Paleo and Zone Diet Shopping List

Paleo and Zone Diet Grocery Shopping List - this is perfect.


Last week, someone emailed me asking me if I could give some insight into what my weekly grocery trip looks like. With the 8th week of Zone closing up, shopping for this type of eating has become second nature, but I remember how confusing it was at the beginning, so I wanted to share my answer with all of you.

Side note: February has been not even close to as stellar as January was with Zone eating. I’m not so sure I will be posting before and after pics again, but I am determined to get back on board in March as the proverbial swimsuit season is upon us (not to mention the CrossFit Open! Yikes!)…

Anyway, without further ado:

Update: You can view a PDF of this shopping list by clicking here!

Recap: Every day, I eat a 3 block breakfast, 3 block lunch, 2 block snack, 3 block dinner, and another 1 block snack after I workout. This means that at each meal I am eating either 3 (or 2 or 1) blocks of protein, 3 blocks of fat, and 3 blocks of carbs. Over the course of 7 days, I need 84 total blocks of each protein, carbs, and fat.

However, I typically replace 1 block of carbs with 3 blocks of fat at each breakfast and dinner, bringing my required carb blocks down to 70 and my fat blocks up to 98. As I’ve mentioned before, 1 block of carbs is roughly equivalent to 3 blocks of fat calorie-wise, and I’ve found that this strategy helps me stay full throughout the day and also promotes fat loss by helping to keep your blood sugar more stable.

In case you need it, here is The Zone Diet in a nutshell:

7g of protein = 1 block, 9 g of carbs = 1 block, and 1.5 g of fat = 1 block (assuming that your protein source also includes fat, but if you are using protein powder or soy or similar, then you need 3 g of fat for 1 block). This means that for a 3-block meal, I need 21 g of protein, 27 g of carbs, and 4.5 g of fat. Obviously every food varies in its nutrient content, but here is my rough shopping list for a week (this list is just for me, but I’ve tried to be really specific about the quantities so it will be easy for you to adjust if you need to buy more or less):

Things you will definitely need to survive on zone: a food scale (I use this one) and a standard set of measuring cups and spoons.


5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs for lunches (an average chicken thigh is about 3 oz, which equals 3 blocks of protein)
1 dozen eggs (1 egg = 1 block protein, and I typically eat 2-3 eggs a day at breakfast and snacks)
2 packs (18 pieces) of bacon (1 slice bacon = approx. 1 block protein, I typically eat 1-2 slices a day at breakfast)
1 large fish filet (1.5 oz. fish = 1 block protein, and a large filet typically will be about 8-10 oz., so 1 large filet = approx. 6 blocks)
1 pound ground bison (1.5 oz = 1 block protein, so 1 pound = approx. 10 blocks)
Progenex More Muscle formula (2 scoops = 3 blocks protein, 1 block carbs, and I typically use this 4-5x per week)
1 pack of string cheese (8 pieces) (1 string cheese typically = 1 oz. which = 1 block of protein)
Total: 84
Alternates (things I will buy if they are on sale or I am in the mood to mix it up):
Chicken apple sausages (I measure this the same way as chicken breast, 1 oz. = 1 block of protein)
Breakfast sausage links (1.5 oz = 1 block of protein, which typically measures out to be about 1 link)
Rotisserie chicken (It’s just so easy. 1 oz. = 1 block of protein)
Lox (smoked salmon) (this stuff is super expensive so I typically only buy it as a treat, but it is also a great way to up your Omega 3′s. 1.5oz = 1 block protein)
2 bunches of kale (1 1/4 cups of cooked kale (about 2 large handfuls) = 1 block so I typically will only use this for 6-8 blocks per week as to not totally overload)
10 carrots (1 large carrot = approx 1 block of carbs and I will usually eat 2 every day for my snack)
10 apples (1 apple = 2 blocks of carbs, I typically eat 1 apple at almost every breakfast and another for snack)
3 bananas (1 banana = 3 blocks of carbs, sometimes in the morning I will eat bananas instead of apples)
2 large sweet potatoes (1/5 cup of sweet potato = 1 block carbs, and 1 large sweet potato typically = about 2 cups or 10 blocks)
1 head of cauliflower (1 1/4 cups of cooked cauliflower = 1 block and 1 head = approx. 6 cups or 5ish blocks)
1 bunch of broccoli (same measurements as cauliflower)
7 clementine oranges (1 per day, 1 block each)
Total: 70

