Buy local, seasonal produce
There’s a simple reason why a local tomato in July costs less than a flown-in-from-Chile tomato in January—airfare. When we buy fruits and vegetables grown near where we live (which is only possible when they’re in season), it costs less because the produce doesn’t have to travel as far. Plus, it’s fresher, more nutrient-dense, and better tasting—and we get to support our local economy and leave a smaller carbon footprint at the same time. It’s a win-win-win-win-win.
Consider a cow or pig share
If you have a decent amount of freezer space, consider going in on a pasture-raised cow or pig with a few friends. It takes a little bit of research and planning, but if you put in the work, you’ll be rewarded by a steady supply of high-quality meat for as little as $3 per pound. This is one of the absolute best ways to reduce your overall food costs. (Check out this Go Paleo ebook for more info on sourcing and purchasing meat in bulk.)
Speaking of meat, embrace cheaper cuts
This may be the easiest way to go Paleo on a budget. Forget about boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Instead, go for bone-in chicken thighs, or what’s sometimes called the “whole leg.” It’s incredibly cheap (usually around $2 per pound), and unlike its boneless, skinless brethren, it’s loaded with flavor and just enough fat to keep it moist.
If it’s steak you crave, go for top sirloin. This cut of beef is a great pick for making steak at home. Since a one-pound steak can easily be split between two people, it’s a pretty sweet deal. Top sirloin is fabulously tender, and it needs little more than some liberal seasoning with salt and pepper, a quick sear, and then a little visit to a 375°F oven to finish cooking to your desired doneness. Or throw a seasoned steak on the grill for 4–5 minutes per side (for medium-rare doneness), and top it with a touch of garlic-herb butter (just mix softened butter with finely chopped garlic and fresh herbs of your choice). Best of all, it runs for around $6 per pound.
And if you haven’t done so yet, become friends with your market’s meat grinder. Even when you buy the highest possible quality of pasture-raised, organic ground meat (ground beef, pork, and lamb tend to be the tastiest), you’re still rarely apt to spend more than $6 per pound. Stir together the ground meat of your choice, chopped garlic and onions, an egg, and fresh herbs to make tasty meatballs or burger patties for just a few bucks per person. Try making a big kale salad and top it with freshly cooked meatballs. Not only is it high in protein and low in carbs, but the leftovers reheat like a dream.
Learn to love the bulk section
Your grocery store bulk section is great for when you need a lot of something (no packaging means the product you take home is much cheaper), or a little (why buy a twenty-four-ounce package of walnuts when you only need a quarter cup?). Buying in bulk means you can buy the amount you need for the lowest price possible. It’s worth the annoying twelve-seconds it takes to wrap a twist-tie around a plastic bag and write the product code on it. Invest in a 12-pack of cheap jumbo-size mason jars to store things like nuts, dried berries, and shredded coconut from the bulk section. The seal on the jars keeps food fresh, so it lasts longer.
Build some of your meals around eggs
Sure, meat is king, but once a week (or more, if you’re inclined), try basing a meal around eggs. Though high-quality, pasture-raised eggs can run from $5–$9 per dozen, that’s still a good deal cheaper than a lot of meat. Eggs are a high-quality, inexpensive protein that’s versatile, easy to find, and delicious. By making eggs the star of the plate in simple dishes like frittatas, omelets, and baked eggs in tomato sauce, you’ll find that you can indeed afford nutritious, protein-packed meals that satisfy your palate and keep you full for hours.
Buy ingredients, not products
Sure, almond butter is a wonderful treat. Those kale chips that happen to be totally Paleo-friendly and convenient? An awesome savior when you find yourself needing a snack on the fly. And coconut and almond flours are a great way to indulge in “safe” versions of the baked goods you loved during your pre-Paleo days. But if you’re eating Paleo on a budget, your focus should be on whole ingredients, not processed foods. Stick to fresh vegetables and affordable animal proteins. Not only is this healthier, but it also creates a little extra flexibility in your budget to indulge in your favorite Paleo products now and then.
From: Paleo Magazine