Top College Keto Foods When on a Budget

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/26/2024

While in college, buying groceries can be a challenge as money is always tight. But if you are on the keto diet it is important to stick with it.

Learn about how to do the keto diet on a budget so you can support your overall health no matter your income.

Understanding the Keto Diet on a Budget

The ketogenic, or keto, diet is an eating plan that emphasizes low-carb and high-fat foods. This eating pattern can help manage appetite by limiting the consumption of processed carbs, which can often cause overeating.

But following this diet doesn't have to be expensive. You can remain healthy while keeping costs low by being judicious in your food selections and incorporating strategies like intermittent fasting into your regimen.

Making Smart Food Choices

Making informed food choices is crucial to keeping costs down on a keto diet. Opt for whole foods over processed ones whenever possible because they're generally less expensive and more nutritious.

Fasting Intermittently: A Money-Saving Strategy

Besides helping with weight loss and boosting metabolic health, intermittent fasting can also help keep your grocery bills in check as it reduces the number of meals you need to prepare each day.

Ketogenic foods

Shopping for Keto Foods on a Budget

Finding affordable keto-friendly foods can feel like hunting for treasure. But with stores like Trader Joe's and Costco, you've got some great maps to start.

Finding Inexpensive Greens

Bulk buying greens can be a cost-effective way to get your daily dose of leafy vegetables—places like Trader Joe's offer cheaper options that give you more bang.

Bulk salad is a good choice because it’s inexpensive to get those leafy greens into your diet without overspending. Plus, preparing a big bag of mixed leaves makes meal prep faster.

The Secret Power of Bulk Shopping

To keep within budget while shopping at Costco or Trader Joe’s, consider purchasing their larger packs of meat or dairy products. You’ll save money and ensure you’re stocked up on high-fat protein sources necessary for your keto journey.

Affordable Protein Sources for a Keto Diet

Sticking to the keto regimen can be difficult, particularly when you're watching your wallet. You have some affordable protein sources that align with your low-carb lifestyle.

The Benefits of Sardines

Sardines might not be everyone's cup of tea, but they pack quite the nutritional punch. Rich in omega-3s and protein, sardines are an affordable dietary powerhouse.

Economical Chicken Cuts

Chicken thighs and wings might be a better option if you do not enjoy fish. These cuts cost less than others, like breasts or legs, and they provide substantial amounts of protein necessary for your keto diet.

Squash as a Protein Source

Squash is another economical way to meet your daily protein needs on keto. When cooked right, it becomes soft enough to eat quickly while maintaining its high nutrient content - all without breaking the bank.

Cost-Effective Fats for a Keto Diet

Finding affordable sources of healthy fats is critical to staying on track with your keto diet. Two standout options are grass-fed butter and summer sausage.

Grass-Fed Butter on a Budget

Despite its reputation as expensive, grass-fed butter can be found at reasonable prices in stores such as Trader Joe's or Costco. Buying grass-fed is important because it contains more nutrients than other kinds of meats.

Summer Sausage as a Fat Source

If you're craving some meat, look no further than summer sausage. Summer sausage is an ideal choice for keto dieters as it provides both protein and fat while being affordable.

Remember, eating healthily doesn't have to be expensive; you must know where to look.

Affordable Keto-Friendly Vegetables

Thriving on a keto diet doesn't mean breaking the bank. Budget-friendly, nutrient-dense vegetables are an excellent fit for the keto lifestyle.

Take cabbage, for instance - this cruciferous vegetable is a good example of affordable nutrition. It's high in vitamin C and fiber, perfect for maintaining a healthy gut while staying within your carb limit.

The Benefits of Cabbage

Cabbage may not be as popular as other green vegetables, but its nutritional value is nothing to ignore. Cabbage is abundant in antioxidants and phytonutrients, which can help reduce inflammation and aid digestion.

Beyond these health benefits, cabbage is also affordable. This green vegetable costs less than most other veggies without skimping on nutrients, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious keto dieters.

Budget-Friendly Meat Options for Keto Diet

Selecting the correct type of meat is essential when trying to stay within a budget while adhering to the keto diet. Organic hamburger is an excellent option that doesn't break the bank.

Opting for Organic Hamburger

You might ask why organic hamburger? If grass-fed beef isn't affordable, this can be your go-to choice. It's less expensive but still packed with essential nutrients needed in a ketogenic diet.

certified humane organic eggs

The Value of Pasture-Raised Eggs

Eggs are another great source of protein and fat, two pillars of the keto lifestyle. Specifically, pasture-raised eggs offer more nutritional value compared to their counterparts.

They're also quite economical, which makes them perfect for college students who need high-quality protein without overspending.

In essence, making intelligent choices like these allows you to stick with your keto goals while staying within budget constraints, showing us all that healthy eating does not necessarily have to be costly.

Keto-Friendly Snacks

Finding the perfect keto-friendly snack is essential when satisfying your cravings while staying in ketosis. One tasty option that combines the best of both worlds is keto mac and cheese snacks.

These portable delights offer all the creamy, cheesy goodness of traditional mac and cheese but with a low-carb twist.

Packed with protein and healthy fats, these keto mac and cheese snacks are delicious and help keep you on track with your ketogenic diet goals.

Whether you're looking for a quick bite between meals or a savory treat to curb your hunger, these snacks make it easier than ever to stick to your keto lifestyle.


Following a keto diet on a tight budget in college can be challenging, but it's feasible with some smart strategies.

Opt for nutrient-dense whole foods, intermittent fasting, and bulk buying to save money. Look for affordable protein sources like sardines, chicken thighs, and cost-effective fats such as grass-fed butter.

Choose budget-friendly vegetables like cabbage and consider options like organic hamburger meat and pasture-raised eggs.

With thoughtful planning, it's possible to maintain a healthy keto lifestyle without overspending, ensuring your health remains a priority even on a budget.

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