Keto on a Budget: 11 Ways to Start an Affordable Ketogenic Diet

Starting a keto diet doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money because there are smart ways to do it without breaking the bank. It’s all about choosing the right foods, being a smart shopper, and cooking at home. In this article, we’ll walk you through 11 simple and affordable strategies for doing keto without hurting your wallet.

11 Strategies for an Affordable Ketogenic Diet

Keto foods high in protein on a dark background.

Not only can a ketogenic diet be beneficial to your health, but can also be budget-friendly if approached strategically. The essence of a budget-conscious keto lifestyle lies in prioritizing whole foods, making smart protein choices, cooking at home, and shopping wisely. By following the following 11 strategies, you can maintain a successful keto diet while keeping your expenses in check.

#1 Eat Real Food

The cornerstone of a healthy, budget-friendly keto diet is eating whole foods. This means focusing on unprocessed, natural ingredients like meats, vegetables, eggs, and dairy. Skip the expensive keto snacks and opt for simple, wholesome foods that are kinder to your wallet and better for your health.

#2 Focus on Cheaper Protein Sources

Protein is a crucial component of a keto diet, but you don’t have to empty your pockets on premium cuts of meat. Look for budget-friendly options such as chicken thighs, ground beef, and pork shoulder. These cuts are more economical and pack the right amount of fat content needed for keto success.

#3 Prepare Low-Carb Foods at Home

Eating out can quickly drain your budget, especially when committed to a specialized diet like keto. Roll up your sleeves and start preparing low-carb, low-calorie recipes at home to save money. Doing so gives you control over ingredients and portion sizes and, as a bonus, enhances your cooking skills.

#4 Avoid Dependence on Pre-Packaged Keto Foods

Although convenient, pre-packaged keto products can put a strain on your wallet. Limit your reliance on these items and opt for whole foods instead. Cooking from scratch is more economical and creates delicious and customizable meals.

#5 Establish a Relationship With the Freezer Section

Frozen vegetables and meats are often more budget-friendly than their fresh counterparts and can be just as nutritious. Stock up on frozen keto essentials such as broccoli, cauliflower, and ground meat to reduce waste and save money.

#6 Try Cooking From “Half Scratch”

You don’t need to be a culinary expert to whip up delectable keto meals. Consider using partially prepared ingredients, like pre-cut veggies or pre-seasoned meat, to simplify your cooking process. This approach saves you time and still results in a satisfying meal.

#7 Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time

Meal planning is a budgeting powerhouse for keto. Knowing what you’ll eat throughout the week helps you make efficient grocery lists and keeps impromptu dining out at bay. Plus, it ensures that you always have keto-friendly options at your fingertips.

#8 Utilize Any Leftovers

Don’t let leftovers go to waste! Transform last night’s dinner into a mouthwatering keto-friendly lunch or dinner. This saves you money and reduces food waste, which contributes to a greener planet.

#9 Fill Up Your Freezer With Keto Staples

Keto staples like butter, cream, and cheese can often be bought in bulk when on sale. Stock up when you stumble upon a good deal, as these items have a longer shelf life and can yield long-term savings.

#10 Make Your Own Broths and Sauces

Homemade broths and sauces not only taste amazing, but are also more economical than their store-bought counterparts. Use leftover bones and vegetable scraps to whip up your broth, and experiment with spices to craft flavorful sauces without added sugars.

#11 Combine It With Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting can be a helpful companion to your keto diet. By narrowing your eating window, you might consume fewer calories overall, which can ultimately result in grocery bill savings. Just be sure to stay hydrated during fasting periods!

Budget-Friendly Keto Food Shopping List 

To make your keto journey even more manageable, we’ve put together a shopping list of affordable keto staples. These items will serve as the foundation for your meals while keeping your expenses in check.

ProteinsVegetablesFatsDairyNuts and SeedsSeasoningsSweeteners
Chicken thighsBroccoli (frozen or fresh)ButterCheese (block or shredded)AlmondsSaltStevia
Ground beefCauliflower (frozen or fresh)Olive oilHeavy creamWalnutsPepperErythritol
EggsSpinach, Bell peppersAvocado oil, Coconut oilGreek yogurt (unsweetened)Chia seedsGarlic/Onion powderMonk fruit sweetener

With these budget-friendly keto friendly foods in your shopping cart, you’ll be ready to create a wide range of mouthwatering and nutritious meals without breaking the bank.

Sample 7-Day Keto Meal Plan

High protein food platter with flask and fork.

Now, let’s dive into some concrete examples of healthy, budget-friendly keto meals. To make this easier to follow, here’s a table outlining a week’s worth of meals and snacks:

1Scrambled eggs with spinach and cheeseChicken salad with mayo and celeryBaked salmon with broccoli and a side saladAlmonds
2Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of nuts and berries (in moderation)Ground beef lettuce wraps with salsaPork shoulder roast with cauliflower mashCelery sticks with cream cheese
3Omelette with bell peppers and cheeseTuna salad with mayonnaise and cucumberGrilled chicken thighs with asparagusHard-boiled eggs
4Smoothie with spinach, avocado, and coconut milkLeftover pork shoulder with a side of mixed greensBeef stir-fry with broccoli and cauliflower riceWalnuts
5Keto pancakes (made with almond flour) topped with butterTurkey and cheese roll-ups with mustardBaked chicken drumsticks with brussels sproutsCherry tomatoes
6Cottage cheese with a sprinkling of chia seedsSliced roast beef with cream cheese and picklesGrilled shrimp with zucchini noodlesAvocado slices
7Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and onionsEgg salad with mayonnaise and a side of sliced cucumberBeef and broccoli stir-fry (no rice)Mixed nuts

These meal ideas are designed to incorporate the healthy, affordable keto foods from your shopping list. They offer a diverse range of flavors to keep your taste buds excited. Feel free to customize these meals based on your preferences and what’s available in your pantry.


What Is a Ketogenic (Keto) Diet?

The keto diet consists of eating very little bread, rice, and sugar (carbs) and instead focuses on eating more protein-rich foods like meats, cheeses, and nuts. This low-carb diet helps your body burn fat for energy instead of sugar, which can help with weight loss and controlling blood sugar.

What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a process where your body uses fat for energy instead of sugar, which can happen when you eat very few carbs or don’t eat for a while. It can be a good diet for some people, but consult with a doctor first.

Is Keto Healthy?

It can be effective for short-term weight loss, but may have long-term health concerns due to its high-fat, low-carb nature. Individual results vary, so consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Is It Possible to Do Keto on a Budget?

Absolutely! Keto on a budget isn’t only possible, but also quite doable. By focusing on whole, unprocessed foods and employing smart shopping tactics, you can embrace the benefits of the ketogenic diet without straining your finances.

Is It Wise To Buy Keto-Friendly Items in Bulk?

Buying certain keto-friendly foods in bulk, such as meat, fats, and non-perishable items, can be a cost-effective strategy. Ensure you have adequate storage space, and check the expiration dates to avoid waste.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, it is possible to follow a keto diet while on a budget by employing some of the strategies listed above. Remember: focus on real foods, pick budget-friendly proteins, cook at home, and shop wisely. With these tips and your budget-friendly keto shopping list in hand, you can definitely enjoy tasty, healthy meals without breaking the bank.

Gina Wangrycht
Gina Wangrycht
Gina Wangrycht is a seasoned freelance editor/proofreader and writer with 21 years of experience working in the communication field for a variety of different industries, including healthcare, insurance, education, retail technology, and non-profit.

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