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Easy Low-Carb Meals on a Budget
How to Eat Well for Less

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Easy Low-Carb Meals on a Budget: How to Eat Well for LessShareFollow us 261.1k

Quick Summary tl;dr

Keeping your keto diet affordable is pretty straightforward. This guide isn't just about tips. You'll also find lots of great, budget-friendly meal ideas to keep things interesting without breaking the bank.

Stick to common foods like eggs and seasonal veggies to save money. Choosing what's fresh and local helps you save too, and tastes great. Remember, using frozen foods and making your own basics at home can help stretch your budget. Keeping your meals simple saves time and money, and cooking in big batches is a smart way to make your food last longer and keep your spending in check.

Table of Contents

Starting a keto diet can be exciting, but keeping an eye on the budget is key for many of us. You might wonder if it's possible to stick to this low-carb lifestyle without spending a ton.

Good news: it totally is possible to follow a keto diet on a budget. In this post, you're going to learn how to choose keto meals that won't make your wallet flinch.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, remember that affordable keto eating is doable. If you need a refresher on keeping your low-carb eating budget-friendly, check out our previous guide on thriving on a budget. It's packed with tips that apply no matter what meals you're cooking up.

5 Smart Strategies for Budget-Friendly Keto Meals

When it comes to selecting low-carb meals that are kind to your wallet, here are a few key pointers:

1. Go for Common Ingredients

When you're on a keto diet and keeping an eye on your budget, focusing on common ingredients can be a game-changer. Everyday items like eggs, chicken, and seasonal vegetables are not only affordable but also widely available. Here's how you can make the most of these budget-friendly staples:

  • Choose Ground Meat: Ground meat is a fantastic, cost-effective protein option that's incredibly versatile, especially when bought in bulk. From burgers to skillet meals, it can be the star of countless dishes without breaking the bank.
  • Eggs and Cheese, the Budget-Friendly Stars: Don't underestimate the power of eggs and cheese. These keto essentials are affordable and flexible, perfect for whipping up everything from a quick breakfast to a hearty dinner.
  • Go for Inexpensive Vegetables: Fill your plate with economical vegetables like cabbage, zucchini, and spinach. These ingredients add bulk and nutrition to your meals without adding a significant cost.

By sticking to these simple, versatile staples, you can create a variety of meals that are both satisfying and kind to your wallet.

2. Seasonal and Local Wins

Opting for ingredients that are in season or locally sourced can significantly lower your grocery bills while ensuring your meals are both fresh and flavorful. Here's why seasonal and local choices are always a win:

  • Peak Flavor and Nutrition: Seasonal produce is picked at the peak of its freshness, which means it's not only tastier but also packed with more nutrients than off-season counterparts that have traveled long distances.
  • Cost-Effective: Farmers often have an abundance of seasonal produce, which can lead to lower prices for you. Plus, buying directly from local markets supports your community and can offer savings by cutting out the middleman.
  • Environmental Benefits: Choosing local and seasonal foods reduces the carbon footprint associated with long-distance food transportation. It's a win for your health, your wallet, and the planet.

By focusing on what's available locally and in season, you can enjoy a wide range of foods throughout the year, all while keeping your keto diet exciting and affordable.

3. Use These All-Time Budget-Friendly Options

No matter the season, some keto-friendly foods consistently offer great value, making them smart staples for anyone on a budget. Here's how to make the most of these versatile options:

  • Leverage Frozen Foods: Frozen meats, vegetables, and berries often come with a lower price tag than their fresh counterparts without sacrificing nutrition. They're a fantastic way to enjoy your favorite foods year-round, ensuring you don't have to compromise on variety or taste due to budget constraints.
  • Canned, Pickled, & Fermented Foods: These pantry essentials are not only cost-effective but also add a burst of flavor and nutrition to your meals. Canned fish, for example, is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, while pickled and fermented vegetables offer beneficial probiotics. Incorporating these items into your diet can enhance meals both in terms of taste and nutritional value.
  • Make Your Own Keto Staples: From dressings to low-carb breads, homemade versions of keto staples can be much more affordable than store-bought alternatives. Plus, making these items yourself allows you to control the ingredients, ensuring they're free from unwanted additives and perfectly tailored to your dietary needs.

By including these all-time budget-friendly options into your meal planning, you can enjoy a varied and nutritious low-carb diet without breaking the bank.

4. Simplicity is Key

The fewer ingredients a recipe needs, the better for your budget. Look for meals that are straightforward and don't require unusual or pricey keto substitutes. Keeping it simple doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or variety. Here's how to keep your low-carb meals both simple and delicious:

  • Go for One-Dish Meals: Embrace recipes that call for minimal cleanup to save time and resources. Dishes that use just one pot, tray or pan, including the increasingly popular sheet pan dinners (aka tray bakes), are perfect for this. Sheet pan dinners involve cooking your entire meal on a single baking sheet, making them the epitome of simplicity. This method is not only efficient but also allows for the flavors of your ingredients to meld together beautifully in the oven. Choose a combination of low-carb vegetables and a protein source, season them to your liking, and bake. It’s an ideal, no-fuss way to prepare a nutritious, keto-friendly meal that requires minimal effort and cleanup.
  • Get Creative with Leftovers: Transform leftovers into new meals to minimize waste and maximize your budget. This approach encourages creativity and ensures that every bit of food you purchase is used, reducing your overall food expenses.

