Grocery Shopping

By Nick Massie

In Nutrition, Videos

June 06, 2011

Video Article

Learn tips and tricks from CrossFitter and chef Nick Massie as he hunts for groceries at his local Whole Foods. On today’s list are ingredients Massie needs for the Paleo Diet-inspired dishes he is preparing in this cooking series.

As he wanders the produce section, Massie explains how he finds the freshest fruits and vegetables. For instance, he suggests buying loose mushrooms instead of packaged ones so they last longer. Look for firmness in carrots and peppers but a little give in avocados and limes, he says. Through careful observation, touch and smell, Massie can find the best his store has to offer.

“Ideally, with any fruit or vegetable, you want it to be where you’re not afraid to like take a bite out of it right now,” he says.

But washing is also important—even when buying organic.

“Always rinse your veggies before you eat them, especially if you’re not cooking them,” he says.

After he piles up the produce, Massie targets some mid-aisle items like nuts, coconut milk, sauces and spices. Then he heads to the fish and meat sections to round out a shopping trip that will provide him with two weeks’ worth of meals.

11min 0sec

Additional reading: CFJ Issue 21: Zone Meal Plans by Greg Glassman, published May 1, 2004.



49 Comments on “Grocery Shopping”


wrote …

wondering what you wash your veggies and fruit with.


wrote …

This guy is good.


wrote …

Intrigued to see what meals you come up with.


wrote …

looking forward to this series!


wrote …

Any chance of a video where top crossfit athlete discussing their own nutrition - what, when and how they eat especially around comp times


wrote …

This is going to be the best series for food... can hardly wait for the next pieces!! great job

and $185, umm that's a LOT to spend in my book :)


wrote …

he should have shopped at Trader Joe's =D


wrote …

This should be a weekly series in itself. Nutrition is a pillar of fitness.


wrote …

Wow..great stuff..I'm glad Crossfit is getting its nutrition mojo back online


wrote …

I agree with Jose, great stuff so far. I need as much help with this stuff as I can get, a weekly cooking show would be tremendously helpful.


wrote …

I use Environne Veggie wash, water just won't cut it. I get mine at TJs. Real nice video. $185 for 2 weeks is a real nice job at WF, I spend about $100 per week, give or take depending on what I need; coconut oil is expensive, for example. You don't want mushy fruit or veggies for sure but blemishes are no big deal and too much pickiness encourages more modification of the product and higher prices. That is why tomatoes might look good but pretty much suck in a store as they have been grown for one thing, to look good and not taste good. Great job Nick. BTW, the 365 brand packages of nuts are about 40% cheaper than the bulk ones.


wrote …

extremely helpful article...can't wait for the series. Thank you!


wrote …

I have to be honest. I didn't think this video was of any value. If you don't know how to pick out fresh produce, you have a serious problem.

Buying thin scallions versus "woody" scallions doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Neither does buying bacon in a plastic package. If you are buying your vegetables at whole foods or a farmer's market, and often times that includes a premium price higher than that which you would find at Stop & Shop, you should be buying meat that is of the same quality. The meats available at the whole foods deli counter are indeed of such quality. Prepackaged, "low-sodium" bacon, however, is not. I'm still trying to figure out why whole foods even has a frozen isle. The only reason I would ever go through it would be if I needed a fix of American Flatbread due to an over-extended period of time without a trip to Vermont.

Do some research and try to find a high-quality deli in your vicinity. The same rule applies for buying fish. You can buy a pound of frozen shrimp at the grocery store for $12-$15, or you can go to the fish market (if you live on the coast) and spend closer to $30 for the real deal. Trust me, I'm a New Englander, there is a huge difference.

I'll probably catch a lot of shit for my dissent because that seems to be the usual reaction to negative opinions. C'est la vie.


wrote …

This will be a great series. When it is that time of the year I like to get all my veggies at a farmers market. The majority of herbs are also very easy to grow at home: cilantro, chives, basil, and oregano. I have also started growing my own tomatoes at home. It spruces up the house with some green while saving you the other green, and gives you a great sense of accomplishment that you grew your own grub.


wrote …

Nick, thanks so much for putting this together. Very helpful to someone like me who has somewhat recently made the switch to a Paleo diet and has very little idea what I'm doing in the kitchen (hey I'm trying). Would love to see you get your own cooking show or start something along the lines of mobility wod for the kitchen. Keep Doing Real Work and best of luck with it.


wrote …

Awesome - definitely going to be one of the best series on here!!!


