Can you do keto on a budget?
Can you get all of keto’s great health benefits – the weight loss, immune support, and mental health – without breaking the bank?!
And especially with a significant other
In this article we will show you how. You’ll learn:
- The secrets to saving money on keto
- Which keto foods pack the best bang for your buck (#1 will surprise you…)
- How to do keto for 2 for less than $5.79 per day (+ shopping list)
Let’s do it!
Budget Keto Foods Ranked
What makes a keto budget food?
Simple, foods that:
- Follow keto macros – are high in fat and low in carbs (<4g net carb per serving)
- Deliver the most calories per $$$
So with that in mind, here the top keto foods, ranked by best bang for your buck:
|Item||Calories per $||Price (Walmart)|
**All prices based on shopping at Walmart
The Top 3 Keto Budget Foods
And the #1 keto budget food is...
Surprised to see this one at the top? We were too!
But for under $2.50 at Walmart, you can get a 60 oz jar that packs a whopping 6,000 calories.
And the best part – that’s 100% calories from fat – zero carbs.
Okay sure, eating mayo from the jar is hardly a meal for the family.
But combine it with other items on the list – canned tuna, chicken, eggs – and you’ll have a delicious fat-packed salad on the cheap.
Whenever you’re planning budget keto lunches, think mayo.
2) Peanut Butter
The childhood favorite comes in at #2 on our list.
Each $1 spent on PB delivers over 2,000 calories.
And unlike mayo, peanut butter has near-perfect keto macros right out of the jar – 16g of fat, 8g protein, and 4g net carb per serving.
Eating peanut butter with a spoon may not be your dream dinner. But when it comes to snacks and desserts on keto, peanut butter is your go-to.
Try dipping celery in it for a perfect afternoon snack.
Mix it with cream cheese for these delicious peanut butter cheesecake fat bombs.
Or spoon it right out of the jar :)
No surprise seeing this one on the list. Butter is a keto staple – a delicious food we were wrongly told to avoid our whole lives.
It’s cheap, fat-dense and can be used in almost every part of your cooking. As they say, everything is better with butter.
Cook your eggs in it. Flavor your veggies with it. Bake a batch of keto peanut butter cookies.
This is one budget keto staple your fridge should never be without.
The 3 Best Keto Budget Proteins
What do you plan your meals around?
If you’re like most people, it’s the meat or protein.
Protein – think a juicy steak – makes our meals flavorful and satisfying.
But here’s the thing…
Protein is expensive! So we need to be careful with protein when doing budget keto.
If you’re watching your wallet, start your shopping list with these 3 proteins:
Can you imagine doing keto without eggs?
Many keto followers just can’t.
Eggs are nutrient-rich, delicious, and best of all – cheap!
Fry them, scramble them, load them up with cheese – they make a perfect keto breakfast that’s hard to get sick of.
2) Ground Beef
At just under $3.00/lb, ground beef packs tons of fat, protein and over 450 calories per $1 spent.
And the possibilities with ground beef are endless.
You can grill homemade burgers. Make a keto taco salad. Or make a delicious ground beef casserole.
This is your go-to for hearty keto lunches and family dinners.
Be sure to watch for ground beef on sale – which you can often find as it nears expiration. Buy in bulk and always freeze what you don’t need for the week.
3) Chicken (Thighs or Drumsticks)
Chicken is another classic to build dinners around.
But you’ll want to avoid the standard boneless, skinless chicken breast. Fat is what fills us up – and delivers that juicy flavor.
So go with a fatty cut like chicken thighs or drumsticks. They’re much cheaper too – often under $2.00/lb!
Stir fry chicken with veggies and olive oil for a simple, no-hassle dinner.
Keto Foods to Watch Out for on a Budget
Read enough keto shopping lists, and you’ll quickly learn the foods keto folks LOVE.
But watch out...
Not all these foods are good for your wallet.
Here are 3 surprisingly expensive keto foods:
Arguably the king of keto foods. Bacon is fatty and downright delicious.
But here’s a little secret…
Bacon is expensive!
It gives us half the bang for our buck as eggs.
Your best bet is to buy in bulk, freeze what you don’t need, and use bacon sparingly if doing keto on a budget.
Salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense foods. It’s full of healthy fat, protein, and omega-3s for our heart and brain health.
But at $7.99/lb, salmon is often too expensive to work in a budget keto diet.
A better way to incorporate seafood? Tuna salad with our #1 budget food, mayo :)
We all know to eat our veggies. They are full of micronutrients we need to stay healthy on a keto diet.
And they add diversity – who wants to just eat a plate of chicken thighs for every dinner?!
But many of our favorite veggies deliver very little calories per dollar.
So what to do? Easy:
Cook your veggies in healthy amounts of cheap fats – butter, olive oil or coconut oil if you’re in the mood to spend up.
Fat-loaded veggies make the perfect side dish for any keto dinner.
Keto Shopping List: How to do Keto for 2 on $5.79 per day
Alright, let’s put it all together.
Starting with the best keto budget foods as a foundation, we’ll build a weekly shopping list and show you how you can stay keto for cheaper than you ever thought possible.
