Is the Keto Diet Expensive? Here’s How to Do Keto On A Budget

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minute read | Last update: Nov 29th2022

This article is backed by studies and reviewed by a certified dietician.

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Have you been lured in by the promise of keto? Well, then there's the darker part of keto that nobody tells you about - the price. Most keto blogs and recipes call for ingredients whose prices rival some rents. But is the keto diet always expensive? If it is, then how expensive can it get?

There's no real way to tell exactly how expensive keto can get. If you look at meal delivery services like Factor, you can calculate an average price. If the average meal costs $15, then you're paying $315 a month! It's definitely expensive.

However, it doesn't have to be expensive if you know how to keep it under budget. That said, it's best to break down the costs so you can tell for yourself!

The Cost of Keto

In the interest of breaking down the cost of keto, it's important to do it from different angles. From grocery store costs to meal delivery services and the price of an average meal, here's everything you'll need to know.

Meal Prep Costs

When you look at the average price of a keto meal, you quickly understand why the cost of a single keto meal is so highly-priced.

Instead of looking at every possible keto ingredient looking at the average price of the main meats you're eating compared to the vegetables and grains you'd be eating; otherwise is enough to show you the cost.


Average cost


$5 - $8







Vegetables (average of the cheapest ones)


These prices are based on 1 pound of food.

Cost of Keto-Friendly Meals

When you see something marked as keto-friendly at a restaurant, you can assume it's going to be twice as expensive. For this reason, eating out is discouraged on keto; it destroys your bank balance for no reason!

The meals are hiked up to $7 or more on average! Even if you order with customizations to prevent scammed, many restaurants can reject your requests and force you to order the expensive version!

Meal Delivery Services

As mentioned earlier, meal delivery services for a keto diet are usually very expensive - for a good reason, the ingredients used are expensive!

Even the most affordable option, HelloFresh, costs $10 to $12 per meal. Even if you choose the base option of 6 meals a week, you're up to $60 on just 3 meals!

Sample Meal Plan

If you're looking for a sample meal plan, then here's something that you can base off your own with a few twists as you'd like:

Day 1:

  • Breakfast: Eggs made with butter and served with greens
  • Lunch: Grass-fed burger without the buns (cheese, mushrooms, and avocado)
  • Dinner: Pork chops with greens sauteed in coconut oil

Estimated Budget: $42.04

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: Mushroom Omelettes
  • Lunch: Tuna Salad
  • Dinner: Roast chicken with a cream sauce and broccoli

Estimated budget: $16.97

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: Bell peppers stuffed with cheese and eggs
  • Lunch: Arugula salad with eggs, turkey, avocado, and blue cheese
  • Dinner: Salmon and spinach

Estimated budget: $94.85

Day 4:

  • Breakfast: Keto granola with full-fat yogurt
  • Lunch: Steak bowl
  • Dinner: Steak with cheese and broccoli

Estimated budget: $91

Day 5:

  • Breakfast: Toast with cauliflower, cheese, and avocado
  • Lunch: Caesar salad
  • Dinner: Pork Chops with vegetables

Estimated budget: $41.44

Can You Do Keto on a Budget?

Nothing is impossible, not even doing keto on a budget. It's completely possible to follow the diet on a strict budget if you exercise some self-control and follow the tips below.

Meal Prepping and Shopping Lists

Planning your meals is by far the quickest way you can cut down your keto budget. You can cut out takeaways that charge extra just for the label of keto and avoid any impulse purchases while you're at it!

By planning your purchases and writing down a shopping list, you'll be avoiding any impulse purchases and have a week's worth of meals ready to cook in your pantry. No excuse to order if everything's right there!

Shop Frugally

Now, there's no reason you can't splurge on the fancier ingredients once in a while, but overall there are certain ways you can cut down your shopping expenses.

  • Buy the regular cheese that's not grated or specialty.
  • Avoid pre-made expensive coleslaw, it's much cheaper to make it, and it's easy too!
  • Don't go for specialty meats; instead, opt for roast beef or chicken drumsticks
  • Kale isn't the only healthy green, so opt for the cheaper leafy greens
  • Nuts aren't worth their price, don't buy them all the time
  • Almond meal is cheaper than almond flour, and you won't have to pay as much
  • Avocado oil is cheaper than out-of-season avocado and better in recipes
  • Buy frozen or canned fish instead of fresh fish to save

As for a few vague tips on shopping:

  • Buy the quality you can afford, not the kind websites tell you you need.
  • Buy in season
  • Buy bargains; they're not any worse than the regular price food
  • Buy in bulk whenever you can
  • Organ meat is usually cheaper
  • There are certainly cheaper cuts of meat that are no less delicious

Cook Everything

If you're buying groceries, then it goes without saying that you should be cooking. But, try to make more than you require to have leftovers for the next day. You can take the leftovers to work, have them for lunch the next day, or when you're feeling too lazy to cook!

When you're cooking, it's always best to go for simpler meals. They're still tasty, filling, and won't discourage you from cooking. It's also easier to make larger portions when you don't have 10 different elements to a meal.

Eat Heartily

Once you've made your meals, it's important to eat them. Don't leave them to rot in your refrigerator. But, to avoid eating excessive amounts and raising your food bills through the roof, add more healthy fats to your meals - it'll keep you fuller.

