Since starting Perchance to Cook, I have spent a lot of time trying to find preservative-free, chemical-free, non-processed items at the grocery store. I have also tested out as many brands of paleo-foods that I could to find. And, as you can see from my blog, I’ve spent lots of time experimenting with Paleo recipes in the kitchen. 🙂
After a lot of trial and error, using certain non-processed products and brands in the kitchen has become second nature to me. But it wasn’t always that way.
When I began following the Paleo lifestyle, I realized how hard it could be to find products without chemicals, dyes, preservatives, GMOs, and other random unhealthy ingredients. I spent hours trying to find tomato paste with only tomatoes in it or coconut milk with only coconut and water in it.
I realized that the “health” section of the store didn’t always have the healthiest options and if they did have what I was looking for, it was quite expensive. So I started searching for the best deals and the cleanest products. Little by little, I found my favorite items and brands and have stuck with them.
I’ve been asked questions concerning what food brands I use, as well as what food items are essential to starting a Paleo diet. So, I decided to make a “Paleo grocery list” in the hopes that this will be a valuable tool for those of you searching for non-processed grocery items.
I’d love love love to hear your favorite Paleo food items and brands. I’d also love hearing about any items that you have found at a better price. I’m all about updating and adding more products to this list so we can all benefit!
This could be a never ending list, but I find these items essential for Paleo cooking:
- Poultry, Meat, Fish– a well-balanced rotation of hormone-free, organic meat is key to staying full and getting the protein you need. Using spices and experimenting with fun recipes keeps things fresh (starter recipes below). I buy my ground bison, ground beef, pork loin, and chicken from Costco. I buy my fish and ground turkey from the local grocery store.
- All Fruit- Organic is best. I buy mine from Costco, Trader Joes or the local grocery store.
- All Vegetables- Organic is best. I buy my fresh veggies from Costco, Trader Joes or the local grocery store. The items below are some of my favorites:
- Pomi Chopped Tomatoes and Pomi Strained Tomatoes– this company uses ONLY tomatoes in its products and I am a huge fan of the fact that they come in cardboard boxes.
- Tomato paste– make sure it’s made only of tomatoes. I like the Cento brand.
- Onions and garlic– these two are HUGE for adding flavor. I’ve grown a new appreciation for onions and garlic since going Paleo.
- Spaghetti squash- I use this as a pasta replacement. You can make chicken casseroles, or pesto bowls. Yum!
- Sweet Potatoes- Mash them, bake them, turn them into fries. The possibilities are endless! Sweet potatoes are a great source of energy too. I love seasoning them with rosemary and a little salt.
- Spices– salt, pepper, oregano, basil, nutmeg, chili powder, paprika…the more the merrier! I get mine from the grocery store, Costco, and online.
- Almond flour– I use it to bread chicken. I get mine from Nuts.com.
- Coconut flour– I use coconut flour to thicken sauces.
- Coconut milk and coconut cream- these are great to make creamy sauces. I normally buy mine in the international section of my grocery store, with the Asian goods. I like Golden Star Coconut Milk because it is made of only coconut and water. I also like Savoy Coconut Cream because it is made of only coconut extract and water.
- Olive oil– I buy the big 2L size from Costco.
- Apple Cider Vinegar– This is great to make dressings and home-made condiments with. I get mine from the grocery store.
- Condiments- most are not Paleo, but here are some that are:
- Kroger Horseradish Mustard– the ingredients are vinegar,water,mustard seed, salt, horseradish powder, and red pepper.
- Frank’s Hot Sauce– the ingredients are aged cayenne red peppers, vinegar, water, salt and garlic powder. This makes great buffalo chicken!
- Make your own… like this Paleo Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce.
If you are planning on doing some Paleo baking, which you should :), these are some of the things that I consider to be essentials:
- Almond flour– I buy the 5lb bag from Nuts.com. It turns out to be way cheaper than buying the smaller bags from the grocery store. You also run out less often.
- Coconut flour– I buy a 3lb Nutiva bag. A little coconut flour goes a long way and I find that I use way less of it than almond flour. The Nutiva brand has been the best quality at the best price that I’ve found.
