You're excited to start your journey on the carnivore diet and unlock a healthier, happier you. But as you start doing your research - or actually start executing the diet - you'll come to a realization. The carnivore diet is expensive! However, health is wealth - and you can never go wrong by investing in your wellness.
With that said, we see so many people wondering how to do carnivore diet on a budget. So - we're going to provide some of the best tips we've found for building a cheap carnivore meal plan. You can still reap the benefits of this elimination diet without breaking the bank. You just need to be willing to compromise a bit and shop smarter.
From choosing lower grades & cheaper cuts of meat to finding affordable snacks to keep on hand, like our meat chips - there are plenty of ways to keep yourself nourished without going over your grocery budget. And by the end of this guide, you'll feel more confident in navigating this diet without taking on any undue financial stress.
First - let's talk about why the carnivore diet is so expensive in the first place.
Is the Carnivore Diet More Expensive Than Other Types of Diets?
The carnivore diet is certainly pricier than a typical Western diet, where you're buying inexpensive carbs and processed foods. You can expect to spend around $2,641 annually on the average American diet. On the flip side, some carnivore dieters report that their annual grocery bill exceeds $5k! That's double the price of the traditional Western diet.
But, you get what you pay for. The typical American eats heaps of processed food that not only lacks nutritional benefits - it causes serious havoc within your body. The inflammation from sources like sugar, gluten, artificial flavors, and other ingredients made in a lab all have serious short-term and long-term health implications.
While you'll spend more on groceries with a carnivore diet, it's likely you'll spend less in the long run on health care. And you'll feel better, too - what price can you put on your health and happiness? With the carnivore diet, you'll enjoy benefits like weight loss, a sharper mind, and a lower risk of long-term health complications like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.
With that said, you're still looking for ways to offset some of the cost of the carnivore diet. After all, what good is a healthy diet if you're constantly stressing over finances? Don't sweat. We're here to help. There are actually quite a few budget-friendly carnivore diet tips and tricks for success we want to highlight below.
How to do Carnivore Diet on a Budget: 6 Tips for Affordable Dieting
When done properly, carnivore really is a health investment. You should look at this diet the same way you look at a gym membership, therapy, or any other form of wellness. While you typically do get what you pay for in terms of quality ingredients, there are a few ways you can cut back on costs with no decrease in quality.
So if you want the full benefits of carnivore dieting without feeling guilty about spending too much money - here are our top tips for carnivores on a budget:
1) Stick with Cheaper Cuts of Beef
At first, you may want to put the best of the best in your body. After all, if you're going to take on this new diet you may as well do it right! But, constantly buying prime grades of grass-fed beef can quickly add up and become unsustainable. At a certain point, you'll need to be honest with yourself about what you can afford and start to look for a cheap carnivore meal plan. The best way to do this is with cheaper cuts of meat.
The most expensive cuts of meat include filet mignon, ribeye, new york strip, t-bone steak, flank steak, and rib roast. These are nice to have every once in a while as a treat - but you can save money by opting for middle-of-the-road picks instead.
Moderately expensive cuts of meat include brisket, skirt steak, eye of round, tri-tip, London broil, and bottom round. Those who want a good balance of quality meat and cost-effectiveness can choose these cuts. They're considered great "bang for your buck".
But if you're purely interested in cost savings - while still adhering to the principles of the carnivore diet - you'll want to base the majority of your diet around the cheapest cuts of beef. These include ground beef, chuck roast, short ribs, stew meat, and beef shank.
Sure - these are much fattier and don't taste as good. But - food is primarily for function, not flavor. You can't afford to treat your tastebuds all the time. And, there are plenty of ways to keep things fresh with these cheap cuts of beef. For most carnivore dieters on a budget, ground beef will be your go-to choice as it's cheap, easy to cook, and readily available.
2) Don't Fall Victim to the USDA Grading System
Similarly, you can look for lower grades of meat when shopping at the supermarket. The USDA has admitted that their grading system has little to do with the safety or quality of meat, and more so with taste/experience. This goes back to food serving as a tool rather than a treat.
There are three grades: select, choice, and prime. Prime cuts have more marbling - which means they're juicier and more flavorful. Select cuts are a bit tougher and blander - but far more affordable. Choice-grade meats are the middle-of-the-road option.
All of this is to say that finding a balance between what you're comfortable paying for and what you want to eat will help you navigate the carnivore diet without going over budget.
3) Bone-In Meat is Budget Friendly
When carnivores started flocking to grocery stores in pursuit of the carnivore diet, supplies quickly ran dry. Butchers got creative by cutting up bone-in meat into smaller portions, creating more options for carnivores while also driving down cost per pound.