Healthy fats can be anything, including cheeses, herbed butter, olive oils, coconut cream, and more!

Eggs are a great option if you're looking for a cheap, easy, and filling breakfast meal. If you're feeling it, then you can add a few sausages on the side to make it even healthier.

How to go Keto on $200 Per Month

When you're looking to do keto for $200 or less per month, there are multiple specific tips you can use to do so. While many have been mentioned above, you can try a few more specific tricks.

Firstly, there are certain cuts of meat and vegetables to buy that are significantly cheaper than the rest.

  • Ground beef or turkey
  • Frozen chicken breasts or chicken thighs
  • Canned tuna
  • Sausages
  • Pork shoulder roast
  • Organ meats like liver and tongue
  • Vegetables such as avocado, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, etc.

Secondly, cook in bulk.

Chuck ten chicken thighs on a sheet and into the oven and shred the meat later for a different meal! When you're cooking recipes that serve 6 or 10 at a time, you're saving your effort and the temptation to eat out!

List of Cheap Keto Foods

There are cheap keto foods for you to purchase to bring the cost of a meal down to $5 or even $10 a day. That's a far cry from $100 plus!

  • Chicken thighs
  • Ground beef
  • Ground turkey
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned salmon
  • Eggs
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Leafy vegetables like Cauliflower, Romaine lettuce
  • Mixed frozen vegetables
  • Dairy products with low carb content like cottage cheese
  • Branded olive oil for salads and more

Simple, Cheap Keto Recipes

Throughout a keto diet, you'll be eating at least 2-3 types of meat per week, sometimes in a day! But, over a week, you'll be eating at least a couple of pounds of meat per week - each type.

There are certain types of meat that you can eat for every meal - breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sausages (both pork and chicken) are a great breakfast food. Bacon strips are a great addition to eggs and keep you full and happy.

For lunch and dinner meals, you can opt for a wide variety of meats. Beef is the best option that's versatile and easily available. Whatever kind of beef you decide to buy, make sure it's grass-fed. Recipes like roast beef, ribs, steak, hamburgers, and kebab are healthy options.

Try meats like lamb, veal, venison, and pork if you're not into beef. When trying to keep costs down, you can buy organ meats like liver, kidney, heart, kidney, tripe, and tongue. They're rich in nutrients and cheaper.

Such meats are great for bulk cooking, so recipes like fajitas, tacos, bun-less burgers, and salads are easier to make if you already have the meat prepared with spices you like. You also get these meats frozen, and certain cuts like thigh are cheaper than breast.

Opt for fatty fish if you're looking for a change from the rich red meats. Salmon, trout, tuna, and the like offer more options in terms of lunch meals and make great midday snacks if you're prone to snacking. Nobody can deny the allure of fish and chips!

What Makes the Price of Keto Skyrocket?

There's no singular reason for the absurd price of the keto diet, but multiple reasons combine to form the excessive price of keto that we know today.

  • Snacking: If you're continuously snacking through the day, you're going through more food and pushing your bills through the roof.
  • Wastage: You're letting your groceries, leftovers, and takeaways go to waste.
  • Buying drinks: Keto drinks are expensive and usually not worth the price compared to a home-cooked meal.
  • Temptation: You're tempted by takeaway, meal deliveries, or restaurants and give in.
  • Don't buy lunch: You're always buying lunch instead of cooking or reheating.
  • Don't buy processed foods: You're buying overpriced meal delivery services or processed foods.

Wrapping Up

Keto can be extremely expensive when you're buying specialty meats and cheeses for every meal. Even the meal delivery services hike up their prices because of the ingredients they're using. The prices automatically shoot up for the average keto lunch when you're eating out.

But, with a little planning, some store brand items, and simple recipes, you can eat keto on a budget!


What is the average cost of keto per month?

The average cost of keto per month depends mostly on the foods you choose to eat and how you choose to follow the diet. If you're doing it with the best quality foods, meal delivery services, and eating out constantly, the prices will go upwards of $500 per month.

However, you can also do the keto diet strictly and bring the costs down to about $300 per month.

Why is it so expensive?

The keto diet gets expensive when you:

  • Pick expensive, out-of-season ingredients
  • When you're constantly eating out and not cooking
  • If you're constantly snacking on all the food, you can find
  • If you buy fancy "keto only" foods and drinks

How can you keep keto cheap?

There are multiple ways to keep keto cheap, including planning your meals, using shopping lists to avoid impulse purchases, and cooking at home. Even the simple act of avoiding takeaways and keeping a meal plan in place can lower your budget significantly!

What are some cheap keto foods?

There are multiple cheap keto food options for you to try out!

  • Chicken thighs
  • Ground beef
  • Ground turkey
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned salmon
  • Eggs
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cauliflower

At the very least, opt for store brands or discounted products!

About the author

The Authentic Keto Team is here to bring you health tips that help you with losing weight fast. We focus on a clean keto diet for beginners because we believe that is the easiest and most simple way to healthy eating. Our keto weight loss tips will not only bring you into ketosis fast but will also help you to improve your mental health, sleep problems, and wellness.

- Our goal is to make keto success easy. -

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