Grocery shopping, especially on a diet and budget, can be exhausting. And so I’m not going to pretend that it’s a simple task that gets performed once or twice a week, and if I’m being honest, I inevitably forget something or run out of something and have to make a trip mid week.
This posts intention is to give you a better insight into what I buy at the grocery store, and what I eat, and when to help you understand how I manage my paleo diet day-to-day.
For the record, I work from home, so lunches and snacks I generally try to prepare/meal prep for the week and or purchase Snap Kitchen, which also has excellent meal plan options (use code dinewithshayda for $10 off an item, or withshayda for $20 off a meal plan). I’m on a paleo diet, and so what that means in a general sense is I stick to proteins, veggies, and fruit. Nothing processed, no added sugar, no grains, no gluten, no dairy. My body responds well to this diet, I also associate it with “clean eating” and so I try to eat as many whole foods as possible for my meals. Additionally red meat doesn’t settle well with my stomach, so I personally eat more chicken and fish, but technically red meat is good to go for paleo diet.
I do my shopping generally at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and HEB. HEB would be higher up on the list if they carried more of the types of products I end up going to Whole Foods for, but their prices *ARE* generally cheaper at HEB. I’m also looking for Organic products as much as possible.
My list is as follows:
– Chicken Jalapeno Sausage. For breakfast I like to make a scramble and so I’m looking for meat without nitrates. I generally get this at Trader Joes because it’s pretty reasonably priced, or if I’m at Whole Foods, they have a decent brand although I don’t love the sausage as much. I’ll also get nitrate free turkey with low sodium from the deli at HEB as an option.
–Spinach and Kale. Trader Joes to me doesn’t have the best quality greens nor do I like their sizing, so I like to go for the 16oz containers since I end up using this for all three meals. Ie. In my scramble for breakfast, or as a base if I’m sautéing veggies or making a salad. I will pick this up from either HEB or Whole Foods.
– Chicken breast/tenders. For lunch I like to eat a salad and or chicken and veggies. And so I can always find a use for chicken. I cut them up into small pieces, cover in seasonings, bake at 400 for 30 min and voila, I have my protein to last me for a few meals. Repeat as needed if you meal plan and know you need x amount for x amount of meals.
– Apples. They’re a staple in our house. And if I’m being honest, I only buy Honeycrisp. Unfortunately they’re not in season traditionally in the summer, so I generally can’t find organic during that season. However, they’re my absolute favorite apples and I eat these as an afternoon snack pretty much every day. Either coated in some cinnamon, or paired with a scoop of Almond Butter.
– Almond butter. For the price, Trader Joes can’t be beat. I go with their creamy almond butter without salt and it goes great in smoothies and on my apples.
– Avocados. Trader Joes IMO has the best deal on organic avocados, I buy a little bag of 4 and eat half of an avocado with my breakfast scramble. I also use avocados as a base to my smoothies.
– Fruit. Bananas, Strawberries, Blueberries. Whole Foods lately seems to have the best deal on especially the berries. Bananas you can pick up anywhere, but for the price and quantity I end up getting my berries at Whole Foods.
– Dairy Free Yogurt. Since I’m dairy free I’ve been trying to 1. add in probiotics where I can and 2. Replace traditional dairy things with non dairy items, ie. dairy free yogurt. My favorite thing to do as a dessert is to cover berries in a few scoops o the cashew yogurt, it gives it that creamy parfait taste and top it with some grain free granola and you won’t even know what you were missing out on with the generic stuff. A great brand I like to pick up at Whole Foods is Forager Cashew Yogurt, go with the coconut or vanilla flavor for a little extra sweetness or plain if you don’t mind the greek yogurt taste!
– Grain free granola. I’m kind of a snob when it comes to this, my favorite brands are Wild Way based out of San Antonio, Texas and Purely Elizabeth based out of Colorado. Wild Way is the cheapest at HEB so that’s generally where I like to pick that up, and Purely Elizabeth can be found at Whole Foods. Both make great additions to my parfaits, smoothie bowls, and eaten straight out of the bag for a crunch!
– Oils, seasoning, etc. I only cook with avocado oil. It’s a healthier oil for you and a simple hack if you’re trying to cut some fat here or there in your cooking. I pick up my oil at HEB, their HEB brand tastes great and heats up nicely. I’ve used some brands that have a very distinct taste/smell and it is off putting. So I’ve gone through a few trials and errors till I found an oil I like. I also wil pick up seasoning from Trader Joes, they have a pretty great selection. In my pantry you’ll find turmeric, cumin, red pepper flakes, and of course salt and pepper. I use this to season meat, veggies, etc!
– Vegetables. I personally like to cook with veggie noodles, or noodles, or broccoli rice type products. I find HEB and Trader Joes have the best prices on these types of things whether you’re going for name brand like Cece’s Veggie Noodle Co. or you want to just grab a bag of Trader Joes butternut squash cubes. I’ll sauté those with some onions, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes (which all three are always on hand at my house) to make a base for my chicken/protein for the meal. I like to buy my onions, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes from either Trader Joes or HEB, especially my tomatoes bc I can get organic for a pretty decent price, and since I eat these every day, I go through them quickly!
– Nuts/ Dried fruit. These have become a staple in my house. I love to add nuts to my salads, blend in my smoothies, or add to my salads, and dried fruit is a great way to get some sweetness to salads, my favorite are dried cherries or dates. I think Trader Joes has a great selection of all of this at a reasonable price, they offer organic, salted or not salted, etc. But Whole Foods also has a great collection of organic dried fruit and nuts. For reference, I always have walnuts, almonds and pecans on hand. I can’t get enough of them and they’re relatively healthy for you in moderation with good fats!
– Milk, or MALK! Since I’m DF, I have given up milk, but thankfully another Texas company is coming in strong with a GREAT alternative called Malk. You can now find Malk at HEB in addition to Whole Foods and I love adding this to my smoothies, matcha, chia seed puddings, etc. Malk is my favorite brand because it’s the purest simplest ingredients. Be wary just because something says DF or Vegan doesn’t mean it doesn’t have added preservatives, gums, or fillers.
As you can see nothing on my list includes going through the middle aisles as I like to reference them as. Occasionally, I’ll pick up some Nuun hydration tabs, or RX Bars which I will get from Whole Foods or HEB when they have a sale! Additionally if I am going for a healthier snack I like Whole Foods for my favorite brand of grain free tortilla chips, Siete. Pair that with a Trader Joes salsa and you have a home run. Of course with every grocery trip there is a deviation, but for the most part, these are on my list every single time.
The last thing I’ll share is, every body is different. Every metabolism is different, learn what your body likes and doesn’t like. You can do this through food sensitivity tests, or getting your metabolism tested, or just through trial and error. See how you feel after you eat X type of food, notice your bodies natural reaction to thing and then adjust accordingly. I don’t know if I’ll be paleo forever, but for now, it makes my body feel the best and that’s all I want is to be operating out of optimal performance. And so I choose to eat these things to stay in line with keeping my body happy. M hope is you’ll start to ask yourself what makes your body happiest and do the same!