Printable healthy grocery list

How often do you decide to have take out food just because you don’t have anything quick to prepare in your house?  The key to eating healthier is eating healthier ingredients and meals. Chances are you will eat those healthy ingredients and meals more often if you have them in your home right in your pantry. So planning your grocery shopping is the first step to a healthier diet.

To take the stress out of healthy meal planning we have listed all the basic ingredients you should have in your pantry and fridge. To make it even easier for you we have made you a printable grocery list so you can stock and restock easily.

The whole list is divided into 10 sections. Each section is then further divided into essential ingredients and ingredients that would be nice to have. This way your diet becomes more versatile and it is still very simple to substitute between the essential and nice to have ingredients.

Vegetables

Essential vegetables Nice to have vegetables
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Potato, russet or sweet
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli and/or cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cabbage
  • Green beans
  • Leafy greens for easy salads—kale, lettuce, spinach
  • Additional in season vegetables
  • Spring onions
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Beet
  • Pumpkin
  • Kale
  • Avocado
  • Eggplant
  • Radish
  • Parsnip
  • Olives
  • Leek
  • Chard

Most of the vegetables from the essential list are in season all year round. Tomatoes (in season: summer), cucumbers (in season: summer), zucchini (in season: summer), broccoli (in season: spring, fall), cauliflower (in season: fall) and green beans (in season: summer) are available during the whole year but much cheaper when in season.

 Fruit

Essential fruitNice to have fruit
  • Apples
  • Banana
  • Berries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
    (can be frozen)
  • Citrus—grapefruit, lemons, oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Tropical- mango or pineapple
  • Melons, cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Stone fruit—apricot, peach, plums
  • Cherries
  • Sour cherries
  • Pomegranate
  • Nectarines
  • Tangerines
  • Limes
  • Lychee
  • Rhubarb

Fruit in the essential list is available all year round. Fruit from the nice to have list is seasonal and should be added to your grocery list when in season. This way you will enrich your diet and be able to enjoy different tastes.

Condiments, sauces, oils and vinegars

Essential condiments,oils, vinegarNice to have condiments, oils, vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter, unsalted
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine and/or white wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Soy -sauce
  • Salsa
  • Green tea
  • Natural honey
  • Hot sauce
  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil (for dressing or stir fry)
  • Walnut oil (for dressing)
  • Pumpkin seed oil (for dressing)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Fish sauce
  • Capers
  • Anchovies

Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat there is. That is one of the few facts nutritionist can agree on. Used for centuries even by the ancient Greeks it’s health benefits have become recognized by experts without any doubt. It is advisable to cook with olive oil as well but if it is to expensive for you try to use some other kind of cold pressed oil like cold pressed sunflower oil. Most of these ingredients can last you quite a long time so it would be a good idea to get most of these ingredients over time since they can transform your meals with a little extra flavor.

Coconut oil has become very popular lately and can be used for cooking and baking. It has a distinct coconut flavor that can add richness to some meals but can be unsuitable for others. Sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed oils are all rich nutty tasting oils who are great for salad dressings.

Grains, beans, legumes, pasta

Essential grains, beans, legumes, pastaNice to have grains, beans, legumes, pasta
  • Bread, whole-wheat
  • Tortillas, whole-grain
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Buckwheat
  • Dried Beans—black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto
  • Lentils
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Bulgur
  • Barley

Grains are essential in most of our diets. It’s best to make them whole-grain. That way you’re eating more healthy fibers and help your digestion. Dried beans are excellent for storage and can be easily prepared if you soak them in water the night before you want to cook them.

Rice and pasta are classical choices but try to replace e.g. rice with quinoa or couscous. Buckwheat is recently becoming more popular since it is a gluten free grain and can be used in groats or as buckwheat flour. Try using it for pancake butter or muffins.

Nuts, seeds, dried fruit

Essential nuts, seeds and dried fruitNice to have nuts, seeds and dried fruit
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Dried cranberries, plums, raisins, apricots
  • Pine nuts
  • Tahini
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seed
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Almond butter
  • Dates

Nuts and seeds are amongst the healthiest sources of essential fats and minerals. A handful per day is enough to use for snacking or in salads.  Take care not to eat too many nuts per day since most are high in calories as well. The  nuts from the essential list are easily found in all stores. Add the different varieties from the nice to have list from time to time to try out new tastes.

