Top Tips for Creating A Healthy Grocery List

Creating a healthy grocery list is paramount to beginning and building sustainable practices for your healthy eating lifestyle. Without a plan in place and a healthy shopping list full of wholesome foods, it will be difficult to ensure that you are ready to always serve nutritious meals.  As a result, we end up resorting to cheap, quick and easy packaged foods that end up leaving us feeling unsatisfied.

Top Tips for Creating a Healthy Grocery List / The best way to ensure you're feeding your family healthy meals is to plan ahead and have healthy foods that are easy to prepare on hand.

Why Should I Care About a Healthy Grocery List?

It sounds great to have a healthy grocery list, but it’s often hard to know where to start.  A healthy grocery list takes a lot of time to write out and hours of thinking to figure out what to write down, right? Wrong.  It doesn’t have to take that much time. If you care about the nutrition you are providing for your family, making a healthy grocery list is manageable and becomes easier each time you do it.  A group of researchers found that using a grocery list is associated with healthier diet and lower BMI among at-risk adults.  Try my top 3 tips below to begin the journey of creating healthier shopping lists.

1. Make Whole Foods the Priority on your Shopping List

The best advice I can offer is to focus on purchasing whole foods rather than packaged foods.  Of course, there will be times packaged items are necessary, but make whole foods a priority, and your grocery list will be healthy and your fridge full of nutritious foods.  

Whole foods are foods that haven’t been processed or refined.  Why should you care about this? Eating whole foods means you are eating food in its natural state.  These foods are full of nutritious elements and are healthier than foods that have been treated, processed and refined using added chemicals and unnecessary salts, fats, and preservatives.   

Whole foods can often be found in our gardens, namely fruits and vegetables, but also think of legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. 

Healthy Grocery List / The best way to ensure you're feeding your family healthy meals is to plan ahead and have healthy foods that are easy to prepare on hand.

2. Meal Plan Before Writing Your Shopping List

Creating a meal plan is a good way to ensure that your shopping list stays healthy and focused on what you really need, rather than what you might be craving.

Once you have made a plan for your kid’s healthy lunch ideas and breakfast meals, as well as other meals you are cooking, you can start making a list of the ingredients that you will need to put on your shopping list.  One thing that helps me stay focused on buying healthy ingredients is to scan my weekly menu plan and determine what is missing from my pantry or refrigerator.  After doing this, I can determine what I need to put on my shopping list.  If it’s not a healthy item I think about healthy substitutes.  One of the biggest culprits in our lives is sugar but I have found lots of sugar substitutes that are healthier and just as tasty.

3. Foods To Avoid On Your Healthy Shopping List

Usually, if you have to question whether or not something is healthy or not, it probably isn’t!  Here are my 10 food items to avoid buying:

  • energy drinks
  • canned products
  • fruits & vegetables in preserved states
  • candy, sweets, etc..
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • fruit juices with added sugar and artificial flavors
  • soda/soft drinks
  • bagged/boxed convenience meals (frozen dinners, Lunchables for kids, etc…)
  • margarine
  • corn oil


As a busy mother, I used to find it really difficult to create healthy grocery lists and stick to them.  It was always much easier to satisfy my kids’ requests for unhealthy food and buy what was easier and cheaper.  I started to realise that the health issues my son had were diet related, and that’s when I started to create healthy meal plans, with his needs in mind. This resulted in healthier and more delicious home cooked meals for the whole family.

If you would like to make a shift for your family and don’t know where to start, join one of my cooking classes and see first-hand how my healthy grocery lists full of whole foods and nutritious ingredients informs my healthy cooking and meal preparation.  

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