If you’re on a keto carnivore diet like I am or are still on the fence, you might be thinking: “I might not be able to sustain this long-term because it’s expensive.” Yes, some animal foods cost more than others like wagyu beef and sushi. But here’s the truth: You can definitely follow a carnivore diet while on a budget and reap its maximum health benefits like reduced blood sugar, better gut health, and fat loss.
That’s what this article is all about. Keep reading.
12 Tips to Do the Carnivore Diet on a Budget
Whether you’re a student, parent, or fitness freak who believes in meat, use these simple strategies to do a carnivore diet on a budget. In fact, you can get so creative you can try many delicious recipes that you and the whole family will love.
1. Choose cheap cuts
Just because these cuts are inexpensive, doesn’t mean they’re not delicious and nutritious. Budget-friendly cuts include the following:
- Beef. Ground beef, beef shanks, cube steaks (from the top round part of the cow)
- Pork. Ground pork, tenderloin, spareribs, pork chops
- Chicken. Ground chicken, leg, breast, wings, drumsticks
- Lamb. Ground, shoulder, middle neck
Fattier ground meat tends to be cheaper. And you get the added benefit of adding more fat into your diet for energy and to support your hormones.
Here’s one of the cheap carnivore diet recipes to try: keto baked pork chops.
2. Buy the whole (or partial) animal
This may seem like a weird tip for someone doing the carnivore diet on a budget. But if you can, purchase a whole or partial animal from a local farmer. Then have it cut into different parts.
This not only saves you a lot of money for weeks depending on whether you live alone or feed a big family, but you also enjoy different nutrient profiles from each cut.
Great tip: Cutting the animal yourself will make you a better cook over time!
3. Don’t forget the eggs
Every carnivore diet shopping list should include eggs. The cheapest eggs you can find at big-box stores will cost less than $1-$3 for a dozen eggs. Certified organic egg brands can be expensive, but that doesn’t always mean they’re better for your overall health!
Eggs are a complete protein source, with the proteins found in both the egg white and yolk (1). The yolk contains all the vitamins and minerals such as B6 and B12, selenium, zinc, and iron.
A typical carnivore diet meal plan includes eggs for breakfast! And if you’re someone who’s trying to build muscle or lose more weight by increasing protein, eat eggs after your workouts. Unless, of course, you have an egg intolerance. In that case, skip this tip.
Try this breakfast egg cups recipe.
4. Save meat drippings
Another awesome way to save money by doing the carnivore diet is to keep those leftover meat drippings! These are fats coming off from the meat you cook.
I remember one time I ran out of butter. So, I saved up the fat from ground beef, strained the small beef particles, and poured the fat into a small glass jar. Then I stored it in the fridge. I used that fat a.k.a. beef tallow to fry my eggs and bacon. Depending on how much meat drippings you can save, it will last for days or weeks.
You see, doing a carnivore diet on a budget teaches you a lot of things.
5. Try sardines
Some people choose to eat a beef-only carnivore diet. But if you’re the type who loves exploring all sorts of animal products, then I’d recommend sardines. Sardines are cheap because they’re so abundant in the wild. Plus, the supply exceeds the demand.
Have fresh sardines or canned options to avoid spoilage. Wild Planet’s wild sardines in extra virgin olive oil cost $2.92 per can if you get 12 cans.
So, what’s great about sardines as a budget-friendly carnivore diet food? They’re high in protein which contains all amino acids. The fat in sardines has omega-3 that offers numerous heart health benefits.
6. Shop for non-perishables
Non-perishable items such as canned sardines, canned tuna, and canned meats are great to shop for. Have some deli and lunch meats as well like chorizo, ham, sausages, bacon, and hotdogs.
They may not be the best options as they contain preservatives and non-carnivore spices. But they’re not the worst either. Just make sure to choose the ones with the lowest carbs and high amounts of fat and protein.
If they can help you do the carnivore diet on a budget, then by all means get them.
7. Purchase meat on sale
When your favorite cuts of meat are on sale, why not buy them in bulk? This will drastically cut your monthly grocery bill. A lot of grocery stores run sales, so be on the lookout for those flyers. Some stores have websites where you can get meat coupons.
Here’s a pro tip: Shop early. Groceries start to get crowded at midday.
On another note, marked-down meat may not be as fresh as regular-priced meat. But you have the freezer. Proper freezing at a temperature of 0°F stops bacterial growth.
8. Use leftover bones to make bone broth
Another way that the carnivore diet can save you money is by reusing animal bones. By simmering these bones, you can make a nutrient-dense drink that supports your joint and gut health.
How to make bone broth:
First, roast the bones until browned. This step is optional but will ensure a more flavorful broth. Then transfer the bones to a stockpot, fill it with water, add apple cider vinegar (4 tablespoons), and boil for at least 18 hours. Check that there’s enough water from time to time. Also, if you want to skip apple cider vinegar, that’s fine too.
9. Properly store meat to last longer
Not storing your meat properly won’t only increase your risk of food poisoning, but you could also end up wasting money. Once you get home from the grocery, transfer your meats to airtight containers or plastic wraps and freeze them.
Frozen ground meats and ground poultry last for 3-4 months. Steaks, chops, and roasts last for up to a year. Hotdogs, luncheon meat, and bacon last depending on the expiry date. Check out these FoodSafety.gov storage guidelines for more details.
When thawing meat, transfer the meat from the freezer to the refrigerator. Otherwise, thaw it quickly by submerging it in a bowl of water.
10. Go for the organ meats
Consuming organ meats isn’t just a tip for when you’re doing the carnivore diet on a budget. Organ meats are an excellent source of nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, vitamin A, niacin (vitamin B3), and riboflavin (vitamin B2) (2).
You can get a pound of poultry liver, hearts, or feet for $1-$3. Beef liver has a slightly higher price due to its size.
Don’t like the taste of organ meats or the idea of eating them? Well, if you decide on buying anyway, sneak them into your regular carnivore meatballs or burger patties.
Some carnivores chop them up and freeze them in ice cube trays. Then they pop a few into any dish they’re cooking for a nutrient boost.
11. Don’t obsess over grass-fed beef
Choosing the fancy kind of beef like grass-fed beef isn’t always possible for some people. While you can be sure they’re better for the environment, they’re not the most affordable.
So go ahead – buy the meat you can afford. Even if it’s not grass-fed. At the end of the day, all meats are nutrient-dense. Choosing one of the two will not make you healthier or fitter overall.
Every small positive thing you do for your body adds up. Like proper sleep. Exercise. Stress management.
12. Always plan ahead
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That applies to almost everything you do in life, even when following the carnivore diet.
Make sure you plan ahead to do a carnivore diet on a budget successfully. Create a menu for the week with foods that fit your budget. Think about ways to use leftovers. Use food according to perishability to avoid waste.
Whenever it makes sense, double up on certain meats. Then stick to your grocery budget.
Hopefully, these carnivore diet cost-cutting tips will help you embrace this way of eating for a long time. You see, reducing your costs with carnivore doesn’t have to be difficult. If you held back due to money concerns, well, that has changed now.
One last thing. I didn’t mention this earlier, but another way that this diet saved me money is that I’m not often hungry. I feel so satisfied with meat which is why I’ve gone from eating 3 meals a day to only 2. I no longer crave snacks which used to drain my budget as an avid snacker a few years ago.
Thanks for reading and please share this article with your carnivore friends if you liked it.
- ScienceDirect. Egg Protein – an overview
- Laskowski W, Górska-Warsewicz H, Kulykovets O. Meat, Meat Products and Seafood as Sources of Energy and Nutrients in the Average Polish Diet. 2018 October 02