The Top 10 Cheap Carnivore Foods for Weight Loss and Healing

The carnivore diet has been gaining popularity as an effective way to lose weight, improve gut health, and reduce inflammation. While meat and animal foods tend to be more expensive than grains and vegetables, there are plenty of budget-friendly options to make this diet sustainable long-term.

In this article, we’ll share the top 10 affordable carnivore foods recommended by two experienced carnivore coaches. We’ll also discuss:

  • Why focusing on nutrient density and protein is key for weight loss and healing
  • How much protein you really need each day
  • The importance of tracking your food intake
  • How to add fat strategically rather than overdoing it
  • Which seasonings and condiments can enhance flavor on carnivore
  • Why dairy and nuts aren’t the most nutrient-dense choices

Why Nutrient Density and Protein Are Critical

When choosing carnivore foods, two factors matter most:

Nutrient density: Meat and eggs contain tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants lacking in plant foods. Eating the most nutrient-dense cuts provides what your body needs to function optimally.

Protein: Maintaining muscle mass becomes especially important as we age. Adequate protein intake prevents sarcopenia (age-related muscle wasting) and osteoporosis.

Unlike carbs, protein and fat keep you feeling satiated for hours. Quality animal foods nourish your brain and stabilize energy and mood by providing key fatty acids like EPA, DHA, and cholesterol.

Calculating Your Protein Requirements

How much protein should you aim for daily on carnivore? The amount depends on your height, sex, and activity levels. Here’s a simple formula:

  1. Calculate your ideal body weight based on height. (See online calculators specifically for this.)
  2. Eat 0.8-1 grams of protein per pound of ideal body weight if you are sedentary.
  3. Eat 1-1.2 grams per pound if you are active.

For example, if you are a 5’5″ female with an ideal weight of 130 pounds:

130 x 0.8 = 104 grams minimum protein 130 x 1 = 130 grams protein if active

Divide this total across 2-3 meals eaten per day. Yes, it seems like a lot at first, but it ensures you maintain metabolic rate and lose pure body fat rather than muscle as you drop weight.

Why Tracking Macros Is Useful

Especially when beginning carnivore, tracking your food intake for 1-2 weeks using an app can be extremely insightful. This allows you to see:

  • If you’re truly hitting your protein target each day
  • How much fat you’re consuming from meat alone
  • Where you may need to adjust to meet your goals

Apps like Cronometer make tracking easy. You can input the protein/fat ratio of whatever meat you eat. Weighing food with a portable scale removes any guessing.

Many find tracking very motivating by proving they can reach protein needs without carbs. It can also troubleshoot weight loss plateaus when combined with the right foods.

Strategic Fat Intake Is Key

On carnivore, protein drives satiety, while fat provides sustained energy between meals. However, too much dietary fat can easily lead to weight gain.

Some report feeling their best adhering to a “high fat” ratio like 70% fat and 30% protein calories. But our coaches have found optimal results focusing on ample protein intake based on the formula above, not ratios.

The truth is, you likely don’t need to add much additional fat if you:

  • Eat fattier cuts of meat like ribeye, ground beef, lamb, etc. which contain even amounts of protein and fat naturally.
  • Have significant weight to lose. Your body fat stores provide fuel for energy needs.
  • Feel satisfied eating just protein foods like chicken breast or lean beef.

Only increase fat strategically if you feel low energy between meals or cravings. How much? 1 tablespoon of butter, tallow, or olive oil is plenty for most meals.

10 Cheap Carnivore Foods to Enjoy

Now let’s get into the favorite budget-friendly carnivore foods recommended by two coaches with years of experience!

  1. Ground beef: 80/20 works well for beginners who may need more fat for energy during the transition phase. Seek out sales and bulk packages at warehouse clubs.
  2. Bison: Similar macros to beef but contains lower inflammatory omega 6s. Look for ground or burger patties.
  3. Lamb: Fattier cuts like leg or shoulder offer an inexpensive way to get several meals from a larger roast. Check ethnic grocers for deals.
  4. Eggs: One of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Opt for pasture-raised eggs when possible, or at least organic.
  5. Bacon: Look for uncured, no sugar added options to avoid inflammatory ingredients. Eat in moderation.
  6. Salmon: Fattier fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel provide anti-inflammatory omega 3s. Buy canned wild caught fish for a budget choice.
  7. Ground turkey or chicken: Lean but inexpensive options. Mix with fattier beef or add oil when cooking.
  8. Butter/tallow: Provide fat soluble vitamins and fatty acids. Limit to 1 tablespoon per meal.
  9. Protein powder: Useful to increase protein intake if you can’t eat more whole food. Stick to collagen or beef protein varieties without additives.
  10. Chicken wings: Offer tasty variety and fat from the skin. Focus on other fatty cuts regularly for balanced omega 3s.

Seasonings and Condiments to Make Food Tasty

Adding flavor can make sticking to carnivore much easier without ruining benefits. Some condiment options include:

  • Mustard
  • Horseradish
  • Hot sauce
  • Herbs and spices – salt, pepper, garlic, onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, rosemary, etc.

Go easy on seasoning when first transitioning to allow your gut to heal. Then slowly reintroduce herbs and spices and pay attention to how you feel.

Why Dairy and Nuts Aren’t Ideal

Some advocates of carnivore diets include high-fat dairy like cheese, heavy cream, and butter, along with nuts and nut butters.

However, our experts recommend caution with making these staples for several reasons:

  • Dairy and nuts are highly inflammatory foods for some people. They contain proteins difficult to digest.
  • It’s easy to overeat high-fat dairy and nuts when insulin resistant. Your appetite regulation can get thrown off.
  • Cheese and nut butters are not very satiating despite being high in calories. They don’t satisfy hunger for long compared to meat.

Does this mean you must avoid all dairy and nuts forever? Not necessarily.

But our coaches suggest limiting portion sizes of these foods or using them as occasional treats. Don’t make them the main focus of regular meals, especially if you have weight to lose or inflammatory conditions.

Make Carnivore Work Within Your Budget

As you can see, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to follow a carnivore diet while optimizing nutrition. Ground beef, eggs, and canned fish offer lots of bang for your buck.

Buying meat in bulk when on sale and freezing extras helps slash the grocery bill over time. Seek out family packs of chicken legs and thighs for a budget choice with skin-on for added fat. Or find deals on tougher roasts like chuck or round; these cuts become deliciously tender in the slow cooker.

Carnivore eating provides long-lasting satiation so you actually save money that would normally be spent on snacks, sweets, beverages, and extraSide dishes. Keep an open mind, get creative with recipes, and let your body guide you toward the foods that make you look and feel your absolute best!

How to Get Started with the Carnivore Diet

To sum it all up, here are some tips if you’re considering trying carnivore:

  • Check out the affordable meat options and prices at various grocery stores, warehouse clubs, and local butcher shops. See what deals you can find!
  • Calculate your ideal protein target and aim to eat fatty cuts of meat like ribeye, lamb, and salmon to hit this easily.
  • Consider tracking protein/fat intake for 1-2 weeks when first starting out to understand appropriate portion sizes for you.
  • Drink water with added electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium to prevent symptoms like cramps, headaches, and fatigue.
  • Eat when hungry and stop when full; don’t force feed extra fat if not needed.
  • Include plenty of eggs, bacon, and cheese at first while transitioning from a standard diet for more fat.
  • Slowly reintroduce some seasonings and condiments to boost flavor once adapted but pay attention to any reactions.
  • Join an online community or work with a coach to troubleshoot issues, get meal ideas and accountability. Making connections with others on this journey can really help success!

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