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What should I buy at the grocery store?


Posted by Donna W. Healthy Living ProfessionalHealth Maven

This is a question I get a lot, so here is the grocery list I put together. You can copy and paste it to your hard drive and print it to take with you when you shop. There are some basic rules, which I bulleted at the end of the second page. For the most part, you need to avoid certain isles in the store. It’s best to just shop the perimeter isles, except for the health food isles. Also, when you need canned, dry or bottled items, check the ingredients for sugar and partially hydrogenated oils and do not buy them if it’s listed.

GROCERY LIST:

APPLES
ORANGES
PEACHES
CHERRIES
CRANBERRIES
PLUMS/NECTARINES
MANGOS
PINEAPPLE
BANANAS
FIGS
LEMONS/LIMES
BLUEBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES (FROZEN OKAY TOO)
FRUIT SORBET (NO SUGAR ADDED)
NON FAT/LOW FAT FROZEN YOGURT

PLAIN COLE SLAW (PRE-MADE IN BAG)
ROMAINE LETTUCE
CELERY
CARROTS
SWEET POTATOES
SQUASH
MUSHROOMS
GREEN PEPPERS/RED PEPPERS/YELLOW PEPPERS
EGGPLANT
TOMATOES
FRESH OR FROZEN GREEN VEGETABLES: BROCCOLI, BRUSSEL SPROUTS, GREEN BEANS, SPINACH, ETC
GARLIC
ONIONS

OLIVES
ARTICHOKE HEARTS
BLACK BEANS
SUN DRIED TOMATOES (NO OIL)
TOMATO SAUCE (NO SUGAR IN INGREDIENTS)
LENTILS
WHITE BEANS

GREEN TEA BAGS
BOTTLED WATER

TUNA FISH PACKED IN SPRING WATER

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
NEWMAN’S OWN OIL & VINEGAR DRESSING
BALSAMIC VINEGAR
HONEY
MUSTARD
COCKTAIL SAUCE
PICKLES

NEWMAN’S OWN LOW FAT FIG NEWMANS
RAW ALMONDS
WALNUTS
HAZELNUTS
RAISINS

EGGS OR JUST EGG WHITES IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT CHOLESTEROL
LOWFAT COTTAGE CHEESE
LOWFAT/NON FAT YOGURT
PART SKIM RICOTTA CHEESE
FETA CHEESE (LOW FAT)
HARD WHITE CHEESE
SKIM MILK
ORANGE OR GRAPEFRUIT JUICE (100% JUICE MUST BE ON THE LABEL)
LOW FAT SOUR CREAM

TOMATO & VEGGIE ONLY SALSA (CHECK LABEL FOR SUGAR AND OTHER JUNK)
TORTILLA CHIPS (PLAIN FROM THE HEALTH FOOD ISLE)
RELISH OF ANY SORT IF NO SUGAR LISTED ON LABEL

WHOLE GRAIN PITA BREAD
WHOLE WHEAT BREAD

CHICKEN BREASTS
BUFFALO FOR RED MEAT
SHRIMP (FRESH OR FROZEN)
SCALLOPS
ANY FISH FRESH OR FROZEN

BROWN RICE
STEEL CUT OATMEAL
WHOLE GRAIN CEREALS (KASHI IS A GOOD BRAND)

ANY SEASONING/CONDIMENT/SPICE THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE SUGAR OR PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OIL ON THE LABEL

OTHER NOTES:
• CHECK LABELS CAREFULLY FOR HIDDEN SATURATED FAT, ESPECIALLY PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OIL OR ANY KIND AND SUGAR.
• THE FEWER THE INGREDIENTS LISTED ON THE LABEL, THE BETTER
• SHOP AT THE HEALTH FOOD STORES WHEN YOU CAN
• SHOP IN THE HEALTH FOOD ISLES OF YOUR GROCER FOR AS MANY ITEMS AS AVAILABLE
• STAY AWAY FROM THE JUNK FOOD, SODA AND COOKIE ISLES COMPLETELY
• SHOP THE PERIMETER OF THE STORE EXCEPT FOR THE NATURAL FOOD ISLES AND CANNED AND BOTTLED ITEMS

 
Answers (9)
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You may note that my grocery list has absolutely no suger items listed. Since agave syrup is a highly processed suger, I would not approve of it for my shopping list. However, if one needs to make allowances for childrens palates, which will require some sweet foods, agave nectar is one in which I would consider using for baking cookies for the children and thereby avoiding any baked item that can be purchased at a store.