Bone-in cuts of beef can be surprisingly tasty and juicy when cooked right - and they're usually much cheaper than their boneless counterparts. So stock up on steak with bones, pork roasts with ribs, chicken legs/thighs, and whole chickens whenever possible.
3) Round Out Your Diet With Eggs, Canned Fish & Organ Meats
The vast majority of your diet will consist of beef, chicken, and pork. But - these traditional meats aren't the only way to get by on the carnivore diet. If you want to keep things affordable, you can round out your cheap carnivore meal plan with more affordable options.
Eggs, canned fish, and organ meats are all carnivore-friendly foods that help keep expenses down. Eggs are a nutrition powerhouse - packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. And, they're as affordable as it gets - you can even look into raising your own chickens if you have the space, and you'll have a constant supply of carb-free superfoods!
Canned fish is also great because it's usually cheaper than fresh options - plus you don't have to worry about it going bad in your fridge! Try sardines for omega-3 fatty acids or tuna for high-quality protein. These are features on our carnivore diet snack list ideas.
Organ meats like liver and heart can provide an incredible nutrient boost to your carnivore diet on a budget. They contain vitamins A, B12, C, D & E as well as minerals like copper and iron. You may have to get creative when cooking these to offset the taste, but they're definitely worth the effort.
4) Buy in Bulk - Ideally Directly From the Source
This is one of the most important carnivore dieting tips for budget-conscious carnivores. The more you buy at once, the cheaper each individual item ends up being! This can be especially helpful when buying quality cuts of meat or organic fresh seafood.
If possible, try to buy directly from local farmers/butchers (or online). You may even be able to find better deals this way since you won't have to pay for extra packaging and shipping costs. Plus, oftentimes local farmers/butchers will offer bulk discounts for larger orders as well as specials that aren't available elsewhere.
If you are in a rural area with farms nearby, you can even buy entire pigs, cows, or lambs at the local auction. You pay a lot at once - thousands of dollars a lot of the time. But that single purchase will last you a year or longer - and you can store it in a freezer so you don't have to worry about grocery store prices again. You can even see about going in on the purchase with friends or family!
5) Get the Most Out of Meat With Bone Broth
If you follow our advice and opt for bone-in varieties of meat, you can stretch your budget even further by using those bones to make your own bone broth! Bones are packed with calcium, magnesium, and other minerals which can be released into a nutrient-dense broth.
By adding bones to a carnivore diet plan you can get the most out of your carnivore meals. Not only does this add unlimited flavor and depth to dishes, but it also provides an affordable way to increase nutrition without raising the cost of each meal too much.
Adding bone broth to your cheap carnivore meal plan is relatively simple. All you need is some leftover bones from the carnivore diet meals you've been eating, some water, and maybe a few vegetables for added flavor. You can simmer these in a pot for 12-24 hours - and you'll have a delicious, nutrient-rich broth to use in soups, stews, or as a base for carnivore diet meals.
6) Keep Budget-Friendly Snacks Stocked
Having budget-friendly carnivore snacks on hand can help you stick with the carnivore diet without putting too much of a strain on your wallet. This is easier said than done, though, as you may know. What is the best low carb snack that won't break the bank? Look no further than our carnivore chips - the #1 meat snack on the market.
Wait - what are meat snacks, you ask? These are the perfect snack for carnivores on a budget - they don't take up much room in your pantry/fridge and they provide all the protein and fat you need to stay energized with no carbs or additives. Just two ingredients: meat and salt.
These delicious meat chips melt in your mouth - sort of like a "meat pastry". The tantalizing flavors we have in store for you will have you coming back for more time after time - just like the rest of our loyal customers. And with so many varieties on hand, you'll never get bored with this snack: ribeye chips, steak chips, lamb chips, beef chips, brisket chips, chicken chips, and even pork chips. These are a must-have on your cheap carnivore meal plan!
Final Thoughts on How to do the Carnivore Diet on a Budget
As you can see, budgeting for the carnivore diet isn’t as impossible as it may have initially seemed. You just need to shop a bit smarter and build a cheap carnivore meal plan that makes sense for you.
With the tips for following the carnivore diet on a budget that we’ve shared above, you’ll find it far easier to meet your nutritional goals without breaking the bank.
Just remember - you’re investing in your physical and mental health with this diet. There is no price tag you can put on a healthier, happier you. But that doesn’t mean you have to go broke at your local grocery store!