Coach Mat's Grocery List
This list is what Jenna and I routinely buy, the brands we trust, reasons why we buy that food and ideas for cooking!
Ground turkey (99% fat free, Jenni-O) – I want a low fat high protein food I know I can use for just protein. I eat this almost every day. It’s easy to make in bulk and mix into a one container meal. My go to is to get 2 pounds, add 2 tbsp olive oil into a pan, brown the turkey then add a large jar of Tostitos salsa and mix it then simmer it until the majority of liquid is gone. Add it over roasted vegetables and sweet potato, rice or quinoa! We’ve also done it with Raos marinara sauce and it’s been delicious but has a higher fat content, not a bad thing, just need to know how it affects your numbers!
Chicken breast – more pure protein. I usually grill these with different seasonings. My go to recently has been balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and olive oil. For 6 chicken breasts I’ll use 6 tsbp of oil, 1/4 -1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar and 3-4 tbsp of mustard. Mix and marinate then grill! I’ll have them cooked and ready and know that per meal I need to get ~40g of protein per eating time to get my daily goal. I’ll measure the piece then cut off small pieces of another one and add it to the scale until I get my needed amount (5 oz).
Deli turkey (Boars Head) – so easy to snack on! Add a squirt of mustard to dip, simple!
Egg Whites (Lucerne brand)– This is pure protein. If you need just protein, this is an easy go to. You can even cook eggs in the microwave. No particular reason behind this brand. Affordable and comes in large cartons.
Eggs – A combo of protein and fat. I usually make a mixture of eggs and egg whites. Egg yolks are HEALTHY and good for you. But if I eat 5 eggs, my fat can get pretty high, pretty quick. To get the amount of protein I’m looking for (~40 g/meal) I add egg whites so that I can have some fat later on in my day and still be within numbers. I usually do 3 eggs and the equivalent of 4 egg whites measured out.
Whey protein – This is especially good for weekends. When we’re on the go or just busy during the day we can bring a protein shake or quickly drink it and grab a carb source to make a balanced “meal”. It doesn’t have to be on a plate, freshly cooked to be effective. Get the nutrients needed. We love Progenex for a sweater treat flavor and use Ascent for “puddings” and mixing into food. They are available here at CFCL.
Coconut Oil – healthy fat. Coconut oil or MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride) can be easily converted into energy by the body. Saturated fat had been demonized in the past but has now been shown to be healthy and good for the heart. If we’re cooking something in a pan (sautéing or pan searing/frying) we’ll typically use coconut oil.
Coconut Oil Powder (Quest brand) – This is a great thing to put into shakes. Since we usually make shakes with water adding this gives us fat if we need it. If we’re going out we’ll bring a shaker cup of water and zip lock bag with a scoop of whey protein powder and scoop of powdered coconut oil.
Olive Oil – Another healthy oil we use every week when we cook. We typically use this on vegetables we’re roasting (broccoli, burssels sprouts, butternut squash).
Oil Sprays – Oil sprays can be good to give a quick coat to a pan with but not hit your hard in the macros. There are olive oil sprays and coconut oil sprays that can be great alternatives during a cut if you have lower fat numbers!
All of our carb sources are gluten free. We don’t have a gluten allergy but notice that we just don’t feel as good when we eat glutenous foods. So we don’t!
Sweet Potatoes (regular, yams, purple, white, Japanese) – pure carbs that are easy to add to any meal and get a carb boost.
Rice cakes – pure carbs and easy to take on the go or add to a meal, usually they only have a small carb load so if there’s only a few carbs remaining these can fit easily. To cook them we usually bake 6-10 medium ones at a time. 400 degrease for about 40 minutes or until we can stick them with a fork fairly easily.
Parsnips – especially in fall! Not super carb heavy but sweet, delicious and easy to prepare. They can be roasted with other root vegetables (sweet potato, squash, carrots) and add a nice flavor. We’ll generally chop them into pieces that are around the same size and roast them like we do sweet potatoes!
Butternut Squash – not super carb heavy but delicious, easy to make and fill up on if you’re not looking for higher density carb option. We peel the skin, chop it into ½ inch cubes, add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and then a little salt and cinnamon. Roast at ~400 for 20-25 minutes. A little charring is delicious! We’ll eat it on it’s own (it’s semi sweet!), add it to a meal, mash it, and add it to salads! So good!
Quinoa – We get organic white quinoa. As one of our “grain” products that we eat, we choose organic because we know that grains are typically sprayed with chemicals. Organic maybe too, but we try to get the most clean version available. There’s other types but this is the one we have chosen for no other reason other than we found an organic version and it is fairly tasteless so it can pick up the flavor of most other foods.
Rice Cakes (Lundberg Thin Stackers – Brown Rice) – these are great little rice cakes that do not taste like Styrofoam. They are gluten free, easy to transport and don’t pack a big carb punch but enough to fill a small bit at the end of the day or if a few are eaten (like making little sandwiches with them as the bread and turkey and mayo!) they can add up to be enough for a meal.
Oatmeal (Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Oats) – Oats are a good source of digestive fiber and more dense carbohydrate. They are easy to make (Mat makes them at 4:40 AM before coaching!) and can be mixed into other foods to build volume. They are also lower on the glycemic index which means they digest slowly and their energy will be utilized in your body slowly instead of giving you a jolt of energy then leaving you tired.
