I have been Paleo for 6 months, never eating gluten, but now my family and I are in a bind. For 2 months I have only a $50/week budget for all food, and there are 6 of us. The rest of my family refuses to give up bread, so I will break into our emergency food storage for pasta for them. I also have some home grown vegetables so it's mostly protein I need to get. We do not eat pork, but other than that I will try anything.
Unfortunately, I have added rice, beans, potatoes and corn to our diet this month because otherwise I couldn't have fed everyone with what we had. I would like to stop that and go back to a full paleo diet.
I spend a lot of time preparing for shopping, going online to find the best sales. Grass-fed or natural beef or is not feasible on this budget. Also, we don't know any hunters. Do you have any suggestions for how to stretch my budget and stay paleo until our financial situation gets back to normal? Thank you!
thats not very much money. think outside of the food buying economy.
*do you have a yard, or any outdoor space? its fairly easy to grow some food in a pretty small space without a lot of skill. a friend of mine in a studio apartment in boston grew about a hundred pounds of tomatoes one winter in a "topsy turvy". there might be a community garden in your area that you could access, or even lease land from a friend with more space nearby- offer a percentage of your bounty in exchange for gardening a 12'X12' spot, for example.
*do you have anything that someone might want? i recently bartered the stroller and infant car seats along with some baby clothes, for a bunch of pastured pork, pastured beef and wild venison. a hunter/farmer friend of mine in vermont was having a baby. i also make skincare stuff and trade that for eggs.
*if you do qualify for some temporary assistance, i would take advantage of it. its just for the short term. there are a lot of food banks and coops and churches who would be happy to help your family out. if youre children are very young, maybe you qualify for WIC.
*are you near any farmers markets? if you go to the market at the end of the day, you can get much better deals on any produce thats leftover.
*some of the farms near me do work-for-share. if you have the time, it might be a great way to get some healthy produce in exchange for some exercise and time in the sun.
Definitely start splitting up your shopping trips! Like Karen mentioned, get the cheap stuff where it's cheapest: canned tuna 10 for $1 at Save A Lots or Dollar stores. Get your meats on sale (Buy one/get one)--may have to hit up several stores to take advantage of their sales. Produce I would never buy from a grocery store, farmer's markets all the way. Asian veggies are dirt cheap and Mexican stands sell more traditional produce for super cheap. Buy large melons instead of individual fruits like peaches or apples (unless you get a good deal on a large bag of them). You can cut it up into slices/cubes at home (and even freeze it, would taste good on a hot day!).
I can go to the fleamarket on the weekends and buy a week's worth of produce for less than $10. Carrots, potatoes, onions, greens, squash, oranges, bananas, etc. I have to bring a canvas tote bag to fit it all, and my shoulder is hurting by the time I get back to the truck!
Chicken quarters are always cheap and may even be cheaper if you buy them in large packs. If there's a Sweetbay near you, they have a 10lb bag of them on sale for $5.99. Sausage (not links or brats, but the loose stuff) goes a long way and can be used for either breakfast or dinner. Make a giant egg & sausage veggie scramble for breakfast, it could feed you guys for a couple of days!
Buy eggs in flats (4 doz.) instead of individual dozen packs.
Ignacio mentioned making stew, which is an awesome idea. Stew meat is fairly inexpensive, and when dumped into a crock pot full of potatoes, carrots, onions & celery, goes a loooooong way! I make stew in a crock pot and I can't even finish eating it all before it starts to go bad. The dog wound up getting the leftovers this last time. She was a happy girl! Plus there's lots of fat that melts into the rich broth, and if possible I would save some of that broth and freeze it as a soup base for another meal.
