Healthy Grocery List:
Opening our Kitchen &
Sharing our Tips

Making a Healthy Grocery List is a snap after you plan some healthy recipes and snacks - We can help! I'm opening my kitchen and sharing our secrets.

The person who makes a Healthy Grocery List and buys the groceries is a very powerful person.

We control what snacks are (and are not) available.
We control if meal are healthy (or not).
We control the health of everyone in our household.

Have you ever thought of how much you affect everyone in your home? Yet most of us feel too busy to plan and cook healthy meals. That has to change - too much is at steak (I mean, stake). haha

Too often we show up at the grocery store tired, hungry and stressed, then we're surrounded by junk food! It's a recipe for disaster!

I always shop for groceries with a list. But in order to make a healthy grocery list, I have to plan a week's worth of dinners. I've been doing it for years; I've tried many methods; I still dread it. But I get it done, and I save a lot of money and have healthy meals planned.


This is my Healthy Grocery List

It is very honest. We eat healthy in most areas and splurge in others. We strive for balance, and it works. There is more than one way to eat healthy. Your healthy grocery list will be slightly different.

Produce:

  • carrots
  • small tomatoes
  • avocado (for salads and hamburgers)
  • peppers
  • cucumbers
  • leaf lettuce (I almost never buy "lettuce in a bag" that's precut and prewashed; it spoils so much faster. Buy a head of romaine or leaf lettuce. Once home, rinse it well, cut it, lay it out on layers of paper towel, gently roll it up and store it in a large ziploc bag. You have instant salad that is perfectly ready.)
  • potatoes
  • onions
  • butternut squash (we add this to mashed potatoes - love it)
  • lemons & limes (good for meat marinades and quick homemade salad vinaigrettes)
  • Granny Smith apples
  • fresh raspberries (for snacks and added to granola & yogurt)
  • bananas
  • ranch dressing
  • croutons

Drinks:

  • grape juice
  • cran-apple juice
  • bottled water (for snacks on-the-go)
    (see also Cold Aisle)

Cereals:

  • It must have 3-5 grams of fiber per serving, otherwise, you might as well call it "dessert."
  • raisin bran
  • granola (good with milk or added to greek yogurt)
  • Kashi and Quaker cereals are my favorite brands
  • Kashi granola bars (pick granola bars with 3-5 grams of fiber and a short list of ingredients - all the other granola bars might as well be in the candy bar aisle)
  • oatmeal, old fashioned and 1-minute varieties (You may like "porridge" for breakfast, but we add oatmeal to baked goods)
  • peanut butter (cholesterol free product!)
  • jelly - I have to admit I make homemade strawberry jam every June, so we don't buy any at the grocery

Pasta/Ethnic Foods:

  • spaghetti sauce
  • small jar of pizza sauce
  • whole wheat spaghetti and pastas
  • salsa
  • taco shells
  • whole wheat tortilla shells
  • whole wheat noodles (for chicken and noodles or beef and noodles)
  • couscous
  • brown rice
  • Stove Top stuffing (not as a side-dish, as an ingredient in meat loaf or a chicken casserole)

Spice Packets:

  • taco mix
  • chili mix
  • ranch dip mix (make with yogurt and sour cream)

Crackers:

  • Wheat Thins, high-fiber varieties
  • individual snack packs of other crackers (Not to eat at home, but for snacks when we're gone for hours.)

Condiments:

  • ketchup
  • mustards - yellow, honey dijon
  • pickled jalapenos
  • pickles - bread and butter chips
  • mild pepperoncini
  • dill relish
  • mayonnaise (used in recipes)
  • barbeque sauce
  • A1 steak sauce
  • ranch dressing
  • taco sauce
  • vinegars - white, cider, red wine, balsamic

Canned Goods:

  • creamy tomato soup (all other soups, we make from scratch)
  • canned or boxed broth (for soups and homemade gravy)
  • chicken and beef bouillon powder
  • baked beans
  • kidney beans (for chili)
  • cannellini beans (for chili and other recipes)
  • black beans (for mexican dishes)
  • tomato sauce (for chili or beef stew)
  • diced tomatoes
  • crushed tomatoes (for marinara sauce or dipping pizza sauce)
  • cream of chicken soup, 98% fat free
  • tuna packed in olive oil
  • Manwich sauce (for sloppy joes)

Dry Goods:

  • croutons
  • applesauce, individually packed, no sugar added (we sprinkle ours with cinnamon and sugar at home)
  • gum (helps clean your teeth and keeps you from eating dessert)

Meat:

  • pork tenderloin
  • lean hamburger
  • beef roasts (for crock pot)
  • whole chicken or cut-up whole chicken (for making broth, then freezing shredded chicken)
  • chicken thighs
    (see also Freezer Aisle)

Baking:

  • Bisquick (for waffles - add a handful of whole wheat flour)
  • unbleached white flour
  • whole wheat flour
  • sugar
  • brown sugar
  • powdered sugar (sprinkle on top of cakes as a frosting-replacement)
  • chocolate chips
  • nuts, many varieties
  • shredded coconut
  • canned pumpkin
  • fat free evaporated milk
  • canola oil (for baking)
  • grape seed oil (for sauteing)
  • extra virgin olive oil (for eating, salad dressings, dip for bread) We order really high quality olive oil from the internet.