Spaghetti squash (1 cup = 1 block carbs–make sure you are REALLY in the mood for spaghetti squash because 1 cup is a lot of squash and 1 squash will make about 10 cups)
Butternut squash (1 medium squash = about 3 cups and 1/3 cup = 1 block carbs)
Salsa (1/2 cup = 1 block carbs)
Canned tomatoes (I am really obsessed with adding canned fire roasted tomatoes to everything right now, especially soup and eggs. Make sure the ones you get are sugar free. 3/4 cup = 1 block carbs)


Almond butter (1/3 tsp = 1 block, I typically have 2 tsp or 6 blocks at breakfast)
Butter (1/2 tsp = 1 block, I typically use 1 tsp at a time for cooking, probably 2x a day)
Cashews (3 nuts = 1 block, I typically eat 9 cashews (3 blocks) at lunch and 3 more (1 block) for snack every work day)
Coconut butter (varies, but usually about the same as almond butter–I get Nikki’s Coconut Butter in Chocolate Hazelnut flavor [you have to buy online] and will just eat a spoonful at night if I need to up my fat blocks from the day)
Olive oil (1/3 tsp = 1 block, I occasionally cook with this instead of butter)

Total: 98


Almonds (3 nuts = 1 block fat)
Salad dressing (varies, but keep in mind that 1.5 g fat = 1 block)
Avocados (we don’t get very good avos here in Colorado in the winter but if you have access, please eat some for me. 1 avo = 8-10 tbs and 1 tbs = 1 block fat)

I hope this helps put you over the edge if you’ve been thinking about trying zone! If you already do zone, what are your go-to items that I didn’t list?

  • Laurie

    I’m currently obsessed with shredded cabbage! Doesn’t matter if it is red or green, but sauteed with cubed sweet potatoes and some sort of protein (pork or chicken is best) is amazing!! Along the lines of the spaghetti squash though- 1 head of cabbage will last SEVERAL meals so make sure you want to eat it all week :) You mentioned you’ve been using Progenex…do you use the recovery formula? Also, do you count that as your 1 block snack after your workout, or do you have progenex + a 1 block snack? Right now I’m playing around with what to eat/drink post-workout to see what works best for me. Just curious how you typically recover :)

    • clairechapman

      Oh man we went through a BIG cabbage phase last summer when we were doing a CSA and we kept just getting 10-pound cabbage head after 10-pound cabbage head. It was awesome but definitely…er…fibrous…

      I do use Recovery and I count is as a 2-block snack after my WOD. Not everyone who uses Progenex and is on the zone diet even counts it toward their blocks, but I think it’s kind of a lot of protein to ignore, especially when I am already on a pretty low block structure. 2 scoops is about 3 g of protein and 1 block of carbs, so typically I will do about 1.5 scoops and call it 2 blocks of protein and negligible carbs, then go home and also eat an apple with a little bit of almond butter to round it out into a 2-block snack.

      • Laurie

        Fibrous is a good way to describe it! haha! I’ve been going to my box at 5am for class so typically before I eat a homemade “energy ball” (similar to a larabar but in a ball shape) that is 1 bock since I feel like I need to have SOMETHING in my stomach at least. I count that 1 block as part of my 3 block breakfast. This past week I’ve been experimenting with having a class of 1% milk with 2 Tbsp ovaltine choc powder as a “recovery” drink right after. I’m not counting the choc milk as any blocks at this point. I then get ready for work and the other 2 blocks of breakfast around 7am. Before I started with the chocolate milk I hadn’t been doing anything extra besides 1 block before and 2 blocks after. I decided to try the choc milk before making the leap to an actual recovery drink to see how it goes. I’m going to give it another week or 2 to see if I can notice any real difference in my wkouts and recovery. How long have you been using progenex? What are your thoughts so far?

