In some of my other posts and pages I’ve given suggestions on what constitutes a “starter kit” for beginning to embrace a ketogenic lifestyle. Just as with anything, you have to have staples to get started, but it isn’t necessary to spend your inheritance in order to do so. Keep your bank accounts and retirement plans!
One of the slams against diets in general is that they are expensive to maintain (examples include Paleo, Adkins, Jenny Craig, etc.). Some elements of the ketogenic lifestyle cost more than others, but, with diligence, you can control what you are spending to set yourself up for success with a keto lifestyle.
One of the staples in a keto breakfast is usually bacon and eggs. It gives you both protein and fat to get your day going. If you buy “pasture fed” or free-range eggs, you will spend more for them. Here in Tennessee I pay $5-6 for them. Uncured bacon runs anywhere from $3.50-5.00 a pack. I try to find them on sale, and I’ve had good luck doing this at Publix and Kroger. Whenever I find them on sale, I buy them-whether I need them right now or not.
If this is too pricey for your budget, buy the “best” items you can. There is absolutely no way that everything you buy will be “clean.” It will drive you crazy if you don’t let that notion go early on! Just read the labels and stay within your parameters we talked about earlier…
Avocados are another popular breakfast choice, and there are a thousand ways to prepare them. Just Google it and you’ll see. Slice them, mash them, bake them, food process them, you name it, there’s a recipe for them! I eat them many times during the week. It is common for them to be five for $5. Cheese is often paired with them.
I prefer this type food in lieu of protein shakes or a liquid meal, but many folks swear by them. Just remember your parameters-
The same is true of protein bars. Easy to grab in the morning as you go out the door, but nowhere near “clean.”
And, let’s remember, there are no actual “breakfast foods.” If you like something for breakfast and it fits your parameters, eat it! There’s no rule!
One of most “hard to stomach” truths related to keto is that it’s difficult to easily find soup that meets parameters unless you make it at home. My advice is to find one you can master and get to producing it. Salad is a staple for lunch, as well. Stick with Romaine lettuce if you like it and use virgin olive oil and vinegar or lemon as a dressing. Put some form of protein on it and you are good to go.
Most days I eat more for lunch than I do for dinner. I’ve always liked to eat the bulk of my food earlier in the day. I’ll eat chicken or salmon and a salad and a vegetable. Raw veggies are a good choice, too. Over the past few months I’ve done multiple things for lunch, including eating breakfast again, deconstructing sandwiches, crock-potting a pork roast, and eating only veggies occasionally.
And, of course, it’s cheaper to take your lunch to work than to eat out.
Right now my favorite meal is chicken sausage with onions and kraut. I saute it all in extra virgin olive oil. My game plan for dinner is this: I review my Carb Manager and check my calorie intake and my macro percentages, and I try to base supper on what I need to round out my intake for the day. Many times I find that I need to add some fat into my day, so I add coffee with heavy cream or a fat bomb into the plan. Ideally, vegetables are really good at supper if you have enough protein in your daily intake already. I eat ground turkey regularly in various forms-patties, crumbled on romaine lettuce, in cheese boats, etc.
Most days I cease eating by 7 pm. Although I’m not into intermittent fasting, there’s usually about 14 hours in between my supper and breakfast the next morning. Over the years I’ve found I cannot mess with my breakfast-I have to have it to feel well. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I am diabetic and I have high blood pressure, so breakfast is essential for me.
Average Cost for a Week
Following the formula outlined above, I’m estimating the cost for a week of eating keto within food parameters at around $80, if one eats all meals that have been prepared at home. This will, of course, fluctuate, depending on what deals you may be able to access from your grocery, if you eat food from your own garden, and the area in which you live. I live outside Nashville, Tennessee, and this amount works for me most weeks. I also admit that there is no way I prepare all my meals at home. Ugh!
My partner and I eat out quite often, and, yes, it is problematic on a keto plan. However, do not despair!
My approach is that 1) we split meals to contain portion size, and 2) we still try to stay within food parameters. So, once a week we eat Mexican food, usually fajitas, and we divide it. We don’t eat the chips or tortillas and we ask for extra guacamole and vegetables. This may not be strictly “clean,” but it is a social experience for us and we get to see our acquaintances at the restaurant. My absolute favorite meal of the week is brunch on Sunday. Sometimes I de-construct a Benedict or have an omelet (which we, again, split) or we may have a salad with chicken or salmon in it.
My opinion is that I cannot give up my life to obsession about food! Deal with the issues surrounding eating out, don’t feel guilty, and get on with things!