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Menu 1

30 Cheap Main Dish Paleo Meals


Paleo is too expensive.

My grocery bill is TOO much since eating this way.

I can’t afford to do this anymore so I’m done.

Sound familiar? I know. I’ve been there. Paleo CAN be expensive, but so can the SAD (standard American diet). ANY diet or lifestyle can be expensive.

The USDA uses national food intake data and grocery price information to calculate different costs for a healthy diet at home. The latest numbers for a four-member family: a thrifty food plan, $146 a week; a low-cost food plan, $191 a week; a moderate-cost plan, $239; a liberal plan, $289 a week. Some food waste is built into these costs (source).

So, let’s be realistic. Look at those numbers. ALL food has gone up…not just Paleo. What category does your family fall into? Are you wanting to eat in the thrifty plan, low-cost, moderate-cost, or liberal plan? Which one can you afford?

Most Americans may only be able to afford the low-cost budget. I know that’s where I fall. My budget for my Paleo family is $200 per week, so I am always looking for low-cost Paleo family meals to make the most out of our budget.

So…here are some of my favorite budget-friendly Paleo meals for a family!

30 Cheap Main Dish Paleo Meals



Spaghetti Squash Goulash – this recipe makes 8 servings! So cut it in half if you don’t want that many. We freeze it though!

Grain Free Nacho Pot Pie – Mexican twist to a Chicken Pot Pie!!!

Ground Beef Stroganoff – very frugal meal and is, absolutely, delicious.

Bacon and BBQ Burger Salad from – leave the bacon out for an even cheaper meal

Slow Cooker Paleo Pot Roast – throw it in the crockpot and go! So simple!

Healthy Butternut Squash Shepherds Pie – Shepherds Pie has always been one of the most nourishing, yet frugal meals to make!

Deconstructed Hamburgers (Hamburger Salad) – what an awesome idea to do for  family night with the kids!

Crockpot Swiss Steak – I love me some Swiss steak! Use arrowroot if you are avoiding potatoes!

Mexican Breakfast – whip this baby up in minutes, especially if you already have ground beef already in the fridge!



Tomato Basil Chicken – 20 Minute Meal!

Buffalo Chicken Muffins – 2 chicken breasts and 5 eggs make 12 HEARTY muffins!

Loaded Mexican Nachos – you won’t even miss the corn chips!

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps – a healthy version of PF Changs Lettuce Wraps!

Duck Pate – an overseen power food that is EXTREMELY frugal and deeply nutritious!

Grain Free Chicken Parmesan – this looks delicious and you can fry it in my favorite coconut oil if you don’t have an animal fat.



Italian Sausage with Winter Squash – One Pot Meal!

Slow Cooker Pork Shanks – you can usually find pork shanks for $2-$2.50 per lb!

Grain Free Breakfast Shepherd’s Pie – A grain free, primal , low carb, egg and bacon mini pie with a coconut flour and veggie crust.

Easy Sweet Curry Pork with Acorn Squash – very frugal meal using leftover (or not) pork chops with a delicious coconut milk curry!



Tomato Basil Mussels – Mussels are VERY cheap. You can get a entire lb for $4!

Salmon and Broccoli Omelette – eggs are EXTREMELY frugal which allows you to splurge on the salmon (I like this Salmon).

Paleo Fish Tacos – white fish is very budget-friendly, so don’t skip the fish because you think it’s not in your budget!

Fishy Bites – use canned salmon (or tuna for cheaper cost) to make this kid-friendly meal that even adults will love!

Thai Shrimp Salad – Shrimp is the ground beef of the seafood world! It’s very cheap and easy to cook!

Salmon Patties – these are a staple in my house! When you can’t afford fresh salmon get a good canned salmon!



Creamy Fire Roasted Tomato Soup – one of my favorite soups in the whole world! Sub full fat coconut milk for dairy free!

Easy Taco Soup – this soup is AMAZING! I eat like 3 bowls when we have it!

 Creamy Chicken Tomato Crockpot Soup – another delicious and SIMPLE crockpot recipe!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup – chicken stock adds a great protein to this dish (here’s how I make my chicken stock). Pair it with this Almond Bread!

Spicy Sausage and Squash Soup – tis the season for all things squash. Use a butternut squash if you can’t find buttercup!


Please come back and tell me you enjoyed some of these delicious, yet very frugal recipes!!



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39 Responses to 30 Cheap Main Dish Paleo Meals

  1. Marianne October 4, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    Thanks so much! My family and I eat paleo for around $220 a week, and I struggle to keep it under that. This is a fantastic list of recipes, and just in time for weekend meal planning 🙂

  2. Tiffany October 4, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Thanks so much for this!!
    I meal plan each week, but sometimes I like to swap out recipes, etc.
    This is perfect!!!

    Thanks again

  3. Karyn October 4, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I guess those numbers make me feel a little better. We spend about 200 a week for a family of seven but this doesn’t include our bulk meat purchases. But, still, I thank you for this compilation and have bookmarked it, because feeding the family does seem to be so expensive!

  4. Sherisse October 4, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Just wondering if you ever zone your meals…. I just started eating paleo zone and I am having a difficult time zoning my current paleo meals. Thanks.

