Healthy Grocery Store Guide

Grocery store shopping – either you love it or you hate it. I am one of those people who loves grocery shopping (*duh*), but I totally get that a lot of people hate it. It can be VERY over whelming, confusing and stressful. I feel that way sometimes when I go into new grocery stores or massive big box stores. I like to stick to what I know and love – Trader Joes & Whole Foods. I am familiar with a lot of the products / brands in those stores and I know what to look for and what to expect. I also purchase some brands online (Thrive Market, Amazon) because of cheaper prices.

Before we get into the list, I want to share some general grocery shopping tips.

  1. Do not go hungry. You will likely spend way more money on random stuff that catches your eye because you are hungry.
  2. Go in the morning if you can. Produce is usually freshest and it is quieter!
  3. Keep an eye out for seasonable stuff. Usually, seasonal products are going to be the freshest, tastiest and most affordable.
  4. That said, do not be afraid of the frozen section. I buy frozen berries for more than just smoothies. I top them on my yogurt, toast and I bake with them. I also LOVE frozen vegetables for making stir fries, pastas, omelets and soups. It is more affordable to buy organic when you are buying frozen. Plus, it is usually frozen at peak freshness, so the taste is great! I also find that I throw less out when I do this because produce lasts longer in the freezer.
  5. Read LABELS and do not be fooled by marketing. For example, just because something is labeled gluten free, it does not mean it is healthy. Turn it around and look at ingredients. What is it made of? Are there are tons of added sugars or weird things that you cannot pronounce? Try to pick the cleanest option possible.
  6. Go in with a rough plan. You do not need a full meal plan set up (unless you want to), but having a sense of how many meals you want to make at home and what your week looks like in advance will help you save money and waste less food.
  7. Bring your own bags! All about doing the little things for the environment.
  8. Organic is not always necessary. I personally like to follow the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” rules for buying organic. That said, I am not a fanatic with it and try not to break the bank. As I mentioned, organic and frozen is far more affordable so I do that a lot – especially when things are out of season like berries in the winter.

NOTE: The below list would be WAY more than I would normally buy in a week, but I wanted to share all the options. A lot of these I buy once per month because they are pantry items that last. Also, I like the switch up my veggies based on what looks good and how often I will be cooking at home that week. That’s why I say go in with a plan – ish – so that you do not waste food.

PRODUCE:

  • Avocados – I usually buy 4 a week, I eat it most days. I keep them on the counter until they are ripe. Once ripe, I put in the fridge.
  • Bananas – I get them bright yellow, but with a little green at the top so I know they will last. I also buy extra for baking!
  • Apples – If they look good. I love crisp, tart apples like honey crisp, pink lady and granny smith.
  • Bell Peppers – I love the mini ones. I use in salads, stir fries, pastas and raw as a snack.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – I love the colorful ones!
  • Carrots – I like to get the precut ones for snacks or the mini heirloom ones for roasting.
  • Cucumbers – Love for salads and snacks.
  • Lettuce – I usually get organic and pre washed. I love to mix butter / gem lettuce (sweet and crunchy) with a dark leafy green like spring mix, spinach, kale or arugula.
  • Sweet Potatoes – These are on my fave foods. I like the mini ones from TJs because they are easy to cut up and throw in the air fryer.
  • Berries – If fresh berries are reasonable, I love to buy 1 -2 varieties a week to enjoy in yogurts / salads. Otherwise, I opt for frozen for my smoothies / toast / yogurt.
  • Broccoli / Cauliflower / Brussel Sprouts – I like to pick 1 or 2 of the cruciferous veggies for stir fries, pastas, or roasting as a side.
  • Onions / Shallots – Usually have these in the kitchen for savory dinners. Love adding to stir fries, pastas and pizzas. I like sweet onions.
  • Lemon / Lime – Love these for water, seasoning fish and smoothies.
  • Riced / Noodled Veggies – I love cauliflower rice, broccoli rice, noodled zucchini and butternut squash. These are great for easy to put together meals too. I have a bunch in the recipe section of my blog.
  • Herbs – I love mint / rosemary and thyme!
  • Other seasonable produce – for example – in the fall I will add squash, in the winter I will add citrus, in the spring / summer asparagus, watermelon, peas, peaches etc.

