Posts Tagged ‘ Grocery Shopping ’

Plan, Plan, Plan…Did I mention, Plan?

If you don’t plan, your planning to fail …

Harsh, I know. I wish I could tell you that this was just some tough love, some kind of psychology intended to piss you off enough to prove me wrong, but it’s true people. If you do not plan you will not succeed. Paleo is hard. No, after the first week of withdrawals and the second week of cravings it is not hard to stick to. What is difficult about this lifestyle change stems from the universe’s inability to understand and therefore aid in your success.

The first time around doing the challenge this was the very first and most important thing that I learned. If your meals aren’t planned out, if you don’t have a contingency plan you will struggle. Paleo is hard to stick to after a 12 hour work day, getting kids to bed, walking the dog, whatever. When you are driving home you start to think about what you can grab for dinner and a flash hits your brain, you have nothing in the fridge but a cucumber and some grape seed oil. Panic ensues. You’re starving, the grocery store is 5 miles in the other direction and it is 10 pm at night. We tend to struggle because in times like these there is no easy fix, no fast food restaurant that you can order something and after some alterations still get a good paleo meal.

You must plan. Spend Sunday planning your meals and making them. If you prepare your food on Sunday then you have nothing to worry in the week when work keeps you late because “Dinner’s Already Ready!” Rejoice! No frantic nights of chomping on a cucumber, no skimping or skipping meals because there is nothing ready. Plan for success and you will find sticking to this lifestyle change is a breeze.

Ok, on to a quick and easy idea. One very frequent and easy meal I like to make for us is Stuffed Peppers! Unfortunately a lot of times beautiful bell peppers (like the red, orange, and yellow ones) are really expensive and I always need at least 4 because my fiance can eat a substantial amount of food. Plus, if you want to have some leftovers for lunch the next day, it’s always good to make a few extras (plan ahead). So luckily for me when I went to the grocery store this week the good peppers were on sale! Hooray! So I stocked up and made them for dinner.

Stuffed Peppers (makes about 4 peppers)

4 bell peppers

1 pound meat (I use ground turkey,    but lean grass-fed beef will work too)

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

Black Pepper to taste.

*NOTE- I have cooked this two ways, one browning the meat first and the second stuffing it raw and letting it cook in the pepper. Both ways are good and acceptable but produce two different results. Try both for yourself, my fiance likes when I stuff the meat in the peppers raw and let it cook in the oven that way the turkey cooks together. If you brown it first and cut into the cooked pepper the meat is usually in crumbles making it harder to eat. But it is up to you! Let me know which way you like better!

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut a circle around the stem of the pepper and pull out the core w/ seeds. Rinse each one with water to make sure all seeds are out.

Place the peppers into a baking dish

Mix all spices into the meat with your hands and make sure it is good and mixed.

If you want, brown the meat in a skillet and when it is finished put on a plate of paper towels and absorb the extra grease.

Take meat mixture (whether cooked or not) and stuff each pepper.

Place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes and enjoy!

I serve these with a little salsa verde and they are delish! Enjoy!

5 Tips for Eating Paleo on a Budget

So one of my biggest problems/aversions to Paleo is the significant cost increase in all of my food. Before Paleo I could go to the grocery store and for just me, spend around $50 and get a great week’s worth of meals. When I first began this I was shocked at the money I was spending at the store, every week, not including the small trips to the store to pick up extras for dinner here and there. I couldn’t believe that eating healthy, although great for your body was so bad for your bank account, and I don’t even buy all of my food at the local Whole Foods! I couldn’t imagine how bad that would be for my budget, especially when things such as avocados are about $3 a piece! NO thank you. 

 I know there are a ton of Paleo-ers out there who buy gobs of grass-fed beef, snack only on organic fruits and veggies, and I applaud you. That is great. However, my budget and lifestyle does not allow me such luxuries. So, as clean and as “organic” as I can get it has to fit into a tight budget. And although I am not an expert on saving money or paleo for that matter, I thought I would give a few tips that have helped me during this challenge.

