Following the paleo diet on a budget can be done. For some reason people think following any “healthy” diet is expensive, as they think “healthy food” is expensive. This doesn’t always have to be the case. Honestly. Finding deals, buying in bulk, avoiding the gimmicky food items, etc are all things you can do to afford to eat a healthy diet. Eat foods that are Paleo on a budget by following our simple tips.
On the other end of the spectrum we can say that buying only the good/healthy/organic stuff might be expensive, but it will save you from having health issues in the future – therefore you’ll be saving on medical bills, doctors visits, medications, etc. So it’s worth the up-front extra costs.
Here are 12 tips for eating Paleo on a budget:
- Decide how much you can spend weekly on groceries. First take note on what you’re currently indulging in, like buying a coffee at your favorite coffee shop every morning or getting your nails done weekly or the cable TV subscription that you barely ever watch. Sure we all deserve a little luxury every once in a while, but are these really necessary when we know we’re on a food budget for following a healthy diet? What’s more important – your health or your nails to be pretty? Really think about these questions. Letting go of some indulgences might/might not be something you want to do so you can eat healthy and not break the bank. Write out how much you can spend for a weeks worth of groceries and try to stick to your budget.
- Create a master grocery list. This is something that will show you what you ALWAYS need – veggies, proteins, fruits, oils, etc. Use our Paleo Food List for inspiration and guidance. This is something that can keep you on track weekly – which brings me to my next point.
- Only buy what you need. Write up a plan and stick to it. Meal plans will help. They can keep you organized on a weekly basis. I can suggest our Paleo Meal Plan app for your iPhone/iPad. It also includes a grocery list, so you don’t even have to do tip 2 above.
- Grocery shop in a circle. Most stores are designed the same way with the produce, meats/fish/poultry and eggs all on the outer edges of the store. The center of the store can be filled with the junky, pre-made, packaged meals that you want to avoid when you’re on Paleo and eating clean. So I can suggest to just avoid them all together. See the grocery store map below for guidance (this map is based on how grocery stores are generally set up. Not all are set up this way though, FYI). This is one of my favorite ways to buy paleo on a budget.
- Buy fruits and veggies when they are in season. You’ll definitely save money on produce when it’s currently in season. Prices can skyrocket when an item isn’t currently in season. Asparagus and strawberries are good examples of this. Here is a simple chart for finding out when fruits and vegetables are in season.
- Buy foods in bulk when you can. Shop at Costco, directly from a butcher, or buy lots when something goes on sale. This way you can use some now and save the rest in the freezer for later. This works for meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and even oils can be bought in bulk. Bulk prices are usually much better than buying regular.
- Cook with a slow-cooker or crockpot. Your electric bill/gas bill will be lower using a crockpot. Cooking with a crockpot can also allow you to cook in larger quantities (if your crockpot/slow cooker is big) and then you can save meals for later in the freezer or refrigerator. Here is a list of Paleo Crockpot Recipes.
- Buy less expensive cuts of meats. Sure these can be tougher cuts, but using tip number 7 above (crockpot/slow cooker cooking) changes that for the meat! A benefit of slow cooking is it naturally tenderizes the meat. So no excuses! Your meat costs can be cut by 50%+!
- Buy organ meats and eat once a week. Following paleo you are recommended you eat meat. All kinds of meat. This includes pieces you never thought you’d eat like liver, heart, tongue (I know this isn’t a organ!). These pieces are usually cheaper than a steak, plus they add nutrients you might not get otherwise. Give them a try!
- Grow your own foods. Growing a garden can take time and effort, but it can be totally worth your while! Summertime growing is the most popular, but some people grow year-round with greenhouses. Not everyone has room for that though, of course. And not only am I talking about veggies/fruits when I say grow…. you can also grow your own meat. Raise chickens, or cattle or pigs. But this is a big commitment and it might be hard for many to send their animals to slaughter. Chickens are actually good alive though, as they provide delicious eggs!
- Make your own salad dressings. Store bought dressings usually contain oils you will probably want to avoid anyway – or sugars, too. It’s so easy to make your own vinaigrette: 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar (red wine, balsamic, apple cider), add some salt, pepper, dried herbs and garlic powder. Whisk and enjoy. Here is a post we wrote on How to Make Your Own Salad Dressings.
- Make your own nut mylk and nut butters. Buy almonds in bulk (like mentioned in #6 above. You can use these just to snack on, but you can also save yourself lots of money by making your own almond milk or almond butter (if you use these). Especially the nut butter can be pricey, but all you need is a good high speed blender to make up your own with some bulk almonds and there you have some healthy “clean” almond butter.
As you can see, Paleo can be eaten without breaking the bank! Try these money saving tips to keep going with your diet and eating Paleo on a Budget. Or give Paleo a try with our meal plan app.