How to feed your family organically and nutritionally for around $150 (Australian – 2016) a week!

Unfortunately Bendy and I often hear, “I can’t afford to go Paleo or organic, what would we eat?” and with supermarket prices so cheap compared to nutrient rich organic produce I can see how this has become a problem. The organic farmers have to put ten times more labour and work into preparing the land before they can even have the soil approved of being certified organic compared to the chemical ridden ‘fake’ produce that we are getting from conventional farmers. (My rant about non organic foods  continues throughout the article).

So, how did this article  come about? Well, during a chat on a Facebook forum called  Paleo in Perth, Bendy so confidently said, “ Sure you can eat Paleo on the cheap, I bet we could feed our family of four on $150 per week!”
EEK! Great, now he’s done it, I thought, but that got me thinking and anyone who knows me can hear me saying, well let’s do it! Let’s prove that we can eat Paleo/Primal for a family of 4 for $150 and let’s do it organically. In my eyes there’s not any point in eating as nature intended if we compromise veggies, fruit, meat and fish that are sprayed with chemicals and injected with goodness knows what?

So why is organic such a big deal? Well, for a start, vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruit that are grown in organic soil have a ton more nutrient dense vitamins,  lower levels of toxic metals and chemicals than those that are not grown in organic soils. 

Over at sare.org they explain how and why soil is so important in playing a role in providing the right nutrients for us to thrive and how important it is that other organic matter decomposes in our soil is a critical part of global and regional cycles. Spray free is better, but if the soil is damaged, hasn’t any nutrients in it then the plants that grow in that soil won’t have either. The cow, pig, lamb or chicken that is eating a modified, chemical risen crop or feed that again has no benefit to the animal, is going to pass through the animal straight into you. I know I’m preaching to the converted and that a lot of people reading this know more about farming than I do. However, if conventional farmers didn’t put pesticides, fungicides and insecticides over their crops then it would take lots of effort and money to control weeds, control the insects that damage the ‘look of the crop’ and harder to prevent plant diseases. The crazy thing is that the conventional farmer needs to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as long sleeves/pants, gloves, and safety glasses as per pesticide label requirements when putting it on our food! In case of a risk of inhalation, a disposable respirator is used as well, because these chemicals are so bad for humans. Yet we eat them….as the chemicals are being sprayed directly onto and into the soil so the plant absorbs these chemicals and they get passed onto us.  Don’t think if the plant’s not getting sprayed directly that we can’t absorb it from the soil either. We are eating those chemicals and not getting the nutrients that the plant is supposed to provide?? A crazy concept, but like most things in our modern world it all stops with the dollar!

A scary fact that some researchers have recently discovered is that there are over 500 different chemicals going into our food that we buy in the supermarkets, grown by conventional farmers that is causing damage to our health, well being and mindset. Experts are now saying it could years to rid toxins from our body which can lead to a variety of health risks including cancer and developmental problems in children. Doh, isn’t this already happening? Traditional farming is also being rightly blamed for the increase of autoimmune disorders, chronic illness and mental health associated illnesses along side processed foods containing ridiculously high amounts of sugar and wheat. It hasn’t been around for long enough to have truly established the potentially devastating effect or the scientific data that relates these findings of illness it will have on human health in the long term. You, my friends, who continue to make the wrong choices about what foods are going in your bodies are proving to be social guinea pigs. And you didn’t even agree to participating in the experiment. So opt out, support your local farmers and nourish your body with organic nutrient dense foods.

Leaving the rant for a minute let’s get back to the article,  where was I? I like to take a challenge and run with it. So we waited for the next pay day, took out $300 cash (as we get paid fortnightly) and for the first time in like forever, we got into the car with hardly a meal plan (we always normally do!) and headed to our local farmer’s markets to see what foods were there, in season and cheap. The markets aren’t actually local for us at all and do take nearly an hour to get there, but I am happy in the knowledge that not only are we getting fresh produce straight from the farmers. It is satisfying to know I am not giving much of our hard earned money to the bigwigs and large supermarkets.

The first market we used for this project is the main market we normally use for our weekly shop; Manning Market, Manning Road, Perth. A rather large market which has most things we need to survive and thrive on. We decided to use a bit more of the $150 in the first week, as buying some staples like macadamia oil, Olive oil, macadamia nuts, coconut oil and seeds that would last for two weeks and some of the produce lasted a bit more.

