One of the biggest factors in working our way into a paleo lifestyle and doing Whole30 was that so much of the food was outside of our price range for weekly meals. So we knew we would be starting to eat Paleo without a lot of wiggle room to spend for more. This meant finding a way to complete Whole30 on a budget.
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Preparing to start Whole30 on a Budget
Follow the Whole30 Shopping Protocol
This means buying meat first, then veggies, then fruits, then fats. You are prooritizing your money to give you the best return on investment for eating well.
Don’t start Paleo or Whole30 cold Turkey… ease into eating better so it’s also easier on your wallet.
For 8 weeks prior, start adding staples to your pantry. That means that for say $20/week extra, you can add a lot of great items to your cupboard. In fact, $160 can go a long way to getting all the shelf stable things you need to make a successful Whole30 challenge! Because then when your month comes, you can focus predominantly on meat, veggies, and fruit.
So you’re buying mainly fresh items; and then it becomes habit to focus on fresh!
Utilize Amazon, Costco, Aldi, and other money savers!
Especially if you have Amazon prime, you can order something cheap and easy and it will be at your door in no time. Furthermore, you can utilize their Amazon Pantry service to find great deals on Whole30 approved items.
Aldi is also great because recently they started making their food selections much more friendly to better eating. In fact, Business Insiderdeclared Aldi’s changes could give Whole Foods a run for their money. I have been able to find a great selection of organic produce for a fraction of the cost there!
And don’t forget to buy in bulk. Whether you’re freezing meat, getting huge bottles of avacado oil, or getting lots of eggs, places like Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s club can really help with your monthly food budget.
Set aside $1 per day in your 8 week lead-in.
This means you can have $60 before you start whole30 to eat out. In fact, buy gift cards to whole30 approved places before you start so you’re not tempted to use the money elsewhere. You can use the whole30 dining guide to help you determine which places fit the bill.
This money can be used as a 1-time whole-family meal out, or split it up into say 2 or 3 lunches during your month.
It sounds so simple and it is! There is an abundance of food that is growing now versus having to try to ship in foods that don’t grow here this time of year. So not only does it mean that it’s cheaper, it’s also usually freshing and more nutrient rich. In fact, Whole30 offers great seasonal buying guide.
Don’t sweat getting the best cuts of meat, purest oils, or most organic produce.
The goal is eliminating sugar and all the junk from your diet. So if you can’t afford the cage-free, free-range, organic eggs in multi-color, then don’t buy them. You need to take a step. A baby step. And in doing so, you can get better as you go along if you wish, learning to reallocate money where it needs to be moved.
Until then, just buy the meat, the veggies, and oh so tasty fruits you can afford.
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!