Do you want to lose weight but you’ve heard Keto is expensive? That’s true – it can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be. You can do Keto without selling your first born child. We’ve talked about doing Keto on a budget – the planning phase back in Part 1 of this series so now we’ll get on to Keto on a budget – shopping your stash!
Also in this series:
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Tips for Keto on a Budget – Shopping – Before You Go
In part 1 we talked about planning – not planning to go shopping but preparing your headspace for actually doing Keto. I don’t advise picking and choosing which parts you want to do
I’ve done that. It didn’t work.
Before you start to experiment, do yourself a favor and do Keto the way it’s written.
That means don’t say this:
- I do Keto but I still have sugar in my tea 6 times a day.
- I’m doing Keto but I still eat a Foot-long at Subway but only on weekends and days ending in ‘Y’.
If you say those things, you really aren’t doing Keto. You’re setting yourself up to gain more.
So, first thing – Do or do not. Make the decision.
Tip: Stay off Pinterest (or at least don’t look for Keto pins!) for the first few weeks. It’s Keto Food Porn everywhere. You don’t HAVE to make all those cookies and cheesecakes and desserts to be successful at Keto. You just need the basics at first.
We’re doing our best to use no special ingredients for our Keto on a Budget series. Just real food and a few substitutes in the pantry. That doesn’t mean replacing the junk with questionable other junk that may say low carb on the label. As a matter of fact, you should be ignoring those products for now.
We’re not talking about substituting your regular coffee for the super expensive bulletproof type coffee. If you want to spend your money on that, I’m not the coffee police. You’re an adult so make your own decisions. I’m just saying it might defeat the purpose at the moment. Let’s work with what we have because there’s a good chance you have plenty already.
Besides, eating some cheap keto meals for a few weeks can save up a little cash for you to be able to afford a few specialty ingredients without selling your left kidney.
Check Your Pantry
We want to start to build some meals around what you already have. Take an inventory and write it down. You can really do this with just the basics.
I’m hoping you’ve already cleaned out the junk from your pantry and have it stocked with items that are on plan. Take out the grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables as well as the bread, sugars, and white flours. Yes, I know that stuff costs money. I get it. I could never throw it away so I just moved it out of sight.
When I eat Keto I’m generally the only one ‘doing’ it even though The Commodore eats whatever I do for dinner. I really don’t toss anything from the pantry, usually. I didn’t grow up with money and tend to be a food hoarder. (I get it from my mother). More power to those who can wheel the garbage can in there and actually toss it.
Make sure what you have left are things you can have – I’m talking about things like:
- Sugar-free spices – whatever you like (check labels!!!!!)
- Almond flour (or approved flour to substitute)
- Approved sweeteners, if you’re using them
I’m not saying those things MUST be in your pantry. I’m saying they MIGHT be. And that’s okay.
Check Your Freezer and Refrigerator
Let’s take an inventory – write it down. What do you have and how much?
- Do you have any salmon?
- Chicken thighs?
- Homemade broth?
Oh, I have a bacon tip – bake your bacon at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (keeping checking it after 20 minutes or so, doesn’t all bake at the same rate). If you put this paper on your baking sheet and lay the bacon on top of it before baking the bacon will stay in lovely long pieces without curling up! (I know – there are other directions that have a different temperature and time. This is how I do mine. I do me. You do you. No hard feelings)
And one more bacon tip – grain the grease into a lovely little container (that won’t melt), cover it and keep it by your stove. Flavor and fat all in one tidy dish! I always have it next to my stove and use it for cooking my eggs and anything else that I want to add it to. Not cake. Unless it’s a lovely Keto Bacon Cake. I’ve never seen a recipe for that because I just made it up but feel free to run with it.
Oh – bacon tip #3 – melt a little of that grease and add some mustard or cream. It makes a WONDERFUL warm bacon dressing over some shredded chicken breast on a bed of spinach.
Ok, butter. I did Keto very successfully without using the expensive butter. Honestly, I used the generic butter. The purists will say I really didn’t “do Keto” because I didn’t use that lovely Irish butter in the green wrapper. And that’s ok. I don’t have to live with them and they don’t pay my rent. If I have a little wiggle room or it’s on sale I’ll buy the special butter and use it for my coffee. Otherwise, I don’t sweat it. It does taste wonderful, though.
And eggs! Eggs are a cheap and easy protein that can double for snacks if you hard boil them. They can add extra protein to your salads too. Make sure you keep those Incredible Edible Eggs on hand. Add some leftover meat, cheese, and cream and you can do single serving quiche!
Time to Do a Little Meal Planning With What You Already Have
We’re going to be thinking of some cheap and easy meals with what you already have.
I found an awesome resource with lots of meal ideas here >>> Keto Meal Planning Made Simple.
I’m not going to tell you WHAT to eat. You already know that. Besides, it’s the lazy way out to just eat what someone else tells you to eat. You need to own this. What I eat may not work for you – different bodies, hormones etc. Instead, I’m going to prompt you to think about what you like to eat now and what you already have in your stash.
Since you’ve already purchased food, there are chances that some of it will fit into your Keto plan as it is (meats, vegetables etc) and you may just need to do some simple swaps to make your meals fit your plan.
Note this: Don’t worry so much in the first few weeks about macros. Worry about removing grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables, plus white flours, pasta, and bread. You’ll have enough to be concerned with without throwing the macros into the mix. You have plenty of time for that. Keep your carbs down and your fats up. Don’t pig out om meat – you need less protein than you think.
My point is that this session of meal planning should be focused on the right foods rather than macros. You’ll get to the math part in a few weeks. It’s really not so hard when you get the hang of it.
You have your inventory from your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
- Print out a meal plan printable or just make 21 boxes, 7 days times 3 meals.
- Any of those meals out? Mark them off so you don’t plug in a meal.
- Let’s go ahead and plug what you have into some of the dinners – note when you plan to have leftovers and when you plan to take leftovers for lunch.
- Add in your breakfasts
- Count your empty slots for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. That’s what you need to fill.
- Decide your meals for your empty slots AFTER you check the store specials.
Tip: Write your meals in the empty slots in a different color ink. That will make them stand out easier when you’re planning your shopping trip.
There you have it.
My goal for this series is to give you small actionable steps to get to YOUR goal. Not to overwhelm you – just keep you on track. Simple steps to keep you sane.
We’ll go shopping OUTSIDE!
Also in this series:
When your budget can handle it, here are a few cookbooks to make it more interesting: