So you are looking for paleo on a budget!
I can easily understand your problem that you are a paleo diet lover but you can’t enjoy everything about it because you are running tight on budget as you have many types of expenses from raising kids to yourself to taking care of your pets. So, budget meals are the only option left for you.
But you don’t need to get bogged down and you don’t need to misunderstand that cheap meals can’t be enjoyed easily. Rather, it is one of the biggest myths that a paleo lifestyle is not everyone’s path or too demanding to afford.
The fact is otherwise: there are many wise strategies and shortcuts that you can employ to enjoy your favorite paleo recipes to the fullest without compromising the quality and without breaking the bank too.
So does that make you curious and mouth-watering too? Because the paleo recipes you can’t afford yesterday will surely be available to you after reading this post.
Here are the golden wisdom nuggets to get your “paleo on a budget” more easily on your dining table.
What is a Paleo diet?
The ideology of the paleo diet is to “go back to the future” i.e go back to the times when a human hasn’t developed modern means of eating i.e what human hunters used to eat thousands of years ago.
So the food of ancient humans was “whole food” and by leading relatively high physical active lives and they were able to maintain lower rates of diseases like diabetes, obesity and fewer health issues.
Foods to eat on a paleo diet
On paleo, your food menu should be based on unprocessed, whole foods like these
- Meat: Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, and others.
- Fish and seafood: Salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp, shellfish(preferably caught with your own hands)
- Eggs: Choose free-range, pastured eggs.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries, blueberries and more.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more.
- Healthy fats and oils: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and others.
- Salt and spices: Sea salt, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, etc.
Foods to avoid on a paleo diet
On paleo, avoid these foods
- Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup: Soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, candy, pastries, ice cream, etc.
- Grains: Includes bread and pasta, wheat, spelled, rye, barley, etc.
- Legumes: lentils, beans, and much more.
- Low-fat dairy: Avoid low-fat (some paleo diets do contain high fat)
- vegetable oils: sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, and others.
- Trans fats: also called “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils. Mostly found in processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium.
- High processed foods: Everything labeled “diet” or “low-fat”. It also Includes artificial meal replacements.
Best Money-saving tips for cheap paleo recipes
There are many wise strategies and shortcuts that you can employ to enjoy your paleo lifestyle to the fullest without compromising high quality and the real paleo diet for every meal you sit to eat.
The following are some of the best paleo diet tips that would never let you run out of paleo meals.
1. Make paleo lifestyle your priority
You have heard the quote: life is all about priorities. That means you have to make a priority that paleo is your lifestyle and any other things are chosen accordingly
Think about it, what if you could shun the idea of watching a new movie coming and instead wait until it is freely available online so that the money you saved could be spent on your favorite chicken soup.
So ask inner yourself? Is your favorite paleo chicken soup is more beloved to you or spending on something which is going to be available online free of cost? Of course your favorite chicken soup!
So if you change yourself and your priorities and put your healthy lifestyle first, you wouldn’t be struggling to ask for cheap paleo dishes. So change your priorities, change your lifestyle and enjoy your favorite paleo foods.
2. Never leave away “about-to-expire-food items”
Never attach less importance to foods that you found are about to expire. Why? I explain it to you in a minute.
All food counters that have written “sell by their dates” written on their labels are something that should not be ignored. Further check out which items are about to expire very soon i.e few days, a week or so.
These foods items will be heavily discounted. e.g cuts of meat are often available cheaply before their expiry date.
So pick them up, buy them at cheap rates and cook them up before they expire and store them in your freezer as low carb frozen meals for your favorite delights. Delicious, yummy and yet cheap. Amazing combination.
3. Stop wasting money on eating out a lot
Eating out is expensive but eating out surely is.
Suppose your daily outing at your favorite restaurant costs you an average of 20$. Now do the math and multiply it by 30 days. It is reasonably high 600$. That is not a small amount of money to be wasted just on your outing delights.
Think about it how many different types of paleo foods could be bought from these 600$. I believe that you can buy all types of paleo foods for even a whole month for that.
So, if you are wiser, and I am sure you then stop going out daily. Instead, fixate it to weekends only. This will itself save you a lot of money for your favorite paleo meals.
4. Find out cheaper paleo alternatives to expensive ones
There are definitely cheaper alternatives available for your favorite paleo recipes if you want to find out. It is just about going into the market and find out what can be substituted for what. I am damn sure, you will save a lot of money by just doing this one exercise.
Here are a few examples to help you understand better my point
- Pork and chicken are great alternatives for each other yet very good protein sources.
- Instead of snacks and nuts buy avocado which is cheap yet full of healthy fats.
- Eat apples instead of berries which are relatively expensive.
- Chop and cut into pieces your own veggies rather than buying expensive pre-cut or packed. Also, there will be fresher.
- Instead of visiting your superstore, buy directly from a butcher which will be cheaper than your superstore meat.
The last tip:
Always keep an eye out for discounts, coupons, and special offers on your favorite paleo foods. Let me tell you you will save a lot of money. Is that worth an extra $100 /month?
5. Make the most of a food item type
One of the best ways to save money on food is to make the most of it and use every last part of it to optimal use. Do you know there is more to a chicken then to just a chicken breast?
