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Cheap Keto Meals: Low-Carb, Budget-Friendly Ideas


If you’re considering starting a keto diet you may be wondering if your grocery bills will skyrocket. But the truth is, you can enjoy cheap keto meals that are still high in quality.


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When you start cutting processed carbs, sugar, and other non-friendly keto foods from your diet, you’ll probably find your trips to the grocery store to be much quicker and efficient.

But if you don’t know which keto-approved foods fit your budget, you may wind up spending a lot more on groceries than you’re used to.

This guide covers the best meal prep tips and cheap keto meals, sides, and snacks to help you reach your goals without going broke.

Is It Expensive to Eat Keto?

It can be more expensive to eat keto if you’re taking the dirty keto approach.

Dirty keto or lazy keto followers rely mostly on low-carb fast food, ready-made meals, protein bars, cured meat, and the like.

Some of these may be fine in moderation (and a quick, easy option when you’re short on time), but relying on them to meet 90% of your daily macros can be a recipe for malnutrition and an empty wallet.

The secret to a keto diet on a budget is knowing how to get the best nutrition possible, without spending a fortune.

Cheap Keto Meal Prep Tips and Tricks

Following a budget-conscious ketogenic diet requires a two-step approach. The first thing to do is to stop activities that waste money. Afterwards, starting new habits that save you cash should become your priority.

You’re Probably Wasting Money Doing These: 

  • Eating out more than cooking at home. It’s easy to grab a bunless cheeseburger or salad when you’re short on time, but dining out will always be more expensive than homemade meals.
  • Buying pre-cut veggies. Even though these speed up meal prep, you’ll pay more for cut veggies than whole ones.
  • Purchasing expensive cuts of meat. Grilling a rib-eye for dinner every night may be easy, but not cost-effective. Stick to buying whole chickens, chicken thighs, pork chops, ground beef, London Broil, and pork loin. These are just a few of the best meats on a budget. When in doubt, consider that the more work a butcher has to do, the more expensive the meat.
  • Not using your supplements. It may seem like a large expense to buy protein powder, exogenous ketones, and MCT oil powder, but that’s only if you don’t use them.

How Can I Eat Cheap Keto Meals? 

A keto meal plan is key. It will help you stick to a budget so that you lose weight and not your savings. Here are a few tips:

  • Browse keto recipes wisely. Stick to recipes with few ingredients, or those with ingredients you already have and don’t need to buy.
  • Prepare a meal plan for the week. Get out a calendar and schedule meals and snacks for each day of the week. When you go shopping, only buy items on your shopping list. Meal planning prevents the need for expensive convenience foods at the last minute.
  • Buy in bulk. It’s often cheaper to purchase ingredients in larger quantities. You can use what your weekly meals require and freeze or store the rest.
  • Opt for discounted products. Let these items inspire your weekly meal plan. Or fill your freezer and pantry with the sale goodies so you don’t pay full price when you need these ingredients next.
  • Start batch cooking. Ace the art of batch cooking and you’ll always have a convenient low-carb meal ready to go in the fridge or freezer. A slow cooker or Instant Pot is great for making large quantities of food, which you can portion out for later.

Easy and Cheap Keto Breakfast Ideas

Whether you’re waking up to it or making “brinner” at night, breakfast is one of the most affordable meals of the day. Take your pick out of these easy low-carb options.

Keto Boosted Coffee

Keto Boosted Coffee

Swapping a meal for a boosted keto coffee when you’re fasting will provide long-lasting energy and focus, using just four ingredients.

Protein Shakes and Smoothies

Cinnamon Smoothie

Homemade protein smoothies make for great cheap keto meals as they can cost less than $2 each and give you energizing fuel for the day.

This cinnamon dolce latte breakfast smoothie contains cold brew coffee, cinnamon, and 13 grams of protein. Or try this creamy vanilla chai protein shake which swaps coffee for chai tea.

Keto Waffles: Four Ways

Pancake with Berries

With a well-stocked pantry including almond and coconut flour, you can make eight fluffy keto waffles with fewer carbs (and less cash) than the store-bought options.