Meat, fish, chicken

Essential meat, fish, chickenNice to have meat, fish, chicken
  • Beef- leaner parts
  • Chicken—skinless chicken breast
  • Fish— cod, salmon, trout, tuna
  • Shellfish, clams or shrimp
  • Chicken— legs, thighs
  • Fish—catfish, halibut, tilapia
  • Lamb- leaner parts
  • Turkey- leaner parts

Meat, fish and chicken are all excellent sources of proteins. The rule here is to buy the leaner cuts and avoid the fatty parts. Try to get meat from organic free range animals if possible. When choosing fish, salmon and tuna are excellent sources of omega -3.  Shrimps are great to have when you want to make a quick healthy meal. Buy them fresh and cleaned or even frozen.

Dairy, eggs

Essential dairy, eggsNice to have dairy, eggs
  • Organic or skim milk
  • Reduced-fat sour cream
  • Cheese: Cheddar, Feta, Parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta
  • Cream cheese- light
  • Plain yogurt
  • Eggs. organic free range
  • Kefir
  • Greek yogurt
  • Whey, fresh
  • Quark
  • Buttermilk

When possible choose plain organic dairy products since they don’t have additional ingredients added like fruit yogurt or milk desserts.  Ricotta cheese is a low fat cheese that can be used as a cream cheese or a base for flavored cheese spread. Just toss some fresh herb into a cup of ricotta cheese and  you have a healthy low-fat spreading. Fresh whey is a very good source of protein why many bodybuilders use it in supplement powdered form.

Freezer items

Essential freezerNice to have freezer items
  • Frozen fruit -frozen berries
  • Frozen vegetables – peas, broccoli, spinach, corn, bell pepper, pure vegetable mixes
  • Frozen fish- sea fish like salmon, mackerel,
  • Low-fat ice cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Frozen fish fillet
  • Vegetable stocks

Frozen fruit and vegetables make it possible to prepare quick and easy meals.  It’s great to always have some frozen fruit and vegetables in your freezer since it takes away the stress of planning healthy meals. Always buy frozen vegetables and not frozen meals since the frozen meals have a lot of added ingredients including sugars,trans-fats and additives.

Canned foods and bottled items

Essential canned foodsNice to have canned foods
  • Tuna in water
  • Beans (kidney, black, cannellini and butter beans)
  • Chickpeas
  • Canned  tomatoes (whole and chopped)
  • Tomato paste
  • Pickles
  • Low calorie canned soups
  • Anchovies
  • Coconut milk

Canned foods are great because they allow you to quickly prepare a meal.  You should always have some of those items in your pantry to make it possible to quickly toss together a healthy meal.

Herbs and spices

Essential herbs and spicesNice to have herbs and spices
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh ginger
  • Herbs: Basil, dill, parsley, rosemary, oregano, bay leaves, mint
  • Spices: paprika sweet and hot, chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder and seeds, garam masala blend, cinnamon sticks and powder, curry, all spice, nutmeg
  • Fennel seeds
  • Wasabi powder
  • Cardamon seeds

Herbs and spices give character and flavor to meals. Try to use fresh herbs whenever possible. The only herb I find better dry then fresh is oregano. A good stocked spice rack will give you the possibility to cook italian, chinese, indian,..

Baking

Essential bakingNice to have baking
  • All-purpose flour
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Quick-rising yeast
  • Cornstarch
  • Brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cocoa powder
  • Vanilla sticks
  • Agave nectar
  • Splenda or Stevia
  • Unprocessed wheat bran
  • Arrowroot starch
  • Spelt flor
  • Buckwheat flour

 

 

When you  have the ingredients from the essential list handy it will make it possible to make easy meal plans for you and your family without having to compromise your health. Having a well stocked kitchen is the first step to a healthier diet and life. The second is to get rid of all the unhealthy food you have lying around. This way you made the first step to a healthier, leaner, happier you.

To make your shopping easier we have made a printable grocery list for all the essential ingredients which you can download here.

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Photo credit: Basement Pantry by Chiot’s Run, baking by Tania Ho, Fresh herbs on my balcony by Suzette, Spices by peddhapati, Freezer by francois schnell, Canned by F Delventhal, Nuts by Adam Wyles, by Tony Kwintera, Red Beans by cookbookman17, Condiments by Ana, Fruits by peddhapati, Vegetables at Harrods by Andy Fell