Doing the Keto diet on a budget is possible! You can make delicious low-carb, high fat meals that don’t cost an arm and a leg. I’m going to show you what I was able to meal prep 10 Keto meals for $18.19!
I love cooking, shopping for deals and coming up with creative meal ideas. My sister on the other hand does not. So when she decided to start the Keto diet, I offered to prep her meals for her to help her stay on track (and save money). Each week I make 10-12 lunch/dinner meals for her and she makes herself bulletproof coffee for her breakfast in the am (check out my 3 recipes for bulletproof coffee here).
We both do “lazy Keto”, so we are only tracking our net carbs and stay under 20 each day. Because we need to stay under that limit, I try to keep each of the meals I make for her at 8 net carbs or less. This leaves room for an occasional Keto treat (like a Quest cookie-check it out here), a fat bomb or extra veggies.
What does the process look like?
1. What are you in the mood for? Since I’m prepping for my sister, I ask her if there are any meals she is really in the mood for or that she really doesn’t want that week. You could do the same. Is there anything you are craving? Any new recipes you want to try? Anything you absolutely don’t want to eat this week? This will give you a great place to start for the next few steps.
2. I take an inventory of my fridge, freezer and pantry. What I do is check for ingredients that need to be used up before they go bad. I look for ingredients that might fit a meal that was requested. And I try to think about using what I have before I start making a shopping list and checking the sales ads.
3. I check the ads for my local stores. Aldi, Save-a-Lot, Price Rite and Target. I look to see what’s on sale, what I should stock up on. Since I love a good deal, this an important and fun step for me!
4. Plan the meals. After taking inventory of what I have, what’s on sale and any special meal requests, I decide what to make. I do this by searching recipes, Instagram posts and my brain for ideas. I usually pick 3-5 recipes and plan to make a few of each meal making sure that I reach 10-12 meals. I suggest that you calculate the carbs or macros on the meals at this stage, so that you’re really well prepared. I’m terrible at that, so usually end up doing it mid-way through my preparation stage and everything takes longer. So, learn from me, calculate everything now and save time!
5. Make a list and grocery shop. Making a list is crucial, because even if I only need a few things, I always forget something if I don’t have a list and then I end up back at the store or having to go back and change my meal plan-again a time waster.
6. Cook! I prep and cook everything on the same day. This is a time saver, because I can cut and prepare for the next meal while other things are cooking. I store everything in meal prep containers from Amazon (like these ones). If you’re cooking for a family or wanting to store larger quantities, you can use large plastic container (like these) or even gallon size storage bags (like these). Keep the storage simple and easy to access.
What did I make?
This week, I made 4 different meals. Most of which, I made up and didn’t use a recipe, but I will link similar recipes for some of the meals below for you if you need ideas!
1. Chicken Alfredo over Zoodles (7 net carbs). I used Ragu alfredo sauce (check it out here)
2. Crispy Chicken Thighs with Cheesy Brussel Sprouts (7 net carbs). I cooked the chicken thighs in the air fyer, but Keto Connect has a great method I would recommend (check it out here).
3. Double Cheeseburger with Carrot “Fries” (5.5 net carbs). This was simple-I sliced the carrots, tossed with salt and coconut oil and air fried. But you can always use this recipe.
4. Polish Sausage with Sautéed Peppers (6 net carbs). I cooked the sausage and sautéed the red and green peppers with spices and coconut oil.
Cost Breakdown: What did I spend?
1. For Chicken Alfredo over Zoodles, here is what I used:
–$0.99 for 16oz chicken. I bought this chicken from Zaycon for $0.99/pound when it was on sale (check it out here)
–$1.79 for Ragu alfredo sauce from PriceRite
–$0.79 for 15oz of zucchini from Aldi
–$0.11 for 1TBSP coconut oil. Purchased from Aldi for $3.49/jar
–$0.20 for spices. This is an estimated cost, I usually get spices from Aldi or on sale from Penzy’s
–$0.50 for Parmesan cheese. Purchased from PriceRite
2. For the Crispy Chicken Thighs with Cheesy Brussel Sprouts, here is what I used:
–$3.30 for chicken thighs from PriceRite ($0.88/pound)
–$0.39 for butter to put under the chicken skin. Purchased for $1.99/pound at PriceRite months ago and stored in the freezer to keep fresh. I stocked up since this was an amazing price.
–$0.40 for spices. This is an estimated cost for chicken and side dish
–$1.99 for a pound of brussel sprouts from Aldi
–$0.87 for bacon. Purchased entire package for $3.49 from PriceRite
–$0.49 for cream purchased from Aldi
–$0.25 for mozzarella cheese. Purchased for $0.99/8oz package at PriceRite
3.For the Double Cheeseburger with Carrot “Fries”, here is what I used:
–$0.99 for ground beef. Purchased for $1.99/pound from Save-a-Lot. I stocked up and froze a ton of this, since this is an amazing price
–$0.31 for 2 slices of provolone cheese. Purchased at Target for $1.89 for 12 slices
–$0.19 for carrots. Purchased a 2 pound bag at Price Rite for $1.19
–$0.11 for 1TBSP coconut oil
–$0.20 for spices. This is an estimated cost
For Polish Sausage with Sautéed Peppers, here is what I used:
–$1.99 for sausages. Purchased for $1.99/pound a Save-a-Lot
–$2.00 for 15 oz of peppers
–$0.22 for 2TBSP coconut oil
–$0.20 for spices. This is an estimated cost