One of the biggest misconceptions about the Paleo diet is that it is expensive and almost impossible to follow on a reasonable budget. While it is no secret that the junk and processed foods are cheaper than the natural stuff, and the healthier the item gets, the more expensive the price tag reads, claiming the Paleo diet to be financially unrealistic is far from the truth. There are definitely ways to dramatically cut your costs to ensure that living a healthy lifestyle is also within your budget! After all, the modern diet shouldn’t be able to put a price on your health.
Budget Friendly Red Meats
When it comes to red meats, there are two recommendations that you should definitely follow. The first one is to take advantage of expiration dates. Grocery stores will slash their meat prices significantly if they are coming close to expiration. You can cook it up that night or freeze it for future use! You also have the option of purchasing ground meat. It’s one of the cheapest options and can be found at every grocery store. More importantly, it is extremely versatile and can be used in a vast amount of recipes. The taste is much more complex than the actual price!
Purchase Whole Chickens
In reality, it is best to purchase the entire animal but of course, not many of us have room to store massive amounts of cow meat in our home. However, chickens are one animal that you should absolutely be purchasing as a whole. Not only can you use all parts of the animal, but you will be getting much more food for a much smaller price. You can roast a chicken and enjoy the meat for several days, and then use the carcass to brew up a delicious, home-made broth! Then, you have soup that you can enjoy for days, or you can freeze it and enjoy at a later time.
Purchase Meat on the Bone
Another option for purchasing affordable meats is to purchase it on the bone. Anything boneless often comes with a spike in the price, and for obvious reasons. Someone has taken the time to actual remove the bone, so the price has to accommodate covering that labour. If you purchase meats “bone in”, then you can enjoy a lower price and can use the bones for broths to make delicious soups. The biggest concern that people have with purchasing meat on the bone is that they fear the ‘weight’ on the label gives them more bone and not enough meat to eat. However, it all depends on the actual dish that you’re making. As mentioned, you can easily eat the meat and turn the bones into a broth, but as a rule of thumb, check out the packaging and see if there is too much bone for you. If not, select a different one. Or you can just judge when buying your meat whether there is too much bone in the package or not.
Frozen not Fresh
While it isn’t the healthiest of options, purchasing your vegetables frozen instead of fresh is an affordable alternative. Now, it is absolutely vital that you make sure that the veggies have simply been frozen and not processed and combined with toxins to preserve them. As long as this is the case, frozen vegetables can be fairly good for you as they are generally frozen right after they are picked. So, the nutrients remain in the actual produce. One of the best benefits that come along with frozen fruits is that they are easy to make and can be incorporated into a wide variety of meals. They also store for long periods!
Buy In Season
Always focus on the fruits and vegetables that are in season. If you’re living in the Northern States and the strawberries are coming from California instead of from a local farm, you are going to be paying much more to compensate for the travel, and the produce is probably packed with preservatives to ensure that they withstand the travel time. Local is always better, but if all else fails, buy in season. This is when fruits and vegetables are cheapest. It makes sense as well! There is more of that actual produce, so it isn’t in such a high demand, so you get to enjoy a lower price! In addition, purchasing local can also be the cheapest form of organic that you will find!
Grow a Green Thumb
If you really want to live a healthy lifestyle on a budget, it is time for you to take up gardening! Growing your own fruits and vegetables ensure that you get the freshest of items and the satisfaction of knowing that you grew them right in your own garden. You also don’t need to be an expert to grow some of the best! Tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and herb gardens are extremely easy to maintain – even if you were born with a brown thumb.
Buy in Bulk
While you may be putting out more money initially, purchasing in bulk actually saves you money in the long run – as long as you are using all of the items. If you’re purchasing large quantities of berries but half of them are going to waste, there really is no point. Typically, the bigger the amount, the cheaper the price and your freezer may become your new best friend!
Be Frugally Late
Forget about being fashionably late, and be frugally late. Show up to farmer’s markets approximately half an hour before they close and you are bound to find some discounted prices. As a bonus, you can reap the benefits of local produce and meats!
The next time someone tries to tell you that the Paleo diet is expensive, you can inform them that you’re actually saving more money than you were in the first place.