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How to Create a Paleo-Approved Grocery List

A big part of successfully adapting a Paleo lifestyle, eating and moving like cave men, is preparation. You don't need to plan every meal and when you'll eat it, but having a pantry and refrigerator stocked with Paleo-approved diet foods will help you stay on track. To make sure you don't stray from your path, you need to hit the grocery store with a shopping list in hand.

Adapting to your new grocery needs may take a few weeks as you find the foods you love to replace the non-Paleo foods that got the heave-ho. You may discover that you're eating more protein and produce than you were before, so you may have to make supplemental grocery runs during the week. Don't be discouraged!

You'll figure out how to estimate what you need — and how much of it you need — to keep you and your family fed and happy. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Load up on stand-bys: You can make your grocery management easier by identifying the foods you want to buy every week. Maybe your favorite vegetable is broccoli, so you buy some every trip — or you know you always want to have boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the house for emergency meals.

    After you make your list of must-haves, you can check your inventory before each shopping trip and start your grocery list with the replacements you need.

  • Pick out a few recipes: New recipes are a great way to avoid the boredom of food burnout — and the ingredients list of a recipe can go straight onto your shopping list.

  • Try a new vegetable: When you're making your grocery list, think about a vegetable that you've never tried or that's in season, and add it to your list. Maybe you'll find a new favorite, and eating what's in season is a great way to amp up your nutrition.

  • Stick to the perimeter: You've heard this already, but it bears repeating: Follow your list like a treasure map and avoid the pitfalls of the inner aisles of the grocery store. The bright, shiny packages can be very alluring, so make it easy on yourself and avoid them.

Shop in the produce department for Paleo-approved food

You should be spending a lot of your shopping time in the produce department. The bulk of your diet should be coming from this part of the grocery store.

Some vegetables found in the produce department aren't Paleo approved. For example, although corn is bright in color, it's a grain, so it's on the "no" list, along with white potatoes because they're nutrient-poor and cause an unfavorable insulin reaction.

Although no fruits are off limits, if you're trying to lose weight, limit fruit to one or two servings per day. Your healthiest options for everyday fruits are those low in fructose, so choose berries and cherries most often.

Shop the meat and seafood department for Paleo-approved food

In many grocery stores, the meat department is being invaded by pre-made, processed entrees and other meat-like foods. Needless to say, avoid them. Stick to the raw stuff that you can prepare at home.

Deli meats, bacon, jerky, and sausages can also be eaten in moderation as long as they don't include any non-Paleo ingredients.

If you can't get grass-fed, organic, pastured meat from a local source, here are a few excellent online resources that deliver high-quality meat:

Paleo-approved food in the middle aisles

The middle aisles at the grocery store contain a lot of junk. Avoid temptation and stick to this list:

  • Arrowroot powder

  • Avocado oil

  • Broth/stock: Beef, chicken, and vegetable

  • Butter (clarified, organic, grass-fed only)

  • Canned chiles

  • Canned sardines

  • Canned tomatoes

  • Canned fish: Kipper snacks, salmon, sardines, and tuna

  • Coconut aminos

  • Coconut butter

  • Coconut flakes (unsweetened)

  • Coconut flour

  • Coconut milk (in a can)

  • Coconut oil (unrefined)

  • Curry paste

  • Dried fruit

  • Eggs

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Olives

  • Pickles

  • Nuts

  • Nut butters

  • Nut meal

  • Salsa

  • Spices

  • Tomato paste

After your 30-Day Reset, you may choose to enjoy honey and maple syrup in small quantities.

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