Many people may wonder if buying fresh, organic food 7 days a week will bump up their monthly grocery bill, and may feel anxious about this before embarking on the Paleo diet.
There are a number of simple tricks and techniques that can be adopted from the offset, that will ensure eating paleo on a budget is just as easy as any other diet plan.
Paleo dieting does not need to be expensive if you remain informed and shop smart.
Here are 10 Tips to ensure you can eat Paleo on a budget
1. Buy in Bulk
It can be expensive buying individual meals on a daily basis. You can save some money by buying in bulk so long as you use that particular food item regularly and it won’t go to waste.
Look for deals (e.g. 3 for the price of 2) and freeze anything that you won’t immediately use.
Online food shopping is perfect for buying in bulk because you won’t have to carry it home and you may find it easier to search for discounts this way.
2. Eat Lots of Veggies
Vegetables are cheap. Take a browse around your neighborhood and see if there are any noticeable differences in price between shops.
Often a greengrocer is less expensive than a large supermarket but it can vary. And if you want the cheapest vegetables of them all, grow them in your own backyard.
This way you have full control over their growth, harvesting, and quantities.
3. Go for the Cheap Cuts of Meat
Have a talk with your butcher about the different cuts of meat available, their individual taste and cooking purpose as well as their price.
You’ll probably find that tender cuts are more expensive than the shoulder or shank and that chicken breasts are pricier than the thigh or drumsticks.
Depending on what you’re cooking, you may not need the most expensive cut of meat available. A top tip is to buy on-the-bone meats as their leftover bones make good stock for future meals.
4. Opt for Canned of Whole Fish
Canned fish is cheap, delicious and still retains nutrients despite being in a can. It’s great for adding to salads, or snacking on throughout the day.
Another tip when buying fish is to purchase the whole fish rather than individual fillets.
This way you can use what you need and freeze the rest to use at a later date. Whole fish tend to have fewer bacteria and more nutrients from the skin and bones.
Your fishmonger will gut the fish for you at your request, so you’ll just have just the flesh to work with.
Can you feel yourself getting back to your caveman or cavewoman roots already?
5. Shop Farmers Markets
Depending on the season, you’ll find a surge of fruit and vegetables at the farmers market.
Try to become familiar with harvesting schedules for different produce, this way you’ll know when a particular vegetable is being sold cheap.
Your local farmers market is the best place to go for local, organic food.
The farmers and salespeople will happily discuss cooking methods for vegetables you’re less familiar with. You may even be able to bargain a bulk price.
6. Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Surprisingly, frozen vegetables at your local grocery store have the potential to be higher in nutrients than fresh produce.
This is because the vegetables would have been frozen straight after picking, retaining their essential vitamins.
Fresh grocery store vegetables usually journey a few hours before landing on shelves. Frozen vegetables are easy to store and often on sale, therefore saving money in the long run.
7. Start Your Own Garden
If you have some outdoor space, whether it’s a balcony or an acre of land, you can grow your own fruit, herbs and vegetables.
It will require some time and effort plus the upfront cost of compost, seeds, and seedlings, organic fertilizers, and tools, but once you’re up and running, the garden will become self-sustaining.
The reward is fresh food all year round and the satisfaction that you have created it yourself.
8. Make Dressings at Home
Dressings needn’t be complicated.
Supermarket-bought dressings are expensive and poor quality, packed with additives, bad fats, sugar, salt and artificial ingredients.
To make your own dressing, whisk together some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add a squeeze of lemon and why not throw in a few fresh herbs like lemon balm or parsley?
This is a nice opportunity to experiment with tastes and customize a dressing to go with your salad.
9. Plan Ahead
Making a weekly meal plan can be a good way of knowing exactly what you need to buy week to week.
This prevents food wastage and therefore saves money. If you find you have leftover ingredients in the fridge, do not go out and buy more.
Try to find a way of using the ingredients you have. This can lead to some interesting and creative inventions.
Become familiar with vegetable harvesting seasons to plan a vague yearly menu, this will help you stay in control of local prices.
10. Safe Non-Organic Foods
The Paleo diet is suitable for those with a commitment to eating healthy, natural foods where possible.
The Environmental Working Group provide a list each year of food that should always be bought organic, and food that can be bought without the organic status.
Some safe non-organic foods are pineapples, cabbage, avocados, asparagus, onions, kiwis, mangoes, cauliflower, and eggplant.
This will save money over time as typically, non-organic produce is cheaper than the organic varieties.
The Paleo diet does not need to be expensive. If you remain informed and smart about how and where you purchase your food, the spending increase needs only be minimal.
By understanding how fruit, vegetables, and meats are prepared, you can do a lot of the work yourself, which not only cultivates a new cooking skill but saves money overall.