Update(2/17/2017): This Keto on a Budget meal plan has been used by thousands of people and we’ve received lots of great feedback! We’ve learned from this feedback and would like to give guidance on how to make the most of this plan.
- Calculate your macros before starting the keto on a budget meal plan. It’s impossible to make a meal plan that’s suited for everyone, so make sure the macros delivered in this plan are well suited to you.
- This plan is for 1200 calories a day. That is on the low end of what most people are going to look for. If you’re eating more than 1200 calories a day you can very easily scale this up!
- This plan delivers slightly more protein than most people starting keto will need. The easiest way to counteract this is by adding more fat to meals. Adding 2 tablespoons of fat/oil each day will give you a 1450 calorie plan with a really solid fat:protein ratio.
Budget Grocery Shopping Considerations
Everyone wants to save money right? Well, this blog post will lay out a comprehensive plan for saving money while eating a healthy keto diet. Low carb on a budget is simple, it just takes some planning and flexibility to use whatever is on sale. Before we get too far into it I’d like to lay out the whole suite we have put together for anyone looking for more info on the specifics of this plan:
- Keto on a Budget: Grocery Haul Video
- Keto on a Budget: Meal Prep Video
- Keto on a Budget: Full Day of Eating Video
- Keto Budget Printable Shopping List(Located at the bottom of this post)
- Keto Budget Printable Meal Plan(Located at the bottom of this post)
- Keto on $5 a Day Quick Reference Infographic
When we devised this keto on a budget meal plan and shopping list we wanted to create something that was truly all-inclusive. Therefor we have things like butter and salad dressing included. Most people will have a lot of the basics already in their kitchen, so you could be pulling this plan off for well under $5 a day. Further down in this post we will talk about possible substitutions you could utilize to make this plan even healthier and cheaper with bulk purchases of a few items you’ll be using frequently on your keto journy!
How to Grocery Shop on a Budget
Grocery shopping on a budget can be a fun and thrilling adventure(I’ve reached this point in my life…). The first thing you’re going to want to do is take a good long look at the sales paper. For this grocery haul we just walked to our local grocery store and shopped the deals they had at the time, which happened to be really good. If you want to really maximize your savings you can look through all of the local grocery store papers before deciding which one has the best deals for your meal plan. You can also give this online coupon database a try! You’ll be able to find some good deals at just about every local grocery store that will make this meal plan achievable. Don’t go walking into Whole Foods expecting to pull this off though! Check out our video to see our trip to the grocery store:
Keto Meal Prep
Meal prepping is the secret to eating on a tight budget. It allows you to buy the items that are on sale, in bulk, and prepare them for quick access throughout the week. The meal prep detailed here took us about 2 hours of “active time” and another 3 hours of “passive time”. The passive time was mostly waiting for the chicken to cook/cool. The items we prepped for this meal plan are:
- 1 Whole Chicken – 9 lbs
- 12 Egg Cups – Sausage/Bacon/Egg Muffins
- 10 Slices of Bacon
- 12 Hard Boiled Eggs
Another benefit of meal prepping is that it greatly reduces your time spent in the kitchen. That’s right… you no longer have to work as a short order cook for 2 hours a day! This budget meal plan will make use of all the items we prep as well as the rest of the items on the shopping list. There is still some cooking required, but it will only be about 10-15 minutes a day, and is mostly just cooking broccoli/cauliflower. I would encourage you to check out this keto on a budget meal prep video we’ve put together as it was made specifically for this meal plan:
Now we do have a full meal plan laid out for you below, but I would encourage you to experiment a bit with some meals that might better suit your tastes. We love all of these meals, that’s why we picked them! We know everyone is different though. If you want to sub something in, just check to make sure the nutrition is comparable. Keto on a budget can be pulled off all types of different ways. This is just one example using a lot of our favorite meals. For example, if you have a bunch of coconut oil sitting around feel free to sub it in for the butter. If you have olive oil, sub it in for the blue cheese dressing. Don’t let this meal plan feel restricting, it is best used as a reference point and not as a hard and fast rule book. We put together this full day of eating video to show you an example of how we ate on $5 a day:
Keto Cobb Salad Recipe Video
One of the meals you will see recurring frequently in the meal plan is a Cobb Salad. We are big advocates for the Cobb Salad! You know us… shills for Corporate Cobb Salad. Really though, we find Cobb Salads to be a great way to get a meal with perfect keto macros as well as pack in some much needed micro-nutrients. We love them so much we made a video to show everyone how we make them! For this meal plan you’ll be making a salad just like the one in this video minus the shredded cheese:
Stir Fry Dinners
The other meals we have listed in the meal plan mostly come from the meal prep items. We make 2 different types of simple stir fry dinners. One using some of the whole chicken we prepped and one using the extra ground beef. It’s pretty simple, but I’ll walk you through it really quick:
Chicken and Broccoli/Cauliflower
- 1. Heat a pan over medium heat.
