Earlier this month I wrote about how to begin switching to a Paleo diet. If you caught that post and are interested in pursuing a Paleo lifestyle, then hopefully you’ve already made a few food swaps and are trying to eat mostly non-processed foods. Today I’m going to go into some more details on how you can eat Paleo on a budget, as well as providing you with a Paleo grocery list!
Eating Paleo can definitely be seen as a ‘rich man’s’ option on the surface. You’ll find a core of people that believe everything you consume should be local, organic, grass fed, farm raised, and so on (which means multiple dollar signs), and if you can’t eat that way, then you’re doing it wrong. Ignore all that! It’s better that you’re making the changes to eat clean and healthy versus not making those changes at all. When you stop buying packaged meals, cereal, and fast food, and instead spend that money on fruits, vegetables, meat, and other good-for-you foods, you’ll find that budget Paleo shopping will soon just be as easy as your regular grocery shopping was!
Eating Paleo on a Budget
Shop the sales and use coupons – Be sure to look through your stores’ flyers and see who has the best prices. Even if you have a favorite store you shop at, you might be surprised at the prices other stores have on items you’ll be purchasing. Most people believe that coupons are just for processed food and junk, but that’s not ALL that’s out there. You can get coupons for eggs, produce, milk, and sometimes even meat. Check what coupons your local stores put out as well as places on online. Coupons for healthy and organic products are on the rise!
Use everything you buy – Save your chicken bones and boil them up to make your own broth or stock. Save your veggie scraps and use them to make vegetable broth for soups. If you don’t think you’re going to use certain items before they go bad, freeze them so you can grab them to cook with later. Cutting down on your food waste will help you from having to replace items.
Balance your meals price-wise – By this I mean, find some simple and easy meals you love that are easy to replicate a Paleo version of. Chicken fajitas. Steak and baked sweet potato. Bean-less chili. There are a lot of delicious Paleo recipes out there, but if you’re new to cooking Paleo, you might need to buy a ton of ingredients you don’t already have such as coconut aminos, coconut mana, various flours or starches (almond flour, coconut flour, potato starch, etc). The prices on these are not often cheap. So if you need a few of them for 1 dish, you could see a hefty price tag attached to that 1 meal. Try spacing out these pricier dishes and eating delicious and simple meals until you’ve built up your stock of new ingredients.
Cut down how much you bake – If you didn’t think baking on a Paleo diet was possible, think again! You can and it’s so yummy! But, here again, if you don’t already have the ingredients in your arsenal, a simple pan of Paleo brownies could cost a pretty penny. By scaling back on baking for times when it’s a special occasion or a real need for something sweet, it will keep your budget in check. This isn’t to say don’t ever bake. Sometimes some Paleo brownies made with sweet potatoes and dark chocolate are just the thing that will keep you eating clean versus grabbing a processed snack.
Plan your meals – Not only will meal planning help you stick to your budget, it’ll help you stick to eating Paleo. When you know there’s prepped food in the fridge or that you’ve already thrown pork and veggies in the crockpot, you’ll be less likely to run for fast food. You won’t be spending that extra money, and your body will thank you for keeping all that processed food out of it!
I really think that the best tip above is just to realize that, while your grocery budget may have to increase to accommodate your new, healthy lifestyle, you may find that you were spending that extra money at the drive-thru anyway! Your Paleo diet might not actually be more expensive at all, when you consider the costs of eating out in addition to your grocery list.
And speaking of which…
Paleo Grocery List
This is a great list to take to the store to buy the food you’ll need to get started on your Paleo journey. This list is not all-inclusive, but these are some of the staples that you can eat by themselves or combine to make great Paleo meals!
- whole or cuts of chicken
- cuts of pork
- cuts of beef
- almond milk
- sweet potato
- bell peppers
- kale and other greens
- coconut oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- nut butters
Don’t forget the freezer section- you can get a ton of veggies there that might be cheaper than fresh, and with them being frozen, you’ll reduce food waste.
And when you buy produce that is in season, you’ll save money. Buy organic and let the grocery chains know that their customers want high-quality food!
I’ve got another post coming up that will share some quick and easy Paleo snacks for when you get the munchies, so look for that soon!
It’s Day 13 of “Baby Steps to a Better You,” and today’s challenge has two options, depending on your current eating habits.
If you are a busy on-the-go person who hits the drive-thru or lunches out daily, then your challenge is to go one day without eating out. Get all of your food from the store, market, pantry, wherever, but don’t eat out for one day.
If you only eat out a few times a week or fewer, then your challenge is to go one day without eating any processed foods. Nothing from a box or bag. Nothing with a long list of ingredients. Only fresh meats, veggies, fruits, eggs, etc.
Hopefully you’ll feel so good from making healthy choices that you’ll want to go for a second day!