It’s a misconception that a low carb diet has to be expensive. While it is possible to make eating low carb expensive, it’s also possible for it to be budget friendly. After all, it can be expensive to eat a vegan or even a ‘normal’ diet. Then again, it’s worth bearing in mind that just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s good for you or worth eating. After all, a bag of chips and a bag of spinach cost about the same, and we know which one is healthier for you.
- Shop around.
There are certain grocery stores I love shopping at. When I lived in Madison, it was the local co-op. Here in London, it’s Waitrose. Although I love shopping at these stores, they’re not always budget friendly. I still pick up certain items from these stores, but I don’t buy everything there. Most week’s I’ll stop by Aldi to pick up less expensive vegetables and eggs. I know some people look down at Aldi and other budget friendly stores. However, honestly, their stuff is just as good as anywhere else’s. Plus, they carry some organic products, if that’s important to you.
2. Watch your protein intake.
Meat is the most expensive part of this diet. However, you don’t have to spend gobs on meat every week if you’re eating the correct amount. Remember, a serving size of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. A high fat low protein diet is made up a moderate amount of protein. If you’re still hungry after your meals, try adding more fat. You can do this by drizzling olive oil over your food, topping your food with mayo, sour cream, or adding butter. You could also increase your vegetable intake if you’re still hungry.
3. Consider buying frozen foods.
Back when I used to work 60-70 hour weeks, I’d go to Costco and buy bags of frozen chicken and vegetables. I’d cook enough chicken for the week up in one go and I’d microwave the vegetables as needed. Not only was this a life saver, because it meant I could eat clean on the go, but it was also budget friendly. The bag of chicken didn’t cost anymore than buying an equal amount of chicken at Aldi did, and I couldn’t find frozen vegetables cheaper anywhere else. Even now, I still buy frozen vegetables from the local grocery store. I usually buy a huge bag of frozen spinach, which is far cheaper than fresh. I also pick up a bag of frozen cauliflower and brussel sprouts from time to time.
4. Stock up when there’s a sale.
Over Christmas and the New Year, J and I stocked up on roasts of beef and pork. They were extremely cheap and we had the room in our freezer. Now that it’s summer and vegetables are inexpensive, I like to buy extra and freeze them. I do this by blanching them and sticking them in freezer bags. J and I also stock up on non perishable items. Lately our local grocery store has been running a sale on mayonnaise and canned tuna, so we’ve been buying extra whenever we go shopping.
5. Cook at home.
This is an obvious one, I know. Being on Banting, J and I only eat out once or twice a month. This not only saves us money, but also keeps us focused on eating a clean, healthy diet. Your meals don’t need to be fancy or extravagant. Focus on making something for yourself, even if it’s as simple as scrambled eggs with a salad. Personally, I take pride in making my own food and knowing exactly what’s going into my body.
6. Make contact with your local farmer.
Although farmers may not heavily advertise it, many of them will sell you a quarter, half or whole pig or cow. They often sell the share of meat at a cheaper price than you get at the store. This is an excellent value as it means that not only are you supporting a local farmer, but you’re buying an animal who was ethically raised. Many farmers are open to showing potential customers where the animals are raised as well as what the animals are fed.
7. Buy a cheaper cut of meat.
Low fat (high carb) diets extol the virtues of eating the leanest cut of meat possible, because it’s supposed to be healthier for you. Despite there being no concrete evidence for this, this mentality is still prevalent in our society. As a result, leaner cuts of meat are often much more expensive. Since Banting is a high fat low carb diet, it stands that you’d want to get the most for your money by buying a fattier cut of meat; that way you don’t have to add more fat to it. So, buy that 2 for 1 bacon or the cheapest ground beef. Save yourself money and enjoy the delicious flavour of your food.
8. Use your scraps.
This is another seemingly obvious one, but something most of us have gotten away from. You can save vegetable scraps and bones to make homemade broth. You can save fat drippings to grease a pan and add delicious flavour to your next meal. You can save egg shells to add to your garden both as a pest deterrent and as a fertiliser. And, the list goes on. The main point is figuring out a way to get the most out of what you have.
9. Grow your own food.
I know not everyone has a green thumb. I definitely don’t. This year I planted 3 tomato plants, 3 zucchini plants, and 3 cucumber plants. Slugs destroyed everything except for 1 cucumber plant and my tomato plants. I’ve learned what I need to do for next year to prevent the slug incursion. Despite my failings, I’m still happy about the money and effort I put into growing my own food. Seeds and potting soil are relatively inexpensive. Honestly, despite the losses I’ve had, I’ve broken even money-wise from what I’ve got out of the garden. I encourage you to give growing your own food a try. It’s not only a great way to save money, but it’s an excellent way to learn about plants and gardening as well as take pride in what you eat.
When everything is said and done, J and I usually average £55- £60 a week on groceries. That’s £25- £30 a week per person for all our meals. Which averages to being between £1 to £1.50 per meal per person. That’s how much we were spending on groceries before we started eating low carb, except now we eat a lot less junk. We’re not trying to pinch pennies with our budget, and do have room to move if we do need to reduce our food budget. Eating to lose weight doesn’t have to be expensive. Nor does it have to be tasteless and leave you hungry. If you’re on the fence about trying a low carb diet to lose weight, I encourage you to try Banting. I find it more straightforward than Atkins is. It also fits my budget and my lifestyle.