Paleo Chronicles: A (Cursory) Look at Costs

This post marks the first of an ongoing series I plan to write about my adventures in reforming my diet and trying to eat paleo.

One (of many!) reservations of starting a restricted diet is the uncertainty of costs.

This was of particular concern to me, what with making a limited income, living with my brother (who doesn’t eat a healthy diet), and previously not having to pay for many groceries myself. Since I would be alone in starting this diet (which I started January 3 of this year), it would be all up to me to start doing my own grocery shopping.

So, what are the actual costs of eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and meats?

farmers market, grocery haul, sausage, salad
Farmers’ Market Haul
costco, grocery haul, fruits, vegetables, produce
Costco Haul
h and w produce, grocery haul, fruits, vegetables, produce
H&W Produce Haul

Unfortunately I can’t compare my costs now to what eating a regular, unrestricted diet would be like, since in the past I did not take responsibility over what I ate prior to 2018 (I’m a bit ashamed to admit so, but that is a topic for another time). However, surprise surprise, I CAN say that there is HUGE variance in what you’ll pay for the same produce or meat items depending on the source.

I’ve been tracking my grocery costs and hope to do a more comprehensive look at the costs of eating paleo in the future by sharing more food hauls. But for now, here’s a breakdown of 3 hauls I’ve done this year:grocery store costs, spreadsheet, Costco, Farmers' Market, H&W Produce

Now I admit this is a very haphazard (and perhaps unfair) comparison, as the items are different, amounts aren’t taken into account, some things were on sale, etc. But I like seeing things visually, and I’m hoping that by seeing the photos and the overall costs broken down side-by-side, you as a reader will start to get a feel for what costs what. If you’ve already been cooking real, unprocessed food for yourself then congratulations, you probably know more than I do; but this is for those people who are lost and need to gain their bearings.

Some personal takeaways (based on these 3 hauls only. Your mileage may vary.):

  • You can find some really high quality items at the farmers’ market, but if you aren’t careful, you’ll spend a lot. Those handful of items did not last me very long.
  • Costco isn’t a good place to buy produce if you’re on a budget, or if you need to purchase low quantities. On the brightside, their products are consistently high quality.
  • Different stores can have drastically different price points. In my case, my locally-owned produce market is worth a stop in itself, as the prices there are much lower across the board than what I can find elsewhere. Both the Costco haul and the H&W Produce haul lasted me a similar amount of time (about 1.5 weeks), but one was a fraction of the cost of the other!

And that’s your slice of some of the costs I’ve incurred this year while eating paleo. What are your experiences with managing your paleo bill? And are there any topics relating to diet that you’d like to see me write about? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. March 31, 2018 / 10:55 am

    Good luck with the Paleo Diet. I tried but couldn’t stick with it and cost was one reason, especially when it came to grass fed beef etc. It’s almost as though governments want us to be unhealthy as it is so much cheaper to do so!
    I have now moved onto a Plant Based and having much more success and increased energy levels.
    My wife has stuck with the paleo diet and swears by it!

    • March 31, 2018 / 12:06 pm

      I agree that our current system almost seems setup so that way our diets are as broken as they are! Eating healthy shouldn’t be such an inconvenience or challenge, but at least more people seem to be getting on board with it, and the market is (slowly) responding. It’s great to hear that you have found success with changing your diets, and I hope the sense of wellbeing that has brought to your lives continues 🙂

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