Dairy:

  • yogurt, greek fat-free
  • butter (I choose real butter over margarine and use it sparingly)
  • skim (fat free) milk
  • 2% milk (for my cross country runner in training)
  • parmesan cheese (for pasta, salads, casseroles, sauces)
  • monterey jack cheese (for grilled cheese sandwiches on the weekends)
  • small container of sour cream (used occasionally in recipes)
  • shredded cheddar cheese

Cold Aisle:

  • eggs
  • orange juice, not from concentrate

Freezer Aisle:

  • peas
  • frozen soup vegetables
  • hash browns
  • ice cream, occasionally
  • frozen chicken tenderloins
  • frozen salmon
  • frozen fish, white flakey varieties

Breads:

  • 100% whole wheat bread
  • sourdough bread
  • buns (whole wheat, if your family will eat them)
  • 100% whole wheat english muffins or flatbread

Snacks:

  • roasted almonds
  • yogurt with granola (and possibly berries)
  • granola bars with 3+ grams of fiber
  • granny smith apples
  • bananas
  • clementines or raspberries or peaches, when in season
  • strawberries, if they look fresh
  • peanut butter on whole wheat toast
  • cereal with 3+ grams of fiber
  • small portion of leftover dinner

First,
Plan some Meals

I follow a healthy portion plate for my meals. A protein, carbohydrate, and a vegetable/legume. Easy.

We all love variety, so as I plan a week or a month at a time, I pull out one of my cookbooks. Most of my meals come from that cookbook. I rotate them, so we have different recipes all year long.

(Here's a story: We bought the meal plan at Disney World several years ago. Our son was too young to get the adult meals, so he had to eat kids' chicken nuggets, etc., all week. One night at dinner, he said with tears in his eyes, "I miss mom's gourmet meals!" I'm not a gourmet cook, but I manage to plan a lot of different meals by rotating my cookbooks every week/month. I'll never forget that sweet comment.)

Fill in with your "regular" meals. For us, this would be spaghetti, impossible cheeseburger pie by Bisquick, hamburgers, tacos, sloppy joes, and plain sauteed chicken. Whatever you can make without a recipe with what you keep on hand every week make up your "regular" meals. Now you'll have your own list of healthy food.

Second,
Plan Snacks

Click here for our list of healthy snacks.

Snacks are so important. Here is more information about picking better snacks.

Recently, I made a new habit to eat an apple every afternoon. I eat green Granny Smith apples (most people only cook with this variety) because they are never mushy. They stay fresh in the refrigerator for a long time. They taste tart, but so does a lot of candy! If I can eat a cookie every day, then I can certainly eat an apple every day!

Little habits like this add up.

Take these items OFF your Healthy Grocery List

Actually, I rarely buy these items, but it's not a big deal to buy them on occasions, especially for birthday parties, etc.


  • Chips
  • Pre-made cookies
  • Soft Drinks/Sodas
  • Frozen garlic bread
  • Frozen entrees
  • Frozen pizza
  • White bread, unless it's sourdough or hawaiian bread
  • Croissants

Making It Work

Is there a secret for eating healthy every day for years?

We splurge. Every day! I'm not kidding. This is the equation that works for our family:

exercise + healthy meals + dessert = a healthy weight

Everyone in our family loves to bake, so homemade cookies or cakes are almost a daily occurrence (and I love to bake pies). A homemade cookie is 1000 times better than ones from the grocery, and you can add healthy ingredients, like oatmeal.

Having a hard time getting your kids to exercise? Here's the secret - we parents have to exercise. They follow our example and our lifestyle. My son would not be a record-setting long distance runner if Dr. Dave didn't run with him throughout the year.  When I was a teenager, my dad went on 4-mile walks for exercise, and I could join in and stay in shape in the off-season of my high school sports.

So don't be afraid to adopt a BALANCED healthy diet, which has some room for splurges. And make exercise a high priority; it will inspire your whole household.

You can start with your Healthy Grocery List . . .


Develop your own Healthy Grocery List to take you through many active years.

Return to List of Healthy Food (from Healthy Grocery List)

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