Apples (Honey Crisp or Gala usually) – no specific reason for the types, those are just the ones we like. Any will do for the quick and easy carb shot they provide. It’s not usually a ton, typically around 30 grams per medium to large apple. Pro tip, wash them! Pesticides and such may get sprayed directly onto them and its easy enough to just wash them!
Bananas – Simple and easy dense carbs. These portable carb sticks are an easy way to get some carbs quickly.
Berries (when in season) – blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries. We love them. Not very dense in carbs but packed with vitamins. Since they are not very carb dense (1 cup of blueberries has 21 g carbs) we can eat a lot of them and get pretty full without having a big dent in carb macros if we’re at the end of the day and only have a few grams left but feel very hungry. You could use frozen berries too!
Oranges (when in season) – another easy to grab and go carb.
Watermelon – We love watermelon and in the summer it’s a staple in our house because it’s a lower density carb and we can eat a ton of it without consuming a ton of carbs from our daily macro amount. On the days we’re really hungry but may not have a ton of macro’s left, this is a way to eat a lot of food, feel very full but not take up a ton of macros.
All vegetables are carbohydrates. We’re putting these in their own separate category just to give you a list for veggies!
Brussels sprouts – these are packed with vitamin C and vitamin K. When it comes to cooking them, we do what’s easiest and fastest. We generally get 4-5 lbs of them in one shopping trip that last 4 days out of the week. We put them in a bow, add 4-5 tbsp of olive oil, mix so they are coated, lightly salt and roast them at 400 for 25 minutes or until browned and a bit crispy!
Broccoli – crowns or the crowns on the stalk. If there’s long stalks, cut most of it off leaving 2” below the crown. Chop the crown portion into florets and the stalk portion into ½” thick pieces then in half. For each floret we use 1 tbsp of olive oil and mix it all together in a bowl, lightly salt then roast at 400 for 20-25 minutes.
Kale (we go organic on this one) – We will sometimes make sautéed kale with caramelized onions (delicious!) but more often we make kale salads. Remove the stem from the middle of the leafy portion. Chop it semi-finely or more roughly for larger bite sized pieces. Add other veggies for a salad.
Red leaf lettuce – we combine the kale and red leaf lettuce for salads!
Broccoli slaw – we add this to salads for a great crunch and texture change.
Red, orange and yellow bell peppers – crunchy, sweet and low density on carbs.
“When we’re in the mood” List
Ground beef (90/10) – this has a higher amount of fat. Not a bad thing, but I may want to get my fat from other foods so having this as well as, let’s say eggs, may make my day get full of fat macros fast. If we’re making a specific recipe we’ll get it!
Sausage – same as above. There’s a great roasted apple, sausage and acorn squash recipe we love that we’ll get sausage for. We don’t buy it every time because we don’t make this meal routinely. Not because it’s bad for you or anything like that. More so it just takes a lot of time! On a weekend when we have time if we make this, we budget in the 27 grams of fat per serving and make sure the rest of the day allows this!
Chicken Thighs – These are delicious but have a higher fat content, not a bad thing but if there’s not a ton of fat macros in your daily plan, choosing where you want to spend them is wise. When we make a specific recipe that calls for chicken thighs, we’ll use them, such as the lemon, herb grilled chicken here!
Avocado – it’s healthy and delicious but for us it’s easy to overeat. When we get it we specifically measure out our allotted amounts that we need to fit our numbers but it’s always calling in the fridge! So we don’t always get it but when we do, we usually dip plantain chips in it!
Peanut/Almond Butter (Teddys Peanut butter, Justins Almond Butter) – We love nut butters. But it’s a high density food. I personally don’t feel very full after eating 2 tablespoons, but I have spent quite a few of my fat macros! For me, the little amount of volume I get to eat but high cost of fat macros isn’t worth the trade most often. However! I have heard of people who when hungry, have a teaspoon of it and feel super full! Try it for yourself! The same would go for nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews etc.)
Rice (Usually white rice, organic jasmine)– This is a good dense carb source that can add some stick to your ribs full feeling to a meal. We don’t always get it, not because there’s anything bad about it, but rather, we just prefer quinoa. In the past we have gone through periods where we really like rice and it we used it instead of quinoa.
Plantain Chips – We’ll get plantain chips every now and then as a dipable snack for a Sunday football game or party. They are dense in carbs and fat so a little goes a long way unfortunately so measuring is essential or before you know it the whole bag will be gone!
Pop corn (Orville Redenbachers Smart Pop) – It’s a low density carb (you can eat a lot of it and feel full without having a ton of carb macros) and can be a good snack treat when watching a movie that won’t crush our macros compared to other options. Don’t get tricked by marketing. The “skinny” versions out there aren’t so skinny. Here are the macros for 6.5 cups popped: Skinny – 253 cal, 0 protein, 16 fat, 25 carbs. Orville – 97 calories, 0 protein, 1 fat, 19 carbs.
Corn Tortillas (La Banderita) – these are easy to grab and turn any meal into a grab and go quick one or on a night when we don’t really want to cook. If we have made ground turkey or beef or even chicken breast, we can cut it up, wrap it, dip in salsa or guac and we’re good! We like this brand for no particular reason other than they are gluten free and we’ve had them before and they taste good. If you wanted to have an option that wasn’t dense with carbs, you could find a low carb tortilla or wrap alternative like Mission Tortilla Carb Balance wrap.