There is no easy answer to the question of what to eat--and therefore buy at the grocery store. In terms of nutrition and health, you have one type of answer, but only you know exactly what you crave, so make sure you buy foods you enjoy as well as ones you believe are healthy. We've become a society dependent on diets and expert advice on what to eat, but that can make us feel too regimented and deprived of foods we love. Try to live and eat in balance.

Best,

Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed.

Good question.  There's very little at the grocery store that is going to build your body up.  Unfortunately, there are thousands of items there that will tear your body down.  That's what I'm always thinking about when shopping for foods and drinks., "Is this item going to build my body up or tear it down?"

Here are the few items I buy at the grocery store:

Nuts (with little or no salt) - Walnuts, peanuts, almonds and cashews that we scoop from the bins.  Also, raw nuts are better for you than roasted nuts.  Organic nuts are best, but good luck finding those at your local grocery store.

Peanut or Almond Butter - Just ground nuts, no fillers, sweeteners, preservatives or chemicals added.  Organic is best.

Dates and Raisins (organic)

Organic fruits and veggies

Smart Balance (instead of butter or margarine)

Legumes

Whole grain bread

Rice Milk or Almond Milk instead of dairy products

Now you might ask how someone can live and be a serious athlete with so few items to eat each day.  I get my primary nutrition from concentrated health foods and drinks that combine natural whole foods with modern technology.   These concentrated foods and drinks provide more nutrition in fewer calories without the bulk, the hassle or the cost of all the useless nutrition from the grocery store.

So, I say, get out of the store and onto the Internet to discover some innovative new products that deliver advanced nutrition for a modern world.

 

 

 

I think a simple answer to your question is: Shop the outer aisle, and pick the items that have the shortest ingredient list, or are fresh.

By department, start with the produce section (anything there is a good pick), move on to the meat and poultry (white meats, lean cuts of red meat), then to the dairy (skim organic  milk & related products), and the bakery (whole wheat products).  Stop by the frozen section for more fruits and vegetables, and pick up some eggs on your way out.  That should take care of 90% of your needs.

Shop smart, it's a Healthy Thing 

I like Karen's answer.  Thanks for putting eating and shopping to the level of the average Joe... No nonsense is good sense.
Well said Karen!  Looking to our interiors to find the answers rather than looking externally for validation or reassurance is a dramatic and very radical shift from our current way of thinking about food.. we actually start to see that food isn’t just something separate from us, but that we actually have a relationship with it- a relationship composed of much depth and layers.  Yet this kind of thinking seems to be percolating on the edges of consciousness and I think that as we continue to collectively inquire into questions around food and how we prepare/eat/perceive/relate with it in a way that radiates with positivity and purpose we'll see a dramatic shift in our cultural structures… and not just around food, but in many arenas!

I think that knowing where to shop is also a very good solution. There are places where you can go to get what you need. I think that this article is very helpful in that: http://myhealthessentials.blogspot.com/2008/07/where-to-shop-for-healthy-food.html

I use a great blog that helps you buy healthy food for your family on a budget. Like last week Publix had organic frozen broccoli on sale for $1!!!! You might want to check it out: http://www.family-health-and-nutrition.com/family-nutrition-blog.html

Hi Donna,

Love your list, but I want to post a warning to people who live in cold climates, like me in the Northeast. During the winter, we are supposed to be eating warming foods, like soups, stews and roots. If you're a meat eater, this is the time to eat meat. Our diets should be heavier in fats and proteins. Tropical fruits and salads are cooling so they make us cold. A note of caution, though. Watch your portion control or you will have to loosen your seat belt.

Warmly,

Lauri

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