only run $1.79/pound at the same store. Go down the street to the discount market instead of a larger chain supermarket and you might find a 5-pound frozen package for only $0.99/pound!</p> <div class="sub-head">Weekly Sale Shopping for Keto</div> <p>Check sale flyers each week to see where the best deals are. Then create a keto-friendly meal plan for your week, picking up the bulk foods you need and making a few batch meals that you can portion out or even freeze for busy nights later.</p> <p>Soon you’ll be a keto budget superstar!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Keto Budget Food Swaps and Price Breakdown</header> <p>Obviously, the exact prices of your groceries will depend on where you live and what stores you prefer. Going to Whole Foods will be more expensive than shopping at a discount store like Aldi’s, and you will likely pay more in big cities than in a small Midwestern town. You’ll also often pay more for organic, though that’s changing—even Walmart and Aldi have inexpensive organic produce these days.</p> <p>To help you figure out how to save money and still eat well on keto, we’ve created some <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">sample grocery lists</a> and <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">meal plans</a> to get you started!</p> <p>Here’s some of the smartest budget food swaps on keto with average prices gathered from mid-tier grocery chains across the US. Best of all, many swaps are actually better for you on the keto diet—they’re higher in healthy fats and often, as in the case of wild-caught versus farm-raised salmon, have more nutrients.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="keto-budget-proteins"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="keto-budget-vegetables"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="keto-budget-dairy"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="keto-budget-pantry"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>7-Day Sample Keto Meal Plan, Shopping List, and Budget</header> <p>Use this sample meal plan and shopping list to stock your low-carb kitchen for less! This meal plan will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 2 to 4 people for a week.</p> <p>As you get accustomed to shopping on a budget and find your favorite store brands and shops, you can include new items, switch out what’s on sale, and adapt to suit your lifestyle.</p> <div class="sub-head">Budget Keto Meal Plan</div> <div class="sub-head"><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Sunday</span></div> <p><b>Breakfast</b>: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Keto Pancakes</a></p> <p><b>Lunch</b>: Stuffed tomato: Scoop out the inside of a tomato, stuff with oil-packed tuna seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs, top with leftover shredded cheese, and toast under the broiler for 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.</p> <p><b>Dinner</b>: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Loaded Buffalo Chicken Casserole</a></p> <p><b>Budget Swaps & Notes</b>: Make extra pancakes to eat as a snack, spread with cream cheese and sprinkled with cinnamon. In the casserole, swap chicken thighs for chicken breasts and shred your own cheese.</p> <div class="sub-head"><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Monday</span></div> <p><b>Breakfast</b>: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Butter Coffee</a></p> <p><b>Lunch</b>: Leftover buffalo chicken casserole</p> <p><b>Dinner</b>: Zoodles with <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">kale pesto</a> </p> <p><b>Budget Swaps & Notes</b>: Use <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">coconut oil</a> instead of MCT oil in your butter coffee. When making the kale pesto, substitute sunflower seeds for pine nuts and use &frac12; cup of almond flour in place of the whole almonds and cashews. Sub coconut oil for avocado oil, and use thawed, drained frozen kale instead of fresh.</p> <div class="sub-head"><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Tuesday</span></div> <p><b>Breakfast</b>: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Low-Carb Frittata</a></p> <p><b>Lunch</b>: Leftover pesto zoodles</p> <p><b>Dinner</b>: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Chicken Fajita Soup</a></p> <p><b>Budget Swaps & Notes</b>: Use 8 slices of bacon instead of sausage in the breakfast frittata and swap &frac12; cup sour cream for the heavy cream. For the soup, swap chicken thighs for breasts; use homemade broth if you have it.</p> <div class="sub-head"><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Wednesday</span></div> <p><b>Breakfast</b>: Greek yogurt</p> <p><b>Lunch</b>: Salad greens with oil-packed tuna, balsamic, and onion</p> <p><b>Dinner</b>: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Beef Stroganoff Meatballs</a></p> <p><b>Budget Swaps & Notes</b>: Swap 1 teaspoon of almond meal for the xanthan gum in the sauce to thicken it without buying any extra ingredients.</p> <div class="sub-head"><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Thursday</span></div> <p><b>Breakfast</b>: Butter Coffee</p> <p><b>Lunch</b>: Leftover chicken fajita soup</p> <p><b>Dinner</b>: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Bacon, Egg, and Spinach Casserole</a></p> <p><b>Budget Swaps & Notes</b>: Breakfast for dinner makes a great budget option! Add a side salad and you’ve got a satisfying meal…with leftovers for later. Swap frozen kale for spinach to amp up the nutrients.</p> <div class="sub-head"><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Friday</span></div> <p><b>Breakfast</b>: Low-Carb Frittata</p> <p><b>Lunch</b>: Leftover beef stroganoff meatballs</p> <p><b>Dinner</b>: Easy Keto Chili</p> <p><b>Budget Swaps & Notes</b>: Sub olive oil for avocado oil. Use frozen homemade bone broth if you have it!