  5. Salixisme October 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    These all sound wonderful! Thankyou for this post.
    Our grocery budget is around $300/week for a family of 6 (4 older kids who eat as much as an adult if not more, and 2 adults)… we also live in Canada, and find that food costs are very high here, especially in the winter.
    We make ends meet by using cheaper cuts of meat (we eat a LOT of ground beef, offal and stewing meats), buying meat in bulk (half a pig, half a cow etc) and by eating seasonally and locally… OK this does mean that we eat a LOAD of kale in the winter and not much else as far as veggies goes, but it does save us a ton of money.
    When ever our grocery shopping comes in under budget (we use cash for the most part as that is preferred at the farmers markets), we put the leftover cash in a safe place and that goes towards our bulk meat purchases.

    • Nicole Monsterson December 5, 2013 at 12:05 am #

      I can relate – I live in Canada too. We buy meat in bulk (bison) and raise our own pigs and chickens on the Southern Gulf islands in BC. Food is so expensive! The last couple of years deer broke into our fenced yard and ate our winter garden in one night; this year we weren’t quick enough to protect it from the chickens. Buying greens in the winter is so expensive (and frustrating) – $4.00 for a spindly bunch of kale that I can eat myself in one sitting? Yikes… but our family feels so much better eating (mostly) paleo… I also have two young sons that can eat as much as me and my husband! What’s a mama to do? They say inflation is running too low in Canada right now, but not on the products that I buy! I feel like the sale prices are more than the regular prices were a year or two ago.

  6. Kim October 5, 2013 at 6:30 am #

    YES!! Thank you for this list! I’ve been transitioning to Paleo for almost a year now (we’re almost completely there!) and our budget sometimes doesn’t include grocery money some weeks. So when people say they can’t afford to eat Paleo? I secretly want to flip out. Haha it’s been such a great lifestyle change in so many ways, it’s worth every penny! But I cannot wait to make that Bacon & BBQ Burger Salad – yum! Thanks again, you rock! 🙂

  7. jan October 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    THANK YOU!!!

  8. Kris W. October 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    What a great collection of recipes! Thank you so much for putting it together!!

  9. Nichole November 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    How could you make pancake puffs paleo? It is a favorite of mine and my kids, and we have it whenever my husband is away (he usually makes plain old pancakes when he is home). I have been trying to cut out as much sugar and flour as possible, but I tried using coconut flour once while making it and it did not turn out at all.

  10. NeedHealthyCantAfford February 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    We’re in dire straits right now, and our grocery budget is less than $200 PER MONTH for two of us. I’m having some major health issues and paleo seems to be a good fit, but I just don’t see how we can do it. I found your site while trying to look for ways to make it happen.

    • Malamute March 10, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      Same here. Newly-divorced single dad, food budget for two is also $50/week. Can’t seem to make this budget without rice, bread, pasta.

      Back when I was married, Paleo gave me back my health. I hope I can keep poverty from taking it away again.

      • The Paleo Mama March 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

        ((hugs)) I’m so sorry…just do the best you can!

      • Susan Howard May 16, 2014 at 12:09 am #

        Same here! We are a family of 4 and if we eat “cheap” food, I can keep the grocery bill between 60-80 a week, but we are trying to eat healthy! It winds up being $100-$120 a week and that seems to barely get us by.

    • PickyPaleo August 27, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      I feel for you! In my experience, price matching from aldi at walmart, shopping sales, and buying fresh produce a few times a week so I don’t waste it has been the most affordable way. Sometimes we aren’t perfectly paleo, but just do the best we can with what we have. Also, shop around for meat prices. We found a small meat market near our home was significantly cheaper than walmart or other basic grocery stores! Good luck!

  11. Amber Miller April 9, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    I am so glad I found this! I’ve written down several of your recipes to try.; For a family of 4, we have a budget of $200 a month.

    We buy whatever is on sale. Produce for the week is based on sales and whatever I can use in more than one recipe. Meat is bought in bulk when it goes on sale. We eat a lot of chicken (I always find a good price on it) and we eat lots and lots of Kale and mandarin oranges. We also shop the farmers markets in the summer, and go to local farms to pick our own produce from the fields. This cuts down on grocery cost significantly– plus we use farms that don’t use GMO seeds, or pesticides of any sort. I’m hoping to begin my own garden next summer so we have fresh produce in our backyard. Bonus: I can do canning and save money year round. 🙂

    • KPCOS July 30, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

      I can’t wait to start growing some of my own vegetables! I’m really happy to see somebody work with a budget of about ~200, it gives me hope. Thanks!

