The Paleo lifestyle is taking the world by storm. The premise behind this way of eating is that you should only eat the types of foods that cavemen had access to. That means, no processed foods, additives, preservatives and anything else that hunter-gatherers wouldn’t have eaten themselves.
A huge misconception about the Paleo way of eating is that it is expensive to maintain. Since there is a focus on organic foods and grass-fed meats, Paleo can get a little pricey at times. The good news is that it doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg to maintain!
You most certainly can enjoy Paleo on a budget. All you need is a few tips and tricks up your sleeve.
Firstly, you might be asking what food do I need to stock up on? When you head to the grocery store, start at the fruit and veg section, followed by the butchery or deli and finish off at the dairy and eggs. These foods are not that expensive when it’s all you are buying. The costs go up drastically when you start adding the processed foods- so, rather avoid them.
Here is a handy list of staple items to grab on your next grocery visit:
A general staple, apples are the perfect snack food for Paleo. You can enjoy them raw or cooked, as a dessert or just a snack. Plus, they are much cheaper than berries, for example.
Try to get organic when possible, and stock up on a wide range of proteins like beef, chicken, fish and bacon.
Whether is kale, spinach, collards or any other leafy greens, they are a must for Paleo. They are also pretty versatile.
Another cost-savvy ingredient is eggs. They are also a great source of protein and perfect for any meal throughout the day.
Kombucha contains a wealth of probiotics to help with healthy gut bacteria- a huge part of Paleo. Store-bought kombucha can become really expensive. So, why not get set up to brew your own at home? Once set up, it will be dirt cheap to produce this vital fermented gold.
Your Paleo Shopping List
Here is a quick staple shopping list to help you on your next shopping trip:
- Organic chicken
- Grass-fed beef
- Bacon (nitrate- & sugar-free)
- Free-range, organic eggs
- Brussel spouts
Nuts & seeds
- Ground flaxseed
- Raw Almonds
- Raw Cashews
- Garlic Powder
Here are 5 tips to save you money while eating Paleo:
1. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is generally a lot cheaper than buying individual cuts of meat. Here is where it pays to have a lot of freezer space. Find a local butcher that will sell bulk packs at a cheaper rate.
You can portion these packs out into separate servings that suit your eating habits. Some butchers may even be able to sell you a whole cow, pig, or lamb at a much lower cost than if you had to pick up the individual portions at your local supermarket.
If you can’t find a local butcher that will sell in bulk, or you don’t have the freezer space for bulk buying, then you can always opt for cheaper cuts of meat like, stew meat, organ meat or ground meat, which is usually much cheaper.
2. Not everything needs to be organic
Organic foods generally come with a higher price tag. The great thing is that not all foods have to be organic on Paleo. When starting out with Paleo, organic is not a huge necessity, as long as you are sticking to Paleo approved foods.
3. Find the right alternatives
As much as some foods are more enjoyable, sometimes taking an alternative can save you money in the long run. Make smart purchases to save money, such as opting for a lean burger patty instead of steak. Eat more chicken and pork, since they are most cost-effective.
Replace heaps of berries with apples. Prepare your own produce- although it is easier to buy vegetables ready chopped and prepared, doing it yourself will save your pennies. Add eggs as a protein source wherever possible--they are much cheaper than most cuts of meat.
4. Make discounts work for you
Keep an eye out for coupons, discount vouchers, and special offers. It’s also a great idea to go shopping right before closing time. At the end of the day, supermarket meats often go for a discount because they are about to reach their sell-by dates.
The meat is still fresh, and good to eat if you cook it that evening for dinner. Farmers markets are also a good place to scout just before closing as many will discount their produce in order to sell out.
5. Embrace DIY
As tempting as it may be to buy something ready-made and prepared from the shelf, rather buy the raw ingredients and cook it yourself. This will not only be more Paleo-friendly, but it will save you cash too.
Pre-prepared foods generally cost more and can break the bank. It’s okay if you only give into these easy, cheat’s meals once in a while if you’re pressed for time. Try not to make a habit of it.
6. Use Thrive Market Online
Thrive Market is a great way to save on fresh produce that is perfect for Paleo. Invest in a $5 per month membership fee and you will save a ton on your groceries.
Thrive Market is an online retailer that curates over 2,500 products covering more than 60 categories, of which Paleo is one, along with certified organic, vegan, dairy-free and GMO-free.
The best part about it is that you have access to healthy and non-perishable foods at wholesale prices (that’s between 25 and 50% off regular retail prices). Plus, they deliver to your door. It is well worth the $5 membership fee at the end of the month. If you're interested in a full review of the pros and cons of Thrive Market, we created an extensive review here.