Here’s a very common question we get about the meal plan at Paleo Plan and about Paleo in general: How much does eating this way cost? Here’s Jason’s answer to that very question, which was sent in by a reader, Renee.
Could you give a general idea of how much a week’s worth of groceries typically cost following your lists?
There are a lot of factors that can influence this, but a ballpark is around $150/week for two people on the diet (as prescribed by our plan).
Now, your first week on Paleo Plan may be more, especially if you don’t have a lot of the staples in your cupboard already (such as coconut flour, almond butter, etc). Those things can be expensive, but tend to last a while, and don’t need to be bought every week, or even every month for that matter.
However, if you go Paleo, we highly recommend making the big commitment and cleaning out your kitchen of non-Paleo items, it makes it much easier to follow, and really gives you the commitment to stick with it beyond the first few tries. When you do that, you’ll replace your kitchen with a lot of new items, most of which aren’t perishable. But this is an early expense. I would say plan to spend maybe around an extra $100 for the transition.
Also, if you go to Whole Foods and buy only organic produce and grass-fed beef, it’s going to be more expensive than if you go to a discount warehouse. My philosophy is to eat the best food you can afford. But know that Paleo can be a spectrum, and regaining health is your goal, not following any hyper-specific rules. If you eat Paleo foods but have to get non-organic to make your budget work, then you’re still eating better than the average American diet. So, it’s still worth doing.
My general philosophy is to eat Paleo in this order, according to what you can afford:
1. Eat Paleo categories of foods (no grains, dairy, legumes, etc)
2. Then, eat the cleanest foods possible (organic, grass-fed, nitrate/nitrite-free)
3. Then seasonal, local, and as large a variety as possible.
Thus, if I’m traveling or go out to dinner, I make my decisions based on that (meaning, just because they don’t have grass-fed beef doesn’t mean I get the mac and cheese :)
But that’s just my approach.
Let’s take this discussion over to the forum. How do you guys go about budgeting and prioritizing your Paleo foods?