Food prices are another tricky part of eating a nutritious, Paleo diet. For us, buying less “bad food” and more “real food” did make our grocery spending budget go up. But we feel so much better, and rarely (if ever) eat out, so I think our spending has leveled off to be more reasonable.
When you first transition into eating more whole, nutritious food, I recommend you start slow. First, worry more about moving to more meat, fruit, and vegetables. Then, once you have a good idea of what your budget/spending looks like, start looking for ways to “upgrade” to organic, grass fed, free range, etc.
For our family, that means spending more on eggs and ground beef, but not necessarily on organic vegetables, chicken, or large cuts of meat (for example, we do the “regular” london broil and the “regular” chicken each week at Whole foods, but almost always get the more expensive eggs and 85/15 ground beef). Where we shop still has better quality “regular” meat than most other grocery stores, though I understand it can also be $2-3 more per pound. It’s rough out there! (Note: We’ve been looking into CSAs and meat shares, but I haven’t taken the time to make a decision yet).
So, How Much Do You Spend on Groceries Each Week?
I’ll take a deep breath and share our weekly grocery bill, at the risk of looking well-off: we spend about $150 a week, give or take $10 when we splurge or get a deal.
Surprisingly, that’s not too far off the average american grocery spending for a family of four, as shared by Simple Dollar, and I remember we used to get away with about $75-100 per week back in the day (tons of pasta and cheese sticks, which was awful for blood sugar and energy!). We definitely could go lower and stay Paleo, but there are a few convenience foods we rely on for a smooth morning (Applegate sausage links and frozen broccoli) and a few foods we just love (for me, that’s fancy dark chocolate).
I use a meal planner every week to make sure we’re getting enough food, and like I said, we never eat out unless we’re traveling. So that’s 3 meals, two snacks, and desserts for two adults, seven days per week, which comes out to about 84 “feeding times” per week, and $1.79 per “feeding time”. I know that’s a lot of money when you get the bill at the grocery store, but I find it hard to feel bad about a cost-per-meal/snack of $1.79.
What Makes Food Cost More?
I’m not going to pretend that stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s don’t have a healthy profit margin (and sometimes downright hilarious prices on otherwise standard items). But, they also carry food that has made me healthier, happier, and more peaceful.
#1 is always to make it work for your family! But I have to go on a mini rant to share that my opinion is that real food does cost more money than fake food — because factories use poor methods and put scary chemicals into their products to keep their costs down. And when you start to feel better from better food, you might find you’re saving money on your healthcare costs (copays, supplements, medication, having energy, etc).
We buy more expensive food instead of movie tickets or fun, new clothes. We buy more expensive food instead of jewelry, And I feel pretty good (literally) because of it…. and blessed to be in a position to make this choice for our family.