Paleo Diet Shopping List Essentials
Here are 31 essential items that need to go in your shopping cart when you hit the grocery store. Basically you’re avoiding the middle of the store, but we’ll swoop in like a SWAT team to get a few essential things we need, like spices. The bulk of your trip will take place at the perimeter of the store, scooping up lots of fresh organic vegetables and fruits, then back to the meat section to procure some Paleo staples like beef and chicken. The grocery store is no place for browsing. Go in with a purpose and a list, and consider it mission accomplished if you only pick up these basic necessities.
Berries (Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries)
Melon (Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon)
Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon
Nitrate-free Bacon (uncured, organic if available)
Organic Free-Range Eggs
Coconut Oil (might be in the Health Food section)
Nuts and Seeds
*all spices should be organic, if available.
The Breakdown: What Each Food Does
Broccoli – Everyone’s favorite health food, broccoli will load you up with vitamins, and the fiber it contains is important to take in when consuming all of the meat Paleo entails. More than a full day’s supply of Vitamin C in a one cup serving.
Kale – You can get in on the kale craze on Paleo and choose between curly kale, baby kale, and even dinosaur kale. It’s all good for you and will help your digestive system. All the Vitamin A you need in a one cup serving.
Carrots – Not just good for your eyes, the beta-Carotene in carrots will help strengthen your immune system. Just one carrot supplies you with all of the Vitamin A you need for the day.
Spinach – The phytonutrients in spinach will protect you from free radicals and help the body in a number of ways. There’s also fiber, protein, magnesium, and potassium, all while being virtually fat free. Wow!
Brussels Sprouts – A cruciferous vegetable, Brussels sprouts will actually supply you with more Vitamin C than oranges, ounce for ounce. One cup gives you all the Vitamin C your body needs for the entire day.
Beets – The betalain in beets is a powerful antioxidant, and they’re pretty much only found in beets, so pick up some fresh beets and roast them for a delicious and nutritious vegetable. One beet also gives you a tenth of the fiber you need each day.
Asparagus – Asparagus helps to cleanse the body and has plenty of different vitamins and antioxidants to keep you feeling good throughout the day. Pair it with the salmon you bought and you have a full Paleo meal. A 100 gram serving provides 8% of your fiber needs.
Cucumber – You’ll benefit from the hydrating nature of cucumbers. They’re mostly water, and that water gets absorbed by the body the same as if you drank a glass of water. There’s basically no fat in cucumbers.
Celery – Often thought of us a diet food, celery is a fantastic veggie to eat on Paleo, and one that provides antioxidants and helps curb inflammation. Celery gives you over 5% of your fiber from a 100 gram serving.
Tomatoes – The lycopene in tomatoes is an important antioxidant, so you’ll want to be sure to cook them to help the body absorb more of it. A medium tomato supplies you with one fifth of two key vitamins, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Berries – Berries are something that the gathering crowd would have gathered while the hunters were off doing their thing. No matter which berry you go with you’ll be getting antioxidants and fiber. 100 grams of raspberries takes care of a quarter of the fiber you need.
Oranges – Vitamin C is what we’re after with oranges, and it’s well known that they help your immune system improve if it’s been overtaxed. Eat one orange and you won’t have to worry about Vitamin C for the day.
Apples – As they say, an apple a day for better health, but on Paleo they provide the all important fiber as well as a variety of nutrients. Just one medium-sized apple gives you 17% of the fiber you’re trying to get each day.
Bananas – Monkeys still eat them, so you know we’ve been eating them since back in the day. You can’t go wrong with the fiber and potassium boost they provide. Eat a banana and you’ve taken care of 12% of both your fiber and your potassium for the day.
Melon – No matter which melon you choose you’re going to be getting vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, plus they are naturally sweet which will help curb any sugar cravings. One cup of balled cantaloupe gives you all the Vitamin C and Vitamin A you need in one day.
Grass-fed Beef – Conventional cows are fed a very unconventional diet of corn and grains, things that cows just wouldn’t eat if they were roaming free. Go grass-fed, and organic if you can find it. It may be more expensive, but meat is one of your two staples on Paleo, so you don’t want to cut corners. A three ounce serving of 90% lean beef nets you 22 grams of protein, which is roughly half of what you need as a daily requirement.
Organic Chicken – Organic chicken is the only way to go, and although you can eat any part of the chicken, boneless skinless chicken breast is the way to go if weight loss is your primary goal. Going with the breast also yields a higher quality protein. A 100 gram serving of chicken breast provides over half of the protein you need to consume each day.
Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon – Wild caught is how our ancestors would have caught them, and it would have been a very special treat. You simply can’t top it for its mix of omega-3s, protein, and other minerals. A 100 gram serving of wild salmon provides 2.6 grams of omega-3s.
Shrimp – Shrimp are good to have once in awhile when you want something other than chicken, beef, or salmon. Come day five or six you’ll be ready for a nice shrimp dish. Cook up 100 grams of shrimp and it will contain nearly half the protein you’re recommended to get in a day.
Organic Free-Range Eggs – Organic means that the chicken will have eaten organic feed, and won’t have been pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones. Free-range means they weren’t kept in pens, so they’re the closest thing in our modern world to what a caveman might have had. One large egg contains 5% or more of important vitamins like Vitamin A, D, and B-12.
Coconut Oil – Ignore the debate over coconut oil and just know that you’re not only getting healthy fats, but a special type of saturated fat that actually works for you. One tablespoon of coconut oil gives you more than half of the saturated fat you’re allotted each day, but not all saturated fat is created equally. It’s not the same saturated fat that’s in a Big Mac.
Organic Ghee – By going organic you start with butter that comes from organically raised cows, and then take it a step further by separating the impurities from it. Ghee is made up of roughly one third monounsaturated fat, a healthy fat.
Olive Oil – This will likely become your go-to oil if it isn’t already. It’s loaded with healthy fat and factors into many recipes. Olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat (71%), with a bit of polyunsaturated fat (10%) and saturated fat (14%) as well.
Raw Almonds – Go raw instead of roasted because you’ll be avoiding the oil that is used in the conventional roasting process, as well as the questionable salt. A half cup of almonds contains over 400 calories. Good thing we don’t count calories on Paleo!
Raw Cashews – Cashews pack plenty of healthy fat, and are very satisfying, so you can use them as a between meal snack if you get hungry. A one ounce serving contains 12 grams of fat, which scared many people away from them, but upon closer inspection the majority (58%) is monounsaturated fat.
Ground Flaxseed – This is an important pickup when you’re starting on Paleo because you’ll want to make sure you get your omega-3s, and this is a rich source that is easily incorporated into any dish. One tablespoon gives you 7% of the fiber needed daily.
Cumin – Cumin is a savory spice that can help improve the flavor of a dish, and goes great on chicken and beef. Not only that but it has far-reaching health benefits and deserves a spot on your spice rack.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon is a very healthy spice, and can be used on both sweet and savory foods as a flavor enhancer. You’re actually getting 16% of the fiber you need from one tablespoon of cinnamon, so don’t use it sparingly.
Basil – Fresh basil is nice, but dried basil in the spice sections will last longer and is so easy to put into soups, stir frys, or on your already completed meal. Basil acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body.
Garlic Powder – You can use garlic cloves, but garlic powder is so much easier and can be sprinkled on everything from meats to veggies for better taste. Garlic can also help to reduce your blood pressure, which is key to a healthy heart and a long life.
Turmeric – This is not only a tasty spice, it is also very healthy for you, providing anti-inflammatory benefits and can even help you prevent cancer.
Return to the Paleo Diet Guide