wrote …

Nice Video Nick, looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

@Patrick # 13: I am not going to hit you up for your dissenting opinion. Variety is the spice of life man, but the way you go about it is a little off. As an affiliate owner I live in a state of amazement of the people who don't have any clue about any and all of this information, so to call it worthless or to tell people that they have a serious problem for not knowing how to spot ripe veggies is a touch much even for me (and I tend to post on the harsh side of things). Some things to keep in mind is that not everyone has access to the things that you do. Someone posted about Trader Joe's: I don't have one, hell I barely have a decent super market. As far as fresh seafood goes, we have one market that does all of the shopping for the resort towns around us and they have obscure hours, so it makes it nigh impossible for me to get there. What I do have that you may not, is unlimited access to fresh game meats, but I'm not going to call you a dirty name because you don't make your paleo chili with Elk meat that you shot yourself. Just ease the tone a little dude, that's all.


wrote …

I am looking forward to more.....


wrote …

So looking forward to more! More grocery shopping, more food, more cooking, and more Nick! Lovin' this series!


wrote …

CrossFit's Top Chef...Episode 1, Cherie Chan vs. Nick Massie.


wrote …

I think the key to Paleo is to be strict. Paleo humans, just like traditional cultures today, did not use sauces, sugar or much in the way of spice. Remember that even pepper was a novelty until about 150 years ago. Salt is another suspect ingredient, at least when added to most foods. Real Paleo should be somewhat bland with very little, if any, food reward value. I modify my Paleo diet by adding unsalted butter, coconut oil, lentils and some occasional brown rice. I feel great and am as lean as can be.


replied to comment from Patrick Aveni

Or, to be fair, like me, you never went grocery shopping with other people who did know what was what. I've been on my own for a few years now and learning through trial-and-error - mom used to do all the shopping and cooking until I left for university. Even at university, it wasn't until I left dorms that I needed to learn it all.

For me, this video series looks to be very valuable in passing on tips and techniques that I never had much interest in learning until I decided to get a bit more serious about my diet.

I know enough about some of the vegetables that I'd use every day (peppers, lettuce, carrots) or fruits (family are orchardists), but some of the other things are new to me.


wrote …

Very cool article! Curious to see how he portions everything, something I've got major issues with.....


wrote …

Great production, great content. Next step: showing impatient, ham-handed folks like myself how to properly do the work in the kitchen. I am regularly undercooking or burning my paleo meals, to say nothing of using spoiled produce.

I appreciate the notes on selecting produce, it is very helpful to the rest of us who do not have subscriptions to the Ladies' Home Journal, with its "bendy carrots/spotted napa" columns.

And if you're an ascetic who thinks that nutritious food should be bland, try to keep our boards au naturel, and scrawl them instead on the walls of your shack.


replied to comment from Patrick Aveni


It's shame that such an inclusive community has such an (at times) outrageous message board. Imagine the discussion if people didn't fear the backlash!

Other than your last line (and maybe your opener), however you didn't really post anything controversial. Advising the same standards for meat as fruits and veggies is not unreasonable.


replied to comment from Tim Barnes

So the key is to be strict? Exept for the rice, lentils, butter and coconut oil of course.

Having more paleo recipe ideas is never a bad thing. Get this cat in the kitchen and lets see what he does with his purchases.


wrote …

Looking forward to what's next in this series. They should re-name Whole Foods to Whole Paycheck.


wrote …

Rad. Thanks Nick.


wrote …

Shop smart! meaning, Whole foods isnt the only place that sells organic. They may have a wider selection of products...but i would rather save my money and go elsewhere. I usually shop at Sprouts, Henrys, Trader Joes or the local farmers market.


wrote …

I really appreciate this. Eating healthy is the aspect of my training that I struggle with the most, since I've been eating like the average American for the past 25 years of my life. I hope to see more recipes in the future so I can make paleo meals that don't taste like sandpaper.

Will Ortiz

Crossfit Riverdale


wrote …

Thanks to whoever edited the video and thanks to Nick! The most joyous part of my day "If I'm just gonna munch on nuts I'll uhhh...(awkward moment) beep! If I'm just uhhh snacking on fat..." laughed for just about the whole day on that one.
Look forward to seeing diet explained from the store to the plate!


wrote …

Awesome video


Matthew Hathcock wrote …

Nice video Nick! I know exactly which whole foods you were at too! Right down the street from my house! Helped me know what stuff to look for too. Nice work, you'll have to come cook for me sometime.


wrote …

Great job Nick! Adam Nick would win hands down...



replied to comment from brent currie

Brent. I don't really wash them, I think I used the term rinse. I typically just use water and give them a good rub down to rid any dirt, wax, or other coatings that are used. When cleaning fruits and vegetables that are to be consumed raw, I've seen a vinegar or lemon juice solution that you can store in a spray bottle in your fridge. This provides an acidic environment that will help with any microbial contaminants. The high heat of cooking will typically take care of any harmful bacteria for your cooked goods.
Just an FYI, you can google FAT TOM to learn more about favorable environments for foodborne pathogens. In this case, the vinegar or lemon has such a low pH (meaning it is highly acidic) and this will hinder the growth of anything nasty. The "A" in FAT TOM stands for acidity. Your homework: what do the other 5 letters stand for?
Whew! All that from a simple question... Wash, rinse, do what you'd like, just be sure to have fun in the kitchen!