By focusing on simplicity and incorporating techniques like sheet pan dinners, you can enjoy delicious, low-carb meals that are easy on your budget and your time.

5. Embrace Bulk and Batch Cooking

Embracing the practice of cooking in bulk or preparing meals in batches is a time-tested method to stretch your dollar further on a keto diet. This approach not only saves time but also ensures that you have healthy, low-carb meals ready when you need them. Here's how to make bulk and batch cooking work for you:

  • Enjoy Crowd-Pleasing Casseroles: Casseroles are the perfect dish for bulk cooking. They allow you to combine affordable ingredients like ground meat, eggs, and low-cost veggies into a filling and delicious meal. Plus, casseroles often taste even better the next day, making them ideal for meal prep.
  • Utilize Slow Cookers and Pressure Cookers: These kitchen gadgets are your allies in making budget-friendly cooking as effortless as possible. Slow cookers and pressure cookers can transform inexpensive cuts of meat and simple ingredients into tender, flavorful dishes with minimal effort. Preparing large quantities means you have meals at the ready for several days.
  • Don't Forget About Make-Ahead Breakfasts: Contrary to what many think, keto-friendly breakfast options like nuts and seeds can be quite economical, especially when bought in bulk and used in make-ahead recipes. Homemade keto granola or cereal (see examples below!) prepared in large batches can offer a quick, satisfying start to your day without breaking the bank. These options not only last for weeks but can also be frozen for extended freshness.

Bulk and batch cooking are a must for budget-friendly eating. With a little planning and some creativity, you can prepare delicious, low-carb meals that will sustain you for days and even weeks to come.

Budget-Friendly Low-Carb Recipes

Here are our top picks for budget-friendly low-carb and keto meals. Whether you're planning your meals for the week or need something quick for dinner, we've got some tasty and inexpensive ideas coming your way. And remember, this is just a small taster, there are hundreds more recipes in our KetoDiet app and on the blog here.

Easy Low-Carb Meals on a Budget: How to Eat Well for Less

Low-Cost Breakfasts

  • Spinach & Feta Omelet: Feta cheese may not be the most budget-friendly option but can easily be replaced with cow's milk options. In fact, with the right modifications, any omelet can be budget-friendly!
  • Sausage Pizza Frittata: Frittatas are great for meal prep, lunchboxes and freezing. Mozzarella and parmesan can easily be swapped with other types of cheese to fit your budget. Again, almost any frittata can be budget-friendly.
  • Fluffy Scrambled Eggs with Cottage Cheese: This high-protein breakfast meal is a great way to start your day. More protein means fewer cravings and less snacking!
  • Spinach & Feta Shakshuka: This meal is so versatile. Use other budget-friendly alternatives to feta and any leafy greens - fresh or frozen.
  • Superfood All Day Breakfast Skillet: A simple breakfast option that's ideal for those who practice intermittent fasting.
  • Full English Keto Breakfast: You can make a few more budget-friendly swaps, such as using canned tomatoes, and sausages instead of bacon.
  • Mexican Breakfast Casserole and Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole: Swap the parmesan with some cheddar, kale with frozen spinach, and use brown onions instead of shallots.
  • Sausage & Pumpkin Breakfast Casserole: A great option when pumpkin is in season! Otherwise, you can use frozen pumpkin or butternut squash.
  • Breakfast Grits: A healthy breakfast option made with cauliflower.
  • Chia Pudding: Consider buying chia seeds in bulk. You can add frozen berries, yogurt, or a handful of chopped nuts for a more satisfying breakfast option.
  • Easy "Cereal": Coconut flakes are generally budget-friendly, especially when bought in bulk. Almonds can be pricy so swap with other nuts or more coconut. Chocolate chips can be affordable when bought in bulk from online retail stores. And the best part? No sweeteners needed!
  • Low-Carb Granola: Nuts can be pricey but they become affordable when bought in bulk. Opt for most budget-friendly nuts and skip sweeteners if needed. Some recipes might be using whey protein powder, which is used for texture and binding, but you can simply add one more egg white for similar effects.

Easy Low-Carb Meals on a Budget: How to Eat Well for Less

Packable Lunches on a Budget

Easy Low-Carb Meals on a Budget: How to Eat Well for Less

Affordable Salads & Soups

Easy Low-Carb Meals on a Budget: How to Eat Well for Less

Hearty Dinners For Less

Easy Low-Carb Meals on a Budget: How to Eat Well for Less

Thrifty Side Picks

Easy Low-Carb Meals on a Budget: How to Eat Well for Less

Cost-Effective Essentials

Easy Low-Carb Meals on a Budget: How to Eat Well for Less

Easy Peasy Desserts

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Martina Slajerova
Creator of

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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