For variety, try these decadent chocolate keto waffles that call for cacao powder and chocolate collagen. Or consider trying these crispy vanilla protein waffles which pack 20 grams of fat and only 4 grams of net carbs.

Keto Pancakes

Keto pancake

Making the best keto pancakes only requires a combination of almond flour, coconut flour, eggs, unsweetened milk, baking powder, and your sweetener of choice.

These cream cheese pancakes call for even fewer ingredients.

And if you feel like treating yourself have a go at one of these options:

Easy Keto Egg Muffins, Frittatas, and Breakfast Casseroles

Keto Egg Muffins

Always add eggs to your grocery list — they’re one of the most affordable sources of protein on a keto diet.

A frittata is like an Italian breakfast casserole that involves a combination of eggs, cold cuts (i.e., bacon, ham, or sausage), cheese, and low-carb veggies.

Give this turkey sausage frittata a go or try this bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast casserole, and see how these simple and cheap keto meal options will easily become your favorite.

And if you’re looking for a portable option, these quick and easy keto egg muffins are ideal when you’re running out the door. These also make for great entrees or if you pair them with a salad, they’ll turn into a good lunch choice too.

Affordable Keto Lunch Options 

These keto lunch ideas will get you through the workday or keep you powering through the weekend.

Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad

Even though this chicken Caesar salad recipe calls for chicken breasts, you can use chicken thighs to save cash.

Boneless chicken breasts are pricier than bone-in chicken thighs but you’ll still get the nutrients.

You can also save the most by purchasing a whole chicken and cutting it yourself. You can then use the leftovers for the next low-carb recipe.

Easy Keto Chicken Salad

Keto Chicken Salad

A whole chicken or turkey is one of the most affordable protein options. Roast it whole or in pieces on a sheet pan, and whatever doesn’t get used in a recipe can be turned into this easy keto chicken salad.

Keto Egg Salad

Keto Egg Salad

A classic egg salad is one of the cheapest and tastiest lunches. Make a batch and eat it from a bowl, on keto bread, or in lettuce cups.

If you have a few bucks to spend on avocado, try this best keto deviled eggs recipe.

Keto Tuna Salad

Keto Tuna Salad

A can of tuna contains healthy omega fatty acids and almost 50 grams of protein. It also doesn’t cost much.

This unique tuna salad recipe combines boring tuna with lime and chili for an exciting lunch you’ll look forward to.

Low-Carb Taco Cups

Low-Carb Taco Cups

Using lettuce wraps for tortillas in this recipe for taco cups means you can eat healthy and delicious tacos on the cheap without sacrificing ketosis.

Cheeseburger Casserole 

Cheeseburger Casserole

Avoid the drive-thru cheeseburger at lunch and pack this satiating cheeseburger casserole.

Made with ground beef, cream cheese, eggs, heavy cream, and shredded cheddar cheese, each serving delivers almost 15 grams of fat and 23 grams of protein.

Budget-Friendly Keto Dinners

Make dinner pull double-duty by cooking enough so you have leftovers. These dinner ideas fit your budget and macros, please a crowd, and taste even better the next day.

Chicken Casseroles 

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Unlike fancy chicken recipes, you don’t need much to nail this one-pan cheesy broccoli and chicken casserole.

For a Tex-Mex or Mexican-inspired chicken dinner, this zesty chicken enchilada casserole is a budget-friendly choice, packed with flavor.

Low-Carb White Turkey Chili 

Low-Carb White Turkey Chili

Ground turkey is full of lean protein and is quite affordable compared to other meat.

You’ll have five servings of this paleo white turkey chili and each boasts nearly 30 grams of protein to help promote your weight loss and muscle-building goals.

Low-Carb Keto Chili 

Low-Carb Keto Chili

Depending on the type of ground beef, prices can range from about $3 per pound to more than $5 for grass-fed or leaner choices[*][*].

This low-carb keto chili recipe makes six servings and each has almost 35 grams of protein to make that money feel well-spent.

Keto Meatballs 

Keto Meatballs

This keto meatball recipe includes five different variations. Choose from Asian, BBQ, alfredo, pizza, or buffalo so meatballs become a weekly affordable meal, without getting bored.

