Whether you are a strict Paleo dieter or simply looking to eat a bit healthier, there are some staples to keep on hand at all times that will help keep you on track and keep you satisfied throughout the day. If you have your paleo kitchen well-stocked with healthy paleo foods that you enjoy, you are likely to stick to your paleo diet plan. Being well-prepared and realistic with your grocery shopping is key to a healthy lifestyle.
No matter how boring or bland a food may be on its own, spices and seasoning can turn any dish into something interesting and tasty. Simple things like salt and pepper enhance a dish exponentially (though should be used sparingly – everything counts!).
Spicy seasonings like cayenne and paprika will boost your metabolism and add a delicious dimension to proteins and vegetables. Herbs, fresh or dried, can add flavor and nutrients to an otherwise boring dish as well. Cooking foods with aromatics like bay leaves, peppercorns, or thyme (and the like) will infuse flavor while maintaining the benefits of nutrient-rich foods.
The key to feeling full is a good deal of protein in your diet. Protein can come in any number of forms and is a large portion of Paleo Diet meals.
For a snack, try a handful of nuts (toasting nuts brings out a really delicious flavor, but raw can taste just as good). For a meal, a lean cut of meat or a piece of is a great option. Season the protein well to keep from getting bored with the food – if healthy food tastes good, you are more likely to stick to your diet.
Some good animal protein to keep on hand: whole chickens (great for roasting and the bones can be used to make stock), salmon, ground turkey, bacon, and lean cuts of beef.
Vegetables pack in an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals and will keep you healthy. Although you get the most benefit from eating vegetables raw, some vitamins and minerals remain after cooking and can make vegetables more palatable if you are not partial to the flavor.
If you are in possession of a dehydrator, dried vegetables with a little salt and cayenne or cumin makes a great snack between meals. Also try crushing dried vegetables and coating (then baking or frying) a piece of fish or meat to give a crunch, flavorful exterior.
Some vegetables you should keep on hand are: spinach, broccoli, carrots, celery, onions, and cabbage.
Lipids are crucial in maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, whether you’re on the Paleo Diet or not. Proper consumption of healthy fats will aid in weight control, energy level, metabolism, stress, and mood. Not all fats are good, however. Avoid vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, and regular butter if possible. Many replacement options are available and can be a great addition to your pantry.
Avocados provide all the benefits of a plant and a good dose of healthy monounsaturated fat. Enjoyed on its own or mixed with seasonings or other products, avocados add a bright creaminess to dishes that is unparalleled.
For the butter-lovers, ghee is a healthy and stable byproduct of regular butter. Cooked to remove all milk fat, sugars, and water, ghee contains saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Less ghee is necessary compared to butter in recipes, therefore it is better for you and perfect for anyone on the Paleo Diet. Cooking with ghee adds a hearty, nutty flavor to any vegetable or protein dish and is a great way to add fat to your diet and keep you in a good mood.
One very popular pantry staple to those on the Paleo diet is coconut oil. Extracted from young coconut flesh, coconut oil is best when unfiltered and can be used in place of any cooking fat. It can also double as a moisturizer for your skin, providing vitamins to keep you looking young and hydrated.
Fruits are a key component in any healthy diet, though should be eaten mindfully as some contain a great deal of sugar. Add a piece of fruit to your breakfast to make a complete meal. Fruit often contains a healthy amount of fiber which is crucial in feeling full and staying full after eating. Apples, bananas, and every kind of berry (blueberry, raspberry, etc.,) are good choices for a healthy and filling snack.
Paleo diet shopping list
One thing to remember when going to the grocery store is to come prepared: write a shopping list (complete paleo diet food list avaliable in pdf)! If you bring a detailed list of what you know you need to buy, you will be less likely to impulse-buy foods that are not good for you and not in keeping with your diet.
Eat before you go shopping to avoid unnecessary purchases that your brain tells you you want, though you may not need. Make sure you make the food taste good, also, or you will feel like you are restricting your diet, making it nearly impossible to maintain the diet. Eating should be pleasurable, not stressful or unpleasant!