Julie Whittington, RD

Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian

What to keep on your grocery list

When grocery shopping, a pre-made grocery list will help you manage time, money and health.  When you plan ahead, you are less likely to be tempted into buying unnecessary items and more likely to come home with a combination of foods that will create a great balance of meals and snacks across the week.

It helps to know what staples to keep in the house that will last over several weeks.  These items should not need to be bought frequently, but will help you create healthy meals.


Keep these basic kitchen staples on hand and replace when needed:

Olive oil

Canola oil

Balsamic and white wine vinegars

Several types of whole grain pasta

Brown rice

Whole grain or Dijon mustard

Soy and hot sauces

Raw oats (oatmeal)

Spices and herbs of your choice


Whole grain flour


Baking soda and powder (especially if you bake a lot)

Tomato sauce

Mayonnaise (such as a lowfat, olive oil based version)

Nut butter (i.e. peanut or almond butter)

Raw nuts (i.e. almonds and walnuts)


Dried fruit (i.e. raisins, dried apricots and dates)



Then, each week, you should aim to go grocery shopping at least once per week, in order to have a good supply of fresh produce and protein-rich items.  Ideally, go at least twice a week to replenish fruits and vegetables.

Consider the following to create a master grocery list from which to shop each week.  When no specific type of item is listed (such as with fruits), select items based on price and freshness.



At least 4 different varieties of fresh fruit

Baby spinach or other salad lettuce

At least 5 different varieties of fresh vegetables (i.e. broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, onions)


Hummus or fresh salsa



Tofu and/or beans

Carton of eggs

At least 1 type of fish

1-2 packages of lowfat cheese

Organic or natural poultry/meat

Milk or soymilk




2 bags frozen veggies

Bag of frozen berries (if fresh is not available)

1 whole grain pizza (i.e. Amy’s Naturals or Kashi)

Box whole grain waffles



Box whole grain cereal

Box whole grain granola/protein bars

Loaf of whole grain bread/wraps/tortillas

Box whole grain crackers


Add needed items to these lists based on meal planning and lifestyle.  Your grocery list will certainly reflect the number of people you are buying for, in addition to the season.  With fall around the corner, certain fall-fresh items will be featured in local stores and provide great new ideas for family mealtimes.  Always shop the sales ads and plan meals ahead of time in order to save time and money!


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