Here’s our weekly shopping list:
|item||qty||item price||% used||calories||cost ($)|
|ground beef||2 lbs||$5.98||100%||2,754||$5.98|
|canned chicken||1 package||$4.12||100%||540||$4.12|
|eggs||2 cartons x 18 eggs||$5.14||100%||2,520||$5.14|
|sausage||1 12 oz package||$2.50||50%||440||$1.25|
|bacon||1 24 oz package||$5.44||50%||616||$2.72|
|onion||1 medium yellow||$0.54||100%||44||$0.54|
|olive oil||1 jar||$4.76||25%||1,500||$1.19|
|peanut butter||1 40 oz jar||$3.32||33%||2,195||$1.10|
|cream cheese||1 8 oz brick||$0.98||50%||400||$0.49|
|cheddar cheese||1 8 oz bag||$1.68||100%||880||$1.68|
|mayo||1 30 oz jar||$2.48||25%||1,500||$0.62|
All prices above are based on shopping at Walmart. Things like the oils and condiments won’t all be used up in a week, so we’ll spread the cost over future weeks.
Our total bill is just over $40 and delivers around 1,300 calories per person per day.
Remember because you’ll be eating satiating fat on a keto diet, you’ll eat less frequently and likely won’t need 2,000 calories per day – 1,200 to 1,600 is where many find success.
Strict meal plans can feel limiting. Rather, we like a structure that keeps us on our budget but still lets us be creative and have fun in the kitchen.
Here’s how we’ll do that with our keto budget meals:
Breakfast: Eggs + Breakfast Meat
Cook eggs how you like. Scramble, fry, or make an omelette masterpiece.
Fry in butter, load with cheese and serve alongside a sausage patty made from your ground beef.
Avocado is a nice addition if you’ve been fasting for a while or are extra hungry for breakfast.
Lunch: Canned chicken or tuna salad
Here we use the king of keto budget foods – mayo – to make a simple, fat-fueled lunch.
Chop up some onions and celery for tuna salad.
Or add some mustard and herbs for a creamy chicken salad.
Avocado with an olive oil drizzle is also great alongside these cheap keto lunches.
Dinner: Ground beef or chicken with veggies
You can keep things simple here: pan fry ground beef or chicken with veggies in butter/olive oil and season to make a keto stir fry.
Or… get creative and make dinner to wow the whole family!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Keto Cheeseburgers
- Keto Ground Beef Casserole
- Keto Mac and Cheese
- [3 Ingredient] Crispy Keto Chicken Wings
Snack/Dessert: Peanut Butter Fat Bombs
Treating yourself is key to staying motivated and having fun on keto. Fortunately, peanut butter gives us tons of ways to treat ourselves:
- Simple snack: celery dipped in peanut butter
- Simple dessert: Peanut Butter Cups with coconut oil
Keep a batch of treats in your fridge for any time sweet cravings strike.
How to Splurge on a Keto Budget Diet
Was $5.79 per day less than you had planned for 2 people to do keto?
If so, what are you going to do with all that extra money?!
There are tons of ways to splurge on keto – it keeps things fun, interesting and most important – will help you stick to your diet and crush your weight loss goals!
Here are 3 ways to splurge:
1. Premium Ingredients
Let’s face it… eating chicken and ground beef over and over again can get well… boring.
So mix it up and treat the family to steak night!
Here are 3 dinner ideas to try after buying a nice cut of meat:
2. Keto Baking
Almost any carb-favorite – think cookies, brownies, even ice cream – can be made keto with a little creativity.
But you will have to spend up for keto baking essentials like:
With your pantry stocked, though, you can now make treats like:
And your baking doesn’t have to be limited to desserts. Use that almond flour and have a pizza night!
This classic pepperoni pizza fathead dough recipe will show you how.
3. Keto Snacks & Treats
Want to avoid the hassle of preparing all your keto treats from scratch?
Type “keto snacks” into Amazon and you’ll see a whole world of keto friendly treats that will satisfy all the cravings.
Here are our favorites:
Keto Mini Cookies by HighKey Snacks
Ever crave Chips Ahoy cookies?
These tasty cookies from HighKey taste just like them – with a mini size that makes them extra snackable.
And with less than 2g net carbs per serving, you can indulge without detour.
Crunchy Cheese Mix by Keto Farms
Our crunchy cheese mixes were made for the chip-lover – a tasty mix of crunchy cheese and seasoned nuts that were inspired by the bold flavor of Doritos.
And handy portion control packs solve another problem with keto snacks – eating all of your splurge items in a single sitting!
Keto Fudge Brownie Mix by Keto and Co
Baking not your strong suit?
Well, don’t worry! This brownie mix by Keto and Co is a fool-proof way to make indulgent brownies that taste even better than the real thing.
Just add butter and eggs and you’ll have a tray of 16 brownies to treat you and your significant other for the whole week.
Want more splurge ideas? Check out our full list of the 27 Best Keto Snacks You Can Buy on Amazon Right Now.
The keto diet comes with many health benefits:
- Weight loss
- Immune support
- Mental health support
And contrary to popular belief, going keto doesn’t have to break the bank.
And it doesn't have to feel boring or limiting either!
Once you learn how to stretch your dollars with nutrient-dense keto foods...
And get creative with your shopping and meal prepping...
You’ll be on your way to find keto success and crush your goals.
What’s your favorite keto budget secret?
Let us know in the comments!
To your health,
Ben & Brandon
Disclosure: some of the links in this article are Amazon Affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase on Amazon. That in mind, we would never make a recommendation for a product we don't believe in or use regularly. Thanks for your support!