I officially completed two months on the paleo diet now. Over the last 60 days, I have noticed that I’m losing weight, bulking up easier, getting better sleep, and I have more energy. One other thing that I couldn’t help but notice is that I’m broke right now.
The paleo diet is expensive if you don’t control it right. When you are buying expensive cuts of meat, tons of fruit, and lots of paleo-friendly substitute ingredients you’ll quickly notice that you are racking up a bit of debt. I wasn’t really monitoring what my money situation was until this weekend when my brother flew across the country to visit me. I felt horrible because I had no money to go out and do anything entertaining with him because I spent all of my months this month on things like steaks, almond flour, and coconut aminos.
This March I am dedicating to a budget-friendly paleo diet! That means I’ll be changing up my diet a bit to suit a more affordable lifestyle.
This involves a few different things to get my paleo budget down.
First off, I’m going to sit down ones a week and plan out that week’s meal plans out. I’ll do this on Saturdays and do the shopping on Sundays. I just want to make sure I’m buying the freshest meats possible, so the Sunday shopping and cooking will help. That doesn’t mean that I won’t plan on picking up something like chicken on a Wednesday to cook that night of Thursday.
Part of my meal planning will be going through the sales circulars for the grocery stores around me. It will help me gauge which stores might have the best deals and it will also help me figure out what will be one of the base meats for most of my meals. Meat is one of the most expensive things you’ll be buying every week, so you can base your weekly menu off of what is on sale. If you see pork tenderloin on sale, find a pork tenderloin recipe. Same for brisket, chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, steak…you get the point.
A little tip about coupons…if you aren’t a fan of clipping coupons, most major supermarkets have apps or websites that let you load coupons onto your shopper cards for free. I usually just add everything in case I get something random.
I usually do a bulk cook on Sundays, but I’m going to stick to this more often and with the discounted meats. The major change that I can make now is to do bigger cooks and start to freeze meals. This is something I haven’t done yet. I’ll always just cook up a bunch of food and put it in containers to last me for 3-4 days which is about when the food would start to spoil. If I make a bunch of freezer meals, I’ll be able to add variety to my meals and have a lot more ready-to-go meals.
Eat More Vegetables and Less Fruit
Wow, I never realized how much more expensive fruit is than vegetables. Some fruit like apples are affordable, but the best paleo fruit like berries and avocado are super expensive. The majority of the veggies you see in a supermarket are some of the cheapest foods that you can buy.
I really hate most vegetables, so I’ll just have to figure out some recipes to make them more enjoyable. I’m going to miss my daily raspberries and strawberries though.
I have heard that you can get some great deals on fruits and vegetables at farmers markets, but never really made an attempt to check it out. Luckily I live in Los Angeles where I can find a farmers market pretty much any day of the week around me.
Apparently frozen vegetables are perfectly fine for you and don’t lack any vitamins from the freezing process. Frozen veggies are dirt cheap and won’t spoil, so it will be easy to load up on some and hold onto until I need them.
Eat Out Less
Well this is an obvious one! When I don’t have a meal available, I easily go out and spend $15-$25 on a meal. And that is including lunches at work. That is ridiculous.
Bulk cooking should really help bring the eating out habit down a lot. Usually, I’ll order food because I have nothing to cook or I’m too lazy to whip something up. It will be much better when I can just thaw or microwave a quick meal.
Breakfast for Dinner
I love breakfast! Dinner takes so long to make and is so expensive. Bacon and eggs are only a couple of bucks so that is one cheap dinner when you compare it to steak and a few sides for $15 a meal.
Goal for March
I plan on spending less that $300 on food for the entire month. Sounds impossible when you figure it is $10 a day for food, but I’m going to see what I can do.
I did my first shop today because I’m low on food at my apartment. It wasn’t the big Saturday shop yet, but I picked up some food for tonight and some eggs for the next few days. Total spent today was $12.87. Dinner was a huge batch of my paleo fried cauliflower rice that I think I will get two more meals out of. I decided to make that because I loved it the first time around and also because I’ve had a head of cauliflower sitting in my fridge waiting to be used.
I did my first major grocery shopping on Sunday, a day later then I had planned. I ended up spending Saturday poolside drinking some wine and enjoying the beautiful Los Angeles weather. I found a great sale on ground beef so decided to base my week’s meal off of meatloaf. My whole grocery bill was $56.92. That got me my bulk cook ingredients, breakfast foods, and some other staples to the diet. 2 weeks in and I’m at $69.79.
Very small update. I ran out of bacon! I cannot survive without my delicious thick-cut bacon from Bristol Farms! Another $11.47…had to get the strawberries tool Now I’m at $81.26 for the month.
I figure nobody cares about each purchase I made, so I’m just listing each purchase I made now:
March 14 – Bristol Farms – $16.48
March 14 – Trader Joe’s – $13.40
March 16 – Trader Joe’s – $20.76
March 17 – Bristol Farms – $10.55
March 19 – Trader Joe’s – $12.66
March 19 – Trader Joe’s – $15.58
March 21 – Kung Pao Bistro – $13.36
Total for March so far – $184.05