Grocery shopping - some people love it, others hate it. No matter where you fall on the spectrum the fact is, you've got to do it if you want to eat. Now throw following a Paleo Diet into the mix and things have gotten even more complicated, and some would tell you, more expensive. But it really isn't as difficult or expensive as one might think! Use this guide and tips to help plan your next trip.
Let's start shopping!
-Focus on the crops that are in season in order to get the best prices and nutrient content.
-Choose organic when/if possible and if your bank account allows.
-Stock up on what's on sale - many vegetables can be frozen for later use!
-Purchase spinach, salad blends, pre-cut vegetables, etc. if convenience and minimal prep time are important.
-Fill your cart with color!
Vegetables - Get Lots!! Great choices include: spinach, greens, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, fresh herbs, sweet potatoes (for post workout meals), mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, avocado... (Avoid the nightshades if you have autoimmune issues.)
Fruit - Don't go crazy here! Fit fruit into your diet primarily in the post workout period. Great choices include: Berries, watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, peaches, grapefruit, oranges, plums, apples, bananas...
-Go for grass-fed meat, wild caught fish, and free range poultry if it's available and within your budget.
-If choosing farm raised meats opt for leaner cuts, if grass fed the fat is good!!
Meat - Beef, bison, venison, wild game, pork - they're all good! Sirloin, tenderloin, flank, and strip steaks are the leanest choices.
Poultry - When choosing poultry the breast and thigh portions will yield the most meat and from a food to $$ ratio are the best bets! There are also many 'natural' sausage options available in large supermarkets - chicken apple sausage is wonderful!!
Fish & Seafood - Salmon, tuna and other fatty fish are the best choices due to their high Omega-3 fatty acid content. For variety cod, perch, tilapia, mahi, scallops, shrimp, etc. are good choices too.
-Don't spend too much time here!! Look for the eggs. Omega-3 fortified eggs from free-range chickens are the optimal choice! Get some and move on!!
Frozen Foods Department
-Fresh produce is not always the best choice depending on the season and your budget. The frozen food aisle is another great option for fruits and vegetables. It is always a good idea to have a few bags of broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, etc. in the freezer for a 'quick' fix meal!
-Make sure to choose plain frozen vegetables without sauces or flavorings added - you can season them at home!
-Choose unsweetened frozen berries, peaches, cherries and other fruits.
-Pick up a couple large bags of plain chicken breasts, salmon, and/or other meats. If you are on a budget buying bulk bags of meat is cheaper than purchasing from the meat counter.
Many times this is where people get in trouble! So many pretty packages with pictures of cookies, crackers, snacks, etc. AVOID aisles of temptation!!
-Pick up a selection of salt-free spices. My favorites include garlic powder, oregano, basil, cumin, curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, and for everything else an all-purpose spice like Mrs. Dash is great!
-Next stop - oils. Coconut oil and olive oil are must haves. Avocado and walnut oils are also very good on salads.
-Coconut milk (the kind in a can with no sugar added), is great for making curries, in post workout smoothies, and as an alternative to creamer if you're a coffee drinker. Get some!
-Nuts and nut butters are also good to have around for quick snacks and in a pinch. Walnuts and macadamia nuts are the best choices and walnut butter is EXCELLENT! When choosing nut butters make sure there are no added ingredients - pure nuts is what to look for. If there is the option to 'grind your own' take it! Also, purchase unsalted nuts if possible.
-Some other items to consider depending on your goals, level of strictness and situation may include; unsweetened dried fruit, balsamic vinegar, green tea, and jerky (although the BEST place to get jerky is through Paleo Brands (click the link and look around)- they have GREAT Paleo frozen meals and cookies too!)
-If you are an athlete or looking for some quick post or during workout carbs grab some coconut water and Larabars for quick convenient fuel.
This list by no means covers all the possibilities but it's a good start. Now grab a cart and start shopping!
Do you have any "must have" items on your list? Share them in the comments!