Are you interested in eating low carb? Do you need to do low carb on a budget?
I know the feeling. My husband was put on a low-carb diet by one of his doctors. When he told me what he was encouraged to eat, my first response was, “We can’t afford that!”
However, I knew he needed to lose weight so I supported it and figured out a way to eat low carb on budget.
Here are the tips I’ve put together based upon our own experience of eating low carb on a budget:
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. You should never start a new diet without consulting your doctor first. I’m not liable for your experiences, and this post is for informational purposes only.
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1. Eat the Cheap Meats to Eat Low Carb on a Budget
When some people consider going low-carb, they assume they’ll be eating steak and chicken every night of the week.
If your budget can afford this, that’s awesome! However, my budget doesn’t have that kind of room in it.
Instead, we eat cheaper cuts of meat. I’ll buy a whole ham and divide it into multiple meals. We eat pepperoni as a snack, use cheap ground beef, and less expensive cuts of chicken.
The protein is what counts. Look for the cheaper cuts of meat to save yourself a bundle.
2. DIY Your Meat to Eat Low Carb on a Budget
Another way we’re able to eat low-carb on a budget is by raising and hunting for our meat. We live on a small farm.
This land gives us the room to raise a few pigs every year to fill our freezers. If the idea of raising your own meat makes you uncomfortable, or you don’t have the room, talk with your local butcher.
Many times they’ll sell you a portion of a pig or cow for a wholesale price.
If you’re an avid hunter, deer and turkey season are an excellent time to bag free meat. My husband’s family is filled with avid hunters.
3. Grow What You Can to Eat Low Carb on a Budget
A low-carb diet isn’t eating only meat and cheese. You should incorporate low-carb vegetables for an overall healthy experience.
Even if you live where there isn’t much room to plant, you could grow a container garden, raise crops in your window boxes, plant an edible landscape, use raised beds, grow in a planting table, or grow an old-fashioned in-ground garden.
These are all great ideas for supplementing the vegetables you need in your diet without costing a fortune.
4. Food Preservation Can Help
If you have enough room to grow a garden, you may have the room to grow an excess of what you need.
When this happens, you shouldn’t waste the produce. Instead, preserve it yourself. You could can the extra vegetables, freeze them, or dehydrate them.
This will help you to have low-carb vegetables year-round without purchasing them from the grocery store.
Unsure about how to preserve your own food? Check out the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.
It was the resource I used when I was getting started in preserving my own foods and still use it as a reference to this day.
5. Shop the Clearance Section When Eating Low Carb on a Budget
There are some items you may not be able to grow yourself, or maybe you aren’t interested in growing them.
Whatever the circumstance, don’t forget about your grocery store’s clearance section or sale items.
By shopping sales, you can get the items you need without overspending.
6. No High-End Cheeses When Eating Low Carb on a Budget
There are some cheeses considered high-end and cost more (such as brie.) There are other cheeses which are basic and cost less (such as mild or sharp cheddar.)
If you’re working on a beer budget, don’t go for the champagne of cheeses. Cheese is a common staple in a low-carb diet.
However, by purchasing less-expensive options, it can save your wallet a ton of grief. Therefore, get what you need but don’t go overboard by purchasing the most expensive options on the shelf.
7. Low-Carb Veggies Are Good Enough When Eating Low Carb on a Budget
As referenced above, there are some low-carb vegetables which are going to be cheaper than others.
For instance, asparagus is a more expensive option for low-carb vegetables. You can skip it and go with a less-expensive option such as green bell peppers.
Your body doesn’t care how expensive the ingredients are you feed it. What matters is you’re eating low-sugar, low-carb ingredients.
8. Frozen Over Fresh
Most of us know when you head to the produce department you’re going to pay more than shopping the frozen food aisle.
When you’re eating low-carb, the same theory applies. You can purchase a large bag of broccoli for only a few dollars.
Where you’re going to pay a few dollars for one head of broccoli in the produce department. Shop smart and compare prices between fresh and frozen.
If your budget can’t afford fresh produce, it’s okay to shop the frozen food aisle.
9. Inexpensive Desserts
Let’s be real, our dessert days aren’t over because we choose to eat a low-carb diet. There are a variety of desserts made from almond flour and coconut flour.
The problem with these options is specialty flour can add up. Instead, I avoid them all together. When I want a low-carb dessert I stick with the cream cheese or heavy whipping cream based options.
One of my favorite low-carb desserts is whipping two cups of heavy whipping cream with one box of sugar-free pudding.
I whip it until it makes a mousse. It’s delicious, makes enough for the whole family, and costs around $3.
10. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. This type of fasting is when you choose to eat between certain times of the day. Otherwise, you fast the remainder of the day.
I hadn’t heard of it until my nutritionist thought it was a good idea for me to try it. Again, as mentioned above, don’t do anything without consulting your doctor first.
In my case, it works for me to eat between the hours of 12pm and 8pm. The remaining 16 hours of the day, I fast.
I drink plenty of fluids and drink a bulletproof coffee for breakfast. Not only does this work for me, but it also saves me money.
I don’t have to worry about one extra meal a day because I drink it. If intermittent fasting works for you or is recommended by your doctor, don’t look at it as a punishment.
Look at it as a money saving option and one more way to eat low-carb on a budget.
11. Utilize Leftovers to Eat Low Carb on a Budget
If you want to save money, you’ve got to use what you’ve got. In short, don’t be wasteful.
When you have leftovers, use them as the next day’s lunch. Not only does this keep you from wasting food, but it also saves you money.
Instead of purchasing a week’s worth of lunches, you’ll know dinner will cover two meals. This equates to money saved.
Save your leftovers in airtight containers to keep them fresh for longer periods. This will also help you avoid waste.
12. Buy in Bulk
There are some cases where buying in bulk is more expensive. However, there are other instances where it can save you a bundle.
Be sure to check the unit price before purchasing a low-carb option in bundle. If it can save you money, go for it.
One thing I purchase in bulk is sugar-free peach mango green tea. It’s cheaper than buying it individually from my local grocery store.
Therefore, I order it online and enjoy a tasty beverage which works well for this way of eating.
13. DIY Your Staples
There are basic staples to a low-carb diet. You’ll find yourself using a good amount of:
- Heavy whipping cream
- Alternative sweeteners
If you’re in the position where you can make any of your own staples, go for it. Some people grow their own Stevia to avoid purchasing alternative sweeteners.
You can make your own butter and cheese. If (like me) you live on a farm where you have dairy animals, this can save you a bundle because you have cream to make homemade butter and milk to make homemade cheeses.
See what you use the most of and find out if there’s a way to make any of it yourself.
14. Manager’s Specials
Our final stop on this money-saving-carpet-ride is to discuss manager’s specials. When a store has a product which will be out-of-date soon, they mark it down.
This happens most frequently in the meat and produce department. If you find meat with a manager’s special tag on it, snatch it up.
Even if you won’t eat it anytime soon, put it in your freezer. If you’re a single person, and you find a whole ham on sale…buy it.
You can cook it, slice it, package it, freeze it, and you’ve got sandwich meat which will last a few months.
If you find produce which is marked down, if it isn’t too far gone, purchase it. You can cut the bad spots out, but be sure to eat it soon.
We’ve covered 14 different ways for you to save money while enjoying the low-carb way of eating.
Hopefully these tips will help you save money while you’re on this journey. Now, take what you’ve learned and see how you can eat low-carb on a budget.