Weeknight Keto Beef Stew

Keto Beef Stew

Beef for stews can be quite affordable because you don’t need to buy pricey cuts to make it work.

A simple keto beef stew recipe will tenderize and break down the meat so that it melts in your mouth and makes you feel full.

Pork Chops: Two Ways

Keto Pork Chops

Pork chops typically cost less than $4 per pound[*].

To make these epic keto pork chops, just grab garlic, basil, thyme, sea salt, and balsamic vinegar.

And if you have a well-stocked spice shelf, this recipe for nutritious baked pork chops packs almost 60 grams of protein per chop.

Cheap Keto Sides for Any Meal

Salads with homemade keto dressings and roasted or steamed veggies make easy, cheap low-carb side dishes. If you’re tired of having cauliflower rice at every meal, check these out.

Balsamic Roasted Turnips

Balsamic Roasted Turnips

This crispy balsamic roasted turnips recipe calls for just three simple ingredients: turnips, garlic, and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s not only a healthy option, but an incredibly affordable one.

Zucchini Noodles (aka Zoodles)

Zucchini Noodles (aka Zoodles)

When you’re craving noodles without the carbs, spiralize a zucchini for the perfect side dish. Use this two-step garlic parmesan zoodle recipe for an awesome pasta alternative.

Cabbage makes another low-carb noodle substitute (and it may be even cheaper).

Stir-Fry Cabbage Noodles

Keto Stir-Fry Cabbage Noodles

When takeout cravings strike, pan-fry these keto stir-fry cabbage noodles and pair them with Asian meatballs or shish-kabobs for a budget-friendly meal.

Mashed Cauliflower 

Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes

Pre-cut cauliflower florets cost more, so buy the whole head and cut it yourself.

These cauliflower mashed potatoes pair well with any meal you’re whipping up. You can also upgrade to garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes without blowing your budget.

Cheap Keto Snacks

There are loads of keto snacks you can buy and on-the-go keto snacks you can pack. Money-savvy shoppers say these cheap keto snacks rank high above the rest.

Homemade Keto Bone Broth

Keto Bone Broth

Buying bone broth may set you back a few bucks despite the wonderful health benefits.

Making your own keto bone broth is a much more affordable way to score 12 healthy servings. Plus, you get to use all the animal bones and carcasses from your meals so nothing goes to waste.

Homemade Keto Protein Bars

Keto Protein Bars

Finding the perfect keto protein bar can be a challenge and an expense.

Skip the struggle and make these affordable keto-friendly recipes:

Keto Chia Pudding

Keto Chia Pudding

Chia puddings are one of the most versatile, easy, and affordable breakfast options you’ll ever prepare. This 3-ingredient mocha chia pudding will fill up your tummy and pick up your energy levels.

If you prefer a caffeine-free breakfast, try this decadent chocolate keto chia pudding.

Keto Fat Bombs

Peanut butter fat bombs

No keto meal plan is complete without a fat bomb recipe or two.

These practical and quick doses of healthy fats come in various shapes, sizes, flavors, and price points.

Stretch your dollar till next payday with these budget-friendly choices:

  1. 3-Ingredient Coconut Cheesecake Fat Bombs
  2. 4-Ingredient Coconut Lemon Fat Bombs
  3. Simple Strawberry Cheesecake Fat Bombs
  4. Salted Caramel Cheesecake Fat Bombs
  5. Nut Butter Fat Bombs

Now you can highlight a few recipes from each category and plan your low-carb meals for the week.

Invest In Yourself With the Keto Diet

These tips and cheap keto meals will help you succeed on a low-carb, high-fat diet even if you don’t have much money to spend.

As Perfect Keto founder Dr. Anthony Gustin says: “Don’t let budget concerns derail you. Many people in the first half of life waste their health trying to make money and then in the second half of life they spend the money trying to get their health back.”


Subscribe to get simple, easy, and insanely delicious new keto recipes every week.

Using this cheap keto blueprint is a worry-free and simple way to kickstart your keto diet and invest in yourself.


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