Dr. Will Cole's Cleanest Keto Foods on a Budget
- Written By:Dr. Will Cole
If you are up-to-date on everything health and wellness, chances are you’ve heard about the ketogenic diet. This diet is all about eating a macronutrient ratio of high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb to achieve a wide variety of proven health benefits. Research has shown the ability of a keto diet to help restore energy, stabilize blood sugar, enhance weight loss, improve brain health, and more. Needless to say, this is not just another fad diet.
But as a functional medicine practitioner, I’ve seen firsthand how this diet can be improved to be even more beneficial. A traditional ketogenic diet is meat- and dairy- heavy, which isn’t always ideal for people who can’t handle high amounts of these foods. Not to mention the toll this much organic meat and dairy products can take on your wallet.
The solution? Go Ketotarian. With my plant-based version of a keto diet, you are able to get the best of both traditional plant-based and keto diets without the common pitfalls. Plus, it is easier on your health, environment, and wallet!
To ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck, here are my favorite, most nutrient-dense keto foods that won’t break the bank.
This vegetarian and pescatarian-friendly option is one of my favorites. While eggs don’t work for everyone, they contain choline, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, D, E, and B which are important for supporting healthy hormones and methylation pathways. They are extremely versatile and make a great breakfast or addition to many dishes for not that much money per dozen, especially when compared to per pound of organic meat. Be sure to choose cage-free whenever possible.
Vegetables are often overlooked on conventional keto diets for fear of going over your daily carb count. However, vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli are both low-carb and high in additional methylation-supporting B vitamins. Opt for frozen as its always cheaper than fresh, even for organic, but still just as high in nutrients.
Dark Leafy Greens
When going plant-based keto dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are another essential I like to always have on hand. You can buy these in bulk fresh or frozen and can be added to smoothies, made into salads, or sautéed alongside other veggies or eggs.
You can’t forget about fat when talking about a ketogenic diet. Olives are packed with healthy fats and make a great snack or addition to a variety of recipes.
While there are many options for cooking oils, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are my favorite for when you are on a budget as they tend to be cheaper than grass-fed ghee or avocado oil and can be purchased in bulk from popular stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.
Canned Wild-Caught Seafood
For pescatarians, canned wild-caught seafood like tuna, salmons, or sardines are a much cheaper alternative to fresh seafood. Wild-caught seafood is high in DHA and EPA omega fatty-acids that are essential for healthy hormones and brain health. Plus, it’s shelf-stable and portable for a convenient option when traveling or a work lunch.
Coconuts are an extremely versatile plant-based source of healthy fats. Canned coconut milk in particular is a wallet-friendly jack-of-all trades. As a substitute for milk or creamer in coffee and recipes it adds a creamy touch and an abundance of healthy fats like MCTs to many dishes like homemade ice cream, curries, smoothies, oatmeal, and more.
For those concerned about protein intake on a plant-based keto diet look no further than hemp protein powder. High in healthy fats and protein (12 grams per four tablespoons), this powder is another thing that can be bought in bulk and added to whatever recipe you are making if you need an extra boost of either one of these nutrients. It is also rich in fiber that your body can’t produce on its own and helps keep your blood sugar stable and you feeling fuller for longer throughout the day.
As a lover of nut butter, you can always find almond butter in my pantry. I often eat it by the spoonful as a snack or as a main ingredient to stir-fry sauces and dressings. Add liberally to dishes for added flavor and an extra dose of fat and protein.
Last, but certainly not least, avocados are one of the cleanest keto-friendly foods you can buy. While yes, they are a little higher in price compared to some of the other above choices, they are still less expensive that grass-fed animal protein or dairy products. You also don’t need to eat multiple in one sitting to feel satiated due to its high fat content.