When I first started the paleo diet (or lifestyle really), I didn’t know shopping could be so overwhelming and stressful. When I went grocery shopping, I knew exactly where everything was in the store that I needed. I could be in and out within 20-30 minutes. My first paleo shopping trip took me almost 2 hours. One would think fruit, vegetables, and meat wouldn’t be that hard to shop for, but when you now have to strategically plan meals and examine EVERY label, shopping becomes a little bit harder.
Here are some resources and pointers I’ve compiled to help me at the grocery store.
– Meal Plans: Always plan your meals out for the week (or by 2-3 days if you don’t mind going to the store more than once a week). I buy enough for 5 days with 3 full meals each day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) as well as some ingredients for “snacky foods” for the weekends (we usually eat out on Friday and Saturday nights; I will talk about how to eat at restaurants later).
– Staple Items: Keep your “staple items” on hand at all times. I’ve found this cuts down on what I have buy each week, and it prevents me from having to run to the store for that ONE thing I don’t have. Here’s a link to a sample staple grocery list, but make it your own. For example, I know that every other week that I need to check my Enjoy Life chocolate chip supply (if I made cookies). Also, I need to check my tomato sauce or ingredients for salsa depending on what I’m cooking that week. Also, you won’t need to buy these items EVERY week at the grocery store. For example, my coconut oil may last a month or longer.
– Organic or not? : I struggled to defend buying some organic fruits and vegetables over non-organic ones simply because of some of the prices. For example, organic red peppers are almost $4 per pepper!! WOW! That’s over double the price of non-organic red peppers. However, there is some logic as to which fruits and vegetables to buy organic or not. This is a great guide for when you need to determine if the cost outweighs the need for organic products or not. Pretty much, if you are going to eat the skin (grapes, plums, lettuce, cherries, peaches, etc) then spend the extra moolah and buy organic–again, simple thinking!