1. Buy veggies and fruits in season. This is the first and most important tip. As you all know fruits and veggies make up about 70% of our diet which means it makes up about 70% of the money we spend. So a good way to stay eating great fruits and veggies is to eat what is in season. When I began this a few months ago apples were in full bloom meaning that I could buy a pound of apples at times for about a $1.00. I would stock up on apples and forgo something like strawberries which looked delicious but would have costed me about $3.50 for a small carton (think about 15 strawberries). Those strawberries would have been gone in a day but for $2 I could have apples all week. Buying fruit in season can also be a bit boring. I am sure after about three weeks of apples I was done, but it is a great excuse to get creative! Instead of just slicing up an apple, I would dice it and put it in salads, or slice long thin strips and bake them for some delicious apple chips sprinkled with cinnamon. Now, fast forward to today, I can go to the store and get a carton of strawberries for around $1. So buying in season will save you money while still allowing you to buy great produce.

2. Always look for the sale. This seems quite elementary, but can save you a ton of money at the register. Think about it in the same light as you do ‘buying in season”. I can tell you that there are some weeks when I am craving some bell peppers, but not the green ones, those beautiful big red, yellow, and orange ones. Oh my,  I can just sit around and think of all the ways I would like to use those in my meals. And then, bubble burst when I arrive at the store to see each pepper is running about $2.00 each. Excuse me?!? No, thank you. But believe me, one of those days I know I will go and look and they will be on sale for about $.80 each and then you better believe I am stocking up. Sales make a huge difference in your bottom line so look for the produce with the big red sale sticker and you should reap the benefits.

3. Plan out your meals ahead of time. Besides saving you time during the week, especially in the mornings, this can also be a big help at the grocery store. Planning out your meals, specifically dinner, can help you stay within your budget and eliminates extra food you might throw into your basket. I know I am guilty of having an impromptu grocery store night and showing up without a game plan. I tend to walk around the store trying to devise meals as I go, buying way more than I need, because maybe one day I can make this…or I should get these because I might make this one night. And yet, it never fails, I either do not get enough ingredients to cook what I was thinking in my head, or the food just goes to waste because I have gotten more than I can eat. Sigh, money wasted. So, before you even think about going to the store, plan out your food and what you will need for each meal and stick to it. Don’t buy that extra eggplant for $2.95 because you think one night you could grill it. Believe me, 9 times out of 10 you won’t.

4. Buy meat in bulk to last the week. I tend to find that my meat selection is usually the highest price on my ticket. Although it only makes up about 25% of my grocery shopping, it is still quite a large chunk of change. To offset the high price of meat I try to look for the bulk size packs of meat. Instead of buying a small amount of chicken for $6 that will feed me for that night’s dinner, I will get the bulk pack for $2 or $3 more and it will last me the week, for multiple meals. Instead of buying one filet of salmon, I try to find the halibut or tilapia that comes with 3 or 4 filets. I then can cook one that night for dinner and put the rest in a ziplock bag for a quick meal later on in the week.

5. Plan out your grocery shopping night and try out a few stores if necessary. . This last tip sort of wraps up 1-4. A night of grocery shopping, although tedious and usually unpleasant, should be scheduled into your weekly activities so you can get the most out of it. I find that some nights I may have to try a few different stores to get everything that I need. A sale at one grocery store, may not be at another. Therefore I might buy a few sale items here and then slide on over to the other neighborhood market where I know the veggies are regularly cheaper. Don’t force yourself to get everything done in one spot, you will spend more money than you have to. Your meal plan for the week will help out in this situation. You can highlight the foods for one location and underline the ones you can get cheaper at another location. If you know you can only get your brand of cashew butter at Whole Foods, put that stop on your list as well. Being prepared and knowing your local markets will help. Get online and look up the sales for the store that week, and hey they might even have a coupon or two!

I hope that these quick five down and dirty tips help you feel more confident about eating Paleo on a budget. Sticking to these has really helped me keep my Paleo foods within a range that I feel comfortable in and can afford. So happy shopping!