Over the past year, we've discovered that Ds1 needs to be cow-milk free (he can do goat and sheep milk products, which is likely where some of our cost issues are coming from - goat yogurt is EXPENSIVE! LOL), and that DH needs to be GF Dh willing to eat, say, a hamburger without the bun while the rest of us have a bun, but I'd prefer to do single meals. Also, the hitch is that I lean toward TF/paleo/low carb, philosophically (not always so much in practice)... but none of this is cheap. I do beans sometimes (don't care for rice, though), but I don't like to do them too often because I really think we should be getting more variety in our diet. Also, we mostly buy organic produce... because of pesticides and such, but we do try to buy in season.
Am I just screwed on being able to eat this way and cheaply? We already buy meat in bulk from a local farmer... (should I have posted in frugality and finances?)
Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise (1/06), Oliver Matthew (7/07) and Avery Michael (3/10)
Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.
I do think your specifications are very expensive... (sorry!) GF and DF can be done cheaply, but if you cut out grains and must have organic produce and organic meat it is expensive even if you DO eat gluten and dairy.
I believe there is a list floating out there on the foods that are worth going organic on, and those that are not. For some food, after you prepare them for cooking, there is not much difference between organic and non-organic produce. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/
You can make Goat's yogurt yourself by buying a pot of live goat's yogurt, saving a small portion as a culture to start a next batch with goat's milk.
We do a fair amount of meat because ds2 can't do fish or dairy or eggs. I try to stretch the money by buying cheaper cuts of meat and looking for recipes for them. I buy organic dried fruits because ds2 can't do preservatives, but everything else I do just go for fresh and in season. The price between goat's milk, and organic goat's milk is HUGE. I sometimes buy goat's milk from a local farm that does not use antibiotics and the goats are raised on alpine grass for ds1. It's not certified organic, but it's good enough for me, and it's already three times more expensive than cow's milk from the supermarket.
there was a thread a while back about grocery costs on restricted diets...
a hamburger meal where one person goes without the bun is the "same meal" in my book.
If you don't want to do rice, there's always potoatoes (white and sweet) which can be made many different ways. And even though he "can" do sheep/goat dairy, he probably doesn't "need" to. My DS and DD2 just got goat/sheep back after no dairy at all for 3 years. So it's treated as a "treat" and I get the cheese once in a while. Other than that, I make coconut milk yogurt, and we do coconut milk ice cream (made or bought, but bought is expensive).
protein, veggie, fruit, starch is the easiest way to go. You may be able to find pasture fed meats cheaper by buying in bulk (half a cow for example). Our meals tend to be flexible because two of my kids have had opposing food restrictions (for instance one couldn't have beef and one couldn't have sugar, one couldn't have beet sugar, the other couldn't have cane sugar, etc.) so I tried to make as much of the meal the same as possible, and then just sub out the protein for example.
Up in resources, there's a recipes thread that could give you some new ideas maybe.