So I’m on a fad diet.
The motivation? My (youngest) sister is getting married soon and I just want to look nice for the wedding. Vain reason? Yup. Totally. Not even gonna hide it.
I’m on the Keto diet. As in ketogenic. As in super low carb. Basically, I’m training my body to burn fat instead of sugar by eating more fat. Yup, I eat fat a lot to lose weight. At first it was hard for me to wrap my head around it, too.
I drizzle this on everything
Here’s a more valid source of information if you’re curious.
Combined with calorie-counting, cross-fit, gym time, and HIIT squats every day, I’m getting some nice results. Not enough, but not bad. I
feel am stronger, too.
Fad diets tend to be expensive. Is it expensive to go on the keto diet in Malaysia?
Keto diet = expensive?
When I first started, I worried about the cost. Going on a no/ low-carb means that I have to forgo most of my cheaper food staples that happen to be high-carb. This includes brown rice, wholegrain bread, oats, and FRUITS.
I mean, I used to stretch out my food budget by eating a small amount of protein with a larger amount of carbs (like a small helping of chicken together with a bigger plate of rice). Now that formula won’t work.
Because I have to eat a great amount of fat in this diet (about 60-70% of my daily calorie intake), I needed to get good sources of fat.
I’ve learnt that ‘good fat’ is quite rare in the Malaysian food scene. Good fat is usually imported in, and therefore more expensive. I’m talking about avocados, good quality extra virgin olive oil, good butter, good cream, good cheese, good mayo, no-sugar added peanut butter, raw nuts, chia seed, etc.
The only ‘good fat’ that is cheap is coconut milk, coconut oil (selected) and eggs.
How much does ‘good fat’ cost in Malaysia?
Here’s a good price point for these items in a typical Malaysian supermarket:
- Avocados – RM4.90 each (ProTip: get it at RM8/kilo at Chow Kit market)
- Olive oil – ~RM40 per bottle (ProTip: depending on where you live, you might get a better price at your local Middle Eastern grocery store)
- Butter – RM6-8 per block
- Cream – RM6-ish on sale, per small carton
- Cheese – RM12-ish on sale, per 250grams
- Mayo – RM12 upwards
- Peanut butter – RM16-ish
- Raw nuts (almonds) – RM60/kilo at Mydin
- Raw nuts (cashews) – RM46/kilo at my local Chinese grocery
- Chia seed – ~RM20 for a small case
- Coconut milk – RM2-ish, per small carton
- Eggs – RM3.50 for 10 large eggs at my local Chinese grocery
Saving money on keto diet
Keto diet won’t be budget friendly if you like a varied diet. I mean yeah you can hit your fat requirements by eating eggs and coconut milk every day, for a relatively low price (less than RM5, theoretically) – but do you want to.
I do save money on this diet though, because I’ve cut out so. many. thing.
I used to spend ~RM30-50 per month on fruits. Saved that money.
I used to treat myself to waffles, rotiboy, egg tarts, sweet buns, Chatime while going out. Saved that money.
I used to put random snacks in my grocery basket (cookies…). Saved that money.
I used to eat out just because I’m lazy to cook. Found out it’s kinda hard to eat keto in Malaysian restaurants, so now I prefer eating in. Saved that money.
I used to eat 3 meals a day + snacks. Because high-fat diet is super satiating, I usually eat 2 meals + snacks instead. Saved one meal cost/day.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that you can save money on keto diet. Indirectly.
My keto meals + costs breakdown
I made all of these. They’re really not that expensive, considering no cheap carbs were included.
1. Breakfast: Chia seed pudding
- 4 teaspoons of chia seed (~RM2)
- 1 small carton of coconut milk (RM2.40)
- splash of vanilla
- (optional) sugar-free jam (~RM1)
- Instructions: mix everything in a container and leave it overnight in fridge
Makes 2 servings. Costs about RM2.70 per serving.
2. Breakfast: Fried egg with avocado
- 2 fried eggs (RM0.70)
- oil for frying
- (optional) cheese (~RM1)
- 1/2 avocado (~RM2)
- Instructions: fry eggs, sprinkle cheese. Eat with sliced avocados.
Makes 1 serving. Costs RM3.70 per serving
3. Lunch/Dinner: Chicken soup with vegetables
- 2 medium pieces of chicken (~RM2)
- 1/2 cube of chicken stock
- 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (~RM1)
- 1/2 head of broccoli or whatever’s available (~RM1.50)
- Instructions: Boil water, add chicken and chicken stock, simmer. Add vegetables. Serve in bowl. Add olive oil.
Makes 1 serving. Costs RM4.50.
3. Lunch/Dinner: Tofu curry with cauliflower fried rice
- Tofu (RM1)
- Curry paste from jar (~RM1)
- 4 cups of shredded cauliflower (~RM2.00)
- Little bits of onion, garlic to fry
- Instructions: Make fried ‘rice’ using shredded cauliflower. Fry tofu with curry paste (make sure low-carb).
Makes 2 servings. Costs RM2 per serving.
4. Lunch/Dinner: Tuna salad
- Can of tuna (RM4)
- Mayo (~RM1)
- Small amounts of onion, celery, tomato if available
- Bed of salad including lettuces, cucumber, green pepper etc (~RM4)
- Drizzle of oil (~RM0.50)
- Instructions: Mix tuna, mayo, and onion. Eat on top of bed of salad. Drizzle oil.
Makes 3 servings. Costs ~RM3.20 per serving.
5. Lunch/Dinner: Beef stew lettuce wraps
- 1/4 kilo beef (RM10)
- 1 can tinned tomatoes (RM3)
- Butter+oil (~RM2)
- 1 onion
- Lettuce (RM3)
- Instructions: Sear the beef and caramalise the onion with enough butter and oil. Then I just add everything in the rice cooker and leave it on ‘keep warm’ for a few hours. When tender, scoop some beef in lettuce wraps.
Makes 5 servings. Costs RM3.60 per serving.
I make a lot more stuff, but these are staple meals because they’re easy to do. For more keto recipes, you can check out these 101 recipes here.
Are you doing keto in Malaysia, too?
If yes, get in touch! I’m interested to cross-check prices, and learn new recipes and perhaps keto hacks that you know! Keto diet in Malaysia seems to be very new, so I would be so happy to hear from a fellow ketoer 🙂
EDIT: KetoJules is a Malaysian food blogger who blogs about her keto journey. Great info page!
EDIT: I’ve learned a lot in two years of keto! See newer article – Keto in Malaysia: Budget Tips That Work Here