The most important thing is not to buy too many lean meats, because that will make it more difficult to keep everyone's bellies satisfied. Plus, the fattiest cuts are often the least expensive!
like someone said earlier, potatoes and rice are a great way to stretch your money. my grocery bill dropped by $15/week when i started including potatoes daily in my meals. also, you should talk to the butcher at your grocer and if you're not too proud, let him know your situation and ask him the general schedule of when the meat goes on "special". i know that ground beef can get to 1.49/lb or lower. you can do ALOT if you are able to pick up 10lbs or so of that a week. $15 would have the majority of your meat covered. also you can get the bones and scraps for dirt cheap or even free. Those with some of those aforementioned potatoes and various other vegetables can feed a family of six for a day for $5 or so with a delicious stew. properly prepared beans with neckbones can be useful with this also. there are tons of "poor people" recipes out there that have five star taste. i would start perusing "soul food" recipes because that's what they were originally. one other thing that needs to get mentioned is cooking oils. walmart sells the dirt cheap louana brand of coconut oil. if you can't get to that, see if you can find some reasonably priced pastured butter. if that is also out of the question, talk to your butcher about lard and explore the joys of fatback in your stews, and vegetables. also keep that tin on your stove for bacon grease. speaking of bacon grease, you may want to eat liver- which is dirt cheap- once a week just to make sure you're covering your nutritional bases.
we're in hard economic times, unfortunately, and i really do feel for your situation. i think it's fair to say that in this situation we're aiming for good, satiating and nutritious and throwing optimal to the side for the time being. it goes without saying that the meat you will be eating will be CAFO and the vegetables conventional. that's ok because as long as you're still eating whole foods and not consuming industrial seed oils, gluten grains and excess fructose, you're going to stay relatively healthy during this ordeal. best of luck to you.
Dont forget about offal too. I know that its not all that palatable, but you can hide it in ground meat fairly easily. See if your butcher has livers, hearts, brains, sweetbreads, etc. Often they will give that stuff away or its ridiculously cheap. Grind or food processor that and mix it into ground beef. Not only will you not even notice it, but it will make your ground beef even more healthy. Take that, an onion, a can of tomatoes, and some spices and make chili!
Are you qualified for food stamps? If you are a tax payer there is no shame in using them. You paid for them. Better than eating a bunch of cheap garbage food and destroying your health.
Tinned sardines and tuna are fairly low cost, as well as eggs as others have noted.
Also, buying some of the cheaper cuts of meat (beef shank, short ribs, ground beef) might work for you as well.
The occasional famine is paleo, and the response then, as now, was to eat suboptimal food until you can get something better.
Others have mentioned rice, potatoes, eggs, ground chuck and organ meats. I'll add my voice to theirs.
Also, BROTH. It's relatively cheap pre-made (just check the ingredients first) or you can make your own out of the remains of a chicken. Mixed with leftover beef fat and served with rice, a little broth goes a long way.
Hope things work out for you soon.
I eat hamburgers a lot (no bun, obviously) - you can get a pack of hamburger - even ground chuck like I eat - pretty inexpensively. That could be lunch for a week if you prepat them out and freeze them and cook as needed. I actually spend about $60 a week every other week for my family's groceries. I try to cook things that I can eat as leftovers the next day for lunch. Tomorrow night I am making honey-glazed chicken wings with a veggie. I will make pasta to go with for my family. Then I will eat the leftovers for lunch on Monday. I do eat out at lunch time a couple of times a week when I run out of time or when I make my family an easy non-Paleo dinner the night before. Also, I'm not sure why you are in such a pinch financially, but I would look for local food pantry options. They are made for situations just like yours and you don't need to feel bad for getting a little help to get you through a bind. Also check out http://www.angelfoodministries.com/ - their food is pretty inexpensive. It is not "perfect" to feed your family regular food especially when you believe in the Paleo lifestyle, but it is okay to do if you are in a pinch financially.
Potatoes are paleo and extremely cheap, I don't see any reason to stop including those. Rice is also extremely cheap and fairly benign.
As far as protien goes egg and organic dairy(if you tolerate that) are the cheapest and best option. Look out for deals in the newspaper at local shops or ask your local farmer for bulk discounts for meat.
Stew prepared with some inexpensive meat cuts plus squash, carrots, potatoes, etc is very nutritious and inexpensive. Eggs are also inexpensive and you can combine them with either potatoes or white rice. Depending on where you live, fresh vegetables might be affordable too. As long as you stay clear of wheat and flour, seed oils, sugar and most industrial foods, you should be fine!