Yo! I'm a college student, older, recently returned to America. Started Paleo about 2 weeks ago. When I say Paleo, I mean I got rid of about 80% of processed food. Within a week I had it down to about 90% plus the occasional mistake.
I'm being lax with it so that I ease into. I know how I work, and this is the best way for me.
Reason I'm here: I'm a college student on a tight budget. Right now I'm sticking to mostly the cheapest vegetables that I can get from the farmer's market and co-op (Lettuce, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, radishes, herbs, etc.) Then I buy about 2 dozen eggs at a time, and about 2 lbs of meat every week, at 4oz. per meal, with the meat being in one or two meals per day. I have about 2 or 3 eggs every day.
Basically, I'm looking for a algorithmic, structured, outline of someone else's paleo diet.
I.E. I buy XY amount of A-Z every 3 days, XZ every week, and ZZ rarely, and these are my staples.
I'm trying to break down the diet to the bare minimum, while still eating good, and get my costs down as low as possible.
I'll be keeping a notebook and will update with information in a week or two.
Note: IF is cool, but I am crossfitting, so I don't like to go more than 16 hours, not more than twice a week.
I am going to suggest rather than trying to establish a constant diet, that you begin to add your most desired staples such as coconut oil/milk, olive oil etc. and shop for the other "fresh" foods such as veg and meat by price/lb and by "specials". That is how I shop. I basically purchase whatever meat and veg are the best price. I do have my preferences but I am also not very fussy so if somthing is expensive one week I just substitute.
Some weeks I eat mostly pork, if I see salmon (canned) on sale I will purchase it even though I may not eat it that week. If some cuts of beef are on sale I may purchase/freeze them. If you set your self a reasonable weekly budget with a 1 x/mth "stock up" of certain (dry goods-oils etc)items you should be able to keep your costs down.
I always try to shop ahead with staples or things that can be frozen on the other hand if you have something planned and the grocer has a great alternative sale..go for it. If you do eat fermented dairy often one or the other of an item-cheese/yogurt will be on sale.If avocadoes are 4/5.00 I will buy them. If they are 1.99 each I will not. If you give up or cut down a lot of fruit (which is not necessary) your dollar will go further.
Approach shopping as if you are out in the wild foraging and rather than with a spear and a basket you have a xdollars to hunt with.
Don't discount frozen vegetables. Spinach, for instance, is dirt cheap frozen, even the organic stuff, and you get much bigger bang for your buck considering how much it cooks down.
Organ meats are usually much cheaper than regular meats, and some of them taste similar. I buy livers and chicken hearts a lot. The hearts taste almost exactly the same as regular muscle meat. It is a muscle after all :) As for livers... well I used to hate them, esp. the texture, but I heard them being called "paleo superfood" so I grind them a little, add few eggs, lots of garlic, pepper etc. and fry all of it. It's not only edible for me - it tastes great. The result looks a lot like the spaghetti meat sauce. Add some sautéed onions and that's a dinner for me.
Eggs, fruit, and greens for breakfast (frozen spinach and kale are cheap and saute up well). I go through 2 bags of frozen greens a week and 14 eggs, but you might need more. I usually keep good bacon on hand and I throw in a slice every few days.
Lunch is leftover dinner except a few times a week I'll do a can of sardines or salmon with raw veggies and/or pickled veg (anything I can find w/o sugar), mustard, olives, and cheese (if you do dairy). Canned or jarred fish on a simple salad is great, too.
For dinners: if it's just you, this might work each week: Roast several whole chicken legs (to make 2 dinners and 1-2 lunches), make 2 grass-fed burgers (1 dinner, 1 lunch), Pork shoulder (you could braise a pork shoulder once a month and it would make for 1 dinner and one lunch a week for the whole month!), Lamb in whatever form you like (rack, burgers, kebabs - just cook enough for 1 dinner and 1 lunch), Mussels!!! They make a great dinner and take only 15-20 minutes start to finish. Last dinner: grilled or roasted fish - whatever you like/looks fresh.
For sides: I do 1/2 a plate of veg (whatever veg you can get for cheap) plus a safe starch (spaghetti squash, baked sweet potato, plantains cooked in coconut oil, roasted beets & carrots, I do rice sometimes, too :0
You might think about signing up for a CSA at your farmer's mkt. and you would just get a big ole box of what's seasonal veg/fruit wise. Assuming you're in the N. hemisphere, the timing couldn't be better.
There are many recipes that would work for this plan on my blog, but some of them are a bit labor-intensive. Not sure I can mention it here, but should be link-able from my profile.
My staples are minimal (ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, pickled veg, canned fish, mustard, frozen greens and broccoli, some nuts and cheese for snacks, sea snax brand seaweed :)
rice is a grain. not really paleo choice there. sweet potatoes can be great, but many paleo followers stay away from white potatoes on a regular basis.
i'd say eggs are the way to go, for sure, to cut costs, and green smoothies. i usually justify my slightly higher grocery bill by accounting for all the eating out we no longer do. if you are already not partaking in the occasional meal out or stopping for a coffee regularly then trade can be harder to see.
best wishes! ~L
Asian markets will be your best friend. Sweet potatoes. Depending on where you go to school, making friends with butchers and farmers will also be beneficial.
Other ideas -- cheap healthy sources of meat -- ALDI has wild caught fish for very affordable prices and no GMO's.
Every week - I buy 20 eggs and 200g of thinly sliced bacon (smoked and cured only with salt) for my breakfasts - alternate different types of meat, fish and organ and bones depending on what's available and cheap, - enough for 12 meals - a cauliflower or other non leafy green vege, and a couple of leafy green veges. Also either some strawberries or 6 apples and one can of coconut cream.
Every three days or rather if and when I think food is running out I'll buy more of whatever's running out. - I walk past a supermarket everyday - between my car and the office so it's not a hassle.
Every time I run out - I buy extra virgin olive and coconut oil, and ghee. I have almost a tablespoon of each everyday.
I buy these rarely - herbs dried or fresh, sea salt, butter, and a very occasional splurge on duck fat which I can eat off a spoon with delight.
I tend to batch cook on Sundays - I work crazy hours, so I have portions in containers ready to go. I may eat out once a week - and I have a half a day of non paleo foods once a week - which is either out with friends or on grocery shopping day. I typically skip about 2 meals a week because of the crazy hours.
Hope that answers your question!
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