~ Real Food From a Real Kitchen ~~

Costco Haul-Meal Planning is the Panacea

Salmon dinner

The three things I hear most often about eating Keto or Low Carb High Fat (LCHF)are…..1.People don’t want to give up bread, fruit and wine, 2. People don’t know how to cook and 3. Eating Keto is super expensive.  For now let’s focus on #3. I can kind of see how some people would think that the elitist thinking about grass-fed this and organic that would have anyone worried that they’d eat their way very quickly through their paycheck. Also, there tends to be a misconception around eating LCHF in that you will be consuming gigantic amounts of really expensive meat 3-5 times a day...this is just false and I will touch on that later. With just a little bit of planning and basic kitchen skills eating a Keto can actually be less expensive than take out or even buying traditional pre-packaged commercial items from the supermarket.  Yes, it is very expensive to eat very healthy AND have someone else do the cooking for you (eating out at restaurants, hiring a chef or even having fully prepared meals arrive at your doorstep, eating only grass fed and organic, etc), but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The truth of the matter is that there are different levels of eating Keto or LCHF. As with any diet or lifestyle we must do things in moderation and do what works best for us and our budget.  If your mayonnaise of choice is Hellmann's or Best foods because it’s on sale and that is what fits in your budget then I’m totally cool with that. The next level of a “better” mayonnaise would be a specialty store bought avocado oil based mayonnaise that costs more but has better ingredients...and tastes a little better, too.  The best choice of mayonnaise that is both time consuming and expensive as you blow through dozens of organic free range pasture fed eggs at a time is homemade mayonnaise, aka aioli. If you’re going to go to that level then you can probably afford a personal chef to make it for you. The idea that the Keto or LCHF community is promoting this elitist society of grass-fed meats and wild caught seafood in gigantic quantities is just preposterous and actually slightly counter to this whole movement of eating well.  No, we don’t want factory processed meats, nor do we promote eating huge amounts of animal protein. So don’t sweat the elitist quality of your ingredients just yet.

As for quantity of food, who’s idea was it anyway that we need to pile our plates sky high with ginormous quantities of food falling off our plates?  And how about second helpings? What, are you eating for two? I think not. And BTW you can thank the food marketers and manufacturers for leading us to believe that more and bigger is better.  They want you to believe that because that means you’re buying MORE. Yes, a generous helping of vegetables and healthy fats are appropriate, but animal protein should never really be more than 3-5oz per meal...that’s about the size of a deck of cards.  To put it in perspective a pound of ground beef should ostensibly feed a family of 4.

Beef Portion
Single Chicken portion
Ground Beef Portion

The other part of the expense discussion is when you factor in the long term expense of rising health care and medication costs associated with diabetes, heart disease, joint replacements, etc. Actually, clean healthy home cooked meals are just about the cheapest thing you can do for yourself.  When you can lessen your health issues just by diet alone you can sometimes even completely eliminate most or all medication, doctors visits and high insurance premiums and deductibles. The savings in time, money and physical pain are worth their weight in gold.

I recently went to Costco and with a little planning, and of course already having staples in my fridge and pantry, I was able to get a months worth of meals for my family.  I spent $326, which may seem like a lot but when you break it down and see all the meals we will make. Check it out...

8 cans diced tomatoes $6.49

1 Rotisserie chicken 4.99

3 Half gallons unsweetened almond milk $9.39

4 lb Filet Mignon $37.48

3.5 lb Organic ground beef $19.99

3 lb beef flank steaks $29.72

4 lb Organic Chicken breast $26.05

8 cans organic coconut milk $8.99

2 lb Hot sausage brats $11.89

24 Organic pasture XL eggs $7.49

8 can black olives $8.99

2 lb pecan $14.99

5 large avocados $6.99

24oz Avocado Oil $9.69

2 pints organic blueberries $9.99

64oz mayonnaise $6.99 (-$2.00 sale)=$4.99

6lb shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese $11.89

1 half gallon heavy cream $9.49

8 red/Orange/yellow bell peppers $6.49

2 tubs artichoke/jalapeño dip $8.99

2 lb Kerry Gold Irish Cheese $10.99

2 lb organic Cauliflower rice $3.99

2 lb organic fresh baby spinach $3.99

2lb organic celery $4.48

2lb Organic brussel sprouts $5.49

2lb Organic green beans $4.99

1lb zucchini zoodles $7.99

2lb Organic spring mix lettuce $3.79

2lb Organic green & yellow squash $5.99

4lbs Cello Whisp parmesan crackers $19.78

Paid $.50 tax on the rotisserie chicken

Total $326.64

Things I will make throughout the month with this haul….

Salad for lunches and dinners

Chicken salad to be added to salad & quick bites

BBQ Filet mignon kabobs with bell peppers

Filet mignon steaks with cauliflower mash and garlic green beans

Thai coconut chicken soup with spinach and zucchini

Ground beef stuffed bell peppers

Chicken fried “cauliflower” rice

Spice rubbed flank steak

Mustard and garlic marinated flank steak

Chicken taco salad (Taco seasoning is a pantry staple)

Creamy beef enchilada soup

Chocolate mousse (cocoa powder is a pantry staple)

Brown butter pecan “ice cream” w/ Almond Milk

Chicken Parmesan over pesto zoodles

Berries and whipped cream

Cobb salad (some items used from previous hauls)

Deviled eggs

Sausage, Kale & Cauliflower soup

Avocado on everything

Avocado Oil in everything

Jalapeño dip with celery sticks, bell pepper strips and Whisp crackers

Buffalo chicken cauliflower bake

Yellow squash au gratin

Guacamole with Whisp crackers

Roasted brussel sprouts with bacon crumbles (with bacon from previous haul)

Cheddar, pepperoni, olive,sundried tomato appetizer platter (pepperoni and tomatoes from previous haul)

Scrambled eggs with cheddar and spinach

Bacon and Cheddar Quiche

Coconut Chocolate Chip “ice cream” (Lily’s chocolate chips from previous haul)

.....And before you start squawking on...yes I will head to the supermarket a few times through the month to replenish the vegetable drawer with lettuce or mushrooms or for something that might have inspired me. The cost is minimal on these ancillary market runs, so I don’t even really consider these huge expenses.

Meal planning, buying in bulk and basic cooking skills will save you money on groceries and health care, but also will bring immeasurable health and satisfaction at being able to take care of yourself and your family.

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