It’s here!  My first ever real live blog post on Paleo-ish! I’ve always had the goal of creating and sharing my food with others, and yes, I’m the annoying friend on social media that posts every single meal I make.  But what I have found since really diving into the paleo way of eating, is that more and more people are aware of what paleo is, and are really understanding the “why’s” of eating healthier.

As healthy foods become more readily available through speciality food stores (Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc.) and as local farmer’s markets increase access to organic, seasonal options, as a culture we really don’t have the excuse anymore that we don’t know better.

The tricky part is that most people get stuck on where to start, or how to go about putting a plan into place.  I thought my first post should be a glimpse into how I, a wife/mama/friend/full time employee (among many other things) keep nourishing food at the top of my priority list while on a budget.

Step #1: Pinterest the $h@# out of that thing.  Seriously, if you don’t Pinterest, well….WHY THE HECK DO YOU NOT PINTEREST?! There is absolutely no excuse not to be on this black hole of a time suck secret vault of hidden knowledge.  If you’re interested in paleo recipes, type in “paleo recipes” and see what happens….Right now. Go. See what happens and report back. If you ever come backkkkk, muahahaha.

But honestly, I do most of my searching there, find something I like, save it to a board that can help me organize it appropriately, and keep it for when the time is right.

Step #2: Cookbooks ya’ll.  Yes, the good old fashioned paper copy, bound editions.  Sure there are tons of internet recipes out there, but nothing beats the feel of flipping through your favorite cookbook and remaking those well loved dog eared meals.  Two of my favorites are The Paleo Kitchen by Juli Bauer and George Bryant aka PaleOMG and The Civilized Caveman, and Make It Paleo by Bill and Haley Staley of Primal Palate.  I owe these people my life. Ok, well maybe not my life, but my second born child?

Step #3: Make a plan.  What I do is simple. I go grocery shopping on Thursday nights (hello mama’s secret 1 hour vacation where I meander my way around the store with a decaf coconut milk latte and NO kiddo yelling his face off at me), and I simply write out each meal for every day of the week until the next time I take my mini vacation go grocery shopping.  Based on the recipes and ingredients required, I make my list—minus what I already have in stock at home.  SUPER SIMPLE.

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Step #4:  The hard part—staying on budget.  This is where things can get a little tricky.  We do a cash budget for groceries, and it really makes me stay accountable.  I can feed a family of 3 (4 if you count the fact I’m eating for two) on a budget of $650 a month.  This is whole, real foods that include a TON of fresh produce, weekly farmer’s market meals, snacks for kiddo, and a decent protein for every time we eat in.  This also includes enough made at each dinner that both my husband and I are able to pack leftovers for lunch.

This does NOT mean we eat organic, free range, grass-fed, hormone free options all the time.  We pick and choose, and do the best we can, which is all you can do!  We also LOVE Costco more than life itself.  I go to Costco once a month and buy in bulk things like meat, some longer lasting produce (think onions and sweet potatoes), oils, spices, grass-fed butter, nuts, etc.  Though it seems like I spend a ton when I go, it really does save me money in the long run.

Step #5:  Live a little!  This is my last piece of advice. Be realistic with what you can do financially, time-wise, and most importantly, soul wise.  If I had to spend every day of the week cooking, cleaning, and eating clean, I might lose my ish.  That’s where the ISH part of Paleo-ish comes in.  We budget, outside of our grocery budget, for one night out to eat every week.  And for that, we are all much happier people.  We don’t necessarily TRY to eat healthy—sometimes it happens, and sometimes we end up at the local burger joint stuffing our faces with cheese and bread and greasy goodness. AND THAT IS OK.  We don’t beat ourselves up over it afterwards, we enjoy it, and our time together, and thank the Lord we don’t have to wash dishes that night.

So there it is.  Just a quick intro into what it’s like in the meal planning mind of Paleo-ish.  I hope this can help you newbs out there, or even hard-core Paleo folks who just need a little direction into managing their meals a little more.  Leave a comment, and let me know how YOU meal plan and what your typical budget is!

-Jess

3 Comments

  1. timgaertner3@gmail.com
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    Man. That’s super awesome.

  2. Heather Wedding
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    I must say that I am relieved that we are spending about the same amount on groceries per month. We were able to get it down to $500, which is almost impossible; however, we are back up to $600 which is more doable! I am thrilled about following your blog because I wouldn’t mind trying out this whole “Paleo-ish” thing. Plus I greatly enjoy reading what is on your mind and I can always count on a laugh or two! Can’t wait to read more soon!

    • Jessica Gaertner
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      Hey friend! I can’t believe you’re doing a family of 4 for $600/mth! That’s amazing! You need to share your secrets 🙂

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