Essential grocery list for the Fast Metabolism Diet

Just starting out on the Fast Metabolism Diet and overwhelmed by the food lists? Here’s your “getting started” grocery list for the FMD.

We frequently hear from readers in rural areas, or from other countries who have a harder time finding some of the specialty items referenced in The Fast Metabolism Diet. Keep in mind that most non-perishable grocery items can be easily found online, so that’s an option for those living in areas that don’t have a great grocery store or health food store. But there’s also no reason you have to buy specialty items at all — you can easily do the Fast Metabolism Diet by sticking with easy-to-find groceries.

Here are some basics that — with the addition of fresh vegetables and fruit — will let you make meals for any phase. Try to buy organic whenever possible, and always check the labels for sneaky ingredients like sugar, corn or soy.

Grains and Nuts

Steel-cut oats ( if you can’t find steel-cut, old-fashioned rolled oats work)

Quinoa. This grain is now easy to find in most grocery stores. It’s a wonderful complete grain that’s easy to cook.

Brown rice 

Raw nuts. Can’t find raw almonds or cashews? Try walnuts, which are almost always sold as raw in the first place. (No peanuts allowed)

Raw sunflower seeds

Freezer Section

Frozen berries. These are a godsend when berries are out of season.

Frozen shrimp and/or salmon. Frozen fish is just fine if you don’t have access to fresh fish.

(Non) Dairy Items

Eggs and egg whites.  Since we just use egg whites on Phase 1 and Phase 2, it’s fine to use 100% organic liquid egg whites.

Meat and Fish

Turkey or chicken breasts. Buy organic and antibiotic free if possible.

Lean ground beef or turkey. Buy organic, antibiotic and hormone-free whenever possible.

Turkey, beef, elk or bison jerky. If you can’t find a sugar-free, nitrate-free, soy-free brand, it’s easy to make your own.

Canned tuna (in water)

Condiments and Pantry Items

Chicken, beef or vegetable stock or broth. Check this post for brands that work on the diet, and for recipes to make your own.

Canned or dried beans. Canned beans are convenient, but most can linings contain BPA. You can also soak and cook dried beans, which is economical.

Himalayan salt or sea salt. These salts have a complete mineral profile compared to table salt, and one bag lasts forever. Read more on salt types. If you can’t find Himalayan or Celtic salt, look for any sea salt.

Balsamic vinegar. Make sure this doesn't have any additional sugars. 

Tamari. Called for in many recipes as a seasoning for meats, Tamari is a wheat-free, soy sauce that’s acceptable on the diet because it is fermented. Look for it in the Asian section of your store.

Olive oil. You can use other oils on the diet, but if you only want to buy one, go for extra-virgin olive oil.

Fresh Veggies and Fruits

Take the food lists shopping with you — then you can buy whatever phase-appropriate fruits and veggies are in season or on sale. But here are some basics that most stores stock year-round. Frozen fruits and veggies can always fill in.

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Lemons and limes
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale or spinach
  • Green or red peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yellow onions
  • Garlic

Nice-to-have Extras

These items aren’t necessary, but they’re nice to have on hand.

Almond milk or coconut milk

Sprouted-grain bread. This can be used on both Phase 1 and Phase 3. Ezekiel (orange wrapper) is one brand that is easy to find, often in the frozen-food section.

Brown-rice pasta or quinoa pasta

Turkey bacon. Choose nitrate-free, sugar-free brands.

Stevia or birch-based xylitol

Learn more About the Fast Metabolism Diet

The App

The Cookbook

Science Behind the Die

7-Day Metabolism Makeover Meal Maps