Budget conscious ketoers often ask us if doing keto inexpensively is possible. The answer is yes, of course it is. You just need to be smart about what you buy and how you buy it. Buying food for keto is a strategy all its own if you’re trying to keep costs down. Especially since the simple carbs ketoers are trying to avoid are so cheap: ramen, cereal, cookies, bread, and potatoes are low cost and always seem to be going on sale. It’s maddening to ketoers, but we have our own way to eat keto on a budget.
BUY AND COOK IN BULK
First things first, plan ahead and know exactly what you need for keto when you head to the store. Having a list will keep you from drawing a blank when the time comes to fill your shopping cart… or worse, grabbing a loaf of garlic bread out of frustration. If you have a Costco or bulk warehouse membership, use it. If not, it’s worth the investment; you’ll save far more than the cost of the membership. The reason these bulk stores are so great for keto is, they offer you more bang for your buck. Far more meats, veggies, cheeses, eggs, bacon, you name the keto staple and Costco or most bulk retailers offer them in larger quantities and a lower per-unit price. You save money and get more actual keto food. That’s just keto budgeting 101.
Your regular neighborhood grocery store will sometimes have bulk deals available too, so keep an eye out and know how to spot a good value. If ground beef is on sale for half price, don’t be ashamed to grab as many as you can afford. It only ends up saving you money in the long run.
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THIS FOOD
Now that you have bulk meats, veggies, cheeses, eggs, etc. it’s time to figure out how to use it all before it goes bad. Meats freeze nicely and retain flavor and juiciness very well. However, there is a pecking order to when meat should be used (here’s a handy chart). Eat fish first since seafood, when frozen, can absorb other flavors and taste less than fresh. Next is your poultry like chicken and turkey, they have a shorter shelf life when unfrozen and tend to get freezer burn and ice crystals faster. Pork is pretty hearty and can take a long freezer break without losing its flavor. Beef and other red meats have the longest life when fresh and resist the hit of the freezer for the most prolonged stretch as well. Freeze what you aren’t planning to prepare in the next few days, and simply pull them out of the freezer in the morning so they have time to thaw for that night’s dinner.
Prepare in bulk to keep your keto budget-build as cost effective as possible. You should be doing meal prep for keto anyway, so bulk buying is the natural first step in that process. Pick your favorite keto meals, the ones you just purchased the yummy ingredients to make, and make them en masse. Make a week’s worth of your favorite keto lunch, seal them up in Tupperware containers and grab one every day on your way out the door. Same with dinners for those nights when you get home too tired to whip a meal up from scratch. You might even find that making your food in an assembly line is fun, you’ll definitively find it convenient.
WHERE TO EAT KETO
Eating home-cooked meals and avoiding fast food is your new norm. You’ll find that avoiding going out is more cost effective because, when you do head out for dinner, the menus at restaurants are very limited when it comes to keto approved food. You end up paying full price for a meal you can only eat half of because you had to ask for your food without bread, hold the side of potatoes, can I get a small salad instead of the rice pilaf? So learn to love home-cooking as it will save you money until niKETO opens its doors in Spring 2018.
That’s right, niKETO, is starting a 100% keto restaurant in the L.A. area in the Spring of 2018. The core principles of niKETO’s first-of-its-kind restaurant are ketogenic foods at an affordable price in a wonderful, dining atmosphere. Once niKETO is open and cooking, you can indulge yourself and your friends and family without having to take out a loan, and they’ll get to see that keto food is actually delicious food minus carbs.
So stay strong, keto doesn’t have to destroy your wallet and snap your purse strings. Keto is affordable… and soon, a night out on the town with keto will be possible thanks to the niKETO restaurant!