Whether you’re a long-time convert to Paleo eating or you’re just dipping a toe in the waters now, you’ll find one of the biggest adjustments is just finding grass-fed beef, cage-free eggs and other whole foods at prices that won’t take a giant chunk out of your paycheck. Well, turns out the same store that brings you bargain wines and Champagnes, plus life-saving lazy-girl meals, can also be a Paleo bargain-hunter’s paradise if you know what to look for. Here are some Paleo must-haves that deserve a permanent place on your TJ’s shopping list.
When Paleo peeps shop for meats at TJs, the main thing to look out for is hidden sugar. Skip selections that come packed in sauces or marinades and go for the “naked” meats, like grass-fed Angus steaks, ground beef and bison burgers. Canned fish is a great deal, and canned salmon can be used to make totally compliant salmon burgers for an inexpensive meal. But it’s the pre-brined organic chickens that can really stretch a buck. Just pop one in a baking pan stuffed with a lemon and some herbs and you’ve got dinner — then you can use the leftovers for lunch the next day. The bones go directly into the soup pot or slow cooker for delicious, nutritious bone broth.
Fruits and Veggies
Two main staples of Paleo cooking are sweet potatoes and cauliflower; both can be an awesome replacement for grains in all your favorite recipes. At TJ’s, you’ll find a ton of produce is already cleaned, chopped, bagged and ready for you to cook. Organic riced cauliflower is the best Paleo hack around, and TJ’s has it prepped and ready to go. Just make sure you shop early, because it runs out fast.
When you’re cooking Paleo, you’ll be using a lot of coconut, and TJ’s has all things coconut at rock-bottom prices. Coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut flour (and other grain-free flours) are sure to be staples on your weekly list. You’ll also find cage-free, antibiotic-free eggs for lower prices than you’d find at an ordinary grocery store. And though you never have to look for low-fat labels when eating Paleo, spotting it on a can of tomatoes or marinara ensures there will be no forbidden canola oil. Lastly, do not pass the nut aisle without a good look-see. You’ll find a wide selection of all kinds of nuts for the best prices around.
Sweets and *Cheats*
Though Paleo eating emphasizes fresh fruit for your sweet treats and really doesn’t encourage desserts, pure maple syrup and raw honey are allowed in cooking. Chopped dates are also a popular way to sweeten recipes that ordinarily call for sugar. TJ’s carries a whole selection of dried fruits, many of which have no added sugar — just be sure to read labels.
It can be time-consuming to eat the Paleo way, so every once in awhile you may find yourself short on time and looking for a shortcut. There are very few salad dressings available that are made with olive oil, but TJ’s has a great one — the Thyme Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette is delicious. And finally, TJ’s actually has potato chips made with real olive oil and other approved ingredients. So, while such snacks aren’t necessarily encouraged, should you be craving a *tiny* cheat from time to time, you may want to sneak a bag of these in your cart.
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(Photos via Trader Joe’s)