DAIRY / EGGS

  • Yogurt – I love whole milk (2% minimum), full fat yogurt. It is far more satisfying and typically has less sugar than the fat free flavored ones. I love Siggis, Fage, the Trader Joes brand. There are a ton of organic brands too at Whole Foods (Organic Valley, Horizon Organic, Maple hill etc)
  • Cottage Cheese – Same deal. I like whole milk, full fat versions. I love small curd too. Good culture is grass fed and tastes amazing. I also like Nancy’s.
  • Feta / Goat – Love buying these for salads and pastas. Sheep and goat milk dairy is easier for me to digest. I do not buy as much of the classic cow milk hard cheeses, but do enjoy them in moderation.
  • Pecorino – Sheep’s milk parmesan. I love it on my pasta and in a good kale Caesar salad.
  • Ghee / Grass Fed Butter – Love cooking with these too. Fourth and Heart, Vital Farms and Kerry Gold are great.
  • Eggs – I am that girl that buys the 6 dollar eggs. I can care a lot about consuming good quality nutrient dense eggs. I eat them almost daily. I like vital farms, born free eggs, organic valley, and chino valley ranchers. I like to buy organic and pasture raised.
  • Almond Milk – I use almond milk in smoothies! I like to buy ones that have minimal ingredients and are unsweetened. Malk Organics and Elmhurst1925 are my fave. Sometimes I will get the TJs one too.
  • Dairy Free Cheese – I love the Daiya cheddar and smoked gouda “cheese” slices and their cheese shreds too. The TJs Almond cheese shreds are also delish. All of these melt really well. Daiya and Kite Hill make great “cream cheese” options too.

FISH / MEAT / POULTRY / PROTEIN

  • Salmon – I love salmon. It is the fish I eat the most! I like to buy Wild Salmon (from Whole Foods) when it looks good and is affordable. Otherwise, I sometimes get the Atlantic Salmon from Whole Foods or Trader Joes (BBQ Cut).
  • Smoked Salmon – I also try to buy the wild smoked salmon. Whole Foods and TJs both have great options. I love this on avo toast, with eggs and even as a snack with crackers.
  • Shrimp – I love to buy Wild Caught frozen shrimp to make for dinners with pastas, stir fries or even grilled on it’s own.
  • I do sometimes get halibut, cod or scallops depending on what looks fresh! Wild caught scallops come frozen too and are pretty reasonable!
  • Plant Based Proteins – I love Firm tofu, or tempeh. Both are great to make in the air fryer! Tempeh is fermented so it is easier for some people to digest. I also love veggie burgers!
  • I do not eat read meat, chicken or turkey, but I do buy it for Jacob. I like to buy organic, grass fed beef / burgers and organic chicken. When I get turkey slices, I like to get organic too. I like the Applegate naturals brand for Jacob.

FROZEN:

  • Fruit – Berries – for smoothies / toast / yogurt
  • Vegetables – Peas, Broccoli, Edamame, Green beans, carrots, peppers, onions – Veggies that come pre-cut and frozen are super easy to add to stir fry and pastas
  • Veggie Burgers – I love the high protein veggie burgers from TJs and Dr, Praegers
  • Cauliflower Gnocchi (because *duh*)- but only available at TJs.
  • Ice Cream / Treats – I love the Daiya Vegan ice cream bars, Mochi, Frozen Ice Cream, Yasso Greek Yogurt Ice Cream Bars
  • Frozen Cauliflower Pizza – I like cali-flour brand and trader joes brand
  • Shrimp / Scallops – these come frozen (wild) from both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

GRAINS / BREAD

  • Crispbreads / Crackers – I love the Wasa ones and Trader Joes ones. Great for a snack with some peanut butter and jelly! Inspired Organics and RW Garcia also make great crackers!
  • Sourdough – I love buy thing this fresh / sliced and then freeze it for the week of toasts.
  • I also love Sprouted Bread too – Alvarado St Bakery and Angelic Bakehouse make great options.
  • Gluten Free – Canyon Bakehouse is my jam for GF bread. I also love their english muffins!
  • Pasta – I love high protein options like Red Lentil from TJs, Banza Chickpea pasta, and black bean pasta from TJs. Other brands I love are SOW Chia Penne (avail on amazon) and Only Bean edamame pasta. We have Pasta night at least once a week in our house, so having 1 -2 boxes in my pantry is a must!

