Eating quality food, the Paleo way, doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. People think that eating Paleo is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be at all.
In fact, when shopping thoughtfully for your primal foods it ends up being cheaper than you think. On top of that, investing in your food now means saving money in the long run through prevention of chronic disease. Sure, the Kraft mac and cheese and frozen meals seem cheap now, but down the road the health problems that arise will be expensive. Poor eating habits are the costliest of all.
Here are our top tips to eating Paleo on a budget:
You can save a lot of money by purchasing food in bulk. There are often discounts available when you buy in bulk. You can look for companies that will deliver whole cuts of meat to your house like AZ Grass Fed Beef, stop in at your local butcher (here, in AZ, we like Arcadia Meat Market) or talk to your local farmer. Buy a whole grass-fed cow, have them portion the cuts and store in your freezer and thaw when ready to use. Buy frozen, organic vegetables in bulk. Go to Costco and buy large containers of healthy cooking fats such as organic coconut oil or olive oil.
We all know that bone broth is incredibly healing and nutrient dense. We also know that the organic brands can cost a lot. Therefore, we recommend making your own bone broth. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s affordable. Join our Carnivore Challenge for three signature TDW bone broth recipes or get a Paleo cookbook to make your own bone broth.
While we, at the Drs. Wolfson, think of organ meats as “prized cuts”, most individuals don’t. This means that they are cheaper cuts of meat to the consumer. It’s a win/ win. Organ meats are highly affordable and are the most nutrient dense cuts of meat you can consume. Our ancestors sought out organ meat cuts. They are high in fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and K and contain good amounts of the heart antioxidant, COQ10. Check out our top favorite organ meat recipes here.
We like to have plenty of BPA-free cans of quality seafood on hand. Stocking up on BPA-free cans of wild-caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring or anchovies (from brands we know and trust) is a great idea to save money, increase nutrition and save time when you need a quick snack or meal idea. Seafood provides high protein and essential omega 3 fatty acids to lower inflammation and keep you healthy.
Join a local community supported agriculture (CSA) group in your area. Community members can join a local CSA and purchase a “share” of farmer’s local and in-season produce. There are many benefits to becoming part of a CSA. First off, it saves you money (and time). And the closer to the source of your food, the cheaper it should be. These CSA groups also allow you an opportunity to try new foods. The foods in CSA programs tend to be more nutritious and another benefit is that you know exactly where your food is being sourced from.
One of the main things you can do to save money is to stop eating out. Instead, prep your meals on a Sunday for the week ahead and freeze or store them in the refrigerator. We have a list of our top favorite heart-healthy meals to prep on a Sunday. Meal prepping is an act of self-care for you and your loved ones. It also saves you money long- term. Here is a list of our top favorite Paleo cookbooks to use as your inspiration and guide.
While most people equate Paleo with meat, the basis of our Paleo pyramid is actually vegetables. That’s right, the Paleo way of eating is “plant based”. So, eat your vegetables in abundance. They are “Paleo-approved” and are cheaper than other foods out there. Go shop at your local farmers market, join a CSA, prep your vegetables and eat them up. Or, better yet, grow your own produce. Along those lines, also grow your own fresh, organic herbs, even if it is just on the windowsill of your home or apartment.
The expensive part of the Paleo diet can be the Paleo-labeled condiments and specialty pre-made foods at your local co-op or Whole Foods. To save money, try making your own condiments, dressings and sweet treats at home. Learn how to make your own Paleo dressings from scratch (hint, they’re super easy), your own fermented veggies, kombucha and even almond milk! They end up being healthier for you (and cheaper for your budget).
We recommend some form of fasting to all our patients. Our ancestors would go through periods of “fasting” and “feasting” and so it is only natural that we should too. In today’s society, it is the norm to have snacks on hand for whenever we feel hungry. Yet, this is not always healthy. We should go through periods where we eat nothing at all (yes, even when we are hungry). In fact, new research supports intermittent fasting (IF) as a key to longevity and health. Another benefit to IF? It saves you money! Try one of our favorite IF methods called the 16:8 method. This involves fasting for 16 hours a day and feasting for 8 hours. For example, you could stop eating at 8 PM and resume eating at 12 PM the next day. This means you only need to make two Paleo meals per day…saving you money and time!
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