I was at the hospital while my mother was having surgery and was people watching, which prompted me to post this status update on my Facebook that said,
"So many obese people, all around...wish I could tell each and every one of them that there is a good and healthy way to remedy their situation...but I know most wouldn't listen, too afraid to go against conventional wisdom."
I had a couple of friends respond that, while they agreed low carb eating was good, it was very difficult, and too expensive. One responder was a single lady who has older, independent children living outside the home, and the other is a mom of kids still too young to leave the nest; but both with necessary budget constraints.

As a mother myself, of three splendid children (one of whom has flown the coop), I know all about eating low carb and healthy on a budget, so I thought I'd share what I do to keep food on the table for the family. Keep in mind, too, that I also work outside the home, and have the same unexpected things come up that make one deviate from the set routine, just like everybody else. Sometimes things flow splendidly, sometimes I have to get more creative to get things done, but somehow we all survive...thrive, even!

So, in no particular order of importance, here are the things that help me do low carb on an extremely limited budget:

Eliminate all processed and packaged foods from your grocery list.

Yes, even if you have kids who think it is their right to have a bag of chips or lunch-quick packaged junk. That frozen "lean meal" box of chemicals isn't low carb, and it has a lot of additives that are detrimental to everyone's health, no matter if "Heart Healthy" is printed on the package. It's not heart healthy, it'll kill you - - and it's expensive. If convenience and time is an issue when you are making the decision to buy these items, then set aside an hour or two one evening and make a few meals ahead. Freeze some things in portion sizes that you can reheat when you really don't have the time to cook, or to take to work for lunch (another money saver). Freeze leftovers from dinner instead of letting them rot until you can finally get around to cleaning out the fridge.

For good protein buys, look at the grocery store sale fliers, and buy the cheapest cuts of meat.

I believe, ideally, that we should all be eating grass fed beef for optimal health, and to not support government subsidized farming. However, it is too expensive for me to do with what money I have coming in and the mouths I have to feed. At some point I hope to be able to buy and eat all grass fed, but until then I buy what is in my grocery meat case. I like the fatty cuts of meat with all its flavor and good saturated fat, and it seems like the leaner cuts are more expensive, tough, and flavorless. I usually get whole chickens, sometimes for less than a dollar a pound, and cut them into pieces myself if I want them that way. I buy bone in chicken, with the skin on, if I ever do buy the pre-cut pieces. I typically buy dark meat pieces, which I find are more moist and juicy than the breasts, and they are usually much less expensive. I love finding a good pork butt on sale and throwing it in the crock pot before I head to work. Sometimes I'll do the same with chicken. Cheap meat, virtually cooking by itself = little time and money invested, and ready to eat when you get home. WIN!

Eggs, lots of eggs.

The incredible edible egg. Ignoring the faulty science behind the whole "don't eat too many eggs because they contain a lot of cholesterol," is wise. Eggs are good for you, and packed with a lot of nutritional bang for your buck, and they are so versatile. I eat eggs daily, and happily. I've heard complaints that eating eggs all the time gets boring, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of low carb egg recipes out there. Besides frying some up for breakfast in some bacon grease (which I save in a Mason jar in my refrigerator every time I make some bacon), my favorite things to make with eggs are omelets, crustless quiche, and deviled eggs (made with homemade mayo), just to name a few. And you don't really have to save eggs for breakfast time...having eggs for lunch or dinner is really quite satisfying and delicious!

Shop the perimeter.

Where is all the real food located in the grocery? The perimeter of the store, that's where. Produce, meat, dairy (well, certain dairy items that some low carbers eat). Whole foods, good foods, not the packaged stuff in the center aisles of the store. You'd be surprised at how low the grocery bill is when this one simple rule is applied.

There are certain foods I will not compromise on, and some things I do to supplement and enhance the food I am eating.

Because I eat grain fed meats I supplement, and try to adjust my Omega 6 and Omega 3 ratio, with a couple of teaspoons of Cod Liver Oil each day. Cod Liver Oil isn't that expensive, and I don't feel as bad about not being able to eat grass fed beef.

I don't eat industrial oils (no vegetable, bean, or seed oils), and do not use them for cooking. I do, as I mentioned above, save bacon grease to cook some things in, and sometimes cook with coconut oil, which is rather expensive, but worth it. I use olive oil for low heat or no heat recipes, and to make homemade mayo. I don't eat mayo off the shelf because it contains industrial oils and is usually soybean oil based, even the kind that says it's made with olive oil. Also, I am careful now to read labels on canned and packaged fish (tuna, salmon, sardines) now, as I've noticed that sometimes soybean oil is what they are canned or packaged in. I tend to buy water packed cans, and not the pouches, which tend to be a little more expensive than the oil packed variety.

I buy butter made from grass fed cows milk. Kerrygold butter, to be exact. The flavor is unmatched, and it is very nutritionally dense. Definitely more expensive than butter in the grocery store dairy cooler, but oh so worth it!

I take Vitamin D3 daily. It makes me feel good and seems to even boost my energy and mood.

In a nutshell, those are the things I do to save some bucks low carb food-wise. If I can think of anything else, I'll post.

Do you do anything else to save money on your low carb food bill? Comment and let me know!