- Coconut Milk– My all time favorite coconut milk is Golden Star. It is made of ONLY coconut and water and I love the creamy texture. It also tastes much better than the brands with preservatives. I find mine in the international section of my grocery store, with the Asian goods. But I have noticed that it’s not available everywhere.
- Coconut Cream– I prefer Savoy Coconut Cream. I have read some reviews on Amazon complaining that it is made with preservatives, but the cans that I buy say that there is only coconut extract and water inside. I also buy mine in the international section of my grocery store, with the Asian goods.
- Maple Syrup– I buy the 1L Kirkland brand from Costco. Make sure that the ingredients only say “maple syrup”.
- Honey– I buy the 5lb Kirkland brand from Costco. Make sure that the ingredients only say “honey”.
- Coconut Oil– I like the Carrington Farms brand, and I get mine at Costco or online.
- Bananas– these provide great texture in cakes/muffins
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips– dairy free, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free chocolate. These are kind of a lifesaver. I buy these online. (In the stores, they can be over $5.00 a bag, if you buy the pack of 6 online, it turns out to be $3.30 a bag)
- All Natural Cocoa powder- I like Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. It can be found in the baking isle at the grocery store.
- The usual baking essentials- eggs, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, spices..etc
- Crunchy Apple Chips– From the Barefruit company. I found these at Costco. The only ingredients in these chips are APPLES. They are a crunchy, delicious treat that can be used to dip into sauces or can be eaten plain.
- Plantain Chips– Trader Joes sells a great Paleo option of plantain chips. The ingredients are plantains, sunflower oil, and salt! These are awesome with chili and to dip into any paleo sauce that your heart desires.
- ALL Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
- Dried Fruit– It was rather difficult for me to find dried fruit without added sugar, sulfates, or preservatives. I was about to give up until I found the Made in Nature Brand at Costco and several awesome dried and freeze-dried fruits at Trader Joes. No matter what, you have to always check the label to make sure the ingredients are Paleo. These are some of my favorites:
- Calimyrna Figs– I like the Made in Nature Brand from Costco. These figs are organic and have no preservatives. Ingredients: dried Calimyrna Figs.
- Antioxidant Fusion- This is a Made in Nature mixture that I found at Costco. It has dried cranberries, raisins, cherries, pepita seeds, blueerries, and goji berries in it. It is organic, unsulfured, and has no GMOs.
- Tropical Fusion-This is another Made in Nature mixture that I found at Costco. It has dried banana, dried mango, cocao nibs, and ground ginger inside. It is organic and has no preservatives.
- Dried Pineapple from Trader Joes– This has no preservatives. In fact the only ingredient is pineapple.
- Trader Joes Freeze dried fruit– This is a fun, tasty way to eat fruit! There are so many types– from strawberry, to raspberry, cranberry and peaches. I love how crunchy freeze dried fruit is and I often eat them as a snack or add them to desserts.
- Paleo Muffins- Check out my Paleo recipe section for a full list of Paleo muffins.
- Smoked Salmon– Costco has a great Paleo version. You can easily throw this smoked salmon on eggs, veggies, or Paleo bread.
- Almonds and Other Nuts– I buy mine in bulk at Costco. These really help curb hunger and I like to keep a bag of nuts in my purse in case of hunger emergencies.
Try some of these easy and delicious recipes to see how tasty Paleo can be!
- Chicken Fingers + Sweet Potato Fries + Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce
- Creamy Spagetti Squash Chicken Casserole
- Crispy Lemon-Thyme Fish Cakes
- Key Lime Pie Pulled Chicken
- Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Cookies
- Fudgy Paleo Brownies
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- I make a LARGE amount of one dish, usually using a slow cooker, and then this dish is my lunch or dinner for the week.
- I set up bags of snacks that I can quickly grab. For example, dried fruit and nuts or fresh fruit and vegetables.
- I plan my breakfasts- I either make muffins, or a pulled meat to eat with eggs. I also make Paleo Rosemary Garlic Bread and then make an egg sandwich with it. I also have been really into making quiche with a sweet potato crust!
- I try to alternate between poultry, meat, and fish as often as I can.
- Slow cookers are a lifesaver! So is a juicer.
- I love the Crockpot brand and have used it without a problem for years.
- I’ve used a Waring Pro juicer for years and years. It’s easy to clean, which means I make fresh juice much more often.
- A food processor doesn’t hurt either.