You may have seen tons of keto-approved snacks, shakes, and delivery services available for purchase online, but any budget-conscious foodie knows that these items can be quite costly, especially when you factor in steep shipping fees.
Although it may seem impossible to indulge in the popular high-fat and low-carb eating plan on a tight budget, dietitians say it's possible to score keto-approved produce, meats, and snacks on the cheap.
INSIDER spoke to two registered dietitians to learn how to find the best keto-friendly foods on a budget.
1. Look for family-size packs of chicken, beef, and pork chops
Even if you are just cooking keto-friendly meals for yourself, registered dietitian Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN, suggested looking for family-size packs of chicken, beef, and pork chops, saying they are often more affordable than smaller packs.
"You can always grab some freezer bags and split up the pack when you get home so one family pack can provide you multiple meals," Gulbin told INSIDER.
2. Find out when your grocery store restocks meat
Gulbin also said it's important to find out when your grocery restocks meat. She suggested that when stores do this (which is usually the day before or on the day of) they often tag meats (that are a week from their sell-by date) with discounts.
3. Try to buy produce that's in season
"It's wise to use a produce guide from the USDA which will t ell you which vegetables are in season," Guilbin said. "When produce is in season, they will be cheaper and more flavorful."
4. Use frozen vegetables to save money
Although fresh produce is best, Gulbin said frozen vegetables can be cheaper, especially when they are purchased in bulk. She also noted that, "many frozen vegetables are flash frozen at their peak of ripeness, so they will still sustain comparable nutritive qualities to fresh produce."
Frozen vegetables will also not go bad as quickly as fresh produce, which Gulbin said will help you save money in the long run
5. Check out the bulk section of your favorite grocery store
If you are looking to save a buck, Gulbin said the bulk section of certain stores can allow you to buy whatever amount of nuts or seeds you want for a cheaper price than their prepackaged counterparts.
Look for bulk food sections at grocery stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts, she said, as well as sites like Litterless or ZeroWasteNerd for bulk food locations in your area.
6. Save big at stores likes Dollar Tree and Grocery Outlet Bargain Market
"You may be surprised to find coconut oil, olive oil, and low carb snacks for cheap at places like Dollar Tree or Grocery Outlet Bargain Market," Gulbin said.
7. Create a shopping list and stick with it.
"Always prepare a grocery list before entering the market and use it," registered dietitian Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN told INSIDER. Only buying what's on that list is the best way to stick to a budget, she said.
8. Don't throw away your chicken carcass
"It's usually a better deal to buy a whole chicken and cut it into pieces yourself," Aguirre suggested. But you won't want to throw away the carcass, she said, as you can use it to make chicken broth.
9. Shopping online may guarantee better savings
If you can't find the deals you want locally or are short on time, shopping online is another option for savings, according to Aguirre.
"Check out items such as nuts, almond flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, and spices," she said. These items are usually less expensive to buy online than in the store, even with shipping, she added.
10. Try to make food yourself instead of relying on packaged foods
"Plan to make anything yourself that you normally would buy packaged," Aguirre suggested. Not only will this help you save money, but it'll also eliminate the other ingredients that show up in processed foods, she said.