Let’s be honest for a moment: high-quality, nutritious food can be pretty expensive. Between food manufacturers flooding the market with their Frankenstein food abominations and the inflated premiums places on healthy alternatives, it can seem like a near-impossible task to maintain a diet of clean, wholesome foods.
So you’re probably left asking yourself – can I afford to eat Paleo?
The answer: absolutely!
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Have you got the initiative to improve your eating habits and health? Then you’ve almost certainly got it in you to find the best possible deals on food and stay Paleo-adherent, even on a budget.
You’ve made the decision to fix your eating habits but it’s now time to get your priorities straight.
If you’re ready to go Paleo on a budget, you will definitely have to make a few compromises. This could mean skimping on some luxury items, or it could mean broadening your standards to include things like clipping coupons and buying non-organic items
There are many ways in which you can make Paleo-style eating more cost-effective for you and your family, and here are some tips to help you get started:
This is a fairly obvious point which many families overlook. If you receive a circular in the mail from your local supermarkets, be sure to look out for any special offers on meat, fruits, and vegetables.
When you’re in the supermarket, be sure to also check for clearance items which are just past their sell-by date. This can be great way of getting fresh produce you might not ordinarily find affordable.
Buy in Bulk
Following on from keeping your eyes peeled for bargains, cooking in large batches is the perfect way to take advantage of heavily discounted items. Try cooking soups, stews, and roasts in large quantities and then freezing them for future use over the week or month.
You can also freeze individually portioned meals which can be thawed as and when you need them – just pull one out of the freezer the night before and voila, you’ve got your lunch sorted out for the following day!
Plan Your Meals
Writing a daily or weekly diet plan can be a great way of staying within your budget and ensuring that you adhere to your diet more easily. Having a pre-written plan laid out in front of you makes it a heck of a lot more difficult to justify deviating from your diet when you’re craving a Big Mac and fries!
Meal planning is also an effective way of managing the amount of food you stock in your kitchen, ensuring you don’t run out mid-week and also ensuring you don’t overbuy and end up having to throw a bunch of spoiled food in the trash.
Paleo means eating fresh, natural foods, so they won’t be laden with preservatives and will spoil much quicker – remember this to minimize wastage.
Only Buy Organic When Necessary
Organic foods are obviously more expensive than their more conventionally-produced counterparts, so if you can’t afford to opt for organic, this is no reason to forego that food altogether.
If it is a fruit or vegetable in question, just be sure to clean it thoroughly before eating it, and remember that some foods don’t even need to be bought organic.
It isn’t necessary to buy organic versions of fruits and vegetables which have a removable outer skin, although this can apply to others as well:
- Onions, garlic, and shallots;
- Citrus fruits;
- Eggplant; and
- Tropical fruits such as mangoes, kiwi, and pineapples
Paleo Creates Savings
This is not so much a tip as a reminder: you’re going to be spending a lot less of your money on processed junk foods, ready-made meal “kits,” fast food, and restaurants. This means you’ll have some of your food budget freed up for Paleo-friendly items. Of course we must be realistic here and understand that healthy food can still be more expensive than junk food, but you are replacing a lot of that junk rather than simply adding to it.
Let’s also remember that improving your nutrition is going to vastly improve your health in the long term, so you’ll be spending a lot less on cold and flu remedies, cough medicine, antibiotics, and sick days.
Plus, you can find a lot of healthy wild foods in your own backyard, which saves you money.
If you’ve assessed your financial situation and have come to the conclusion that you can’t afford to eat an entirely Paleo diet, it isn’t the end of the world. More importantly, it certainly doesn’t mean you have to resort back to a diet of garbage! Evaluate your circumstances each time you make a trip to the supermarket. Keep your eyes open and you’ll definitely be able to fill in a lot of the nutritional gaps left by cheaper food options.
Still not financially prepared to go fully Paleo? You can still take advantage of any bargains to eat as healthy as you can.
Put in a little extra time and effort when buying and preparing your meals, and you can easily maintain a Paleo-friendly diet. Who knows, you might find yourself with a few extra bucks to spare!
(Read This Next: 10 Tips to Successfully Eating Healthy on a Budget)