I’ve been thinking about putting together a sample paleo shopping list for anyone following a paleo diet and wants to stock up on balanced, healthy foods that are versatile, mostly affordable and easy to find in most places.
This shopping list is based on what I would regularly buy and cook with and includes pantry staples, fats, fridge and freezer essentials, fresh vegetables and fruit and even a few treats. You can tailor it to your own weekly needs or simply use as a base if starting out with paleo. You can use this more comprehensive list below or you can download my essential paleo shopping list PDF to print out and stick to your fridge.
- Tinned tomatoes/passata – I use these in stews, soups and sauces.
- Tinned sardines and tuna – high in beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids and protein, these are handy to add to you lunch box salads, breaky or to have as a snack.
- Gherkins – they add crunch and flavour to salads and deli meat rolls, I also like them with my eggs in the morning.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – great in omelletes, salads and as a snack; look for dried or canned tomatoes in olive oil rather than soybean or sunflower/canola.
- Apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar – I tend to use balsamic the most but I often make mustard, honey and white wine or apple cider dressing for salads.
- Coconut milk or cream – I use it for soups, curries, mousse, baking and smoothies.
- Coconut aminos – use instead of sweet soy sauce in stir-fries and to marinate chicken and meat.
- Coconut water – there are sports drinks and then there is coconut water, I drink it whenever I feel dehydrated. It’s also great as a mid morning snack.
- Fish sauce – look for a naturally fermented variety and use to add saltiness to stews and soups, in stir-fries, Asian salad dressings and marinades.
- Hot chilli sauce – spice up your dishes with a bit of chilli
- Mustard – Dijon or wholegrain is best, use it for marinades, rubs, dressings and sauces
- Raw honey – this is my preferred sweetener because raw honey is full of enzymes and antioxidants and has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Ginger, raw honey & lemon tea is my go to immunity booster.
- Sesame oil – I love a few drops to complete yummy stir-fries and curries and to make Asian inspired salad dressings. It can also be used in dips and smoothies, it has a lovely smoky nut and seed flavour.
- Tahini – paste made from sunflower seeds has a really lovely, smoky flavour and only needs to be used in small amounts to add the desired flavour to salad dressings, dips and sauces.
- Red wine – I like to have a bottle on hand so we can have a glass with dinner or when friends come over
- Green tea and coffee beans – I also like to buy chamomile and mint tea to have later in the day
- Almond meal – for your baking needs
- Macadamia nuts – if you can afford them, macadamia nuts are the best in terms of their Omega-6/3 and can be eaten fairly safely.
- Almonds – I buy raw almonds which I soak for 5-6 hours to remove phytic acid and activate enzymes which make these nuts easier to digest. After soaking I air-dry them on a tray and then in a very low temperature oven for 2-3 hours until crunchy again.
- Cashews & hazelnuts – follow the above method to remove phytates.
- Coconut flour – I add this to the almond flour when I bake. I find that coconut flour is very moisture hungry so you need to be careful with how much you use or you can end up with very dry, porous baked goods.
- Coconut syrup or coconut sugar – an alternative to honey and maple syrup
- Natural stevia – green leaf stevia powder is also good to use instead of sugar, but like with any natural sweeteners, it needs to be used in moderation as our brains still register the sweetness which can result in insulin response.
- Dark chocolate – I often buy a bar of good quality dark chocolate with over 85% cacao content and if I can find dairy free or raw variety, I get those instead.
- Gluten-free baking powder – I add a little to pretty much any baked goods to help them rise and fluff up.
- Raw cacao powder – so you can whip up a quick hot chocolate with coconut milk or use in baking and shakes.
- Vegetable, chicken or beef stock – I look for brands using natural ingredients, usually those in the cool section of the store. Otherwise I make my own from leftover vegetables and bones.
- Vanilla extract – I add some to most sweets and baked goods including pancakes. It can also be used in savoury dishes as it adds an interesting flavour.
- Tapioca flour – it’s pure starch and is high carbs but a few tablespoons can go a long way when baking paleo style. It definitely helps to create the desired texture when mixed with almond meal or coconut flour. I also use a little to thicken sauces.
- Beef jerky – it’s not cheap but we try to have some beef jerky on hand to snack on or to have with some nuts after a work out.
- *Not strictly paleo but I often buy quinoa and white rice as my partner eats 80% paleo and needs more carbohydrates due to his rather active lifestyle.
- Coconut oil – cook with it, eat it, drink it, rub it on your skin. Learn more about coconut oil here.
- Virgin olive oil, extra olive oil – I use virgin olive oil for low-medium heat cooking (below 180 °C/355 °F) and extra-virgin olive oil for cold uses like in salads, dips and to drizzle over things.
- Macadamia oil – great, neutral tasting oil for cooking (has a much higher smoking point in comparison to olive oil or butter) and is great for homemade mayonnaise.
- Ghee – I use ghee for most pan-frying and for some baking and roasting as it has a high smoking point and is mostly fat with hardly any lactose or casein left.
- Butter – I always try to look for grass-fed butter which I use for low-medium temperature cooking, baking and to melt over vegetables and meats. For those sensitive to dairy, butter is very high in fat and is often well tolerated by most people.
These are my favourte sources of protein and I find I can use them in many meals.
- Free-range bacon
- Cooked prawns or raw prawns – you can also get some for the freezer
- Free-range eggs – lots and lots of eggs
- Lamb loin/chops, shanks or cutlets – I’d say we eat lamb once a week
- Minced/ground grass fed beef – I get a couple of kilos and keep some in the freezer as it’s highly versatile in the kitchen.
- Gluten free, grass-fed sausages – these often go in the freezer for a quick meal later in the week
- Greek, full-fat yogurt or coconut yogurt – we have yogurt 1-2 times a week on days we don’t feel like eggs. Again, if sensitive to dairy, please stick with coconut yogurt or go for kambucha instead.
- Whole free-range chicken or a bunch of chicken thighs and wings – I like to cook with the whole chicken, skin and all, but breast or thighs are just fine.
- Snapper or salmon fillets – once a week we’ll have grilled fish (this is on top of sardines and tuna mentioned above). Alternatively, I get a packet of smoked salmon.
- Halloumi cheese – Yes, we eat a little bit of cheese, especially form goats and sheeps milk. I love this hard cheese made with a mix of goats and sheeps milk simply because we can grill it. It’s amazing!
- Aged Parmesan or Pecorino – I like to add a little to salads, sauces and dips or to have a snack. Aged cheeses are much better tolerated as they contain less lactose.
- Olives – black or green, which I use to snack on and to add to salads, soups and stews.
- Good quality, dried salami – this is our go to snack and we add it our eggs in the morning.
- Frozen berries, frozen spinach, green peas
I could list a lot more vegetables, berries and fruit but these are my essentials based on their nutritional value, versatility and accessibility.
- A mix of fresh herbs
- Berries (usually blueberries or strawberries)
- Brussel sprouts
- White or red cabbage – I make coleslaw at least once a week and use the rest in a stir-fry
- Mixed lettuce
- Red peppers
- Sweet potato
Bay leaves, black pepper, chili flakes, cinnamon, ground coriander seed, ground cumin powder, curry powder, garlic powder, Italian herbs, nutmeg, rosemary leaves, sea salt or Celtic salt, smoked paprika, star anise, sweet paprika and turmeric. For fresh herbs I love parsley, coriander (cilantro), thyme, basil, chives and dill.
What are your staples in the pantry, fridge and freezer? What do you find you use the most and the least? Don’t forget to share this post with anyone who will benefit from this information. And remember to download my free paleo shopping list PDF guide to keep handy.
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