It pains us to admit it, but the cheapest ingredients at the grocery store are simple starches like white bread and rice. Even highly processed, shelf-stable meals like dried ramen and Kraft mac n cheese are pretty cheap. But if you’re trying to reduce your blood sugar levels and insulin needs, these are the very foods that you most desperately need to avoid.
Meanwhile, dedicated low-carbohydrate advocates tend to do a lot of cooking with special ingredients such as almond flour, chia seeds and avocado oil, all of which can drive up a grocery bill pretty quickly. There’s no doubt that low-carb eating can get expensive. What’s a frugal keto dieter supposed to do?
Don’t fear. We’ve been publishing recipes for 10 years, and we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve. You can eat keto on a budget by prioritizing the less expensive proteins, and it would be tough to find a menu that packs more nutrient density per dollar. We’ve gathered a list of 8 of our best low-carb, low-cost, and high-deliciousness recipes:
Chicken thighs should probably be a mainstay in your shopping cart. Commonly the least expensive part of this vital protein source, chicken thighs are also extraordinarily easy to cook, easily among the most forgiving of meats should you happen to cook them ten minutes too long. In this exclusive ASweetLife recipe, best-selling author Carolyn Ketchum marinates the chicken in yogurt, rosemary and Sriracha and finishes the skin under the broiler. Crispy, piquant and lip-smackingly good. Bonus: chicken thighs reheat well. Plan on leftovers.
Another chicken thigh recipe, this time of the boneless & skinless variety. The meat practically takes care of itself: just add salt, pepper and heat. The easy Thai-flavored homemade peanut sauce, made mostly from pantry staples, hits all the right notes.
A standard that needs to be in every keto cook’s toolbox. Ground beef, inexpensive and essential, is a natural staple of the low-carb diet. Brown your meat, add tomato, onion and spices, and come back hours later to enjoy your rewards.
One of our favorites from the archives, this is an entire meal in a bowl: a mild and creamy pureed cauliflower soup with ground beef, plenty of cheese, and whatever burger toppings you want. Blow your kids’ minds with this one.
We should all be eating more seafood and lean protein, right? Check two boxes with this terrific zesty recipe. Inexpensive and easy-to-find tilapia is dusted with chipotle powder and sautéed in butter. The fresh homemade pico de gallo easily beats any jarred version, costs less, and you get to skip those sneaky added sugars.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a real fish counter where they cut to order, they’re bound to have a low-priced soup or chowder mix, made up of little off cuts sliced from larger orders. Fish out the pieces of firm white fish like cod and haddock for this rich chowder, thickened with cream chicken stock, which “fills you up with goodness and warms you to your toes.”
We’re also all supposed to be eating more fatty fish, and tuna has one of the best protein bangs for your buck, not to mention those vital Omega-3 fatty acids. Whip up some homemade tuna salad real quick for an easy snack or a healthy meal.
Any omelet is a great way of using healthy & inexpensive eggs; we like this Thai omelet because it works so well for lunch and dinner as well as breakfast. Ground pork or crumbled sausage makes it a substantial and very fast meal for one.
What’s your favorite ‘keto on a budget’ meal? Let us know in the comments!