Mel making sure her produce is organic.
Mel making sure her produce is organic.

I wrote down and weighed up what would be the best foods and the cheapest for this time of year (May). So we bought as seasonal and as cheap as we could with what was on offer. When we got back from the markets, I took a picture of all the food and I sat down to look through my recipe books to see what yummy nutritional meals I could produce. I’ve kinda got a good idea of a lot of the recipes, and if you are like the Bendy’s, our family goes through cycles of similar meals for weeks on end, so this was helpful when I was at the markets. Additionally you aren’t going to buy foods you don’t particularly like either, so when you see the meal plan you may need to tweak it to suit your household and time of the year, but nevertheless you will have a good base to focus on. I hate waste and will always plan every meal, lunch and snack down to the last veggie in my fridge. I will make, bake or prepare in bulk or ahead of time so that the prep isn’t as tiresome,when I can  and so the nutrients will stay fresh.  I’ll pop meals and snack foods in the freezer to keep for time poor days. Things like soups, curries, bolognese sauces, broths, meats and fish. For this two weeks I purposely bought extra small apples and bananas so they would stretch for lunch boxes and or snacks. I also asked if any of the produce was going cheap, or free. Stall holders were only too happy to give produce away if they think you can use it and it was a little past its best. I scored a huge bunch of celery which I added into the Bolognese and bags of over ripe bananas which made the best ice-cream. I spent $211.24 on the first week, a little more than I had hoped, leaving only $88.76 for week 2.  I was confident that I could do it. To use my free Paleonutter Meal Planner, click here to print off. 

The second week I went to The Grower’ Green Farmers Markets in South Fremantle, Perth  unfortunately this market seemed a little more expensive, or was it that I didn’t have much budget left? I had written a shopping list for this week and to be able to get everything on my list I went over budget by $49.99. I felt sad that I hadn’t succeeded the challenge, but in all $175.00 per week to feed a family of four organically wasn’t bad. I’m sure I could have picked more simple foods and cut corners by not having biscuits or nuts, but I also wanted it to be realistic. So I’ll hope you’ll forgive me and see if you can challenge yourself to cut your budgets by planning, supporting your local farmers and buying in season. I will continue the challenge in the coming seasons but until then I hope you will have a go and follow the menus I have provided and see how low you can get you weekly spending down to. Don’t forget to share.

IMG_2686In the tables below, I started on a Saturday, but I added week one and highlighted it as I originally went to the markets on the Saturday and already had food for that day. In the menu planner you will need to remember that the section highlighted is an add on but still in the budget for the 14 days. So the first Saturday you see here is actually the last day of the two week challenge. I hope that makes sense? After finishing this challenge my advice is to share ideas too. I think this would be a great experiment to do in all four seasons, so the menu is mixed up and shows a true account of seasonal recipes and if this sustainable throughout the year, so I will be doing this again. When you complete your two week challenge please post your recipes and ideas below.

Meal plan for $175 week Since this challenge started we’ve pulled ourselves up and Bendy and I have a new budget, which we try and stick to. Please feel free to comment below and I will answer any questions as best as I can that arise. I will add the links and recipes that I used over these two weeks. Some of the recipes are more Banting (Low Carb High Fat) than Paleo, but all are adjustable without any monetary change signifiant enough to ruin this experiment. For example in the biscuits I make, I use butter for the kids (LCHF). So I have added an alternative recipe for strict Paleo peeps. It’s all about what works for you and we embrace Paleo/Low Carb High fat and Banting here.????

Week 1 Shopping List

Week 2 Shopping List

 

Week 1

Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
 

Breakfast

 

Egg, bacon, mushrooms & spinach

(Week 3)

 

Pancakes and banana

 

Yoghurt & banana

 

Yoghurt & banana

 

Turmeric Cabbage, onion stir-fry with egg

 

Turmeric Cabbage, onion stir-fry with egg

 

Yoghurt & banana

 

Lunch Boxes

 

Egg muffins

Apple

& an Anzac biscuit

 

Left over

Moroccan Salad & banana

 

Pancakes

with banana & a Anzac biscuit

 

Left over salad & coleslaw  &hard boiled eggs

 

Crackers

& Avocado dip, an apple & Anzac biscuit

 

Crackers

& Tuna, a banana

 

 

Left over

Zucchini pasta with bacon & pesto & some yoghurt

 

Dinner

 

Moroccan Salad with wild caught salmon, guacamole

 

Garden Salad, lettuce, cucumber & tomatoes

 

Salad & coleslaw

 

Chicken fajitas

 

Salad, egg & tuna

& Mayo & coleslaw

 

Zucchini pasta with basil pesto

& Bacon

 

Bolognaise

& Zoodles

 

What to make and store ahead of time

 

Pancake mix and leave it in the fridge ready to go.

