PFC on the CHEAP part 1

“It’s SO expensive to eat this way,” “I can’t afford to buy organic”, “how can you honestly eat so well all the time?”. These are questions we hear every day, and real roadblocks for many people. The goal of this post is to address them and make known that, while the ultimate goal may be to eat real, home cooked, grass fed, organic, locally grown food 100% of the time, the reality is that NO ONE can realistically achieve that. We’ve all got our budgets, we are all busy, and we all want to chill out with our friends without stressing about food. So, how can we find that *perfect* balance between eating so much crap that you feel horrible after a social event and enough quality stuff most of the time so that you are okay eating not-so-perfect every once in a while?

Here are our tips to balancing budget, life and PFC:

Start small. Here’s the deal: when people come into my office for coaching they often leave rarin’ to go and ready to dump their cabinets. While I LOVE and support when people actually go home and do that, the reality is that most people are more successful when they transition gradually. I recommend you start by heading to the grocery store and picking up some real eggs, real butter, and a few more veggies than you normally buy. Then start your day with a PFC breakfast every day of the week and you’ll notice an improvement in your ability to focus, and be more likely to make better food decisions later in the day. Ideally, you eat real, PFC, meals and snacks all day long. But as you are learning this new way of eating, push yourself to make just one (or two or three, depending on where you are in your journey) more real food meal or snack at a time until you get the hang of it and it feels easy. This way you don’t end up with a fridge full of rotting vegetables you didn’t have time to get to. Plan ahead. As you gain momentum, you might realize that the hardest part of eating this way is having the ingredients in the fridge and food prepared to grab and go. Taking the time to sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil (yes, analog!) twice a week to write a list will help get you into meal planning mode and avoid those panicked trips to the grocery store on the way home from work when your blood sugar is already low (sound familiar?) and you’re more like to make expensive, time-saving impulse buys. Strategic shopping also helps prevent waste. Start with simple meals: any kind of meat (grilled, roasted, or baked) + some kind of veggie (green beans, sweet potato, etc) + a fat (butter, coconut oil, avocado). This way you know that each time you hit the grocery store you’ll need to stop in the produce department to grab vegetables and fruit, the meat counter to buy 2-3 days worth of protein, and the butter aisle to make sure you’re stocked up on fat. I buy lots of grass fed and/or organic butter when it’s on sale and toss it in the freezer so I never run out. This is a great way to save money in the protein department as well. Check out Cost Efficient PFC Salads TV segment for ideas on simple and balanced meal and snack ideas. Buy in bulk. This covers everything from shopping at big box discount stores like Costco or Sam's Club, to ordering a share of grass fed beef (buying a quarter or half of a cow at a time), or simply visiting the strawberry farm in late June to pick 5 pounds of fresh berries to freeze. I don’t know anyone who wants to pay $8-16/lb for grass fed beef, and if you order a share from a farmer you can likely find prices between $4-6/lb. If you don’t have a freezer large enough to house half a cow, ask around at the office or ask your friends and family to see if anyone wants to go in with you. This will decrease both your overhead costs as well as your freezer space. Check out eatwild or local harvest to find a sustainable farm near you! A CSA (community supported agriculture) is another great way to get bulk produce at great prices. You can use sites like those listed above to find a CSA. By signing up for a share, you are supporting a local farm and you’ll get a box of fresh, local veggies delivered each week all summer long for MUCH cheaper than grocery store prices, and have lots of opportunities to try new things! Not sure what to do with all those mystery vegetables? Wash and chop them, then sauté in butter and garlic and season with salt and pepper! Speaking of freezer space, make sure you check out the frozen section at at your wholesale house (Costco/Sam's). They’ve got wild caught salmon, halibut, cod etc. frozen in 4 oz. fillets at a fraction of the price for fresh. These little fillets thaw out quickly in warm water or can be tossed on the grill while they are still frozen to get dinner ready in no time. I try to keep at least 2 pounds of protein in the freezer at all times if not more so when the fridge starts getting empty and I don’t have time to run to the store, I know I’ll have the P to my FC on hand. See what I did there? :) Lastly, keep plenty of fats around. Fats, if stored properly, take forever to go bad. I mentioned buying grass fed butter when it's on sale and stashing it in the freezer; another idea: if you find a screamin’ deal for coconut oil online, instead of buying one jar, buy 5 pounds, keep it in your pantry, and scoop what you need into a smaller jar so you don’t have to haul the 5 gallon bucket out to fry your eggs. :) Eating REAL whole foods on the regular doesn't have to break your budget. With a little planning and creativity, you can eat healthy food everyday! For more great money saving tips check out PFC on the CHEAP part 2! What do YOU do to save money while eating PFC? 

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