</p> <div class="sub-head"><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Saturday</span></div> <p><b>Breakfast</b>: Scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese</p> <p><b>Lunch</b>: Leftover keto chili</p> <p><b>Dinner</b>: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Smoky Bacon Zucchini Fritters</a> with a side salad</p> <p><b>Budget Swaps & Notes</b>: When making breakfast, use leftover cheddar from earlier in the week.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="receipt-canned-food-packets"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">Budget Keto Shopping List and Costs</div> <p>The shopping list below assumes that you already have pantry staples like vanilla extract, dried herbs, and olive oil, but includes perishables and less-common items. You’ll also have certain ingredients, like almond flour, left over to help cut your costs later!</p> <style> table, th, td { border: 1px solid black; } td { padding-left:15px; padding-right:15px; } </style> <table style="width:100%; table-layout: fixed;"> <tr> <th>&nbsp;</th> <th style="text-align:center;"><b>Ingredient</b></th> <th style="text-align:center;"><b>Quantity</b></th> <th style="text-align:center;"><b>Cost</b></th> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><b>Protein</b></td> <td>Eggs</td> <td>3 dozen (buy 2 18-count bulk flats)</td> <td>$2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>73% lean ground beef</td> <td>3 pounds</td> <td>$6.98 (or buy a 5-pound bulk package for a bit more up-front cost but lower cost per pound, then freeze the remainder)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Bacon</td> <td>2 pounds</td> <td>$6.24</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Boneless chicken thighs</td> <td>4 pounds</td> <td>$6.30</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Oil-packed tuna</td> <td>4 (5 oz.) cans</td> <td>$2.72</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><b>Vegetables</b></td> <td>Frozen kale</td> <td>4 (12 oz.) packages</td> <td>$4</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Mixed salad greens</td> <td>1 (11 oz.) bulk package</td> <td>$3.36</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Fresh basil</td> <td>1 bunch</td> <td>$1.98</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Cauliflower</td> <td>2 pounds (about 2 small heads)</td> <td>$2.98</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Green onions</td> <td>1 bunch</td> <td>$0.98</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Bell peppers</td> <td>3</td> <td>$1.47 (if you choose mixed peppers instead of all green, you may pay more)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Zucchini</td> <td>4 large</td> <td>$3.14</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Cremini or baby bella mushrooms</td> <td>16 oz.</td> <td>$2.98 (swap white button mushrooms for more savings)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Fresh tomatoes</td> <td>2 large</td> <td>$1.58</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Onions</td> <td>2 large</td> <td>$1.56</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Garlic</td> <td>2 bulbs</td> <td>$0.98</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><b>Dairy</b></td> <td>Full-fat plain Greek yogurt</td> <td>32 oz.</td> <td>$3.57</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Grass-fed butter</td> <td>2 (8 oz.) blocks</td> <td>$5.76</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Full-fat cream cheese</td> <td>1 (8 oz.) package</td> <td>$0.67</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Full-fat sour cream</td> <td>32 oz.</td> <td>$0.92</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Sharp cheddar cheese</td> <td>2 (16 oz.) blocks (buy bulk for more savings)</td> <td>$5.98</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Almond flour</td> <td>16 oz.</td> <td>$7.38</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Sunflower seeds</td> <td>1 (3.5 oz.) package</td> <td>$1.27</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Beef bone broth</td> <td>1 (32 oz.) carton</td> <td>$2.48</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Chicken stock</td> <td>1 (32 oz.) carton</td> <td>$2.48</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Diced tomatoes</td> <td>3 (14.5 oz.) cans</td> <td>$1.08</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Tomato paste</td> <td>6 oz.</td> <td>$0.48</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Hot sauce</td> <td>12 oz.</td> <td>$1.98</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Coconut oil</td> <td>16 oz.</td> <td>$3.68</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Mayonnaise</td> <td>30 oz.</td> <td>$3.48 (buy the store brand to save almost $2)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Golden flax meal</td> <td>16 oz.</td> <td>$1.94</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><b>GRAND TOTAL</b></td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td><b>$92</b></td> </tr> </table> <p>That’s right—a full week of meals for 2-4 people costs just $92, even when you’re eating keto! That’s less than $2.50 per person per day. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Wrapping Up</header> <p>Choose store brands, buy the right ingredients in bulk, switch to lower-cost grocery stores, and batch cook to save a bundle while still eating delicious, satisfying food and staying in ketosis. Treat yourself to a couple of avocados or the ingredients for some <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">fabulous keto desserts</a> with all the money you’ve saved. Your waistline and your wallet will both thank you, while your taste buds jump for joy! </p> </section> </article>

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