 

Yoghurt

 

Anzac biscuits

 

Pop the yoghurt in the fridge to thicken up and ready for Monday

 

4 Hard boiled eggs for lunch

 

Crackers & store in an airtight container in the pantry

 

Mayo

 

Cut up the cabbage, sprinkle with turmeric and cover and leave in the fridge for the morning.

 

Make twice as many zucchini noodles for both days.

 
 

Snacks

 

Crackers

 

Anzac biscuits

 

Apples

 

Bananas

 

Yogurt & fruit

 

Ice-Cream

 

 

 

Week 2 Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
 

Breakfast

Omelets Yoghurt & fruit Yoghurt & fruit Fried Mexican mince & cabbage and egg Fried Mexican mince & cabbage and egg Pancakes Yoghurt & fruit
 

Lunch Boxes

Crackers and pumpkin dip

& a banana

Crackers

Macadamia cheese and an apple

Pumpkin soup & an apple  

Pumpkin soup, crackers and an Anzac biscuit

 

Egg and spinach wrap, & a apple or banana Egg and spinach wrap & a apple or banana Veggie fritters & guacamole & a Anzac biscuit
 

Dinner

Fish Tacos & green salad Pumpkin & bacon Salad Mexican & fried egg Cucumber noodles  

Salmon fish cakes, spinach and egg

 

Bendy’s Beef & sweet potato Curry Bendy’s Beef & sweet potato Curry
What to make and store ahead of time  

Macadamia cheese

Anzac biscuits

 

Yoghurt

 

Cook the roast the whole pumpkin ready to blitz into soup.

 

Crackers and dressing for the cucumber salad

 

The egg wraps and store in the fridge ready for lunch boxes over the next two days.

 

Veggie fritters with any left over veggies and store in the fridge for Friday

   

Egg muffins for Saturday

 

Snacks

 

Bread

 

Anzac biscuits

 

Bananas

 

Apples

 

Yoghurt & fruit

 

Crackers

 

Ice-Cream

 

 

 


26 thoughts on “How to feed your family organically and nutritionally for around $150 (Australian – 2016) a week!

  1. Debara Reply

    You may be lucky enough to have access to an organic market. but unfortunately, for the majority of us we don’t have that luxury.
    I have looked at the prices you paid, and I don’t hink I could get those prices for regular vegetables in Woolworths, Although I do live in Darwin, I have compared the prices to what they pay in Brisbane (where I recently moved from) and they are not much different.
    Therefore, unless we can access an organic market, we would NOT be able to feed our family for this….. Sorry, but I think it’s pretty misleading to say that it is easy to do. Yes, I do shop for organic when I can, but sometimes it is just not available at any price.
    I am going to take your list and ‘price’ all the ingredients at both the supermarket (regular vegetables etc) and then at my local health/organic produce store. I will get back to you with the results.
    Cheers 🙂

    1. Admin Reply

      Hi Debara, I’m sorry you are having trouble with the prices with your food in Darwin, unfortunately prices for most things including food are higher in Darwin than a lot of WA. Our friends lived in Darwin and they said that the Parap Village Markets on a Saturday sold local produce and have some organic sellers. There apparently was an organic market in Malak last year?

      I’m sure this place is good for honest prices for real food for where you are. http://www.greeniesrealfood.com.au Shop 12, Rapid Creek Shopping Village, Darwin.

      As for misleading, we are sorry you read it this way. We never said it was easy. In fact it was very difficult, hence we failed. Our ‘local’ markets are a 1hr 40min round trip, but we think its worth it. During this Winter paleonutter are going to give the challenge another go to see if seasons have a major role in keeping costs down. We would love a comparison though, We could add it into a feature on the site? Keep it real, love and hugs The Nutters. x

  2. Erica Reply

    I don’t have facebook any more ,but when I did I use to follow you guys and enjoy your posts ,so, I thank you for your web site and appreciate the time and effort it takes ….

