A lot of paleo diet guides just throw you a long shopping list and say go! I’m here to tell you exactly what I buy and exactly where I get it from. Diets can be intimidating to begin, but I’m going to make it simple for you and walk you through a day of paleo shopping that will be incredibly easy to replicate so that you can start kicking ass and taking names with your Paleo Diet.
Shopping Paleo is no doubt a skill I acquired with many shopping trips and hundreds (maybe thousands) of labels read.
It wasn’t always this way for me. In college, I literally could have grocery shopped in my sleep. Every cart I pushed through the cashier looked the exact same. Bag of lettuce, rotisserie chicken, bananas, peanut butter, gallons of milk (and beer), and as many granola/ protein bars to last a two-month camping trip (I didn’t camp).
My diet and shopping were mindless and that was the way I liked it.
When I first learned about the Paleo Diet, I knew shopping was going to be a bitch; Reading all those damn labels, paying up for a stupid chicken’s eggs just because he got recess once a day, paleo recipes calling for ingredients and spices I’ve never even heard of before. ..
It looked tough from the outside and no doubt it definitely was in the beginning.
But I made the decision that my diet and my grocery shopping were no longer going to be a mindless act, but become my most important priority instead.
I live in South Florida so these stores may not be local to your area, but hopefully you have comparable stores nearby. Also, you most likely DO have a farmer’s market nearby (try Google), it took me months to find one by my house and it is absolutely incredible with prices that halve those of the supermarkets. I assure you there is a rhyme to my reason with every product I buy, whether it be it’s ingredients or it’s unbeatable price at a specific store. Here is my paleo diet shopping list that I can knock out in a couple of hours (and you can too!)
First, Rorabeck’s Farmer’s Market…
Where it’s hard to spend over $30 in one visit. Real food can be cheap when you buy it straight from the source.
They have most of the food pre-portioned into buckets for a couple bucks a piece. For example, the sweet potatoes come in a bucket with about 7-8 good sized ones for a $1.50. That’s like a quarter of the price of a major grocery store.
What I buy at the produce market…
Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Spaghetti Squash
Oranges, Cucumbers, Apples
Radish, Onions, Peppers
Cauliflower, Eggplant, Garlic
Avocados – When Costco doesn’t have good ones in. But Costco can usually beat them on price.
Next stop, Costco.
You wouldn’t think of Costco as paleo-friendly but they actually have a lot of good organic and paleo-approved products. This is the best place to buy healthy fats like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Also, some products below may not seem “paleo” because you are used to their high-fructose corn syrup filled cousins at the supermarket. I read all labels first and don’t get anything with added crap like HFCS. I don’t have brands listed because Costco only carries one of each thing really but if you have questions just comment below.
What I buy from Costco…
Kerry Gold Grass-Fed Butter – This stuff is amazing and will literally transform your food into gold.
Organic Coconut Oil
Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, Pecans, Pistachios
Organic Fresh Salad Greens and Vegetables – Spinach, Mixed Greens, Carrots
Organic Frozen Vegetables & Fruits (bagged in freezer section) – Broccoli, Cherries, Strawberries, Mixed Berries (blueberry, raspberry)
Chicken Apple Sausage and Sliced Ham
Organic Chicken Thighs
Current selection of wild caught fish in fresh section – Cod, Mahi, etc
Canned fish like wild caught Alaskan salmon, Sockeye salmon, or Sardines
Garlic salt, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, Minced Garlic, Other Spices and Seasonings
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar
Organic Tomato Sauce, Salsa, and Tomato Paste
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce! Need a recipe with it –> Buffalo Chicken Thighs
Organic Honey, Maple Syrup, and Vanilla Extract, – for paleo desserts, not everyday eating
Canned chicken, tuna, and crabmeat aren’t perfectly paleo but will help make some cost-effective meals here and there
Coconut Water and LaCroix
Next Stop… Whole Foods!
While some prices at Whole Foods are jacked up beyond belief, they actually have good deals on some products, and they also carry things you won’t find anywhere else.
Eggs, Eggs, and more eggs. Finding a REAL pasture-raised or free-range egg from a good source isn’t easy but they have them.
Kerry Gold Grass-Fed Butter
Organic Boneless Chicken Thighs (Costco carries these as well for similar price.)
Grass-Fed Beef or Steaks depending on selection/price (But most of the time we order our beef online from US Wellness Meats)
Mustard, Honey Mustard, Salsa
Coconut Milk, Shredded Coconut
Sugar Free Pork Bacon from the butcher counter – my weekly treat
70-85% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bars
Coconut Water and Kombucha
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Soap and Deodorant (less harmful ingredients than the big brands) – do not eat these.
Next stop, Publix (finally a normal grocery store).
Great for the more everyday items and can have some really great prices on paleo foods as their organic and fresh sections are much bigger than the used to be. This may seem like a short list, but I buy A LOT of the items below.
Organic fruits and vegetables not found at farmer’s market or needed in a quick pinch – Kale, Tomatoes, Carrots, Bananas, Onions
Mixed Greens, Spinach, and Arugula for Salads – Publix rotates the brands on sale and can usually beat Costco’s prices with the sales, but Costco’s big salad tubs are great too.
Almond Milk – Get UNSWEETENED. I prefer “Vanilla” flavor over “Original”.
For cooking a recipe like Red Curry Chicken – Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk and Red Curry Paste.
LOTS of herbs & spices – Liven up your paleo meals!
Last stop, your computer, US Wellness Meats.
Everyone I know who tells me grass-fed beef prices suck only look for them at their local grocer. And on top of that, they compare it to the prices of the crap beef next to it. Go online to US Wellness Meats (affiliate link that helps support our site) and put in an order for some 75% Lean Ground Beef Patties.
I promise the way you look at grass-fed beef will forever be changed. It tastes much better than the crap beef, and is so much better for you. Want some info on grass-fed health benefits, check out this recent article from Chris Kresser.
Now that I’ve done this four stop shopping trip over and over (five counting an online stop), it’s become second nature to follow this healthy paleo lifestyle. Remember that anything can be hard when you first start it, but everything becomes easy with practice.
If you are looking for a resource beyond this post to further your knowledge on Paleo shopping, please check out Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS). I wish I had this guide when I started my paleo journey. (This is an affiliate link through Amazon.com. ANYTHING, yes anything, you purchase through this link helps support us.)
I hope this list helps tear down any walls you had up about getting started with a paleo lifestyle. If you don’t make shopping a priority, then your health will never become a priority.
Any products or advice you’d like to lend from your shopping experiences please comment below!