15 Tips to Save Time & Money While Following AIP
Following The Myers Way® or another autoimmune-friendly protocol (AIP) doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. The demand for high-quality, convenient, organic goods has skyrocketed in the recent years, to the point where you can find all the AIP ingredients you need at places such as Costco, Target, and even online retailers including Thrive Market and Amazon, so you can even follow an AIP diet on a budget! Plus, with a bit of smart planning and time-saving strategies, you can prepare for success all week with as little as one day of meal prep!
I walk you through just how to make The Myers Way® an integral part of your life in The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook, which contains all the AIP recipes you’ll ever need! If you don’t have your copy yet, be sure to pick one up. In the meantime, use the following tips to save time and money on AIP.
How to Save Time on AIP
Time is a valuable commodity, one that we as a nation seem to have less and less of these days, as our lives get filled up with work, family, exercise, and leisure. Many people feel as if there is simply not enough time to shop, cook, or eat healthfully. However, there are some very easy ways to maximize your time so you can easily stick with your AIP protocol all week!
1. Try to Do All Your Grocery Shopping at Once
You can even do two full weeks of shopping in a single trip! You might need to make a quick stop during week two to pick up fresh produce, it will still save you time in the long run.
2. Organize Your Shopping List By Category
When writing your list, imagine how your grocery store is set up. Try to pair foods by the area of the grocery store they are in to be sure you don’t overlook something and to speed up your trip.
3. Double or Triple Your Recipes
Plan to make double or triple batches of recipes depending on the size of your family. This will save on both prep and cooking time, and you can freeze extra portions so you always have something on hand to defrost for an easy meal!
4. Design Your Menu with Crossover Ingredients
If you’re using spinach in your smoothies, find other ways to use spinach such as dinner salads. Making ground beef for one meal? Brown two pounds and use the second in lettuce wraps or salads to help cut back on prep time. Using crossover ingredients can be especially useful when you find good bulk deals on meat or produce!
5. Designate a “Prep Day” on the Weekend
When you have your most-used staples all ready to go, whipping up an autoimmune-friendly dinner is a snap! Make a big batch of bone broth, bake a sheet of sweet potatoes, roast an entire chicken, and wash and cut your veggies for the recipes you’re making that week.
6. Keep Your Menu on the Fridge
This will remind you what you’re eating that day, so you can easily set out items to defrost or make a quick stop at the grocery store for any last-minute ingredients you may need!
7. Utilize Leftovers
By cooking extra batches of recipes, you’ll have leftovers for lunch or dinner the following day. This can help cut down on the number of recipes that you need to prepare for the week.
8. Have Your Groceries Delivered
Don’t have time to go shopping? Many grocery stores such as Whole Foods offer shopping and delivery services with only a small fee for a tip. In as little as one hour from the time you order, you can have all your food for the week at your doorstep!
How to Save Money on AIP
When it comes to eating the highest quality food you can find, I often hear something along the lines of, “I can’t afford to buy organic food, it’s too expensive!” I’ll offer a counterpoint and say you can’t afford NOT to eat for your health! Your wellbeing is so important to your quality of life, and by choosing to spend money now on organic, nutrient-dense foods, you will be saving tens of thousands of dollars down the line in what you won’t be spending on medical costs.
Organic foods and ingredients are now more affordable than ever, since so many more stores are carrying them. Plus, when you’re following The Myers Way®, you won’t be spending money on processed foods, dairy products, and other inflammatory items, so you’ll actually be saving money in the long run. Once you’ve gotten used to this way of shopping, cooking, and eating, you’ll learn other money-saving strategies that you can implement as well, including the following.
1. Take Stock of Your Fridge and Pantry
This tip will actually save you both money and time. See what ingredients you already have on hand that you can utilize throughout the week for your meals. Taking stock of your fridge, freezer, and pantry will help you avoid buying double and keep food from going bad.
2. Look for Weekly Deals
Check the flyers from the grocery stores in your area, and take advantage of deals. Stores will often put organic produce or grass-fed meat on sale for the same price or even less than conventional versions.
3. Buy in Bulk
Buying food in bulk quantities is economical and will help simplify your shopping trip. Stock up on bulk items when there is a sale for even more value. If you’re making recipes from The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook, some items you’ll always want to buy in large quantities are coconut oil, leafy greens, and packages of organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts because you’ll be cooking and eating them frequently!
4. Buy Online
When I was growing up, we shopped at the local health food store for all our organic goods. That was before there was even a Whole Foods! Now, there are tons of online stores such as Thrive Market where you can buy organic AIP pantry staples at prices 25-50% cheaper than you’ll find at the grocery store. These retailers are great if you don’t live near a store that sells all the AIP ingredients you need, or if you’re simply looking for a more affordable option.
5. Prioritize Organic Meats and the Dirty Dozen
If you can’t afford to buy all of your food organic, prioritize the foods that tend to carry the most chemicals: meat and the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen. Because animals are at the top of the food chain, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins become concentrated in their meat, which is why it’s most important to prioritize organic, pasture-raised, and 100% grass-fed meat. You’ll also want to check out the EWG’s Dirty Dozen List–the most pesticide-laden produce of the year–and buy all those foods organic as well.
6. Split a CSA Box or Subscription Service
Know someone with the same tastes and health goals as you? Split a CSA box or subscription service such as ButcherBox with a friend or neighbor to get all the benefits at half the cost!
7. Minimize Waste
Did you know that we throw away roughly 1.3 billion tons of food worldwide every single year? That’s about one third of all the food we grow!1 To do your part to minimize global waste (and save yourself money at the same time), repurpose leftovers in new dishes, throw veggie scraps and chicken bones into a freezer bag for bone broth, and label perishables with dates and rotate pantry items so you use up older food first to prevent spoilage and rancidity.
Now that you’re armed with the tools you need to save time and money on AIP, let’s get cooking! The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook contains recipes for every meal from breakfast to dessert, and even includes instructions for making your own condiments! Some of my favorite recipes from the book are the Honey-Ginger Glazed Salmon, Tigernut Waffles, Gingerbread Cake, and Mushroom and Asparagus Caulisotto (click here to check out a cool video from Thrive of this recipe in-the-making along with my tips for dining out AIP-style!). AIP cooking never looked so easy!