The Keto diet is a fantastic option for a large variety of people. It allows you to lose weight, improve your heart health and may even prevent diabetes. But what if you’re looking to do Keto and you’re on a tight budget? Is it still possible? The quick answer is, yes! You can definitely do Keto on a budget as long as you plan a few things ahead of time. The following article will provide you with the helpful tips you need in order to budget Keto into your lifestyle.
If you’re brand new to Keto you might be wondering what exactly it is. Basically, Keto is a very low-carb diet that focuses mainly on fats with the addition of protein. On the Keto diet, you’re only allowed to eat 20g of net carbs a day. What is a net carb? When you look at the nutrition information on the back of your food there’s a section for total carbs. If there are any fibre or alcohol sugars listed below the total carb count you would subtract them from the total carbs to get your net carbs. Net carbs are the carbs that our body actually absorbs and since we don’t absorb fibre or alcohol sugars these get subtracted.
The reasoning behind the low carb count on the keto diet is due to how our body produces its energy. The preferred energy source for our bodies is glucose which is made from the sugars in the carbs that we eat. This is a very quick form of energy for our bodies; however, it’s also very quickly used. This is why you feel a surge of energy after eating a high carb meal, but that energy quickly gives way to a crash.
The Keto diet forces your body to switch from glucose as its main source of energy to ketones. Ketones are produced in your liver from your stored fat cells. When the body isn’t getting enough carbs to fuel itself it’s put in a state known as ketosis. This is when your body makes the switch from glucose to ketones.
There are many advantages to burning stored fat as fuel. First, there’s the fact that fat you’ve been holding onto for years can finally be burned away which helps you to lose weight. Keto can also be helpful in preventing diabetes, reducing your cholesterol levels and improving your general health. Because your body has a constant source of energy it prevents you from feeling hungry as often and it also prevents the sugar high and crash that you get with carb-rich foods. This improves your overall energy levels over time and gives you better mental clarity.
Keto on a budget
If the Keto diet is low-carb and focuses on fat and protein that would make it an expensive diet to be on, wouldn’t it? Not necessarily. Although meat and fats are typically more expensive to eat than starchy vegetables, pasta and bread there are ways around spending a fortune on your Keto plan. Follow the tips below to get all of the benefits of Keto without the high price tag.
Eggs are your best friend when you’re following a budget Keto plan. They’re high in good fats, a great source of protein as well as being full of heart-healthy Omega 3’s. They’re also very inexpensive. Since eggs are very versatile this makes them a great addition to your Keto meal plan. You can eat them for breakfast as part of a healthy omelet, for lunch scrambled up and put in your salad or even for dinner with a quiche. You can even bake with them.
Buying your fruits and vegetables frozen can save you a bunch of money over buying them fresh. You’re not reducing the flavor of the frozen fruits and veggies or sacrificing nutrients. Frozen foods can be just as healthy for you as fresh ones. This is a great way to get your daily dose of low-carb fruits and veggies at a fraction of the price. Focus on frozen vegetables such as broccoli and spinach due to their low carb count as well as their versatility. If you’re buying frozen fruit stick with melons and raspberries. These are lower in carbs and they’re easy to add to your daily shake for a fresh fruity treat.
Planning your meals ahead of time can really save you money. If you sit down once a week and figure out what foods you’re going to need to buy for the upcoming week you’ll be able to budget better by focusing on cheaper foods such as non-starchy vegetables and proteins such as eggs and chicken. This will help you avoid the temptation of buying pre-packaged foods or going through your local drive-through. These are both costly and generally not good for your health so avoiding them is going to help you succeed at Keto and save money.
The other advantage of meal planning is that you know exactly which foods you’re going to need, you have a meal planned out for each and every food you buy and this helps you avoid wasting food. Food waste can really put a dent in your budget because you’re seeing hard-earned money being tossed out when food spoils.
Buy in Bulk
Whether you’re buying meat, vegetables or eggs the general rule of thumb is that the larger the package size the less expensive each item inside is. For example, if you buy a 12 pack of eggs instead of a 6 pack the individual cost per egg will be lower. The same goes for an 18 pack of eggs over a 12 pack. Large bags of vegetables are generally cheaper than small ones and a family size pack of ground beef is going to be less expensive per pound than a little 1lb package.
Meat is actually a good example of the advantages of buying in bulk. If you have the freezer space and you’re located close enough to a farm you can purchase whole, half or quarter cows and save yourself some money over the long run. The same goes with farm-raised chickens, pigs and turkeys. Going straight to the source and cutting out the grocery store middle man can save you money. The only downside is that you have to come up with a large sum of money all at once instead of a little each week. To avoid this cost, put the money you would spend on meat away a little each week so that you can afford to buy a larger portion of meat from a farmer and save yourself a lot of money over the long run.
Bulk foods can also save you money on keto-friendly healthy fats such as nuts. If you have access to a bulk foods store where you can buy nuts such as almonds, walnuts or cashews you should take advantage of this. Make sure that you store your nuts in a cool dark place so that they don’t spoil on you.
Avoid Keto junk food
Pre-packaged Keto foods aren’t good for your waistline and they’re also not good for your wallet. As a general rule, the more processing is involved in making a food, then more expensive it’s going to be and the worse it’s going to be for your health. Pre-packaged foods that are labelled as Keto-friendly are often full of preservatives and lacking in nutrients that your body needs. They’re also priced high for the convenience they offer. They’re a no-win food option and should be avoided at all costs.
Buy heart-healthy oils
Avocado oil is a great source of healthy fats. The same goes for extra-virgin olive oil. Adding a dash of these oils to your food increases your fat content while helping you stick to your budget. Although avocados are just as healthy for you as their oil counterpart, depending on where you live, avocados can come with a high price tag. You can get the same fat for a lot less money by buying avocado oil.
Focus on cheaper cuts of meat
Meat is one of the cornerstone foods on the Keto diet and we all love a good steak or a prime rib roast from time to time. The problem with these foods is that they’re very expensive and not the best choice for a budget Keto meal plan. Instead, buy these meats when they’re on sale as a treat and choose meats such as ground beef and oven roasts. Lean ground beef is more expensive than regular ground beef and you can achieve the same effect by draining the oil out of your ground beef when you cook it.
Shop the sales
If you look over the flyers at your local grocery stores on the same day that you do your meal planning you can kill two money-saving birds at the same time. Go through your flyers first and write down the foods that you enjoy eating that are on sale. You can then build your meal plan for the week around these foods and save money. This also allows you to buy more expensive cuts of meat when they’re on sale.
Although the Keto diet focuses on foods that are generally higher in cost than your average diet, it is possible to stick to your budget while on Keto. With a little advanced preparation and some careful thought, you can eat a Keto diet without spending a fortune. Try the above tips to see how Keto can fit into your life!