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Making a Grocery Shopping List

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Updated June 15, 2014

Woman shopping at grocery store
Tuan Tran/Moment/Getty Images

Short cut: Printable Healthy Foods Grocery List

You can make your own grocery shopping list just a few minutes before you go to the store, but I prefer to keep a pre-printed grocery list in my kitchen. That way, whenever I run out of something I can mark off how much of that food I need, and when I'm ready to go shopping, so is my list.

A grocery shopping list can simply include fresh foods and ready-to-eat snacks, along with the additional ingredients you'll need for upcoming meals. Some foods will need to be replenished every few days and others might last for months.

Foods for Your Shopping List

Vegetables and fruits should make up the largest part of your grocery list. They're rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, and they are usually low in calories. Choose a variety of green, orange, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables.

Most of your bread, pasta and cereal products should be made from whole grains, not from refined flours. Whole grains are important for vitamins, minerals, and for fiber, which is often lacking in modern diets. Read labels to look for 100-percent whole grain or 100-percent whole wheat to be sure you are getting whole grain products.

Your protein and meat choices should consist mostly of fresh fish, poultry and lean meats. Eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes are also good choices. Avoid breaded, deep-fried convenience foods that you put in the oven. They are usually high in fat and sodium.

Keep beverages simple. Water, low-fat milk, juices and herbal teas are all good choices. If you opt for soft drinks, choose sugar-free sodas and soft drinks.

Dairy products should include low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. If you do not want cows' milk, choose soy, almond and rice beverages, calcium-fortified orange juice, or goats' milk and cheese.

Be careful with dressings, cooking oils and condiments. They're sneaky sources of refined sugar and fats. Read labels to choose dressings made with olive oilcanola oil or walnut oil. Choose low-fat mayonnaise for your sandwiches and choose canola oil and olive oil for cooking.

Frozen foods make it easy to keep vegetables on hand. Frozen meals be convenient and healthy if you choose low-fat and reduced sodium versions. Avoid frozen pizzas, pocket-sandwiches, deep-fried appetizers, and breaded foods.

Foods in cans and jars are also convenient. Look for low-sodium soups, vegetables and sauces. Avoid high-fat gravies and high-calorie foods like canned spaghetti and ravioli products.

For sandwiches, choose peanut butter or other nut butters, low-fat turkey slices or sliced roast beef. Avoid processed lunch meats, sausages and hot dogs.

Don't load up on high-calorie treats and desserts. Choose fresh fruits, healthy nuts, seeds and whole grain crackers for snacks.

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