The Healthy Foods to Always Have On Your Grocery List, According to Dietitians
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Wondering exactly what to buy at the grocery store? Get grocery list ideas from nutrition pros to help make a trip to the supermarket easier and healthier.
A4's Christina Jax was featured here: https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/ultimate-healthy-grocery-list with her go-to grocery list! Check out the link for additional lists or read her list below!
Whether you're picking up a week's worth of groceries from a wholesale club, a nationwide retailer such as Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, or a locally owned supermarket, the variety of products lining the shelves can make your shopping trip feel seriously overwhelming. If it takes you an entire Sunday to figure out what you want to eat for dinner throughout the upcoming week, how are you supposed to immediately decide which of the 10 types of peanut butter is worth adding to your shopping cart?
But it doesn't have to be this way. To make your supermarket excursions less stressful, registered dietitians are sharing the healthy foods to buy at the grocery store each and every time you shop. Save their grocery shopping lists of healthy foods to buy on your phone, pull them up when you're feeling stuck, and start tossing good-for-you items into your cart without a second thought. Trust, you'll never spend five minutes standing in the bread aisle, attempting to decipher the nutrition label and figure out if that loaf will be good for you and actually taste delicious, again.
Healthy Food Grocery List #2
Simply put, this first pick on Meyer-Jax's list of what to buy at the grocery store is a stress-free source of protein. "[The powder] mixes in easily to most hot and cold liquids, has no flavor or texture issues, and is an easily digestible protein," she says. "Collagen peptides are my go-to recommendation for my clients with food sensitivities, as it is free of gluten, soy, and dairy." ICYDK, collagen is a protein found naturally in the body's connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and bones that lends them their strength, structure, and elasticity, she explains. "As we get older, our bodies become less efficient at producing collagen, so adding in collagen peptides can support protein needs," says Meyer-Jax. Try mixing in two scoops of Vital Proteins' Collagen Peptides (Buy It, $25, amazon.com) — which provides 20 grams of protein — into your coffee, smoothies, hot cereals, sauces, or baking mixes, she suggests. (Even Jennifer Aniston is a fan of the brand's collagen powder.)
While there's nothing wrong with noshing on standard wheat-based pasta, zoodles can be a delicious alternative if you're following a low-carb or keto diet or you simply want to amp up your veggie intake. Meyer-Jax typically buys the pre-spiralized zucchini to take out some of the elbow grease to creating dinner, but you can break out the spiralizer in your kitchen cupboard if you'd prefer to start from scratch. Once you have your zoodles, heat them up in a skillet or in the microwave for about three minutes, then use them in place of your noodles in any pasta dish, she says. "My other favorite way to use zoodles is part of a breakfast scramble," she adds. "I add one to two eggs, zoodles, tomatoes, and spinach for a quick, nutrient-dense breakfast that's high in protein and fiber to keep moving through the morning." (Related: The Tastiest — and Easiest — Ways to Eat Veggie Noodles)
Bone broth's heyday may have been back in 2015, but it's still a nutritious addition to your shopping cart. "It's a great source of low-calorie, hydrating, and highly digestible protein that has no added sugars or artificial ingredients," she says. "I also recommend bone broth for gut health and for its digestive system-soothing effect." After you snag the healthy food to buy at the supermarket, you can drink it straight-up as an alternative to your morning coffee if you have a strong stomach. But for those who dry-heave at the thought of sipping on a cup o' bone broth, Meyer-Jax suggests using it to cook rice or quinoa, boosting the grains' flavor and protein content.
When your meals need a bit more zing, add Cholula Hot Sauce (Buy It, $16, amazon.com) to your list of what to buy at the grocery store. "It's a flavor powerhouse that has no sugar, is low in sodium, and is made with simple ingredients — peppers, water, spices — that can zip up all of our good-for-you foods that may be low on flavor," says Meyer-Jax. Splash it on eggs, shredded chicken, roasted veggies, or avocado toast to give your taste buds some much-needed excitement, she suggests.
For those who need to cut out dairy from their diet or reduce their intake, Meyer-Jax recommends adding creamy oat milk to your "what to buy at the grocery store" list. When choosing a jug, make sure you look for a variety that's fortified with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin B12, which will ensure your plant-based drink has a similar micronutrient profile as cow's milk, she says. "Oat milk also provides beta-glucans, a naturally occurring soluble fiber that research has shown may reduce cholesterol and support immune function," says Meyer-Jax. To get its perks, add oat milk to your baked goods, smoothies, coffee, or cereal, she suggests.
Avocado Oil Cooking Spray
Olive oil is great and all, but it's not the only oil to include on your list of what to buy at the grocery store. Avocado oil boasts monounsaturated fats — which can help lower your LDL or "bad" cholesterol — has a mild flavor, and can stand up to high-temperature cooking, making it ideal for stir-frying and baking, says Meyer-Jax. "Having it in a cooking spray form allows you to add a little bit, without smothering it in oil and extra calories," she explains.
Brown Rice Cakes
Again, bread is totally okay to munch on, but if you're looking for ways to dial back your carb intake, these Lundberg Thin Stackers brown rice cakes (Buy It, $14 for 2, amazon.com) are a great option. Low-calorie, gluten-free, and made from whole grains, the healthy food to buy at the supermarket is so versatile, you can top it with practically any fixings. But Meyer-Jax loves smearing a cake with chive cream cheese, covering it with avocado slices and cherry tomatoes, and finishing it off with a dash of Everything But the Bagel seasoning. Plus, "they have a great crisp texture that doesn't make you feel like you are eating styrofoam-like traditional rice cakes," she says.
Bibb Lettuce (Butter Lettuce)
If you're looking for stress-free ways to add more veggies to your plate, Meyer-Jax suggests using the big leaves of bibb lettuce as a wrap. Just rinse one or two large lettuce leaves, add your favorite sandwich fillings, such as shredded chicken, cheese, sliced tomatoes, and cucumbers, roll up, and enjoy, she says.