By now you may have heard of the Paleo Diet through a friend, co-worker or family member. Maybe you have looked into it a bit yourself for one of many reasons (to lose weight, combat food allergies or immune system issues, or simply “clean up your diet” and eat healthier) and are wondering just how you would get started.
This post is the first in a three part series that will give you some tips on pantry stocking, getting the best meat and produce for your money, and also some kid-friendly lunch and snack ideas. Paleo or not, this series should have a little something for everyone interested in new and different healthy eating options!
More and more households are wanting to feed their families nutritious, home-cooked meals, and steer away from processed foods as well as allergens such as gluten, soy, and dairy. If you have been wondering how couponing and pantry stocking would fit into a Paleo household, this post is for you!
The Paleo Diet is based on eating whole, unprocessed foods that are high in protein and low in starchy carbs and sugars. Meals are centered around meat, eggs, (pasture-raised whenever possible), wild-caught seafood, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.
Eating grain-free, dairy-free, and legume-free can be a challenge in today’s world, especially for a couponer who is used to getting such great deals on “coupon” items such as cereal, pasta, and snack bars.
Our household has been Paleo for over a year now. As a dedicated couponer I have spent much time comparing prices on the Paleo essentials, as well as tried TONS of recipes in pursuit of substitutes for things like muffins, pancakes, and cookies without using grain-based flours and dairy products…while still sticking to a budget!
I have made a list for you of the pantry staples we simply could not live without in our Paleo home. I hope it helps anyone who has looked in to “going paleo” but needs some ideas on where to get these items and what the basic items are that you need to get started!
Almond Meal/Flour: Almond meal is a must have for every paleo pantry. It’s great for breading and baking. You can make everything from banana bread to chicken parmesan! Watch out for pre-made almond meal. …It’s around $10/lb for a bag at a typical grocery store! Here’s how to get a good deal on it:
Trader Joes has almond meal for $3.99 (1 lb bag), or use Blue Diamond or Emerald Nuts Coupons to buy the whole, raw natural almonds and make your own in a food processor. Also watch for sales on bulk almonds and make your own. You can often find them as low as $2.99/lb.
Coconut Milk: Great for smoothies, curries, and anywhere you need to substitute for regular milk in a recipe. You can buy it canned (which there are often coupons for), or make your own out of shredded coconut! It’s super cheap to make your own, and you have no worries about BPA from the cans or added preservatives. The best deals on shredded coconut can be found on Amazon or online stores such as Tropical Traditions. Here is an awesome recipe for chicken nuggets using shredded coconut. My kids LOVE them, and I can make a batch for the same price (or less) than the per-nugget cost of McDonald’s!
Coconut Oil: There are many different types of coconut oil, the best for you being unrefined, and organic if possible. Trader Joe’s sells a 16 oz jar for $5.99, and similar prices can be found at Amazon. Whole Foods carries their own brand for $6.99/jar. Or use your $10 free credit from Vitacost and get it free + shipping. Coconut oil is great for frying, baking, and as a substitute for butter.
Coconut Flour: Coconut flour is a great high fiber, high protein, low carb paleo baking essential. The best deals can typically be found on Amazon, or companies online like Tropical Traditions. A little goes a long way so don’t let the price scare you. Just ½ cup makes 16 of these delicious Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes!
Sweet Potato Flour: I am still learning by trial and error with sweet potato flour…but it does make the most delicous crepes! The crepes are great for sandwich roll-ups too. I have only found it online through Amazon or a couple different manufacturers.
Other items we make sure to always have on hand in our pantry:
Coconut Aminos (soy sauce subsitute)
Coconut and/or Apple Cider Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pure Vanilla Extract
Herbs and Spices
Dried fruit, nuts, seeds
Add in fresh meats, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and you are well on your way! Next week I will talk about meat, eggs, and seafood: what to get and where to get it!
In the meantime, here is a link to some great guides to paleo eating…which foods to eat and which ones to avoid, and tons of other useful info. Be sure to check out the recipes on this blog as well as my favorite site – health-bent.com
Here is a great book and well worth the read – The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
This is a guest post from Sarah – Sarah is a wife and a mother to two boys – she is great at finding ways to save for her family as well as eating on a paleo diet.