What if you can buy a whole chicken, cook it, eat the chicken breast and use the fat left in the cooker chicken pot to cook your next meal? Definitely, wiser people do but you if you need to save money, you have to do this. The same thriftiness can be done with beef etc. too
Also, you can save a lot of money if you buy all the raw products and make a whole part. For example, Almond butter, almond milk, etc make from just raw almonds but mind you that’s a lot of info, but you have to do it
A whole chicken can be used to make:
- Chicken breast (of course)
- Chicken stock
- Chicken fat for more cooking
Large cow meat can be used to make:
- Beef stock
- Beef fat for more cooking meals
Coconut flakes can be used to make:
- coconut flour
- coconut butter
- coconut milk
6. Home Grow your favorite paleo foods
I know everyone likes a garden with lots of beautiful flowers. But if you have sufficient space available in your backyard, you can use to grow your favorite type of paleo food too?
Of course why not because we all do know how to grow your own fruits. Although they are time-consuming and costing money at the start they are worth the effort. They can drastically reduce your grocery and fruit basket budget.
For example, why not plan to plant a couple of almond trees? Almonds are quite expensive to buy and if you can grow at your home, you can even sell to the market, on a lighter note.
7. Diversify the ingredients of a food item
Do you want to eat Mexican chicken, Indian or American? But for that, you don’t need to buy a separate one for each flavor.
Instead, cook a lot of chicken or beef and sprinkle up the spices and condiments to give many flavors.
I am sure you will love this trick
8. Find a paleo friend
It would be great if you could find a paleo lover friend and buy everything you both want in bulk and share everything you eat. It would be amazing to buy a large quantity of food in bulk and continue to enjoy it without going heavy on your wallet.
9. Leftovers can be reused again
Eating leftovers can save money and time. For example, make a double batch of stew by making a regular amount of recipe and freeze half. Do this each time you cook and in a few weeks you won’t have to eat the same recipe twice on a given day.
10. Try intermittent fasting
Do you remember this quote: “You can save money only by eating less. This can be true for paleo too. If you try intermittent fasting, you will not only have amazing health benefits like weight loss but it will cut down your paleo costs too.
And what about the benefits of improved health? Of Course, it also saves money by avoiding frequent visits to a doctor.
Additionally, a lot of modern research supports the idea of intermittent fast as very good for overall health. And you could also save money on your off time for the next favorite paleo food type. Amazing idea!
11. Don’t go for paleo 3 times a day.
I don’t mean to leave out your paleo foods but going on a part-time paleo can save you money that can be used to buy your next favorite paleo food. If this scares you away, then try switching to 80% paleo instead or the lesser you get, the better for your budget.
No one’s saying you have to go all-in right away. By going part-time paleo, you can slowly let your body and budget adjust to your new diet.
12. Don’t ignore discounted sales ads
Before you make your weekly meal plans, don’t forget to check out sale ads. There is always something worth to buy at cheaper rates and get that and include in your weekly meal.
A little planning and research go a long way…it It’s a great way to save money!
13. Always buy in bulk if possible
This is most suited for anything that can be stored and preserved in the freezer for a long time. For instance, meat is the perfect choice. Other such things can be nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.
Fish and other meats can save you some money on buying in bulk. Often there is a low price attached to bulk buy because you are buying more in one go.
14. Seasonal foods can be cheaper
You have experienced it yourself that a seasonal organic product is generally cheaper. It is cheaper because it is abundant in supply and by the law of the market, anything which is abundant in supply becomes cheaper.
So, planning your meals around what’s in season is bound to save you some bucks off of your grocery bill. Check out the USDA calendar for more info about what produce is in season at what time of year
15. Don’t ignore sales and always compare prices
Never ignore sales, because there you can buy almost 10 to 15% off than usual. So buying from sales and buying in bulk makes a lot of sense. Moreover, You are lucky enough if your house has multiple markets of food items you want to buy because two shops can have different food items at different prices.
It’s worth your time to shop around, learn where to get the best deals, and alternate your shopping trips between these stores and if you are lucky enough, you will not find something better but cheaper/on sales as well.
16. Buy cheaper and quality by Joining CSA or visit a farmer’s market.
Whatever you buy from your supermarket has been through a chain of middlemen, which increases their overall prices once they reach your nearby market. What you can do and you will enjoy it as well is that either directly visits a farmer’ house and buys from him in bulk
Or you can join and buy from a farmer through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or shopping at the farmer’s market. CSAs may not look cheap at first glance since many of them require an upfront cost (you pay for the season or year ahead of time).
Also, you will get real, organic top quality nutrient-rich foods items that can save your delivery cost as well.
17. Find out cheaper protein alternative than meat
In paleo, Meat is a huge expense, and usually the source of the most budget problems. It is costly because it is costly to produce and sell. So what can you do instead?
Obviously, you can’t live with proteins in paleo but there are plenty of healthy protein options other than meat.
You can make sure to have enough protein in your plate of protein if you fill your plate high with plenty of fiber-rich produce, healthy fats, and bulky starch like sweet potatoes, squash, and other root vegetables.
These will not only fulfill your protein requirement but would be sufficient to keep you fuller as well.
18. Frozen foods can be cheaper
Frozen fruits and veggies are typically frozen at the height of their growing season and are cheaper
Similarly frozen meat like fish and beef are also cheaper than their fresh counterparts because of low transportation and selling costs which make unfrozen foods expensive.
19. Spending some time in meal planning and prepping
It is very much common sense that when you plan for a week ahead and prep and freeze it for the whole week, you won’t waste money on foods that are going to be used in the future.
20. Buy and prepare recipes that use the same type of ingredients.
This is perhaps the best hack to save money, energy, and even food waste.
When you’re meal-prepping, think about recipes that require the same kinds of raw ingredients, so you can make sure that the groceries and paleo foods you buy aren’t going to waste. For instance, a whole jar of coconut can be used most of the time only half and the rest is wasted.
For example: Let’s say you buy a whole chicken. You can roast it for dinner today and remaining leftover can be used to make chicken salad the next day.