6 Frugal Tips for the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet focuses on achieving a state of ketosis. This means the body shifts from using carbohydrates as a source of energy to using fats instead.1

How does this process work? Can you still go keto if you’re on a budget?

This article will explore answers to these questions and offer six frugal tips for keto dieters.

What does the keto diet look like?

The ketogenic diet features a specific breakdown of macronutrients.1 Followers of the ketogenic diet increase their fat intake and restrict their carbohydrate intake, all while consuming a healthy amount of protein.1

Typically, keto dieters consume approximately:2

  • 70% of their daily calories from fats.
  • 20% of their daily calories from proteins.
  • 10% of their daily calories from carbs.

This nutritional breakdown is meant to produce ketone bodies from fats in the liver and initiate ketosis as a result.1

Sounds fairly simple, right? The truth, however, is that there are both “clean” and “dirty” versions of the ketogenic diet.2

The main difference between the two lies in food quality. A “clean” keto diet includes healthier fats—think walnuts and olive oil—as well as organic meats.2 Conversely, a “dirty” keto diet features the same macronutrient breakdown, only with processed foods that provide less nutritional value.2

While clean keto is healthier than its dirty cousin, dieters can still indulge in moderation.2

If you’re on a budget but are still looking to go keto, there’s no need to worry. This section details six frugal tips for the ketogenic dieter, with options for clean keto food plans and some fallbacks for those facing time constraints.

Tip #1: Clean keto—Purchase produce that’s in season.

To save money and enjoy more flavorful produce, make a point of loading up on seasonal ingredients. You can curate your shopping list by visiting your local farmer’s market, or by reviewing the USDA’s “What’s in Season?” chart before your next trip to the store.3

Tip #2: In a time crunch? Order burgers and sandwiches without the bun.

If you’re short on time, consider ordering a “bunless” burger or breadless sandwich from your favorite fast-food restaurant. Many establishments offer low-carb options that can seamlessly accommodate a dirty keto diet.

Tip #3: Clean keto—Cook from scratch when possible.

Prepare your own soups, dressings, and dips instead of opting for the store-bought stuff. By doing so, you’ll save time, take control of what you eat, and brush up on your cooking skills. Don’t be afraid to invest in a blender or juicer, as these appliances can help you get creative and save money long-term. 

Tip #4: In a time crunch? Buy bulk discounted meats and freeze them.

Beef, chicken, bacon, and other meats that are approaching their sell-by date are almost always cheaper than fresher alternatives. Fortunately, you can freeze them to make them last longer. So the next time you shop for groceries, consider buying meats in bulk (sometimes with the discount sticker) and place them in your freezer.

Clean keto dieters can enjoy this same tip. That said, it is suggested to focus on free-range, grass-fed, and unprocessed meats.

Tip #5: Clean keto—Buy whole organic chickens instead of just the breasts.

Though the price tag will be higher, you get more meat and therefore more bang for your buck by picking up whole organic chickens rather than packages of chicken breasts. This is also a versatile way to eat a clean keto diet if you’re on a budget. Just buy whole chickens and after cooking them, refrigerate or freeze leftovers. You can even save the carcasses to make soup.

Tip #6: In a time crunch? Scour the frozen foods aisle of your grocery store.

Stay frugal by purchasing ready-made ketogenic meals in the frozen foods aisle. Make sure the meals are labeled keto-friendly or that they meet your specific macronutrient requirements. Spicy chili, stuffed peppers, and Italian meatballs are just some of the options you’ll find.

Similarly, additive-free frozen veggies can easily be incorporated into healthy, unprocessed keto meals.

While clean keto is certainly preferable to a dirty ketogenic diet, the most important thing is to abide by the recommended macronutrient amounts.2 Read this post to learn more about the ketogenic diet, including how it differs from other popular eating plans.

As always, please consult with your supervising healthcare practitioner before making any changes to your diet, including starting a new one such as the ketogenic diet.

For more information on nutrition and the ketogenic diet, please visit the Metagenics blog.


  1. T.H. Chan School of Public Health Staff. Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet. Harvard University – The Nutrition Source. Accessed April 12, 2019.
  2. Men’s Health Staff. What’s the Difference Between the Dirty Keto Diet & Regular Keto? https://www.menshealth.com.sg/weight-loss-nutrition/dirty-clean-keto-diet. Men’s Health. Accessed April 12, 2019.
  3. United States Department of Agriculture Staff. https://healthymeals.fns.usda.gov/features-month/whats-season. USDA – Healthy Meals Resource System. Accessed April 12, 2019.

Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team

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