16 Foods for Your Healthy Grocery List
How to Choose Healthy Foods – Plus a Free Printable Grocery List
A healthy diet begins at the grocery store. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get lost in the marketing and misinformation.
For that reason, I created this healthy grocery list. It’s your simple guide to navigate the grocery gauntlet. And I included a printable grocery list so you can take it with you to the store.
For the purpose of moving you through the store efficiently, the list includes the following sections.
It’s important to note that this is not intended to be a complete grocery list. Nor is it a prescribed diet. Instead, this is a list of foods that make up a generally healthy diet.
Next, let’s look at the 16 foods on the healthy grocery list.
First on the list is the produce section. Not only because it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the grocery store. But also the produce section is the best place to find healthy foods.
1. Leafy Greens
These vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods available. Such as romaine lettuce, spinach, and kale. On top of that, they have very few calories. So you can eat as much as you like.
2. Mixed Veggies
In addition to greens, it’s good to add different colored vegetables. So as to ensure you get a variety of vitamins and minerals in your diet. For instance, carrots, peppers, and broccoli (also green, but still very nutritious).
Health TipFrozen veggies contain more vitamins. That’s because heat, light, and oxygen break down the vegetables’ vitamins during transportation and storage. But freezing locks them in.
Avocados are a rich source of healthy fats. In addition, they’re high in fiber, which means they’re low in net carbs. For that reason, avocados are great for weight loss.
Related Article: How to Tell If An Avocado is Ripe
Potatoes are relatively high in carbs but contain loads of vitamins and minerals. Specifically, sweet potatoes. They’re lower in calories and carbs than white potatoes. And they contain more vitamin A.
Raw nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats and protein. Especially almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, and flaxseeds. But you should avoid salted varieties to keep sodium down.
I don’t recommend fruit if your goal is weight loss (except avocados). Because their natural sugars make it hard to lose weight. But if your goal is muscle gain, fruits or berries can be a nice treat. I also use fruit juices for the sugary carbs in my post workout shakes.
Related Article: Post-Workout Shake Examples
Meat contains all the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth. And it’s a good source of nutrients that are hard to get from other foods. Such as B12, iron, and zinc.
Chicken is protein packed, low fat, cheap, and easy to cook. Chicken breasts contain the most protein. While thighs and drumsticks are more flavorful due to added fat. Which you choose depends on your meal plan macros.
Health TipWatch out for phrases in the fine print like “sodium solution”. That means food processors add weight by injecting salt water. As a result, they make more money. While you get less protein and more sodium.
Fish is an excellent source of vitamins and healthy omega-3. However, it can be hard to know which to choose. Wild caught does not necessarily mean healthier or more sustainable. So check with resources like the Seafood Watch Program before buying.
Similar to chicken, turkey is high in protein. And ground turkey is a good substitute for ground beef. But keep an eye on total fat.
Red meat is a perfect source of muscle building branched chain amino acids. But grain fed cows produce meat high in omega-6, which is harmful to our health. So if you can afford it, choose grass-fed beef which is high in healthy omega-3.
Next up is the refrigerator section. This is a good place to find alternative sources of protein.
Eggs are another good source of protein. Also, the yolks contain a variety of nutrients so don’t toss them all away. On the negative side, there is so much jargon on egg cartons it’s almost impossible to know which eggs are actually healthy.
Health TipLook for “pasture raised” eggs, which are the healthiest type. In reality, terms like “cage free” and “vegetarian diet” don’t mean the eggs are good for you.
12. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a versatile health food. And it contains less lactose than other dairy products. I recommend getting plain greek yogurt and mixing in your favorite protein powder for flavor.
Health TipMost adults are lactose intolerant because we lose certain stomach enzymes as we get older. Consequently, consuming dairy causes bloating and stomach issues. For this reason, greek yogurt is the only dairy product on the healthy grocery list.
Finally, it’s time to venture into the center of the grocery store – the aisles. In general, this is where junk food lives. But there are some healthy options if you know what to look for.
13. Coconut/Olive Oil
The healthy fats in coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are an essential part of a balanced diet. You can use them as cooking oils. And to add flavor and nutrients to any meal. In addition, you can use olive oil to make your own healthy salad dressings.
Related Article: Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing Recipe
The question always arises… brown or white? Brown rice is a whole grain. As a result, it contains more nutrients and digests slower. However, it also contains anti-nutrients which prevent vitamins and minerals from being absorbed.
On the other hand, white rice contains fewer nutrients but they are better absorbed. And fast digesting carbs are a good thing after your workout. For that reason, you should stick with white rice.
Beans are an excellent source of fiber. In addition, they contain a decent amount of protein. Canned beans are the convenient choice but they can be sodium bombs so check the label.
Health TipLook for reduced sodium canned beans. And rinse after opening to reduce the sodium content further.
As with brown rice, whole grains are not as healthy as they’re made out to be. So use oats and grains in moderation in your meal plan. And stay away from processed versions like instant oatmeal. As they tend to contain lots of sugar and sodium.
Printable Grocery List
If you’re like me you always forget something at the store unless you make a list. So you can download my printable grocery list and take it with you. Just enter your email below to get this healthy grocery list delivered to your inbox.
Printable Healthy Grocery List
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About the Author:
Jeremy Fox – Founder of Nutritioneering, Engineer, CPT, Bodybuilder, Coach