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Bonjour!  I'm Christen!  Been all over the U.S., and just moved from Utah down to Texas for my husband's new job!  After having been in the Navy, I am now a student of Anthropology, a stay at home mom to my new baby, a half arsed writer, belly dance instructor/student and performer, and just general, all around "Jack of all trades, master of nothing." 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Paleo Toddler Series: Basic Pantry Building and Shopping

So now that I've given you all some amazing looking recipes to try, I just know you're chomping at the bit to go out and restock your entire pantry, and start looking like these guys in the picture!
But emptying all your old processed chemical foods into the bin and completely replenishing is just not an option for almost all of us out there!  We didn't have much of a choice since our Baby B's health was at stake, and luckily we were mostly Paleo so there wasn't too much of an overhaul, but it still ate up quite a bit of the grocery money that week.  

Now that we've been doing this for a bit, I'm starting to get the hang of finding out where to save money, how to get the best buys for what we need, and how to do our shopping so that we don't end up wasting a bunch of produce (that shit adds up!!)

Figure out what you eat most.  Spend a month playing around with different meals that are Paleo or Paleo-ish and see what you eat the most of.  If you aren't ready to go full Paleo, incorporate 3-4 meals a week with your standard fare.  For example, we found that we eat a ton of eggs and beef now, leafy greens are here and there, and that we upped our consumption of sweet potatoes, carrots, avocado and peppers.  After you find what type of foods work best for you and your family, meal planning and grocery lists are so much easier to handle.

Plan, plan, and plan some more.  Go through Pinterest (you can take a look at The Paleo Toddler Board, Dinner Time, or "Man Food" for inspiration and take aways) or Google to help find recipes with the foods you eat most often.  Then go ahead and do the handy dandy meal planning.  I Heart Planners is having a September Meal Planning Challenge that I just signed up for, complete with free calendar printable!

Shop small, shop often.  This one I'm not a huge fan of, but it does help minimize our waste.  At the very least, I buy only what we need for the week's meal plan plus a few snacks on hand, and at the most I will end up at the store 2-3 times a week for new produce as it runs out.  This way it stays fresh, and we are sure to use it! 

Don't be afraid of the bulk bins.  While produce is best bought in small quantities, dry goods you definitely want in larger amounts!  We go through coconut and almond flour like crazy, and B can eat lentils and quinoa so it's a much cheaper option to buy big bags and pour in tidy containers! Sprouts has an amazing selection of bulk products, and even stores like Kroger are getting in on the act by having bulk section that they keep adding to.  

Also, if you have access to Costco, a membership will benefit you greatly!  Costco has tons of organic items, which can vary from store to store.  A 5 lb. bag of almond flour costs around $25, much better than $11-$12 for 10 oz at the grocery store! We also use them to stock up on grassfed butter, organic seasonings, eggs, and meat. Be sure to stick to your list otherwise it's too easy to walk away with chocolate cake the size of a small dog, and car batteries!

Phase out old food.  Realize this is a process.  As you finish off your bad foods, simply don't replace them.  Put that money you would spend on inferior food in a jar or in your budget towards clean snacks or grassfed meats.  If you do that for a month, there should be a nice sum to use for your new clean shopping list.  I calculated the amount we would spend on fast food, candy, or bags of chips with hydrogenated oils and my jaw dropped.  We could have had grassfed steak 2-3 times that month at home, and vodka, if we hadn't spent that money!  

Homemade is the way to go.  I know we are all busy, and many of you out there are busier than I am.  I implore you to set aside just a couple hours a week to pre-make a few things.
They taste better, you know what's in it, and it saves you money since you can make huge batches.  I've started making our Paleo English Muffins in bulk and freezing them so we can just pull a couple out to toast  and be on with our day.  Having pre-made food also makes it sooooooo much harder to justify bad food when you know you have options at home.

I promise just like with anything else, it gets easier as you go.  One day you will look back and wonder how you managed without the food-style you have now!  Cheers!

How do you prep and budget for your clean meals? Let me know!