Paleo on a Budget
Learn how to eat Paleo on a budget
Eating Paleo on a budget doesn’t require a loan to eat healthier options. Making simple and practical modifications will help you stick to a budget.
One thing I hear over and over again is the misconception that eating Paleo is darn right expensive. The reality is that this fallacy far from the truth!
When I first started removing inflammatory foods from my diet (grains, dairy, refined sugars, legumes, and polyunsaturated oils), I literally had no idea Paleo was a diet until I started searching for recipes free of the above mentioned.
What I realized is that when I started replacing the ‘franken-foods‘ (overly processed food) with natural foods, I not only was saving room for real foods in my cart but also saving money to budget in healthier options.
I’ll get to my thoughts as to why people who are eating Paleo tend to spend more below and how to fix these contrary practices that will help you save more money and what’s left of your sanity!
How to Eat Paleo on a Budget
What I love about eating Paleo is that it can be tailored to your lifestyle. While there are general guidelines on what you should be avoiding – there is no wrong or right way to eat Paleo. Depending on how strict or relaxed you are when it comes to eating Paleo, it will depend on how much money you are spending each week on groceries. Below you’ll find the most common mistakes and how to fix them when it comes to eating Paleo on a budget.
#1 Still Buying SAD Foods
This is the number one mistake when it comes to sticking within a budget while eating Paleo. Before I transitioned my whole family to Paleo, I was guilty of buying Standard American Foods for them. Not only was I guilty of this, but I was making up to three separate meals for everyone… daily!
Since I transitioned my family to the Paleo diet and lifestyle, we’ve been able to stick within our budget and also save money by avoiding overly processed foods from the SAD.
#2 Not Taking Advantage of In-Season Produce
Taking advantage of in-season fruits and vegetables is the best way to eat on a budget. Prices tend to be lower during these times, and the quality tends to be higher.
Buy these fruits and vegetables in large amounts and freeze, can, or ferment your produce for more extended storage. Practicing these storage methods ensures you have these items on hand when the season ends.
#3 Only Eating Organic Produce
While eating organic (and local) is preferred, it’s not always ideal for some when it comes to their location and budget. If you are shopping for in-season organic produce – you can find great deals, oftentimes less than conventional. More times than not, many of us are purchasing out of season produce.
When it comes to sticking to a budget, I’d rather a client eat conventional produce over not eating any at all. It is imperial that you wash and peel (when necessary) all produce – this goes for organic fruits and vegetables also – but more so for conventional produce. When possible, source conventional fruits and vegetables from your country and avoid products from other countries.
#4 Buying Prepackaged Staples & Condiments
One of the biggest ways you can save time is by purchasing prepackaged staples like tomato sauce and Paleo-approved condiments (ketchup, mayo, etc.). While these store-bought foods are saving you time in the kitchen, they cost more than making a homemade recipe with your already established pantry staples.
You can save a ton of money by making homemade versions of your favorite dressings, condiments, and even grinding tree nuts into flours for all your baking needs. The best part (besides saving money) is that you know where your food is coming from and you can take pride in knowing you made it!
#5 Not Planning Ahead
Aside from still purchasing Standard American Foods, not planning ahead for the week’s meals can leave a hole in your pocket. When heading to the store without a plan for the week ahead, you tend to buy more things than you need.
Take 10 to 15 minutes (or more if you need) before you head out and strategize as a family the meals you’ll be making, what ingredients you’ll need, and take inventory of what you have on hand.
Make a list of the items you’ll need to replenish your pantry and execute the week’s meals. It’s best to structure your list in a manner that makes sense to you. For example, I structure my list based on the flow of our grocery store. Produces goes first, followed by meats, eggs, pantry staples, and then any additional non-food items.
Follow your list by crossing out the needed items placed in your cart. Avoid purchasing any additional non-essential food items that are not on your list.
Get access to my free Paleo resources to download your very own customizable Paleo shopping list here.
Additional Tips For Saving Money
Buy items in bulk.
Shop at the farmer’s market or local co-op.
Limit non-essential kitchen items.
Grow your own produce and herbs.
Trim the fats off conventional proteins when your budget doesn’t allow for grass-fed or pasture-raised products.
Buy frozen produce that is organic.
Avoid going out to eat.
Add organ meats into your weekly meal plan, they tend to be cheaper than the traditional cuts.
Save your bacon drippings and use for roasting and cooking.
Purchase wild-caught canned fish (sardines, tuna, salmon).
As you can see, you don’t have to take a loan out to eat healthier options. Making simple and practical modifications to the sections above will help you stick within a budget and rethink the way you shop! What are some ways you stick to your food budget? Comment in the comment section below to help others save money grocery shopping!