Keto has become a very popular way of eating over the last couple of years and personally, it has done a lot of good for our family’s health and well-being. While it might not be perfect for everyone and I certainly encourage all of your to find and follow a healthy diet that works for you and your lifestyle goals no one should turn away from Keto because they find it confusing or overly expensive. Keto can be done in a simple and budget-friendly way. Here is how our family simplified keto so that it worked for our family.
Making Keto Simple
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Breaking Down The Basics
While there are many types of Keto and everyone has a different opinion about what it means to eat Keto the basics remain the same. Following a Keto diet means placing your body in a ketogenic state. This is done by restricting carbs to the point where your body starts to use fat for fuel.
While this point is slightly different for everyone, for most people this can be achieved by eating around 20g of net carbs a day. Learning to eat 20g of net carbs a day is a good starting point for those trying to learn about the Keto way of eating.
Eating 20g of net carbs might seem daunting at first but, trust me, it will soon become second nature. If you are the type of person who enjoys being highly organized you might consider keeping either a food diary, a page designated for keeping up with your carb count in a diary or bullet journal or downloading an app to do it for you! Just be careful with the apps! Many of them follow different rules in regards to sugar alcohols so will give you different carb counts.
In order to calculate net carbs take the total carbs listed on the packaging and minus the fiber (which are carbs your body is incapable of absorbing, so they pass right through) and the sugar alcohols which are typically found in sugar-free foods to replicate the sweetness we all love.
If you feel ready to delves deeper into Keto see these posts or download our Keto Starter Pack
- Keto Basics
- Keto Pantry Staples
- Lazy, Strict, and Dirty Keto
- Keto Macros
- Keto Sweeteners
- Keto Flour Substitutions
- Top Ten Keto-Friendly Vegetables
- Keto Vs Carnivore
- Keto and Clean Eating
- Grow a Keto-Friendly Garden
- Weight Maintenance After Keto
Breaking Your Carb Count Down By Meal
When I first started Keto I found it helpful to break down my carb limit by meal. If I ‘budgeted’ 5 Net carbs for breakfast, 5 net carbs for lunch, 5 net carbs for supper, and 5 net carbs for snacks I found it easier to plan out meals.
I have seen many people eat what they believe is a keto-friendly breakfast then add up the carb count and panic because they are nearly out for the day. Pre-thinking and budgeting your carbs ahead of time can alleviate this panic and stress.
If I only had coffee for breakfast (which is pretty normal for me) I would consider any extra carbs roll-over carbs towards the rest of the day’s meals. You roll over carbs can only be used on the day they are earned, however…not tomorrow and not the next week.
Creating Budget-Friendly Meals without the Costly Extra’s
Another complaint I often see about Keto is that it’s too expensive. This can be true…but it doesn’t have to be! Yes, we all want those fancy keto desserts with hard to find ingredients and fancy flours and grass-fed butter and beef sound delicious but you don’t need them if buying them means that you won’t be able to maintain a healthier way of eating.
What is better for you long term? Giving up the perfect ingredients for some perfectly acceptable replacements or continuing to eat prepackaged foods that typically take up most of an American budget-friendly grocery trip? We all know that one can survive on peanut butter & jelly, mac’n’cheese, and ramen noodles if we have to and I have in the past but we also know it’s not great for us.
In order to keep Keto budget-friendly focus on the basics. Buy seasonal green vegetables at a farmer’s market if possible or just pick up what you can from the grocery store. Focus on leafy greens or items like Brocolli and Cauliflower. Stay away from fruit unless it’s berries and don’t be afraid to get canned or frozen varieties if those are cheaper.
Plan your meals around a protein base. Think of meat and vegetables as your staples, add some cheese if you want, and call it good. A lot of us are conditioned to think dinner needs to be meat plus two sides, start reconditioning yourself to think of dinner as meat plus a vegetable. Forget about costly extras like keto rolls or keto pasta.
Since you won’t be filling you shopping cart with snack foods and baking goods then you might even fin yourself saving some money!