The first time I did keto diet in Malaysia, I lost about 12kg. It works! It’s the only diet that worked for me so far. Who knew that a high fat low carb diet can be this efficient?
I have since regained some of that weight so I’m doing keto again. This time around, I notice there are more people doing keto in Malaysia. And many of them complain about the same thing: all those good fat you have to eat to get into ketosis are so expensive!
So here are some budget tips that personally worked for me.
#1 – Know the cheap good fats, and know them well
Cheap and good sources of fat are 1) eggs and 2) santan. I will always have them in my pantry, and they’re super versatile.
My favourite egg-based meal is just plain omelette (plus whatever I have available) while my favourite santan-based meal is gulai #nogoripride
Combine with one or two oil/butter-heavy veggie side dishes of your choice and done.
Be okay with eating a lot of these, especially if your budget is really, really tight. Keto meals costing RM2 or less per meal is completely doable with these two ingredients.
#2 – Get a hand blender set
Image credit: Lazada.com.my
I have this exact type of hand blender and I love it so much! One of my ‘worth-it’ purchases for sure!
It has three detachable components – one for hand blender, one for whisk and another for food processor.
Meals I made with the hand blender
- Cream-based soups – just add everything in the rice cooker then blend it right there
- Protein shakes – I mix coconut oil or cream in my protein shakes for a super quick keto meal
Meals I made with the whisk
- Mayonnaise – tried it, it works. I like kewpie better though so I stopped doing this
- Whipped cream – Add a bit of matcha powder or cocoa powder + sweetener and mmm it’s the best thing to counter that sugar withdrawal
- Cloud bread – whisk egg whites until it peaks, then bake it. You get ‘bread’
Meals I made with the food processor
- Cauliflower rice – Lightly steam cauliflowers then whizz it up here. Way faster than chopping it up. I make mock nasi goreng with this
- Almond flour – Not technically a meal, I know. But almond flour is very versatile for many keto recipes and doing it this way is cheaper. The result is not as fine as usual almond flour but my almond bread always turn out well, so
- Chicken/Tuna mayo – Pick a protein (ie boiled chicken breast), add mayo, add half an onion, add salt and pepper and anything else you want. Whizz it. Scoop and eat with salad. Yum
This particular gadget has saved me so much money and more importantly, frustration. It made keto in Malaysia easier for me. I bought mine from Lazada.
Do you have any other recipes to share, that use the above gadget? Please comment!
#3 – You DON’T have to buy every single keto-friendly ingredient!
I made this mistake. I went to the supermarket and went crazy – bought hundreds of ringgit worth of ingredients at one shot. Everything from oils to cheeses to butters to low-carb fruits to avocados. I swear I heard my wallet went ‘ouch’.
Now, I kinda know which ingredients are expensive BUT have a lower cost per serving. These are:
- Butter: RM8ish for a stick of pure butter; I use like 50 cents’ worth per meal
- Coconut oil: one RM38 bottle lasts me months
- Almonds: 1kg is enough to make me around 7 loaves of almond bread. Each loaf cost about RM8 or so in almond cost price, and I go through about 1 loaf per week.
- Cream: 1-liter pack is enough for many, many coffees and many, many protein shakes, with spare for cocoa whipped cream too
- Mayo: They tend to last a while
- Peanut butter: For quick snacking
- Antibiotic-free chicken: I make roast chicken, chicken mayo, then use the bones to make chicken broth
- Canned tuna: Tuna mayo is always delicious with salad and almond bread
If you stick to the above, RM10 or less in food cost per day is completely doable. Bulk up your meals with veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, salad, eggplant, zucchini and other low-carb veggies.
Next section is ingredients that I know are expensive and only buy when there’s a special occasion, a good sale or BOGOF deal (that’s ‘buy one get one free’). These have HIGH cost per serving (at least in my experience):
- Good cheese
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Fancy dips
- Red meats
- Fatty fish like salmon
There are more not included in this list, but the point is – prioritise expensive ingredients that have lower cost per meal. What else would you add to the lists above?
#4 – Please invest in fibre
Get chia seeds – one tablespoon every morning. That’ll do. Just chug it down with water. You can also combine with santan (Tip #1) and make chia seed pudding. See next section on where I buy my chia seed. Do this, your bowels will thank me.
#5 – Make notes of places that sell expensive ingredients at lower costs
For example, I buy raw almonds from Lazada for RM50-57 per kilo; they can easily cost 20-50% more in the supermarkets. Bagus Baking also sells almond (ground, sliced, whole) for RM41.90 per kilo. I used to have a bad experience with Bagus products so I don’t buy there, but go ahead, that was years back.
I also buy chia seed from Lazada, it’s way cheaper there!
A mutual friend of mine said she and her friends buy their butter from SupplyBunny in bulk (I haven’t tried this).
The shirataki noodles pack below is RM3-4, the cheapest I know in this category. But tbh I prefer zoodles if I crave pasta or mee goreng – just get a RM3.50 Julienne peeler from Mr DIY and a zucchini and you’re good to go.
If you live in Klang Valley, it’s worth browsing in HappyFresh – the grocery delivery service (note: referral link; you get free perks). I’ve used them enough times to truthfully report back that on the whole, it’s a good service. Most of the time I order from Tesco – I like their canned tuna and buy them in bulk to make tuna mayo.
Hmm I have no other additions. Need help with this section – please share deals you know!
Do you know any other budget keto tips that work in Malaysia?
The thing is, keto diet may look expensive but it WILL save you money. The reason? You’ll 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.
Do you have any other budget keto tips that works for Malaysians? If yes, please share in the comments section!