So, the rule of thumb with a paleo diet is that you shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. By nature, this indicates a high level of food preparation in the kitchen. No more easy microwavable frozen meals, no more easy mac, no more Snickers before your soccer game (the commercials that advertise snickers as a mid-game sideline snack always make me lol) - ok, I'll stop with the "no more", I'm not trying to be a buzz kill here and crush your soul by taking away your beloved Velveta.
That being said, I unfortunately do not have all the time in the world to be preparing lavishly intricate food on a daily basis. While I do cook most of my main meals and just cook in bulk so that I have easy leftovers, there are still times where I'm too tired to hard-boil an egg on the spot for a snack and just want to grab some jerky out of the pantry. Or instead of taking the time re-stock a homemade salad dressing, it's just sometimes easier to grab a storebought salad dressing from the fridge. Rather than grinding my own almonds all the time, I just want to take a ginormous serving spoon and load it up with Trader Joe's brand dry roasted almond butter right out of the fridge! Ok, so you get my point.
This post is about my favorite practically paleo products that I do not make by hand. It's about having things readily available that taste good and still align with my cavegirl lifestyle. Most of these items apply to snacks and sauces as opposed to full-on meals, but having these things on hand makes it really easy to "grab n' go" or to simply satisfy a craving without having to whip out the blender or turn on the oven.
1. Steve's Paleo Goods - Good lord, this Steve character has really got it goin' on. He's actually my best friend...though he doesn't know it yet. In the past three weeks, I've had three SPG deliveries to our doorstep because I literally can't get enough of his stuff. Ranging from clean beef jerky to paleo cereal to kick ass marinades and salad dressings, SPG offers real food in packages (which I didn't even realize was a possibility).
The PaleoKrunch cereal (grain-free, of course) makes for an awesome breakfast with some almond milk and sliced bananas (I honestly was never much of a cereal person pre-paleo, but I definitely am now that I have this PaleoKrunch in my pantry). The Just Jerky series is also awesome. I really love jerky and it's hard to find clean sources at grocery stores that arent filled with nitrates and other crap. SPG also features PaleoKits which is a combination of jerky, dried fruit and nuts - fantastic snack. The PaleoChef salad dressings, marinades and sauces are additionally unbeatable. I currently have Paleo Sriracha, Peach BBQ, Ginger Cilantro and Tomato Balsamic in my fridge and they come in handy when I'm too lazy to make my own sauces. I could honestly ramble forever about Steve's products. Check out the site! Steve's got a lot to offer (we are on a first name basis now).
2. Nikki's Coconut Butter - When I'm in the mood for something dessert-like and I don't want to bake anything (because, honestly, eating an excess of Paleo desserts really just defeats the purpose of Paleo...they are really just there to sensibly indulge in from time to time...not to eat a whole pan of brownies in one sitting and deem it "healthy"), I get a spoonful of this stuff. Nikki's features really bangin' flavors, including Vanilla Cake Batter and Honey Pecan Pie. My favorite is the Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie. My next "sample" will be of the Midnight Mocha for sure. The ingredients are real and clean...not lyin'. Check it out: Organic Coconut, Roasted Hazelnuts, Organic Cacao Powder, Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Honey, Organic Vanilla, Sea Salt.
3. Barney Butter - Similar to Nikki's, but in almond butter form. I currently have the Espresso + Vanilla Bean flavor in my pantry and will try the Cocoa + Coconut next.
4. Trader Joe's Plantain Chips - Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming plantain chip recipe - they're easy to make. But, true to this post's theme of "not being in the mood", Trader Joe's plantain chips ROCK when I'm not in the mood to make my own. They have some added sunflower oil in them, but I'm picking my battles here. Doesn't mean I need to throw in the towel and say "well I might as well just have a bag of Lay's" (which would never happen because the T. Joe's plantain chips beat out a bag of nutrientless Lay's any day of the week).
5. Sir Kensington's Condiments - For store-bought (or online-bought in my case) mayo and ketchup, Sir K has figured out delicious, all natural, gluten-free and GMO-free options. Better yet, the mayo is made from cage-free eggs, which is a rare clarification to see on a store-bought bottle. I have the spiced ketchup and original mayo in my fridge, and it's great on burgers, paleo sandwiches, or whatever else you want! It can be difficult to find in grocery stores (I think Whole Foods and Earth Fare carry it, but don't quote me on that), and because I was feeling lazy on the day I decided I must have it, I just ordered it on Vitacost.
6. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips - Soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and practically paleo-friendly! These are my chocolate chips of choice for baked goods if I'm not using 80+% bars of dark chocolate. These are available at Whole Foods and, like everything else, online.