  12. Jessica April 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    To those trying to do paleo for under $50 a week. First, get to know your grocery store and their weekly ads. Only buy what is on sale and shop the other ads to make sure you are getting the best deal. Depending on your store, they may ad match. Also, the bulk of your grocery should be in veggies, which are cheapest if you know where to buy them. Anything packaged vegetable is more expensive. Buy a bunch of carrots, stick with heads/bunches of lettuce. For fruit, the packages/bags are typically cheapest. Also, if you happen to score a deal on berries, etc. Most foods can be frozen. Check the USDA website on guidelines for freezing/thawing food. Also, if you watch ads long enough, you will be able to gauge what will be on sale and when. They have a cycle for meat, produce, etc. For example, one week my store has oranges on sale for 99 cents a pound, the next week it is apples. Also, in my area chicken is the cheapest meat but where my mom lives beef is. Try not to get discouraged, you can do this. Also, if you do need to fill in with beans or such….make sure you soak them, rinse them very well and cook them well. This helps eliminate the anti-nutrients that you hear about.
    Take care!

  13. Lexi April 28, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Thank you!!! Finally food my Hubby and Kid will eat!! Trick them into paleo!

  14. Tori November 16, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Haha I love it. I’ve been feeding my kids paleo since they were born (they’re young) but I “trick” my husband. I just let it go when he eats his sandwich for lunch and make him a big serving of whatever I’m eating for dinner (and the kids). They don’t even know I’m feeding them paleo.

  15. Michelle January 6, 2015 at 3:16 am #

    Thank you so much. I just read another Paleo on a budget article that made me mad with its “just give up your cable, expensive cell phone and eating out” priorities lecture. I haven’t had cable in over 2 decades, pay $30 every 2 months on my pay-as-you-go cell and rarely eat out. I’m sooo glad to find an article that actually addresses something more like my reality instead of assuming I’m spending my money on luxuries. I’m going to plot out ingredients for some of these before I go shopping this weekend. 🙂

  16. Alysia January 10, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

    I just had to take a minute to thank you for this post. It is seriously a God-send. I am cooking for 7 and desperately trying to go Paleo on a budget and this list is phenomenal! Not only affordable meals but stuff that my kids will eat! This gives me hope that I can make it happen. Thank you for taking the time to put this together and share it with everyone. I truly truly appreciate this!

  17. Alysia January 10, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

    I must have read that same article. It made me loose hope of eating Paleo and maintaining a normal life. This was very refreshing after reading the other article.

  18. jessica January 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    Love this list so so much! Our family is new to paleo/primal/real foods. These recipes have been a blessing!! So far we have devoured the Taco soup recipe 2x and the butternut shephards pie x 3. Can’t wait to try more. The kids love them too. Thank you paleo mama Jackie!

  19. Amy January 23, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

    I was really happy to find this site. I want to learn how to can and grow my own produce, but gardening is very hard to do here. We live in the desert. None of our local farms grow organic produce, so growing it ourselves is the only option, and we have a very short growing season. Meat is horribly expensive, so I’ve been doing a lot of stir-fries and bulking up our meals with vegetables. I’m on this diet for health reasons. I can’t eat all of the cheap stuff, even the healthy cheap stuff. I actually think beans are just fine to eat if you cook them right so they are digestible, but my body can’t do carbs right now. Affording paleo is not easy in the least, but I found that it helps to first buy what’s in season and on sale and then build your menu around that rather than the other way around.

  20. Cabas Vanessa Bruno April 9, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    Thankfulness to my father who stated to me on the topic of this blog, this blog is in fact amazing.

  21. Nicole July 15, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    Love this…thank you!

  22. Mayela July 29, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

    I started to use essential oils two months ago, now I am starting to change daily products to chemical free products one at a time. Next will be clean food. Thank you for sharing all these recipes! I am enjoying all the information in your website.

  23. Cassandra August 4, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

    What are those families buying??? Its 4 of us (2 adults/2toddlers). I spend about $350 on groceries biweekly and I would categorize myself as a liberal buyer. 90% of my groceries are organic, antibiotic free, grass fed, or the ever costly nut supply. When we struggled a few years ago, I could get by on $60 groceries a week for 2 adults. Maybe it’s my location (Miami) though I find the cost of living here to be pretty high.

    • Alice November 4, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

      What do YOU buy?! I’ve gone from buying organic to buying the antibiotic free/ grass fed whenever I can find it, and I’m still breaking the bank.

      • Jackie Ritz November 5, 2015 at 7:44 am #

        Since we are homesteaders, we buy in bulk, such as half or quarter cow, and we raise our own chickens, ducks and turkeys. Try researching for local farmers who sell in bulk (if you have freezer room) or with co-ops that sell in bulk. We do the same with produce…farmstands, grow some of our own, etc.

  24. D. Monroe October 1, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    Interesting list, but I’m not sure I believe that organic pastured duck liver is part of an “EXTREMELY frugal” dish….

  25. Joy November 22, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    Thank you so much! I am newer to Paleo and trying to meal plan more. I was able to get lots of ideas for next weeks plan!

  26. Amanda January 24, 2016 at 11:29 pm #

    I found this post after googling “budget paleo”. I’m hoping to find some way to make this work. I could totally make $75 a week for our family of 4 work when we were eating a pretty clean “whole foods” diet (which definitely included a fair amount of grains and not a ton of meat.) Trying paleo has proved to help my health a lot but it seems impossible budget wise! I was just curious if anyone on here has suggestions for making a paleo diet work on a budget that is apparently quite a bit cheaper than thrifty? I do like these recipe ideas though!

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