DRESSINGS / CONDIMENTS / DIPS

  • Salad Dressing – if I do not make my own, I love Primal Kitchen Foods, Mother Raw, Sir Kensingtons and Inspired Organics.
  • Mustards / Ketchup – Sir Kensington and Primal Kitchen have amazing options for these basic condiments that are actually healthy! No high fructose corn syrup ketchup that is made with real food is life changing!
  • Mayo – I always buy Avocado Oil Mayo – Chosen foods and Sir Kensington are great options.
  • Hot Sauce – enough said. We have a billion hot sauces in our house! Jacob is the master of this. At the very least, you need sriracha.
  • Hummus – I love Inspired Organics, Cedar Foods, Lantana and Sabra.
  • Tzatziki – Cava makes a great greek yogurt one that is delish! Cedar Foods also makes a great one.

PANTRY

  • Canned Tuna – Great to throw in a salad if you mix it up with some avocado oil mayo. I get wild caught. I like Wild Planet Foods, and TJs / Whole Foods both have generic ones.
  • Peanut Butter / Almond Butter / Nut Butter – always look for options where the only ingredient is nuts (maybe salt or superfoods too). I love the TJs brand, I love the whole foods brands too. I also order Wild Friends online because it is just so amazing.
  • Baking Supplies – Almond Flour, Chocolate Chips, Baking Soda / Powder, GF Oat Flour, Maple Syrup, Honey, Coconut Sugar, Rolled Oats,
  • Oils – I stick to Coconut Oil for baking, Avocado oil for cooking / high heat and Olive oil for eating / making dressings. I avoid super vegetable oils like canola oil. I also buy oil sprays – coconut, olive and avocado – they come in super handy!
  • Granola – I love Purely Elizabeth, Safe + Fair and Oat My Goodness
  • Trail mix / Assorted Nuts – great to have for snacks and traveling.
  • Chips – Sometimes I like these with my salads or just as a snack. I love Siete Chips, Beanitos Chips, RW Garcia brand, and Inspired Organics. Sometimes I get the Lesser Evil Snacks Ghee popcorn, but it’s gone in 5 minutes!
  • Veggie Stock / Coconut Milk / Fish Sauce / Coconut Aminos – I like these for soups, stirfries and curry dishes.
  • Spices – my fave from TJs are Chili Lime, Everything Bagel, Pink Sea Salt, Lemon Pepper, 21 Seasoning Salute. Also big fan of cayenne, curry and turmeric. For the sweeter stuff, I love cinnamon, all spice and pumpkin spice.
  • Snack Bars – Health Warrior Chia Bars, Go Macro Bars and Lara Bars are my favorite.
    Protein Powder – I love Health Warrior chocolate and vanilla plant based protein. (available online. Use code SARI20 for a discount).

DRINKS / LIQUID

  • Coconut Water – I love Harmless Harvest because the only ingredient is Coconut Water. Super refreshing and hydrating.
  • Sparkling Water – Huge fan of spindrift or TJs flavored seltzers. My fave is the Lemon + Ginger flavor.
  • White Wine – hehe can’t forget this one! TJs has my fave white wine (Oyster Bay) for $9.99 a bottle. Wins!
  • Coffee – I buy the beans and brew it myself. I also buy cold brew bottled sometimes and enjoy it over ice with nut milk.
  • Teas – I love the Ginger / Turmeric tea and Harvest Blend Tea from Trader Joes.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful! Happy grocery shopping!

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