The ketogenic diet does not have to be expensive unless you want it to be. In fact, after ditching most of the convenience foods that I had been eating, I noticed that the food budget actually went down! While you always want to strive to buy organic foods and high quality meats, there are ways to do this diet on a budget!
Using Coupons for the Ketogenic Foods
There are times when the foods on a ketogenic diet will have a coupon. Most of the time, you won’t find coupons for fresh produce or meats. However, there are staples on the ketogenic diet that often do have coupons or go on sale. These include frozen veggies, frozen berries, mayonnaise and other canned vegetables. Often deli meats do have coupons. Occasionally, brand name dairy products like heavy whipping cream or cheese will have a good coupon. Most of the time, coupons are advertisements for products that are convenience foods, so this isn’t going to be a big source of savings on your ketogenic diet. Before you leave for the grocery store, scan through the coupons to see if there are any for the foods that you buy.
If your grocery store doubles coupons, shop on the day when they are doubling the coupons. It can make a big difference in your bottom line! Many people become very proficient at combining coupons and sales to reduce their cost to almost nothing.
Buy the Frozen or Canned Version
Canned seafood is much less expensive and can be very versatile. I buy cans of wild caught salmon and tuna from Costco. It is so convenient for lunches. You can easily add tuna fish or salmon to a salad for a boost of protein to your meal. Canned tuna makes a good tuna salad if you add mayonnaise, celery and some relish. You can use canned salmon to make salmon patties and fry them in olive oil for a fun entree.
For some vegetables, it just makes more sense to buy the canned version. For a pumpkin recipe, canned pumpkin puree is going to save you a ton of time and money over buying the whole pumpkin! This doesn’t even include the time that I would spend preparing the pumpkin. I’m planning on using canned pumpkin for my pumpkin cheesecake bites and my pumpkin soup recipes this fall. It will save me a ton of time and headache!
Buy fresh when it is in season. Buy frozen when it is not. Most of the time fresh vegetables are going to be more expensive than frozen. Frozen food have the added convenience of being washed and chopped beforehand. They are flash frozen and often retain more nutrients than their fresh counterparts which tend to lose some in transit.
Some people may not like the texture of frozen spinach or broccoli. However, this can easily be remedied by using them as an ingredient in other foods, such as casseroles, quiches and soups.
This goes along with shopping the sales. When vegetables and berries are in season, they are going to be in abundance and grocery stores will want to move them faster. They are going to be more likely to be on sale during those times. Knowing what is in season and when will help you when you are making decisions on what to buy. Berries are going to be summer fruits. Most grocery stores are shipping them in from other countries, but during the summer months, they will likely be less expensive.
Broccoli, spinach and winter squashes are going to be priced the best during the fall and spring months. They are “cold weather” crops. These vegetables do best in cooler temperatures. Look for their prices to be best during the fall.
Certain meats will go on sale a week before a holiday. You will likely to find good prices on turkeys during November and just prior to Christmas. Ham is almost always on sale around Easter time. I purchased corned beef just prior to St. Patrick’s day for a little over a dollar a pound.The next week, I noticed that the price had risen considerably. If you are flexible with your meat purchases, you can get great deals around the holiday times. For people with large freezers, you may want to purchase an additional turkey or ham and plan ahead for future meals.
My strategy has always been to buy the meat that is on sale and then find a recipe for it. This is easily accomplished with the use of google. You can always type in “ketogenic recipe for xyz” and come up with a lot of great ideas!
Invest in a pressure cooker or a crock pot. The least expensive cuts of meat often are the toughest cuts of meat. However, if you make use of a crock pot or a pressure cooker, you can turn the toughest piece of meat into a tender entree!
Costco and Other Wholesale Clubs
Costco can offer a lot of great deals when it comes to the ketogenic diet. Nuts are priced well at costco. I pick up canned wild caught salmon from Costco, as well as olive oil. When I lived near a costco and didn’t have a car, I frequently bought my groceries there, which is really unusual for a single person, but it was a lifesaver. They have good quality produce and meats that are usually great prices.
Shopping at Costco will save you lots of money if you are buying staples for ketogenic baking, such as almond meal or almond flour. It is about 60% of the cost of almond flour on Amazon or in the grocery store. However, don’t feel like you need to do baking. That tends to be a bit more expensive.
I discovered great prices at the local Super H (Korean grocery store in Fairfax, VA) when I lived near a Super H. While I didn’t recognize many of the vegetables, I could almost always find a great deal on produce. Get outside your comfort zone and try out ethnic grocery stores, you may discover some great deals!