Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Week Ahead: How to save money when eating healthy

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Husband was in Dallas this weekend and completed the Tough Mudder run, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.  It was over 11 miles of running and obstacles, including crawling through mud and getting zapped by electrical wires...crazy!  Thank you to everyone who donated to the cause.

Looking ahead to the upcoming week...I am on call, so I never quite know what the week will hold.  I know, I know, there aren't too many dermatological emergencies, but still...

It's true that our pagers may not go off quite as often as other specialties, but I am hoping I don't act like this when it does:

Anyway, back to the matter at hand:  our weekly meal plan.

Still taking a break from eggs and green smoothies (I have been eating smoothies as my afternoon snack instead) and doing hot plates.  I really recommend Well Fed for tons of ideas on combining veggies and protein into a delicious and filling meal.

Wild salmon salads (from Everyday Paleo)
BLTA (Bacon Lettuce Tomato Avocado) salads.  I will probably make honey mustard dressing to go with this, and maybe some chicken for some extra protein.

--Monday: Grilled brats and braised cabbage (can't get enough of this lately thanks to The Pantry restaurant)
--Tuesday:  Honey ginger apple shredded pork and leftover cabbage
--Wednesday:  Easy shredded beef and some kind of veggie side (for nights when I don't have a side planned, it is wonderful to have some broccoli or cauliflower on hand to roast or just have a side salad)
--Thursday:  FFYS (fend for yourself) night
--Friday:  Date night!
--Saturday: Whole chicken--probably rubbed with some seasonings and slow cooked.   Sweet potato chips and roasted red pepper dip.
--Sunday: Easter brunch casserole and chicken enchilada soup for dinner (from the leftover whole chicken).

The Budget

Eating paleo can be expensive.  We have always spent a lot on groceries because we only eat out once a week, but our grocery bill did go up when we changed our diet.  Most of the increase in cost has come from increased quantity and quality of meats, coconut milk, and almond butter.  We have saved money by not buying any processed foods, bread, and beverages.  We also tend to have less snacks now, so that saves some.  I have actually been surprised that I can get a full cart of fruits and veggies for pretty cheap!

Ways to save money when eating paleo
  1. Eat at home.  Eating out is expensive!!
  2. Drink only water.  I have managed to give up Diet Coke, but I still have to have my coffee in the mornings.  The deal I have made is that I drink free coffee at work during the weekdays.  For those of us with expensive Starbucks habits, giving this up could save a lot of money! Also, avoid buying juices.
  3. Shop around.  I buy some of our produce in bulk at Sam's (sadly, we do not have Costco).  I would shop at Trader Joe's ALL the time if we had one because their prices are phenomenal.
  4. Know when buying organic is not necessary.  The Whole9 put out a list of the "dirty" fruits and veggies here.  The ones I regularly try to buy organic are: spinach and other leafy greens, apples, and berries.  Things with thick peels like bananas, oranges, avocados, and some squash are just fine to buy non-organic.
  5. Concentrate on nutrient-dense foods.  Meats, fruits, and veggies.  I try to think of things like nut butters as luxuries.
  6. Paleo baking is also a luxury.  Those baked goods end up being very pricey.
  7. Shop locally.  We do not have great options for this in Little Rock, but we do have a farmer's market in which we can get fairly good quality produce for competitive prices.  I am also planning to purchase a side of grass-fed beef as soon as we get a deep-freeze.
  8. Nothing goes to waste!  Plan ahead to know exactly what veggies and meats you need.  Any leftovers go in the freezer for later use.
  9. Grow your own herbs.  They are easy to grow and can add so much delicious flavor to meals.  One plant is around $3 versus $2 for a few leaves, depending on the herb.
  10. Eat three square meals.  I used to be a big snacker (and I still have at least one snack a day), but in general, snacks are not as well-balanced and nutritious as our meals.  I used to have to buy specific foods just for snacks.  Also, as a health benefit, there are theories that three meals as opposed to five or six can limit the insulin hanging around in your bloodstream which may lead to fat storage and insulin resistance.
 This list was for the average, already healthy person.  There is also much money to be saved for patients able to come off of acid reflux, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and other medications that often occurs as a "side effect" of eating paleo.

Anyone else have money saving tips to share??



  1. I love cabbage, and it is so cheap!!! We will be having steak, cabbage, and baked cinnamon apple slices for dinner in our home tonight...can't wait to cook!!!

  2. Loved your ideas. Your menu looks delish! I definitely have a hard time buying snacks because for the most part they're empty calories. We belong to a co-op which has transformed the way we eat. It's $15 a week for about $50 worth of produce. We get a different variety of fruits and veggies each week so it pushes us to try new things and our meals are planned around the healthy things we get. We also have plenty of fruits and veggies around to snack on. Do you have any co-ops to join? I love ours!