Eating Real Food on a Ketogenic Diet Tight Budget: Tips and Tricks

So, how to eat keto on a budget?

I wrote this blog post on Saturday morning and like many of you this is the day that I do a general tidy up, get the laundry done and potter around, taking care of all the little tasks don’t get to finish through the week.

Today I am taking stock of what is in my pantry and fridge, looking to use up produce that is becoming less fresh and making a list of what I might need to pick up so I am prepared for the coming week of low carb eating.

When first starting out on a low carb, high fat plan, it is safe to say that many of you will have food items in your cupboards that would be considered high carb or sugary and are not in alignment with your low carb journey ahead. This is the time when I would encourage you to clean out all of the products that are going to slow, if not stop your progress to losing weight and regaining your health and well being.

I was shocked as to how much sugar and flour I had in my cupboards when I first got started on a ketogenic plan.

I was a big baker and having a tribe of boys to cook for I would spend my weekends coming up with cakes, slices and other high carb meals for my family. Consequently I had a huge amount of different types of sugars and flours lurking in my cupboards.

How to do keto on a budget

Here it comes, I had 15 kilos of sugar in my pantry, you name it, I had it. Icing sugar, molasses, palm sugar, white sugar, castor sugar, muscavardo light and brown, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar… the list goes on.

I thought about giving it away, but I couldn’t move past the notion that I would be passing on poison to my friends and neighbours. Wasteful I hear you say, well if you read my previous post on “That Sugar Film”, you will know how deadly refined sugar is and so I made the decision to bin it all rather than sharing the nastiness around.

Sugar does nobody any favours at all, least of all our children. Refined sugars and high carb foods are the cause of the global obesity epidemic and I make no apologies for that statement.

I soon moved onto the flour section of my pantry. All manner of bleached flours existed in there, over ten kilos. Out it went!

My pantry does look quite bare these days as I no longer have any form of breakfast cereals including, oats, pre-packaged cereals like muesli (high in sugar and carbs).

or do I have tins of baked beans, spagetti or pasta sauces due to the rocketing high sugar content they contain. Even a tiny serve of processed cereal can contain the same amount of sugar as a can of soft drink.

Prettty much anything that came in a box got the boot. I do have plenty of alternatives to white flour. Almond meal, flaxseed, arrowroot, and my favourite coconut flour. I resist the urge to buy more and only keep small amounts around as they have a tendancy to go off if kept too long. I keep them in my fridge or freezer.

Even though the alternatives to flour are better choices for you, I still make sure that I use them quite sparingly. The carbs add up and most of my meals do not require flour subsitutes as I eat whole foods, very fresh, organic and grass fed.

I did make sure to keep all of my delicious herbs and spices and eventually added to them so my protein based meals were full of flavour and variety.

I had a few artificial sweeteners floating around, but to be honest I always disliked the taste of them. Back then if I was going to have something sweet it was going to come from refined sugar or nothing.

Cheap Keto Meals

I binned all of the sweetners, even the stevia. I wanted to make sure that in those early days I wasn’t going to be indulging in anything that encouraged my sweet tooth or cravings. Here’s a news story about the perils of consuming Artificial Sweeteners.

I know many of you use the sweeteners and are continuing to try to replace high sugar desserts with no sugar versions. Our desire to treat ourselves every evening after dinner is bound in tradition and social norms. We can challenge this. Treating ourselves every night to foods that make us feel emotionally better are in fact hindering us long term.

Life can be tricky to say the least and so many things happen on a day to day basis that make us want to turn to sweet tasting foods. These foods dampen down how emotional we are feeling.

Choosing low carb, high fat and moderate protein meals will definetely help you to make better decisions about your food choices, because quite simply you will lose the cravings for those foods that have sweetness as their base.

The more desserts you consume, particulalry those containing artifical sweeteners, the hungrier you will get. Take diet jelly for example. When I first started eating low carb I would always have loads of diet jelly in my fridge. It was my go-to snack when I had the munchies.

I started to get headachess on a daily basis, right behind my eyes. When I had eaten the jelly (in fairly decent amounts), I would be back with my head in the fridge an hour later.

So, how to do keto on a budget:

Cheap keto grocery list

  • mushrooms
  • cabbage
  • onions
  • white onion
  • garlic
  • bell pepper
  • romaine or leaf lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes
  • avocado
  • lime
  • spinach

Protein Foods


  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ground beef
  • breakfast sausage
  • bacon

Dairy and Eggs


  • cream cheese
  • plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • bleu cheese
  • eggs
  • butter

Pantry Foods


  • chicken broth
  • coconut cream
  • soy sauce
  • almond butter
  • almond flour
  • vanilla extract
  • cocoa powder
  • monk fruit extrac

You will not find many dessert recipes on this blog as artificial sweeteners make you hungry and can stall your weight loss.

You don’t have to do too much research to find out how toxic artificial sweeteners are to your body. I would suggest it is a given that these chemically based sugar alternatives are addictive and harmful.

If you are committed to your low carb journey and really want to feel the benefits of being in ketosis, limiting the amount of dessert type foods you eat is a great place to start.
I only have a dessert once a week if that and I also make sure to have non sweet choices such a good cheese.

From the very beginning of my ketosis journey I have not craved puddings and desserts like I used to. I won’t lie and say I don’t think about sweets on occasion, but I can move past the urge to make or eat them quite easily. This is because my brain and body isn’t on the hunt for glucose (in the form of sugar and carbs) anymore. The other reason I avoid any form of dessert is because I never want to go back to being morbidly obese, pre diabetic or using high carb sugary foods to make me feel better when the going gets tough.

So when your pottering around your kitchen, go through your cupboards and get rid of the foods that containing grains and hidden sugars. If you keep them you are more likely to use them and they do more harm than good.

There are so many great low carb websites that offer recipes making it easy to stay in ketosis. I have never been bored with eating a ketogenic diet, I have chosen to think in a different way about what I eat and when. Some times I have lunch at breakfast or breakfast at dinner, it doesn’t matter anymore.

Stock your refrigerator with whole foods, low carb veggies, free range pasture fed eggs, fresh grass fed meat, butter, cheese and cream.

The money you spend on these products is worth it. I used to spend $8.00 on large boxes of cereal, now I spend that on delicious well made cheese instead.

So start as you mean to go on, clean out your cupboards and move forward to a healthier lifestyle. It’s so worth doing now, your future self will thank you. A bit of effort now will pay off big time sown the track. Good luck with eating keto on a budget.

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