Grocery Shopping Tips for Healthy Eating

Last Updated on February 23, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster

With the beginning of the new year comes a renewed determination to eat healthier.  If you want to join me on my healthy food kick, you may need to change your shopping habits.  Hopefully, these grocery shopping tips for healthy eating will help you make smart food choices next time you grab your cart.  Follow these healthy shopping tips to drop a few pounds and increase energy levels!

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Grocery Shopping Tips for Healthy Eating

Grocery Shopping Tips for Healthier Eating

I bet I’m not the only one who ate way too many Christmas cookies last month.  Every time you turn around in December, there are cookies, eggnog, and other delectable goodies just begging for you to eat one…or three! This month, my pants are definitely a little more snug than they used to be.  As a result, I am looking at my grocery shopping habits to try and make some changes. 

If healthier eating is on your agenda this year, you may have to make some changes to your grocery shopping procedures if you want to succeed on your weight loss journey.  Organized the pantry for healthy eating. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and  don’t get discouraged. Here are a few simple changes you can make to your grocery shopping for healthier eating this year.

Gorcery Shopping Tips for Healthier Eating


Don’t Grocery Shop While Hungry

You hear this one all the time and it is very true!  Going to the grocery store hungry will result in poor judgement and things will go in your cart that you should not be eating.  If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it!

Don’t bring others

Use your grocery shopping journey as an excuse to leave your kids with your husband or mother.  Or a babysitter.  The money you spend on the baby sitter will probably be saved at the grocery store when you DON’T buy the 8 million things the kids beg you for.  Try trading baby sitting duties with another mom.  That way you can both get a couple hours of free time where you can make logical food choices instead of throwing things in the cart that are not healthy.

healthy grocery shopping

Buy ingredients

This is probably the best grocery shopping tip I can give for healthier eating.  Buy things that ARE ingredients.  Rice, beans, meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables.  If your food HAS an ingredient list, it is probably not the best type of food for you to be eating. Here is a basic grocery list to get you started:

Healthy Grocery Shopping List Tips

  • Bread Products: Whole wheat bread, pita pockets, whole wheat tortillas, etc.  Bread is not your enemy.  Just choose whole grain varieties and eat it in moderation. 
  • Meat and Seafood:  Skinless chicken or turkey breasts, salmon, grass fed beef (leaner and higher in omega fatty acids)
  • Pasta and Rice: Choose brown rice and whole grain pastas.  Experiment with new foods like quinoa, barley, etc.  The less processed, the better it is for you and generally the higher in fiber. 
  • Oils, Sauces, Salad Dressings, and Condiments:  Choose sauces low in fat (BBQ, mustard, tomato sauce, etc).  Make your own when possible to reduce sodium levels.  Use olive oil and vinegar.  Stock up on salsa and chutney.
  • Cereals and Breakfast Foods:  Whole grain oats and cereals high in fiber and low in sugar are good choices.  Watch serving sizes, they are smaller than you would think.
  • Soups and Canned Goods:  Canned beans, canned tuna or salmon, low sodium broth for making homemade soup at home.  
  • Frozen foods:  Anything not processed.  Frozen fruits, veggies, shrimp, etc.  Skip the processed foods in their own sauces.  
  • Dairy, Cheese and Eggs:  Aim for low fat milk and yogurt.  Eggs are healthy in moderation, as is cheese.  Low fat cottage cheese is a great choice if you are trying to lose weight. 
  • Seasonings:  Load up on dried herbs and spices.  Skip the blends that are high in salt.  Check out my post for the healthiest types of salt to include in your diet. 
  • Snacks and Crackers:  Snack on brown bag microwave popcorn, unsalted nuts and homemade trail mix.   Choose whole grain crackers and add your own peanut butter.  Eat dried fruit in moderation since it is high in sugar. 
  • Fruits and Veggies:  Fresh fruits and vegetables should be a large part of your diet.  Stock up weekly and cook from scratch whenever possible.  

making a grocery list

Plan ahead

This is one I am bad about but hope to change that in the new year.  Make a menu plan for the week based on what is on sale or in season.  Write down a list of things you need to buy.  Take into account all meals and snacks for the week.  Try to stick to the list while you are grocery shopping. If you want to learn how to grocery shop healthy on a budget, you need to plan ahead. Add a meal planning notepad to your fridge to help you stay organized. 

Don’t buy it just because you have a coupon

I did this for years when I was couponing.  I got tons of stuff free so there was always processed food in the house.  You rarely find coupons for fresh fruit or boneless chicken breasts.  You find coupons for cookies, flavored rice packages and ice cream.  Not great things to keep in the house when you are trying to eat healthier.

Stay out of the grocery store for the rest of the week

This is another grocery shopping tip I have trouble following.  And every single mid week stop at the grocery store seems to cost me $50 and I end up with stuff I didn’t really need.  Save money and eat healthier by shopping only once a week.

More Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips and Stocking a Healthy Pantry

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store

That is where fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish are usually found. Avoid the center aisles where they like to stock the junk food.

Don’t be fooled by the front of the box

Flip the package over and actually read the nutrition labels and ingredient list.

Hit the produce isle first

Most of your diet should be fresh fruits and vegetables.  Fill up your cart with these first, then head to the other sections of the store.  Leave the ‘treats’ for last.  If there isn’t as much room in the cart, you wont buy as many.

Rethink your drinks

Make sure you are not drinking your calories.  Stick to water whenever possible.  Lowfat milk and 100% fruit juice are also good on occasion.  Anything else is adding zero nutritional value to your diet and is wasting money as well.  Water is cheap…don’t buy it in a bottle.  Turn on the faucet, instead!

Do you have any other grocery shopping tips for healthier eating?


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  1. Buying ingredients is one of the best tips. Unprocessed is the way to go!
  2. Oh, I agree! Shopping the perimeter!!! Don't get lost in the middle isles of the store! Love this-great tips!

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