A lot of times, people seem to think that the word organic automatically equals expensive. But it doesn't have to! You can easily eat organic food while sticking to a budget. Let me show you how.
This post is sponsored by Harris Teeter. All opinions are my own.
What if I told you you could make the three meals pictured in this post for less than $20, and still have leftovers? That you could actually feed yourself for an entire weekend with organic products for less than $10/day? That's less than $3.50 a meal.
Oh, and did I mention that it's about 95% paleo, too? No pasta, no bread, no grains, no beans. Veggies and protein for the win!
When I was first challenged with this shopping trip, I got a little panicky. Sure, I could probably shop a store-brand organics label for $20. But paleo? No way, no how.
Well, I proved myself wrong. I'll be the first to admit that Harris Teeter wasn't the first place I thought of when I thought of eating organic on a budget. But after this little experiment, they will definitely be at the top of my list from now on.
Here were the rules: Harris Teeter was going to provide $20 for me to come into their store and shop their private HT Organics label, and then tell you about what I bought. Those were their rules.
I always stay true to you guys first, so I implemented my own rule that I had to stay within the Paleo Scaleo space of it being mostly paleo. If you already eat mostly paleo, you know this made it quite a bit harder. Fresh veggies and proteins are typically the most expensive items in any grocery store.
Turns out, you can actually get quite a bit of organic food at Harris Teeter for less than $20. I spent a total of $19.91, and went home with organic sweet potatoes, an organic bell pepper, an organic onion, an organic head of romaine lettuce, a dozen organic eggs, a bag of frozen organic spinach and kale with garlic, a container of organic tomato soup, and a package of all natural chicken meatballs.
That's a pretty good haul for organic on a budget, if you ask me!
Here's the breakdown from my receipt:
Organic sweet potatoes: $2.23 ($1.29/lb - side note: this is an AMAZING price for organic sweet potatoes!)
Organic bell pepper: $1.69
Organic yellow onion: $0.63 ($1.29/lb)
Organic head of romaine lettuce: $2.49
One dozen organic eggs: $4.49
Frozen kale and spinach with garlic: $2.50 (VIC savings of 0.49)
Tomato soup: $2.50 (VIC savings of 0.49)
Aidelis chicken meatballs: $2.99 (clearance savings of $3.00)
Total cost: $19.91
According to the Harris Teeter website, there are 351 Harris Teeter Organics products in their stores. Their organics line is non-GMO, free from pesticides, free from artificial preservatives, free from antibiotics, and free from growth hormones. And I for one am going to add "reasonably priced" to that list!
Ok, so I spent $20 and got all this stuff...but what did I make with it?
First up - breakfast. I peeled and chopped the sweet potatoes, and sautéed them in a pan with a bit of coconut oil. Once they were tender, I dumped the bag for frozen kale & spinach in and tossed it around until it was soft and tender.
I put some of the sweet potato, kale, and spinach mixture in a bowl, set the rest aside, and then used the pan to fry an egg. I topped the sweet potato mixture with the egg, and...viola, breakfast!
(This might remind some of you of my sweet potato hash recipe, which you could also make using the ingredients I bought. If you were looking for something a little more pulled together, you could also make my sweet potato crust quiche with a few small adjustments to the ingredients!)
Next up - lunch. I kept this one as simple as possible. Some chopped romaine lettuce, topped with some roasted and salted walnuts that I had in the pantry. I topped it with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and paired it with Harris Teeter Organics Tomato Soup.
Be forewarned, this soup is in the scaleo category - it has trace amounts of dairy in it. If you want to make your own dairy-free version, you can use my Creamy Tomato Basil Soup recipe here.
It won't keep you in the $20 budget, but you can get everything you need for it at Harris Teeter, and if you have an immersion blender you can have it made in no time.
Last up was dinner - sliced peppers and onions with meatballs. I sliced up my bell pepper and onion, then tossed them into a cast iron skillet with a bit of oil to get them tender and charred up.
Once they were mostly cooked, I pushed them to the side and added these Aidelis chicken meatballs to the pan.
(These also fall slightly in the scaleo category - they have trace amounts of sugar in them. I'll never understand why anyone feels the need to put sugar in their meat, but that's a discussion for another day.)
While they came fully cooked, I wanted to get them a little char on the outside and heat them up as well.
I also want to add that after cooking all three of these meals, I had leftovers of EVERYTHING. I still had 11 more eggs, at least two servings of the sweet potato with kale and spinach, another bowl of soup, half a head of lettuce, and one or two servings of the sausage, onion, and meatballs. I would say I could easily eat for another day or two just on these groceries alone.
I hear a lot of people say they "can't afford" to eat paleo. I get it, I do. All the specialty items like arrowroot powder, almond flour, coconut aminos, etc. add up. But here's the point - not only can you eat organics on a budget, you can eat mostly paleo on a budget too. It doesn't have to be centered around expensive products, or pricey cuts of meat.
Focus on healthy veggies with a bit of protein. Shop your sales. Pay attention to when things are on special. It does take a little bit more work to eat paleo or organic on a budget, but it is not impossible. And next time you're in Harris Teeter, take a look at their organic products - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!