When I transitioned to the paleo lifestyle (because it’s not a diet but a way of life), I was just trying lose my little wine and beer pooch. I was overwhelmed with excitement when after a month of following the paleo eating routine (which included no drinking), I exceeded my goal and lost an astonishing 15 pounds in four weeks! While people tend to initially think that healthy means expensive (Thanks a lot, Whole Foods a.k.a. Whole Paycheck), paleo was actually cheaper than my former inconsistent, sometimes extremely unhealthy eating habits. Before I outline the basics on how to live paleo on a budget, let me explain what pale is exactly.
“The paleolithic diet, also known as the paleo diet or caveman diet, is a diet based on the food humans’ ancient ancestors might likely have eaten, such as meat, nuts and berries.”
In laymen’s terms, just cut out all dairy, starches and grains, and indulge in meat, veggies, fruit and healthy fats (see chart above).
Paleo: The Inexpensive Way
- Simple is best – Do yourself a favor and don’t overcomplicate your meals. Simply choose a protein, your favorite vegetable(s), a sprinkle of spices and cook it in a healthy fat. For dessert, treat yourself to a fruit medley of strawberries and blueberries
- Frozen is just as good as fresh – If you don’t eat fresh fruit and vegetables fast enough, they can rotten and end up being a money waster; to avoid throwing money out the window, opt for frozen selections as an alternative
- Look for sales on meat and stock up – If you buy meat that is marked down and do not plan to use it that day, freeze it immediately. It will last for months in the freezer
- Invest in and use a Crock Pot – Google paleo slow cooker recipes and create delectable “one-pot meals” that will save both time and money
- Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep – Remove the option of you going out to eat by having your refrigerator stocked with pre-made and pre-portioned meals that you can just heat and eat
- If you’re weary about diving in all the way, try switching to 80 or 50 percent paleo instead. Something is a whole lot better than nothing. Give it a trial run and see what happens; if you find it to be easier and less expensive than you initially thought, increase your commitment percentage as you feel comfortable
- Give yourself a cheat meal because you deserve it! Treat your taste buds with your favorite pizza; celebrate your commitment with a big helping of macaroni and cheese with a side of fried chicken; indulge in that appetizer chips and queso you’ve avoided all week. Just remember, it’s a cheat MEAL not a cheat DAY – you don’t want to completely undue all the work you’ve put in.
For a more in depth explanation of what the life paleo lifestyle is all about, check out this paleo lifestyle website! If you’re ready to jump in but are interested in particular dishes, check out this paleo recipe site!