- 2. Add broccoli/cauliflower mixture and butter
- 3. Cook until broccoli/cauliflower are soft, but still a bit al dente
- 4. Add precooked chicken in just to warm through.
Ground Beef and Broccoli/Cauliflower
- 1. Heat a pan over medium heat.
- 2. Add ground beef. Cook for 5 minutes.
- 3. Add broccoli/cauliflower and butter. Cook for about 10 more minutes.
- 4. Make sure broccoli/cauliflower is tender and enjoy.
That’s a quick primer on the essentials for creating meals tailored to this meal plan. See how easy eating keto on a budget can be? The “when” and “how much” are all shown in the printable plans at the bottom of this post!
Meal Plan Substitutions
This shopping list and meal plan can be heavily substituted to meet your needs. The first thing you’ll want to do is scan it over and make sure you like eating all of the foods listed here. Eating delicious foods is a big part of adhering to a diet long term! If there is a particular item you can’t stand just do a bit of research and find a substitution. Just make sure the item you decide to substitute in is similar in nutrition to the one you’re eliminating. This can be done with a quick google search or by using a website like My Fitness Pal.
Substitutions for the Meat
The whole chicken we got was $1 per pound, which is a great deal! You can sub in thighs or legs if you find those to be cheaper. Try to get it with the skin on so your meat comes with some fat! In the videos we got 2 pounds of sausage at $3 per pound. That’s a deal we couldn’t pass up! You can substitute any sausage in for that(check for sugar) or you can opt for ground beef. Make sure you get 80/20 fat/protein ratio or higher(it will be listed on the packaging).
Substitutions for the Vegetables
Avocado’s are a huge staple food for most keto dieters and we’re no different. You might be able to find a good deal on premade guacamole though. If that’s the case, feel free to go for that and sub out the avocado. If you don’t like broccoli or cauliflower you can try mushrooms or zucchini. If you don’t like any of those you should probably learn to like vegetables!!! But you could also just double down on the salad.
In this guide the only form of pure fat we use is butter. If possible, coconut oil would really be a nice upgrade. We couldn’t fit coconut oil into our $5 a day keto on a budget meal plan, but it’s cheap if you buy in bulk. Another good substitution would be olive oil or coconut oil and vinegar instead of the premade salad dressing. Most cheap premade dressings will use oils that are frowned upon on keto like canola or vegetable oil.
Keto on $5 a Day Quick Reference Infographic
Check out this quick reference Infographic! The perfect reference for eating low carb on a budget. This is really a stripped down, basic plan. It’s perfect if you want to take it as a reference and add your own twist to it!
Printable Shopping List and Meal Plan
We’ve included a printable shopping list and meal plan for your convenience! Again, use these tools as a reference and not as the be all end all. If you see something else on sale that you enjoy eating, go for that! This can be used as a framework for how to eat on keto. This isn’t the most ideal meal plan for optimal health, but it’s a pretty good one for cheap. I would recommend getting some coconut oil in this plan if possible, but we couldn’t fit it into our all-inclusive approach. If you buy in bulk on amazon coconut oil is cheap!
To get the printable shopping list and meal plan simply sign up below and we’ll email you a copy. Thanks for reading and we hope this meal plan helps you get on the path to achieving your goals. Our goal is to help you reach yours!
Get Your Free Shopping List + Meal Plan