        • clairechapman

          I’ve been using Progenex for about 8 months and I love it. People say that it’s best to recover with real food because Progenex is high in sugar (which is true), but I have found that it is super hard to get myself home and cook a meal in a time window that I feel would still count as “post-workout” and not just “later that day,” and I think that drinking a recovery drink is way better than just skipping recovery altogether. The biggest advantage I’ve found to Progenex is that it helps me feel like my muscles are ready to go again for another workout faster than they are if I don’t use it, even if I’m hydrated/taking fish oil/etc. It doesn’t eliminate soreness but it almost always helps keep it from entering the “I can’t use this body part today” phase, and it is also the only protein powder I’ve found that I can mix up with just water and actually enjoy the taste and consistency of.

  • Heather

    How much does this cost you on average?

    • clairechapman

      Oh man, that is a great question. It’s hard for me to say because my grocery trips involve buying food for my very hungry boyfriend as well, but I’d guess that the food listed above, with organic meat, eggs, and as much organic produce as was available, would probably cost around $100-$120 per week.

  • Kelly Maxwell

    When do you drink your progenex and with what (I think you mentioned coconut water)?

    • clairechapman

      I drink Progenex right after a WOD, which usually is at night. On days that I WOD I typically do 3-3-2-3-2 instead of 3-3-2-3-1 just to get the Progenex in at the end of the day. I usually mix about 1.5 scoops with water and then eat 1/2 of a banana with a little bit of almond butter to make it into a full snack, but if you mix 2 full scoops of Progenex with a 17.5 ounce can of coconut water, it equals a full 3-block meal… I just am not crazy about coconut water so I don’t always do it that way.

  • Samantha

    This was really helpful! Thank you so much. I think this is the only paleo-zone grocery list i’ve seen

    • clairechapman

      Glad you liked it!

  • Ashley

    Do you count your post workout recovery drink in your zone diet?

    • clairechapman

      I do but it is pretty much up to you–a lot of athletes do, and a lot of athletes don’t because they account for it just being a replenishment of what their body is losing in a workout. If you add coconut water to some protein powders you can end up with a complete block structure which makes it easy.

  • Lisa

    I am pulling my hair out trying to find a recipe for a “snack bar” or “protein muffin” that meets both paleo and zone requirements… i figured it would have to be something with protien powder, fried fruit, almond butter, etc, but everything i find has wayyyyy too many fat blocks :(

    • clairechapman

      Hey Lisa! Someone actually sent me this recipe from a CrossFit Discussion board, maybe it would help…

      Peanut Butter Chocolate Zone Muffins
      makes 10 – 1 Block servings

      Dry Ingredients
      8C 1 cup Oats
      8P 1 cup Chocolate Protein Powder
      ½ tsp Baking Soda
      Wet Ingredients
      2C ¾ cup Unsweetened Applesauce
      2P 2 eggs
      9F 1.5 Tbls Peanut Butter
      1F Pam Olive Oil spray
      1 tsp Vanilla extract

      - Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tray with Pam olive oil spray.
      - In a bowl combine dry ingredients first. Add wet ingredients and stir. Fill 10 sections of the muffin pan evenly.
      - Bake for 8-10 minutes.
      * Alternatively you can use a 9×9 pan and then cut into 10 bars. Cooking time goes up to 12-15 minutes.
      ** The protein powder I currently use has 25g Protein per 39g serving. 1 cup works out perfect to provide 8 blocks. Adjust accordingly.

      • Lisa

        are oats cool for paleo??? I’m totally making this, but swapping almond butter in for peanut butter. YAY thank you!!!

      • Sam

        does this make 10 regular sized muffins or mini ones?

  • Rebecca

    I keep having anxiety over starting Zone, but finding this page is super helpful! Thanks!

    • B. Skip

      Don’t be toooo freaked out. At first it feels a little overwhelming. There’s just a lot of thinking about what you are doing. Which actually for me is the best part of it. It forces you to REALLY pay attention to what you are eating. After a while it will become 2nd nature and you will be able to take care of it quickly and easily. You’ll actually start eyeballing the portions cause you’ll have measured so much by then that you’ll just sort of know how much is in the thing your about to eat. In other words you’ll be able to almost do it on the fly without much rigamarole.

  • Baptiste

    In don’t understand why eggs = 1 block of protein only because eggs are very fat so I think we have to count the fat ?
    What do you think ?


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