The Financial Impact of Keto
Being a stay at home mom is a new thing for me. For the last several years, my husband and I both pulled in solid incomes from our very stable careers. We were accustom to getting what we wanted, when we wanted and never really having to look at price tags. Once we found out we were expecting our fourth child, we decided it was (finally!) time for me to stay at home. Of course, in order to do this, we had A LOT of budgeting to do. Life as we knew it had to change. Our spending had to get under control or we’d quickly be living well outside our means.
When we first started following the keto way of eating, I could easily see how our shopping budget might double. There are supplements, special sugars, grass-fed meats, etc. If you’re not careful, you’ll be running out of money by Friday. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way! Eating very low carb, moderate protein and high fat is the most flexible way of eating I’ve ever tried. This flexibility spreads from the meal options all the way to the dollar amount you’re spending at the register.
How keto can increase your food costs
- Specialty sugar and flour – On keto, you will no longer consume “regular sugar.” This will also include agave, honey, pure organic cane sugar, etc. All sugar will need to be replaced with xylitol, swerve, erythritol, stevia, monk fruit, or other approved sweetener. These sugar replacements can be a tad expensive. I encourage you to research individual’s preferences, as each have their own unique after-taste.
- Grass fed meat and butter/organic veggies– Ketonians will surely encourage you to purchase grass-fed and organic everything. Of course, this is purely for your health, as these are more nutrient dense products without the added chemicals. Incorporate these when you can, but do not feel as though it’s organic or bust. Watch your budget, watch for sales, and just do what’s best for you when it comes to this.
- Healthy fats – When you are eating a high fat diet, having healthy fats in your pantry and your fridge is absolutely necessary. This will be your biggest expense when following keto. We purchase our avocado and coconut oils, as well as real butter and cream, from Costco/Sams in order to help with the cost. If you do not have a membership to a warehouse, shop around for the best deals. Remember to look online!
- Specialty convenience items – You will find that convenience foods, such as mayo and ranch, are hard to find with keto approved ingredients. When you do find a bottle, you better believe it’s going to be at least $7. Make your own when you can and buy the best product that will fit within your budget. For my family, I still use Hellmann’s mayo alongside homemade mayo. We go through so much of it that we’d literally break the bank buying avocado oil for the homemade stuff. It’s something I just can’t fit in right now and I’m perfectly ok with that!
How keto can reduce your food costs
Granted, keto approved goods can be more expensive compared to their sugary, more carbage version; however, there are some other things that will offset that in your new, healthier way of life!
- Cheaper meat – High fat meats are better for keto. Fortunately, these are also better for your wallet! Chicken thighs instead of breasts, higher fat ground beef instead of lean, etc. Thankfully, these meats are much cheaper and tastier than the lean version.
- Removal of packaged fruit, processed foods, milk, sugary drinks and bread – All of these items cost money and have little nutritional value, compared to keto approved foods. They contribute to overeating, spikes in blood sugar, inflammation and poor metabolic rates. Once you’re keto, you will no longer throw your money away on these foods that do nothing for you but make you sick!
- Missing sides – Whether you’re eating out or eating at home, your meals will not look the same. You won’t be wasting money on french fries or macaroni and cheese to go along with your takeout. Instead, you’ll be consuming more of the bunless burger or delicious steak with butter on top. You’ll also be skipping the coke at McDonalds or the Baja Blast at Taco Bell. While these items are only a few dollars, they add up over time.
- Less eating out – Keto involves A LOT of cooking at home in order to ensure the purest ingredients entering your body. While this keeps you in the kitchen, it helps keep you out of your wallet. In my experience, my family of 6 would spend between $40 and $50 a meal at a sit down restaurant. For fast food, we would easily spend between $25 and $30. A keto dinner, such as pulled pork and cauliflower mashed potatoes would come in under $13. That’s a pretty big savings!
- No snacking – When following the keto way of eating, you will want to avoid snacking. Your goal is to listen to your body and let it experience true hunger. Once that machine says it’s truly hungry, feed the beast a full, fatty meal. Eliminating snacks will cut down on extra food that isn’t actually keeping you full.
- Skipping meals – Eventually, your body will start burning fat for fuel (aka fat adapted) and you’ll start to eat less. Your body will no longer be a “sugar burner” and will stay fuller longer, using your fat consumption and stored fat for energy. Of course, this will mean that your body will not require three meals a day. At times, you may go an entire day without eating anything. This is called fasting. It’s good for you! Once you start skipping meals, you’ll find that your food costs will drop like your pant sizes. Hooray!
Overall impact we’ve experienced
Prior to keto, we would eat at home about 25% of the time. These meals would consist of boxed mac & cheese, lots and LOTS of cereal, tons of bananas, pancakes, french toast, oreos and pot pies. Of course, there was a variety of other things on our menu but the ones I just listed were totally staples. The other 75% of our food consumption was spent at local restaurants/fast food chains. Now that we’re keto, we eat out about once a week. All of our other meals are made in my kitchen and eaten at my table. Because of this, we spend far more money at our local grocer. Fortunately, eating at home is much cheaper than eating out, so we’ve experienced a substantial decrease in overall food costs. Booyah!
|Our Spending – Prior to Keto:||Average Monthly Amount|
|Total per month – $1,355.00|
|Our New Keto Budget||Average Monthly Amount|
|Total per month – $1,130.00|
Keeping keto simple at first was the easiest and cheapest way for us to be successful. If I were to have completely cleared out my pantry/refrigerator and immediately replaced everything with “keto approved” goods, I would have easily spent a few hundred dollars. In the beginning, I donated the cereals, breads and sugars to a local family. We then finished off our condiments and replaced them with “keto approved” ones. By doing this, I’ve been able to purify my pantry and ensure whole foods are in my house. It’s officially a keto safe haven!