A Beginner’s Grocery List for Healthy Habits

There’s something about Spring that revives enthusiasm for healthier habits, particularly around eating for vibrant, radiant health!

The sun-filled days are longer. Sundresses beckon. Bikini season is almost upon us, and of course, feeling good is important regardless of the time of year (ok, ok, bikini season is a mild motivator ;))! Like any season, though, we still only have so many hours in a day, and the biggest challenge may be eating right during the week when both time and energy wane.

The key? Keeping a well-stocked kitchen.

I have a standard grocery list of the basics that I get almost every trip, which I’d like to share with you below. Feel free to use it as a basis for creating your own list of basics that will make eating clean a quick and easy no-brainer! Although I mention organic for a few of the items, do what your budget will allow. Stressing over finances while in the frozen food section isn’t healthy for anybody, so take this list as a thought-starter, and make it your own. One helpful hint, though, is to stop on the perimeter of the grocery store for the healthiest items, with a few exceptions being the frozen food aisle for frozen fruits and veggies (which are just as healthy and nutrient-rich as fresh), and the natural food section (which, if you shop at my grocery store, is in the middle of everything – there goes the perimeter idea!) However you shop, enjoy the experience!

The SnR Basic Grocery List

  • Organic Berries.
    I use these as dessert, in smoothies and in cereal. I even like snacking on the frozen kind. Vary your colors to maximize the health benefits. An easy way to do this is by buying what’s on sale each week. Stores often rotate their promotions. Another hot tip: buy organic at Costco or Sam’s. You can get a huge bag at a great price.
  • Organic Apples + Pears.
    photo 3 (3)
    Apples! #nomnom

    I love to snack, and when you eat as many salads as I do, you need some variety. Apples and pears satisfy both!  Whether sliced with a nut/seed butter, baked as dessert, chopped and dropped into a salad, or eaten as-is, they make flavorful, crunchy additions to a meal for a surprise sweetness without too much sugar. If you’re embracing ketogenic eating or on a low-glycemic diet, tread carefully with these and the berries, too. For other tips on which fruits and veggies to buy organic, check out The Environmental Working Group’s list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

  • A Variety of Greens.
    My faves are organic spinach + baby kale blends and organic romaine. I’ll mix all of them together for a snazzy salad, or drop the spinach/kale blend into the mixer to add some superfood punch to a smoothie. Sautéed spinach and kale also add a lot to a rice bowl or taco night. (And are easy to sneak in if you have veggie-averse family members.)
  • Brown Rice + other Whole Grains.
    IMG_0285
    Rice-a-palooza!

    Where to begin! I LOVE brown rice. I eat it – and its cousins, Red, Black and Green – almost every day. From rice bowls for lunch or dinner to rice pudding for breakfast, I rely heavily on this complex carb. It’s super versatile, and you can cook a lot of it on Sunday and have a base for meals throughout the week. Mix in different sauces or salsa’s, or toss with a scrambled egg and leftover veggies, and you’ve got yourself a slew of dishes with only a little upfront effort.

  • Sweet potatoes.
    In the Varsity League of meal basics, sweet potatoes are definitely in my starting line-up. They can be a fun add-on as a hash to any dish, or roasted and used as a taco shell or base for taco salads. I’ve even been known to bake one in the microwave and eat it like an apple as my mid-morning snack. These tubers are starch, though, so if you’re on a ketogenic or low-Glycemic diet, incorporate these carefully.
  • Other Roast-Worthy Veggies.
    Roasted veggies are also a must-have for me. I love raw and sautéed, too; there is just something about roasted veggies that I can’t seem to get enough of! They are so easy and can be a great snack, side item, or main course as a base for veggie or rice bowls. My fave combo are onions, garlic (yes, garlic!), zucchini, yellow squash, and broccoli. Roasting in the oven takes about 20 minutes and adds texture and color to any salad or rice bowl! The leftovers can be used in a veggie scramble the next morning or even simply as an afternoon nosh.

    photo 3 (4)
    Roast your veggies for a fun, colorful add-on to a basic pasta dish or rice bowl.
  • Clean Protein Options.
    Wherever you fall on the meat-eating scale, getting enough protein – whether animal- or plant-based – is key. I’m a pescatarian for the most part, so the majority of my protein comes from fish, eggs, and plant-based options. With any protein source, though, the key is buying the best quality you can. There are a lot of hidden ick-factors in non-organic, non-grass-fed beef, dairy, chicken and eggs, so it’s worth the splurge to trade-up to better quality.
    Since I base so much of my diet on fish, I tend to buy frozen fish, like Mahi, Ahi Tuna, Salmon and Cod, so I can freeze it and have options without making a trip to the grocery store. I may even mix it up and use shrimp or scallops! I love using the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch app to find the most sustainable sources.
    Frozen fish is easy to defrost by moving them from the freezer to the fridge when you leave for work and sautéing or broiling for an easy dinner. Make leftovers your breakfast or lunch the next day, and you’ve saved yourself the time and energy of preparing another meal!
  • Healthy Fats.
    IMG_0076
    Salads are an easy way to add in healthy fat by adding avocado or drizzling olive oil as dressing.

    My faves are olive oil, avocados, and tahini. Those of you with few restrictions in
    your diet can also enjoy a variety of raw nuts in whole grain cereal, dropped into yogurt, added into salads, or as part of your banana bread. Enjoy fat in your diet! It’s key for brain and body vibrance and overall well-being and longevity!
    I aim for 1-2 tablespoons with every meal, which is the right portion for me to feel satiated, curb sugar cravings, and see benefits to my skin. Experiment and see what works for you!

  • Spices!
    oh my goodness, spices. I LOVE them! From basil to oregano to garlic to turmeric to cinnamon to cayenne to cardamom to black pepper, I heart spices! They are an easy way to mix up a rice dish or filet to give you a variety of epicurean experiences without too much extra work. Whether fresh or dried, sprinkle it in, and you’re good to go! (Tip: If you’re using older dried spices, you’ll need about double the quantity to equal the flavor of  the fresh.)

Herbs and spices add pizzazz and variety!

Here’s the simplified list for your printing convenience; choose the items you’d like to try, and the next visit, mix in others!

SnR Basic Grocery List

Produce

  • Berries
  • Apples + pears
  • Spinach +/or kale
  • Romaine
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Avocados

Spices

  • Basil
  • Black Pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Whatever else you like!

Oils + Butters 

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Tahini
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter

Protein

  • Eggs
  • Frozen fish (use your app to check which are best)
  • Organic, grass-fed, beef, chicken, etc

Other items

  • Brown rice
  • Black rice
  • Green rice
  • Red rice

As always, we love hearing your feedback and what works for you (or doesn’t)! Drop us a line below with your stories and tips!

 

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