replied to comment from Dillon Cain

Dillon. Like John said, we didn't have access to a Trader Joe's. We chose Whole Foods because I used to work at this particular one and they gave us permission to film. It is good to get feedback regarding price. To me, $185 doesn't seem like a lot, but everyone sees things differently. I think we will do some shows "on a budget" as well to show how well you really can eat for very little coin. There is one coming up where I make 15 pounds of meat for like $27 or something close to that. What would be a reasonable weekly food budget for you?


replied to comment from Andy Blaida

Andy. What is a reasonable food budget for you for two weeks? Challenge me and I'll show you what is possible with very few dinarii...


replied to comment from Kevin Seaman

Kevin. What do you need help with? What questions do you have? Give me something specific you'd like to see or learn.
Thanks for chiming in!


replied to comment from Matthew Hathcock

Anytime, Matt. Hope you branch out from steaks and grilled asparagus...


replied to comment from Cherie Chan

Thanks, Cherie, it wouldn't have been possible without you. And, please give yourself more credit in the kitchen. I enjoyed your videos. It's not all about fancy ingredients and kitchen secrets, it's about simple food and whatever works to fuel your body properly. Thanks for helping out!


wrote …

Nick, Thanks for the video. Very informational. If you are looking for additional ideas, I have a hard time planning meals for an entire week. What freezes and reheats well... How long are things good for in the fridge / freezer. May be common sense to some people but its something that I struggle with.


wrote …

i love this video and all nicks videos! i do most of my shopping at whole foods with some shopping at trader joe's. i thankfully have both of them right across the street from each other. a couple of things. first of all i don't believe paleo food is supposed to be bland. i believe it's supposed to be flavorful and delicious. obviously food is supposed to be nutritious but i also believe it's supposed to be emotionally enjoyed. pick up some paleo cookbooks and try telling me the recipes in them are "bland". also, i really recommend everybody to pick up the book "nourishing traditions" by sally fallon. i study nutrition like crazy, especially paleo nutrition and have a rather large library now of books. nourishing traditions is hands down the best book on nutrition i've read yet. i really think HQ should promote it like they promote "enter the zone" by dr. barry sears.


wrote …

Good show, Nick. I shop at an excellent vegetable market that has a full service natural meat market (two different businesses)under the same roof. The prices are more expensive than globo stores. It's expensive to eat well.

I look at it as an investment. After all, how much would it be worth to avoid a life with diabetes? $185.00 for two weeks is a bargain.

I look forward to my weekly grocery trips. It's part of my social circle. I know the store owners, they know me. It's as close to living in an agrarian society in a metro area as one can get. The only time I need to go into a Safeway is when I buy Corona which is maybe twice a month.

Keep up the good work. Look forward to future episodes.


replied to comment from Nick Massie

Nick, I just want to say that I think its super cool that you actually reply to comments from viewers.

PS I really like your videos, I am getting a little worn out on ground beef and cubed sweet potatoes. :)



wrote …

This was great. I like to cook but i'm on a grad student budget so spending more than $75 a week (on average) may be a bit much for me. But I would also like to see how you cook for the week. I am bad about eating leftovers for more than a few days. I also look forward to any suggestions about how to cook different types of veggies. Like I have never used parsnips, squash, chard, brussel sprouts, etc., and I am very open to figuring out different ways to cook with these types of veggies. But overall, thanks for the videos. They are good- and your lime chili chicken looks amazing and I plan on trying that one soon too!


wrote …

Speaking of Whole Foods....this video will make your day.


wrote …

Great video. I think someone said that it was unnecessary to make a video showing people how to pick out good produce from bad, that it's common sense. Well I guess that's just one of the things my parents failed to teach me. I found it helpful.

I had a question for you. I've started trying to follow the paleo diet and purchase fresh produce, meats, and nuts. You said your $185 shopping trip would last you about 2 weeks. It seems like the fresh stuff I buy doesn't stay so "fresh" for 2 weeks. What do you do to help that stuff keep for so long? Do you cook a lot of it and then store it?



wrote …

Good vid Nick,
WF one of my favorite destinations. A lime or lemon in the microwave for 10 sec will juice it up a bit. Credit to Guy Fieri.


wrote …

Thanks for the video. I would love to see how you then turn this shop into two weeks worth of meals. I don't doubt you can do it but I seem to struggle to stick to a budget with fresh foods and always seem to be buying every few days.

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