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© 2015 Shanna Lea
Many people enthusiastic about starting a paleo diet are warned off by sticker shock. Strangely enough, this sticker shock shows up before they even step inside the supermarket! Everyone is used to the idea that the only way to eat cheap is rice, pasta and potato chips. But that’s not true. A healthier lifestyle requires more planning and that includes what you buy at the store, including when and how much. With a little planning, you can enjoy the Paleo diet no matter what your budget is.
Where Should You Shop?
Sometimes where you buy is as important as what you buy. If you live in an urban area, look for ethnic supermarkets. They usually have fresh produce at a lower price and also have more variety.
Look for seasonings and spices to add a variety of flavors to your meals. Be adventurous! People on a standard Western diet are used to heavy amounts of salt and sugar flavorings. Spices and herbal seasonings add flavor, improve the taste of your food and aid in digestion. This will save you money and improve your palate!
Buy in Bulk
Many people are used to shopping daily or several times a week. It’s actually cheaper to buy meat in bulk and freeze it. Find a local rancher, farmer or butcher and ask what kind of deals they have for bulk meat packages. Depending on location, you can also find easy access to local seafood. Supermarkets also sell meat in larger packages. Take them home and split them up in manageable portions for meals and then freeze.
Be flexible with the kinds of cuts you buy. There are manager specials and last minute sales that are heavily discounted and will save you money.
What Should You Buy?
Always buy fruits and vegetables in season, they are less expensive and also better for you. What’s available will vary by location and season. But generally, you should be able to get some of these basics during the following seasons:
Spring: carrots, spinach, strawberries, and turnips
Summer: apples, peaches and watermelons
Fall: cabbage, garlic, and grapes
Winter: celery, potatoes and dark, leafy cooking greens
Try to get dark leafy vegetables whenever possible, because they are loaded with the most nutrients that we are deficient in.
Canned foods like tuna and mackerel provide a lot of protein at a low price. If you want something more substantial, you can save a lot of money if you spend a little time planning and cooking ahead. Use a slow-cooker to cook pork hocks and shoulders that are cheaper cuts of meat. Braising and slow cooking them gives them a great flavor. Whole chickens are also a cheap meat you can buy if you are willing to take a little more time to clean and trim them yourself. Obviously, buying grass-fed or organic meat is best, but if your budget doesn’t allow it, then buying in bulk at the supermarket is better than nothing.
Be sure to stock up on coconut flakes, flour, oil and milk. They are healthy additions and a staple for paleo baking. They are also a source of sweets and will help those cravings.
Finally, stock up on eggs and cottage cheese: these are a great and inexpensive way to get a strong breakfast with plenty of protein, which is important if you are trying to lose weight.
A healthy diet is much less expensive than you think, and when you buy foods that are colorful and rich in nutrients, you will need fewer of them to feel full. Once you drop the packaged foods like chips and ice cream from your shopping list, and do your own cooking from scratch, you’ll notice a drop in your grocery bill.