Everybody wants to eat healthier to live longer and there is a smart way to do this on a budget. All you need is a little preparation and flexibility in your
thinking and the commitment to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The ketogenic diet has enjoyed much popularity recently and with good reason. It has many health benefits and is effective for losing weight and improving health. However, there is a misconception that it is more expensive than the traditional standard Western diet. It doesn’t have to be. In this guide, you will discover smart ways to go and stay keto without breaking the bank.
1. Be a Deal hunter
Everyone loves a good discount. Discounts, promos, sales and freebies! Who could say no? How do you get good deals? It is actually not that hard. Just do a bit of research online to find vouchers, discover promos and sale dates at your favorite grocery stores and markets. Join contests where you can win gift certificates. Explore shops in your local area for times at which they reduce fresh items for clearance to pick up perfectly good items at a fraction of the price.
2. Set a budget and plan your keto meals
You don’t need to be on keto to understand how not having or sticking to a budget can wreak havoc with your finances. Set and stick to a realistic budget and challenge yourself to find fresh whole foods that support your new healthy lifestyle. Plan simple healthy meals based on wholesome fresh and unprocessed ingredients. Preparation is key. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail and meal prepping is really the gift that keeps on giving. You buy your food and have one big cook. You can freeze what you will not eat immediately and refrigerate the food you will eat in the next few days. This investment will save you money, time and the headspace to do other things. It also helps with portion control, temptation control and is just a good deal all round.
3. Create a shopping list before venturing out
Arm yourself with a shopping list so you will know the ingredients you need for your meal preparations. If you commit to stick to your list, the temptation to veer off course and into the candy and high carb isles will be small.
4. Download a price comparison tool
Pro tip! The first step of online research will help you understand which shops have the best prices, deals and promotions. The list you made will help you stay on track. However, you know how it is when you come across that new product you saw somewhere and you just have to try it. Use your price comparison tool to spot check and see if that grass-fed-butter truly is a steal, check who offers the best prices and avoid making impulsive decisions that will blow your budget. There are numerous price comparison apps such as pricerunner, pricespy and pricegrabber. Simply search on Google and select the best one for you.
5. Invest in quality kitchen tools
Save money in the long run and buy quality kitchen tools and equipment. They will last longer and can really enhance the cooking experience. Compare the cost of making nut butters and nut milks at home versus popping across town to your local independent health food store – it is a no-brainer. Also Invest in a quality food processor for making dressings, dips, salsas, soups, smoothies and delicious cauliflower mash. Food processors and blenders give you the upper hand when making your own food and puts you control of what you are eating.
6. Bulk it up!
Buy in bulk and cook in bulk!. Yep you heard it. Grab one of those humungous trolleys and pile it up. You can save a lot of money by buying in bulk. Have you noticed how brands have slowly decreased the size of products, but continue to charge the same prices for them. Something similar happens when you buy food in ‘convenient’ portions. You pay a premium and directly contribute to environmental waste. What looks cheap is actually far more expensive than buying in bulk. Just take a minute to run a simple mental price comparison scenario and you will find buying in bulk works out cheaper every time. So, if you have the wheels, refrigerator, freezer and pantry space then buying in bulk to protect your budget, time and fuel and the way to go. We’d buying in bulk. It is equally important to cook in bulk and refrigerate and freeze. This will save you money and time, especially if you are working. Select one day for your big cook and store and use throughout the week. For working people, besides helping you stick to your healthy lifestyle, having cooked food ahead of time means you already food ready for the next day, so it’s just a matter of packing it. This allows you to avoid the lunchtime rush, queuing up to buy sub-parr processed foods and avoid temptation when queuing up to pay. Instead lunchtimes can be more organized starting with a delicious fresh homemade meal followed by a stroll. Here are some tips for buying in bulk:
- Make sure you have the right storage
- Choose a mix of perishable versus non perishable items. You may have to top-up on fresh produce more regularly.
- Freeze what you cannot consume immediately. Refrigerate what you can manage within a week.
7. Buy wisely
Become a discerning customer is the secret to sticking to your budget and your health goals. Get into the habit of checking three things:
- Labels: As a keto practitioner, this is vital or you could be shopping out of ketosis and reversing all your hard work
- Prices: Be patient, compare and choose wisely.
- Check expiry dates: Just extend your arm a little further towards the back of the shelves to get items with longer shelf lives.
8. Organic, or Conventional
Isn’t it ironic how foods grown with little to no pesticides and herbicides are called organic and those that are sprayed are called ‘conventional’? Isn’t that odd? When buying fruits and vegetables, go for organic. If you cannot afford organic buy conventional, because they still have more or less the same nutritional profile barr the extra pesticides. When buying organic, check the packaging. ‘organic’ is not always organic. Check that it is certified organic to justify the premium.
9. Buy seasonal and keep things simple
Learn how to be flexible in your food and eat seasonally. A limited budget will require you to be flexible and adjust your meals according to the seasons. This is also good for the environment. With respect to simplicity, go for easy to find in the fresh food and fresh produce aisles, easy to cook and delicious to taste with a few condiments. Having said that, eating in the same way may become a little tedious, so try and switch things up a little with different ingredients and combinations and try something new and a different time of day.
10. Intermittent Fasting (IF)
IF is part of the of the ketogenic lifestyle. There are many forms of IF – from 16/8, 23/1 to three full-day water fasts. IF tends to be practised by longer term practitioners who are adapted and thrive on these periods of not eating. With just four days left of food to plan and typically two meals a day, you can see why you can do keto on a budget. It can actually be very cheap.
Here are some reasonably basic keto essentials which should have regularly be on your shopping list:
- Chicken (Thigh)
- Almonds and Macadamia
- Broccoli and green beans (Frozen are cheaper)
- Grass-fed butter
Bonus Tip: Share the love
Keto is an amazing way of life that allows you to attain and maintain health while enjoying delicious and satiating foods that we were educated to believe we not part of a healthy lifestyle. In your quest to go keto and stay keto and with all your bulk buying, you may often find that you have far too much food to manage. Why not share the love and pleasure of your delicious keto recipe creations with family and friends. In case you have left-overs after your dinner party, you can always recycle your leftovers and invent a new dish.
Summary: Keto on a budget
Eat healthy, stay budget friendly.
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