Paleo on a budget. It can be done. despite what you may have heard, following the Paleo diet and lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive. Over three and a bit years we have gathered together our top tips and hacks for spending less and enjoying more.
Being Paleo isn’t easy – and one of the things we always get levelled with is ‘but I can’t afford to eat Paleo’. It’s a fair point – with all the grass fed beef and organic vegetables, not to mention nuts, and the occasional Paleo snack, the shopping bills can add up. Which is why, with the help of our Paleo & Co community we have put together this list of Paleo tips and hacks to help you commit to Paleo on a budget.
Our aim at paleo & Co is to help grow the Paleo movement in the UK – we can’t do that if Paleo is seen as elitist way of life. Paleo is amazing and has transformed our family’s health issues, helped us feel more energetic, stronger and happier – we want to help others feel the same. So please forward these Paleo on a budget tips on to friends and family who would benefit and let’s grow Paleo!
Paleo on a budget tip 1: Save money on meat
Buying grass fed, organic meat is the goal (see more on why grass fed meat is good for you here), but if you can’t do that don’t stress. Just buy the best you can and go from there. Making friends with your local butcher is a great idea. Ask questions about the farms the meat comes from, and how it’s fed and if they are happy to answer, then go for it. Be wary of any butchers that get defensive or clam up when you ask questions. Another great tip to save money when Paleo is to think about the cut of meat. Buying cheaper cuts of grass fed meat can work out really economical – try any of the following:
- Beef shin
- Beef cheek
- Mince (pork, lamb, beef and turkey)
- Heart or other offal
- Calves, lamb or chicken liver (if you can’t face liver start by making it into a pâté – you’ll soon learn to love it and the butchers are almost giving it away as it’s no longer a popular choice. It’s also amazingly good for you and one of the most nutrient dense meats you can buy.)
- Beef short ribs (once we asked for them and the butcher said he had just “thrown them away”). Whaaaat??! They’re delicious.
- Chicken wings.
- Lamb shoulder or mutton instead of more expensive lamb joints. Lamb leg steaks often work out good value too.
Paleo on a budget tip 2: Get your veggies as cheap as you can
It’s not the be all and end all if you can’t afford organic vegetables. If you can stretch to some, check out the clean fifteen and dirty dozen lists. These list the cleanest and dirtiest fruits and veggies in terms of pesticides so if you can afford some organic produce the dirty dozen are the ones to go for – and the clean fifteen are pretty safe – just make sure you wash everything thoroughly – even skins which you’re about to peel such as bananas as pesticides can transfer from your hands to the fruit/veg. Other tips for cheaper fruit and veg:
- Ask a local greengrocer to make up a veg box for you – you won’t get choice but you will probably get a good deal.
- Go to a local greengrocer at the end of the day (a tip from our student days when we’d get a bag full of veg for less than a fiver!)
- Try local pick your own farms – make a day of it and get the whole family involved. Find a local one here http://www.pickyourownfarms.org.uk – but always call to check as we can’t know how up to date the information is.
- Grown your own veg – we’ve had success with radishes, tomatoes, courgettes and lettuce, and we are NOT gardeners! Even if you don’t have outdoor space, try growing indoor herbs. Chives and mint are both very easy. Give it a try.
- If you can’t grow your own visit a local allotment and offer to help in exchange for vegetables and fruits.
- Forage – we are not experts in this in any way, but have picked wild berries and wild garlic.
Paleo on a budget tip 3: Make your meals go further
Making meals go as far as they can used to be something everyone did… my grandparents would always have dripping on the counter and use up bones to make stock. It went out of fashion for a while but with the Paleo diet and lifestyle, these things have come full circle.
- A large chicken can make us (family of 4) 3 main meals – day one is a roast, with loads of veggies, day two is either a chicken curry like this one or stew, and by day three when there’s not much meat left we’ll make our version of Mom’s chicken soup – plenty of broth and veggies with small pieces of the final leftover chicken. If we really can’t get any more chicken meat off the bone, we’ll boil up the bones to make broth and use it as a base for vegetable or our favourite roasted squash soup.
- The same goes for any other bones too – we put leftover bones from, say beef short ribs or chicken wings, in the freezer and when there’s a bag full we’ll use them to make broth for either drinking or adding to the base of stews and soups.
- Use up any vegetables at the end of the week and make a big pot of soup that can make lunches for a week (freeze in portions if needed).
- Any veggies that you don’t use up can also be put in a bag in the freezer to make vegetable stock or to add to the pan when you’re making your bone broth.
- Make a version of ‘Paleo pesto’ with any leaves you have which won’t get used up. This can also be frozen in ice cube trays ready to drop into any meals such as cauliflower rice, soups, over meat or fish – however you like your pesto! (We have used spinach, wild garlic, rocket and kale in the past and the kids didn’t seem to notice!)
- Tinned/jarred fish is always a great addition to a salad. It’s cheap and full of nutrients too. Wild alaskan salmon is widely available and the best salmon you can buy. We also love anchovy and blueberry salad. Just leaves, blueberries and anchovies. It was invented on a day when we had no food in the house and it worked!
- Eggs are cheap, filling and full of goodness – our kids love this omelette.
Paleo on a budget tip 4: Preserve – pickle, ferment and freeze
We freeze pretty much anything that would otherwise go to waste. Pesto (use ice cube trays), vegetables, bone broth, berries… anything. We’ve also tried our hand at pickling, and fermenting is on the list to try too. Have you done it, tell us more here or in the comments below – we’d love to feature a how to from someone who’s done it.
Paleo on a budget tip 5: Buy in bulk & keep on the lookout for deals
We buy our olive oil in 3 litre cans, our apple cider vinegar by the gallon and our almonds by the 20kg bag direct from an organic farm in Spain (Airmiles are not as issue as shipping is done via the farmer’s car when they come back to visit friend and relatives in the UK!) And there’s other things you can do too…
- Get FREE shipping. Use the Paleo & Co shop but make sure you order in bulk to make the most of the free shipping offers. (You can find out about delivery costs by clicking the delivery tab on each product, but for example SupeHeraw Paleo bars are ALL FREE shipping, Elements for Life offer free delivery when you spend £60, the Tiger Nut Company offer free delivery on orders over £35 – up to 20kg, Absolutely Pure offer free UK delivery on orders over £65, etc).
- Sign up for our Paleo & Co newsletter to hear about discounts and offers on all things Paleo. (The link is at the bottom of our home page).
- Keep checking out our blogs (coming soon – budget Paleo recipes the whole family will love), and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Do you have any more Paleo on a budget tips to add or have any questions? We’d love to hear. Leave a comment below.