As I mentioned in an earlier post, the number one request I get from readers and friends is for a REAL FOOD meal plan – including a shopping guide . This is Part One in that series — the easy shopping guide.
There are a couple of ways to tackle real food meal planning (1) the way I prepare for a week, which honestly does involve a lot of time in the kitchen, or, (2) the EASY way. This post will explain the EASY way to shop and cook for a week’s worth of real food options based on what I did when I first began eating this way. There are some amazing resources on the Web to help add to this. My list is a bare bones, basic list for a beginner — specifically, based on how I began. I have since EVOLVED my eating into a much more nutrient dense diet that has a lot of variety. I learned how to do that from many sources, but primarily The Paleo Parents and Diane Sanfillipo of Balanced Bites. The book that made this journey “gel” for me and is my “Paleo Bible,” is Diane’s “Practical Paleo.” Everyone should get this book! Seriously. The Paleo Parents are coming out with a new book this Fall, I believe, that would be super helpful for someone transitioning into Paleo: “Real Life Paleo.” I am eager to get my hands on that book when it comes out, but in the meantime, check out their blog, and please get “Practical Paleo.” I believe Costco still carries it at a discount price.
My Easy Real Food for One Shopping list:
The cleanest already prepared rotisserie chicken you can find. Whole Foods has a really clean option. Check the ingredients. If it is chicken, a clean oil – meaning not canola or soy – and with spices you recognize, then it is the bird for you! This chicken will be used for a variety of meals so don’t skimp – get a good size bird 🙂
Eggs – organic, pasture raised, cage free
Packaged, hard-boiled eggs (from Whole Foods or Trader Joes), or, even better, make your own hardboiled eggs
Canned wild tuna
Nitrate-free BACON (!! Yes, bacon! I heart bacon!)
Organic salad greens (already washed and bagged or wash and bag them yourself, but they do need to be organic. Salad greens are listed on the dirty dozen) (LOTS!)
Other veggies that you may want to add to salads (I get cucumbers on a regular basis to use as a “cracker” or “bread” for chicken and/or tuna salad)
Organic fruit – preferably low glycemic fruit: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, but when first starting out, you will want sweet treats in the form of fruit — any fruit. Go for it. If budget is a concern, buy organic for the “dirty dozen” and non organic for the “clean 13.” See: EWG’s 2014 list.
Good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegarette
Gluten free mustard
Pure (Grade B) Maple Syrup
Virgin, unrefined coconut oil
BPA free canned coconut milk
Nuts (NO PEANUTS!) and dried fruit with no added sugar (in the beginning these can be great for snacks. Eventually you will most likely eliminate snacking all together, but this is a new thing and you should ease into it. If you have been eating the “Standard American Diet,” you will need snacks to transition.)
Almond butter (preferably with an ingredients list that looks like this: almonds, salt).
Beef jerky (as “clean” as possible)
Dark chocolate (the darker the better, but you may need to work up to the 85-90% I now eat)
If you can tolerate dairy (which I do) :
a good quality grass fed yogurt product (yogurt or keifer)
Kerrygold grass-fed butter
Organic, grass-fed heavy whipping cream (if you drink coffee)
PART TWO will contain the actual meal plan. This list will get you stocked up in order to prepare for the week. With this basic plan, there is not a lot of weekend cooking that you need to do. The basic things you will be eating are: eggs and bacon, wild tuna salad with cucumbers, sautéed spinach topped with poached or over easy eggs, chicken salad, green salads with chicken and/or tuna, banana muffins, etc. It is just a few dishes, but for the first two weeks, you are going to want to keep it SIMPLE. This may be a totally new way of eating and preparing your food and, if so, easy does it. After a few weeks, you will be ready to explore additional recipes and begin weekend cook ups.
Please leave any questions in the comments section and I will address them in the next post!
Happy shopping and please see Michael Pollan’s awesome grocery shopping tips below~