By Megan McGrane
Eat clean and healthy without breaking the bank.
Eating Paleo sounds pretty simple when you focus your diet on protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. So why do people notice a jump in their grocery bill when adopting a Paleo diet when they’ve eliminated foods like grains, legumes and dairy?
If you’re one who’s experienced a spike in your grocery bill then follow these grocery shopping hacks to keep your bill intact.
Buy In Bulk
When grocery shopping, the most expensive item in your cart is usually protein. This is especially true when trying to purchase grass-fed or pastured meats. The best way to help cut the cost is to buy protein in bulk. Many times markets will sell family packs of beef or chicken that costs less money per pound since you are buying a larger quantity of the product. You can also save quite a bit of money per pound by buying single larger cuts of protein like beef roasts or pork shoulders and cutting it down to size, while freezing the rest. This is especially true when your market has your desired cut of protein on sale for the week.
Another way to buy in bulk is to purchase a portion of meal such as a quarter or half of a cow directly from a farmer. When you do this, you are able to portion out the meat into the different cutsthat you canstore in the freezer. This way you learn how your meat was raised and support local farms.
Stickto in-season and locally grown produce when possibleto help you save money. Produce cost money because of the travel, but if it’s local, there isn’t much travel to pay for, which will cut costs on fruits and vegetables. This will help you keep costs down on all of your fresh fruits and vegetables. For example, buying a fresh papaya in Maine in January may get pricey. However, picking up fresh produce that is in season in your part of the globe, and grown just a few towns awaycan save you big time.
Repurpose Your Protein
Each month, In the United States, nearly 20 pounds of foodper person goes to waste, according to a recent report by the UNEP and World Resources Institute.
Cut down on your waste; find different ways to use the same cuts of protein to help you save money. Try cooking a cut of steak for dinner, and then use the left overs the next day on top ofleafy greens.
You can purchase a whole chicken for roasting and then use the carcass to make a hearty, healthy bone broth after you have taken all of the meat off of the bone.
Consider A Farm Share
Farm share programs and CSA programs (community supported agriculture) are popping up all over. Joining a CSA allows you to invest in a local farm and purchase a share of their crops. Many timesthis involves purchasing food for an entire season and picking up your share weekly. While the initial investment may feel like a lot when you do the math, breaking it down week-by-week will actually save you money.
When joining a farm share, you get just that;your farm has gathered a share of whatever produce for that week. There is no room to pick and choose what you get and what you don’t get. This helps expand your cooking range and palate by introducing you to vegetables you may have never cooked with before and things you may normally not purchase at the grocery store. This allows you to cut your costs drastically by removing steps like transporting the produce and the mark up at the markets that stand between you and your farmer.
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