Beginners Guide to Healthy Grocery Shopping

You need to read this beginner’s guide to grocery shopping if most of the grocery items you buy end up in the pantry or the cabinets, and not in the fridge or freezer.


If most of the items you are buying end up in the cabinet, it means you are mostly buying boxed, packaged, or canned foods.

While all well-stocked kitchens needs a supply of cereals, pastas, grains, canned beans and vegetables, and tomato sauce, those items should not make up the bulk of a weekly shopping trip.

There are some important ways to shop healthy, and to avoid food traps at the supermarket.

Alternatives to Grocery Stores

For those with many fresh food markets and specialty stores, it is possible to skip the grocery store altogether. Whenever possible, fresh produce should be purchased at a local produce store. Stores that specialize in produce tend to have fresher fruits and vegetables than grocery stores.

The owners of local produce store oftentimes go to the local wholesale producemarkets in nearby cities and hand-select the items for the stores themselves.

Produce at grocery stores has been trucked in, and may never even be seen by the store manager.

  1. Also buy fresh fruits and vegetables from local fruit stands, when in season. The produce will be fresher, and fresher produce will last longer, and be safer to eat.
  2. Another reason to shop at the locally owned specialty store is because they will tend to have mostly fresh items that you need.
  3. In addition to shopping at the local produce store, find a local butcher or meat market. Shopping at a local butcher to meat market enables the shopper to buy the exact amount of meat they need, and not be forced toselect from a a pre-packaged meat case.
  4. Meat at a local butcher or meat market also tends to be leaner, since the customer has direct contact with the butchers. It just provides a higher level of customer service, which means leaner meats for the customer.
  5. Also buy fresh bread from a local bakery. Grocery store bread prices fluctuate with gas prices. It is no more expensive to buy freshly baked bread and rolls at the local bakery.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Grocery Shopping


Everyone knows to shop on the perimeter of the grocery store, where all of the fresh foods are located. But how much of us actually do? By shopping on the outside aisles, the shopper can shop from the produce section, the seafoodcounter , the deli counter, the meat counter, and hit the dairy.

Frozen foods are typically located near the dairy section, or in the middle of the store.

Avoid going down the snack, chip or candy aisles. If your supermarket has them, use the candy-free check out lane.

The Shopping List

The following items should be purchased and eaten weekly. These produce items can be used to make a variety of cold salads, and can be used to cook healthy entrees. The number of each item, or the amount of each that you buy, will be based on the number of people in the house.

From the produce aisle, or the local produce store, purchase the following vegetables:

  1. lettuce;
  2. baby spinach or mixed salad greens;
  3. a variety of bell peppers (choose from red, green, or yellow);
  4. celery, cucumbers;
  5. a couple of whole tomatoes;
  6. one bag of regular size carrots;
  7. if you like them, one avocado.

Also purchase the following fruits:

  1. apples;
  2. bananas;
  3. blueberries;
  4. a melon (honeydew or cantaloupe);
  5. strawberries;
  6. citrus fruit (oranges, grapefruits);
  7. any other fruits like kiwi, mangoes, or other seasonal fruits.

Also, have the following produce items on hand:

  • one bulb of garlic;
  • yellow onions;
  • one red onion;
  • a couple of sweet potatoes;
  • or a bag of red potatoes.

Next, purchase lean deli meats from the deli counter. From the meat section, buy boneless chicken breast, the leanest ground beef available, a turkey breast, and any lean steak.

Seafood to have on hand could be a hearty tuna steak, salmon steak or swordfish.

From the dairy aisle, select two percent milk, plain yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, and a package of shredded cheese.

Frozen foods to have on hand should include a bag of mixed vegetables of your choice, without sauce. One nice mix is a green bean, yellow bean, carrot mix. Or choose an Oriental Mix or Italian mix to use for cooking or to toss into soups and stews. Also buy some soy-based garden burgers. When not in season, buy your favorite berries from the frozen food section.

Staples to purchase from the grocery aisles should include nutritious cereal plus whole oats, multi-grain pasta, brown rice, cous cous, and any nuts or olives.

Bakery items can include multi-grain breads or English muffins, multi-grain wraps or tortillas, and whole wheat pita bread.

Now with all of this healthy food to prepare and eat, you won’t have room in your grocery cart or your stomach for the less healthy foods.

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