Cheap Paleo - Paleo on a Budget
Cheap Paleo? Is it possible to eat Paleo on a budget? You bet it is! Eating a paleo diet can be incredibly expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Paleo isn't an 'elite diet', it's the simplest, most natural way of eating, and should be possible for anyone.
If you want to know how to eat 'cheap paleo' read on - we share our top money saving tips with you so that you can keep your food budget down as much as possible, whilst eating a healthy and nutritious diet. We want to help you to improve your health AND your wealth!
Here in the UK one of the top supermarkets uses the phrase: 'every little helps' which suggests the old adage 'take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves'. In the current economic climate most of us are looking to shave chunks off our expenses, and with food prices rising, the weekly food bill seems like the best place to start. However... you want to make sure that you don't become 'penny wise but pound foolish'!
Eating a paleo style diet is (to quote Dr Bobby Ghaheri) 'the most biologically appropriate way to eat'.
So whilst a diet of cheap fillers such as rice and pasta, and chemical laden fruits and vegetables may seem like wise, immediate, economic choices (penny wise), in the long run, the cumulative effects to your health could be disastrous (pound foolish).
Re Prioritising Real Food
For far too long commercially produced 'food' products and factory farming have brought cheap food to our tables. Coupled with loss leaders on convenience foods in supermarkets, our diet has changed enormously in the last 60 or so years. We now expect to pay very little for our most important outgoing.
- Here in the UK, in 2011, the average percentage of income spent on food was just 9%! Compared to 33% in the 1950s.
- In the US the trend is very similar with with approximately 13% of annual income spent on food in 2001 vs 34% in 1950.
On the surface, this drastic reduction in cost may seem like a good thing, but given most families these days struggle to make ends meet (even with two wage earners), and many families are having to rely on food banks to feed their families, something has gone very wrong.
All of which is a rather long winded way of saying that whilst we will help you to eat 'cheap paleo', you also have to rethink your attitude to the importance of the role that your food budget plays in your life.
Our Top Cheap Paleo Tips
- Buy as much of your fruit and vegetables from markets as possible.
- Buy non organic fruit and vegetables, except for the ones on the dirty list - these are the foods that will contain high concentrations of pesticides and other chemicals, and so really do need to be avoided if you value your health. Print out our handy reminders and pop them in your wallet or purse. We've included the 'not strictly paleo' foods because not everyone is a paleo perfectionist :-)
- Buy cheaper cuts of meat - these will often be more nutrient dense - a big plus for your health and wealth!
- Meal plan! It might seem like the most boring thing in the world, but a meal plan that takes in ALL the meals you and your family eat in the week will, without doubt, save you the most.
- Write a shopping list from your meal plan and stick to it!
- Make use of online shopping and home deliveries, you will be less likely to pick up any spur of the moment, not on the list 'treats' or convenience foods.
- Cook extra and eat the left overs the following day, or freeze for the times when you don't feel like cooking and are likely to reach for the takeaway menu.
- Join or organise a meat share - this is the cheapest way of buying meat. You will need a freezer to make the most of this. You will get some interesting cuts of meat, but it will save you a small fortune and will make you get creative in the kitchen too.
- Visit the supermarket near to closing time and check the reduced price items - meat can often be picked at a huge discount when it is at the use by date. This can be a great way to stock your freezer.
- Eat in season. Out of season fruit and vegetables come at a high price. Buy extra and learn the various ways to preserve food so that you have a cheap, handy supply out of season.
- Grow your own. Even if you only have a windowsill, you can save yourself a bit of money by growing your own herbs and cut and come again salads. Obviously the larger the space you have the more food you can grow yourself - many people are taking to keeping chickens in their back gardens for the freshest possible egg supply! You might even be able to sell any excess produce or swap it for services of other items that you might need.
- Use a pressure cooker or slow cooker to reduce energy usage and thus the cost of cooking your meals.
- Eat as simply as possible - many paleo friendly ingredients are luxury items, they aren't necessary and they probably won't improve your health or wealth. Stick to good quality basics and you won't go wrong.
Cheap Paleo Weekly Meal Plans
In the coming weeks we will be sharing our weekly meal plans which will include links to the recipes along with handy shopping lists. Do look out for that by checking in regularly, subscribing to our RSS feed or newsletter, or following us on twitter or facebook.
Share Your Cheap Paleo Tips
If you've got any cheap paleo top tips that might help anyone who thinks a small budget makes eating this way impossible, leave us a comment in the facebook box below - we'd love to hear from you.