    1. Admin Reply

      Aww that’s lovely to know Erica. The website is currently having an upgrade, so lots more for you to read, bake and cook coming soon. Stay nutty. Bendy & Mel x x x x

  3. Helen Reply

    Champion effort you two!!! Thank you vey much:))

    1. Admin Reply

      Thanks very much!

  4. Tania Reply

    This is great! Do you have the recipes for the meals, or links/references to where they can be found? Awesome work peeps 🙂

    1. Admin Reply

      We’re still working on the article and all the recipes will be linked in due course too!
      It’s taken so much longer than we anticipated as the website is undergoing a massive overhaul too…we started this all off as a hobby project and Mel did the website herself but it’s time to get professional help now! Hopefully the recipes will be up very soon.

  5. Corinna Reply

    That’s fantastic. Thanks for the tips – I’m gonna give it a go with my fambam of 5 and see how we can do!! Can I ask you where I can find some of the recipes from your meal plan, ie Anzacs, pack cakes etc? Thanks heaps for the inspiration!!! ☺️

    1. Admin Reply

      Hey Corinna,

      The recipes are being uploaded right now, and should be live by tomorrow afternoon. Just about to post My Cherry Berry Delight, check it out and happy hunting and gathering. xxx

  6. Colleen Reply

    What a big job u have done thank u for all the help looks doable

    1. Admin Reply

      Thanks so much, glad you like it!

  7. June Schroeder Reply

    Fantastic! You are both amazing people, giving of your time & knowledge to help others. You have my greatest admiration. May success continue to follow you like a shadow.

    1. Admin Reply

      Thanks June! XXX

  8. Maria Venn Reply

    You are both fantastic to work so diligently & to now share your efforts with the wider community.
    Thankyou so much.
    Will be on my way to the markets for things I can’t grow myself.
    There is no comparison between organically grown fruit & veg & supermarket food. Taste it. You’ll see.
    Having said that, our farmers work hard & do their best every day. We just need to keep encouraging the use of nature as against chemical intervention.
    It can & is being done here in Australia & on a large scale.
    It’s up to each of us to help ourselves. It’s not hard.
    What an inspiration you are.
    With gratitude to you both❤️

    1. Admin Reply

      Wow! Truly humbled! Thanks so much!

  9. Nicola Reply

    I wish someone would do this for a family of 6. It’s so hard to stay in our budget most weeks, our main meals revolve around what’s on special not really a meal plan so lots of thinking on the run lol we try and get as much organic and grass feed , free range as we can and I shop mainly at our farm shop so even if it’s not organic etc I’m still eating local seasonal food and supporting local farmers

    1. Admin Reply

      Sounds like you’re going great. Al to of the meal plans would work for six, you’d just need to increase the ingredients I suppose.

  10. Marjalyn Henson Reply

    I am very interested. Before Paleo I fed 2 adults well on $150. now living alone ( yes, insisting on only healthy food is a deal breaker for a non compliant diabetic) I now spend between $80 and $100 for one. I live in a small country town and the butcher who stocks good, but not always fully Paleo meat is expensive, and I cannot get organic veg. Best available is not sprayed
    I have just screened in my back deck, bought self watering planter boxes, and made some from polystyrene boxes and have the start of a good veg garden. We get minus temps here in winter so the plastic blinds will enable me to grow right through winter.
    My next plan is to obtain bulk grass fed meat for the freezer. I weigh all meat to keep protein size right.
    I will be eighty one next month and look and feel active and well. I still ski, exercise and enjoy my life.

    1. Admin Reply

      Great stuff Marjayln!It’s tough in a small community as things are so much more expensive. We know that Perth is more expensive than some of the eastern cities too, so it does vary.

  11. Christine Reply

    Inspiring as always, posted so friends can read how it’s done thanks X

    1. Admin Reply

      Thanks Christine!

  12. Joanne Rose Reply

    Brilliant work you two! Such great meal plans and advice, thank you!

    1. Admin Reply

      Cheers! More to come, like the recipes etc…do’t forget to ‘Like’ the page on Facebook for updates!

  13. Helen Reply

    What an awesome effort! So much work helping us and inspiring us all. I’m off to print out the planner and see if I can tweak my budget as I am normally a “no expense” spared when it comes to buying good produce and can over spend allllll the time! Thanks to you both!

    1. Admin Reply

      Thanks Helen, I’m just tweaking the shopping lists as they seem to be taking a long time to load. Pictures and menus going on now, so please check back later. Thanks Mel

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