5 Autoimmune Protocol Grocery Shopping Tips
Eating a specific diet can be incredibly difficult - particularly when it’s a strict one like the Autoimmune Protocol. One of the best ways I am able to stay on track is to always be sure that I always have food in the house that I can eat. This way, I am less likely to order out or eat something that won’t sit well.
I’ve come to enjoy wandering the aisles of the grocery store and I’ve gotten a pretty good system down for grocery shopping while still staying in budget. Below are my top 5 tips for grocery shopping for a strict diet on a budget:
Shop the Perimeter First: The perimeter of the grocery store is generally where you’ll find AIP friendly foods (i.e., fresh produce, meat, frozen goods, etc.). Before hitting the middle aisles, which generally house highly processed foods, I shop the perimeter to fill my cart with mostly produce and meat. This way, I’ve already filled my cart with the best foods for my needs and I’m less likely to add boxed goods in.
Shop for the Week: I love going to the grocery store, but I find it frustrating if I need to go more than once or twice a week - it feels extremely inefficient. So, I try my best to buy enough food for the whole week and if I forget something it forces me to be creative with what I’ve got. For me a weekly shop generally means that I buy one protein that will last throughout the week, and sides that I can mix and match with. I don’t go in with a list but I have a general idea of what I want, which is usually: 1-3 pounds of meat (depending on what it is), a ton of veggies, 3-5 fruits, a whole (GF) grain, breakfast items, and anything else we may have run out of at home.
Know the Dirty Dozen: Organic and local produce is the safest way to buy produce, but it’s also more expensive. If I could, I would buy all organic, but since I can’t afford it, I also buy conventional veggies. However, I will always buy organic for the EWG’s Dirty Dozen. The items on this list are the ones that use a high amount of pesticides. The way I think of it is that if I’m eating the skin, I’ll try to buy organic. If I’m peeling it or it has a thick skin, I’m more lenient. This being said, conventional vegetables is better than no vegetables! So, if the organic is out of my price range, I’ll just be sure to wash the produce thoroughly.
Shop the Farmer’s Market: My local farmer’s market is one of my favorite places to shop. Almost everything that’s sold is fresh and seasonal, plus you get to speak directly with the people who source your food - which I think is so special. These are the people that are most connected to our earth and your food! It can sometimes be a bit more expensive, but I’ve found that I enjoy every aspect of the food I buy from the market (shopping, preparing, cooking, eating) more than what I buy at the store. I also love that it is more sustainable than supermarket conglomerates!
Stock Bulk Monthly: I hate lugging around big bags and bottles of things we’ve run out of, so I generally place an online order once a month of bulk products. I order things that aren’t as perishable as fresh food like oil, vinegar, GF flour, and other pantry items like paper towels. I’ve found it is the cheapest and most efficient way for me to be sure that my apartment has everything I need, even if I’m too sore to do a big shop.