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how to eat real food on a budget

this is a question i have been getting a lot lately and one i have been worried about ever since we started our real food journey a while back.

it is also still a weekly battle that i fight because close family in the states, one salary and a recession, does not a wealthy family make! however, i found this post over at food renegade about 4 months back and i have found it to be invaluable.

the post is quite long and goes into some of the scientific nitty gritty–an element i love, but recognise others may not be looking for! so i am going to give a quick abridged version here just in case you only have a few minutes to read. i’m nice like that.

what to spend my money on (in order of importance, this is what i changed/payed more for first)

1. high quality fats and oils–whether we like it or not our body needs fat (and uses it all the time!) to function. ESPECIALLY saturated fat. yes. you read correctly. if you don’t believe me, read this and this. i now only use organic butter, coconut oil and olive oil.

2. raw or fermented dairy from happy animals–it took me a day or two to find a local dairy that sells raw milk and about 3 months to get up the organisation to start going. in the meantime i switched to organic whole milk (skimmed and semi are quite processed) and tried to get some that was un-homogenised–here’s why.

3. happy meat, fish and eggswe get ours delivered weekly from able & cole. love these guys (they also do un-homogenised milk!).

4. organic fruits and veggies–we still buy ours from lidl because of our low food budget.

so that is how i prioritise my spending. i have a weekly order from able & cole for all the stuff i have decided i want to pay more for to have healthy and includes all my meat, butter, eggs and un-homogenised organic milk–if i am not going to make it to the farm that week. then i get the rest of my food (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, flour, fruit, veg and tins) from lidl. that is how i keep the cost down!!

if you want more info on how to get started eating real food, i have found the basics section of food renegade so unbelievably helpful.

happy sunday!




  1. Rachel

    Hello 🙂 I found you a while ago in a round about way via a couple of old uni friends who you know, and have been meaning to introduce myself… so hello. Love love love this post, our ‘real food journey’ has been a bit hit and miss lately, I was feeling gloomy about another mouth to feed (baby is 8 months now, plus a 2 and a 4 year old) and whether we could really afford to eat well at all, and this is the kick I needed to get back on with it, for the sake of all of our health (that’s me, the hubs and the three little boys). You are such an encouragement 🙂 thank you for sharing this with the world!

    • Hi Rachel! Thank you so much for your comment and your encouragement! My real food journey has been 2 steps forward, 1 step back the whole way along. It is hard to make changes with littles (isn’t it just?!) but all the sudden, 6 months later, you realise you haven’t had refined sugar in ages… or something crazy that seemed unattainable. It just celebrating the small steps and having loads of grace for yourself when on ‘one of those days’ you just go get a pizza (that was me 3 days ago!!). Good luck with everything and if you want meal plan ideas head over to they are amazing and kid approved and have gotten me through when I’m stuck for ideas! Lots of love, Sarah

  2. Pingback: reflections on 18 months of real food | staying awake

  3. Pingback: my favourite real food meal planning resources | staying awake

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