Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Food & Recipes

Select An Article
Font Size

Make a Healthy Grocery List in Minutes

Healthy eating doesn't start in your kitchen. It begins when you wheel your cart down the aisles of your local supermarket.

Supermarkets can be daunting places. Cookies, candy, and ice cream beckon at every corner. So that you don't get seduced by the snack foods and make impulse purchases you'll later regret, never venture into your local supermarket without first arming yourself with a healthy grocery list.

Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

How to Breathe Better

When heart specialist John M. Kennedy, M.D., of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, stands at the scrub sink before an operation, he breathes deeply with  seven-count exhales, visualizing how he wants the procedure to go. "Athletes use these techniques to perform under pressure, but we can all call on them in our regular lives," Dr. Kennedy says. It starts with knowing what kind of breathing works best for the challenge you're facing. Here's what the latest research shows. REV UP If...

Read the How to Breathe Better article > >

Having a well-organized, well-planned grocery list will not only get you in and out of the store quickly (a time management plus), it also will keep your healthy eating plan on track. It's a lot harder to splurge on junk food if it's not in your pantry and fridge.

To help you navigate the endless aisles and shelves of your local supermarket, here are some tips for creating a healthy, well-stocked grocery list. In just a few minutes, you'll have a blueprint for a cart full of groceries that won't bust your budget or diet.

Your Grocery List: Aisle by Aisle

To maximize your time management in the supermarket and the healthfulness of everything you buy, have a plan in place. Organize your grocery shopping list by aisle. Follow these tips for filling that list with the healthiest foods from each aisle.


1. Bakery and Bread

On Your List:

- Whole-wheat bread, pita pockets, and English muffins

- Whole-grain flour tortillas


- Make sure the wheat bread you're buying is really wheat. If "refined wheat flour" is the first ingredient, you're essentially getting souped-up white or refined bread. Look for the words "whole wheat" or "whole wheat flour" as the first ingredient on the label. Whole wheat flour contains the bran and germ of the grain.

- Choose whole-grain breads that contain at least 3 to 4 grams of fiber and have fewer than 100 calories per slice.


2. Meat and Seafood

On Your List:

- Skinless chicken or turkey breasts

- Ground turkey or chicken

- Salmon, halibut, trout, mackerel

- Reduced-sodium lunch meat (turkey, roast beef)


- If you buy red meat, choose the leanest cuts -- ones with very little visible marbling.

- Eat ground chicken or ground turkey breast instead of ground beef. These are much lower in fat. Or try tofu or vegetarian meat substitutes. Get creative with the condiments and you’ll get flavor without the fat.

- Measure out your meat and chicken. Protein portion sizes should be about the size of a deck of cards. By using your plate as your guide, in a balanced meal, proteins should be about a quarter of the plate.


3. Pasta and Rice

On Your List:

- Brown rice

- Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta


4. Oils, Sauces, Salad Dressings, and Condiments

On Your List:

- Tomato sauce

- Mustard

- Barbecue sauce

- Red-wine vinegar

- Salsa

- Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil, nonfat cooking spray

WebMD Medical Reference

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Four spoons with mustards
What condiments are made of and how much to use.
salmon and spinach
How to get what you need.
grilled veggies
Easy ideas for dinner tonight.
Greek Salad
Health benefits, what you can eat and more.

WebMD Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

roasted chicken
Flaxseed added fiber
vegetarian sandwich
fresh vegetables
Foods To Boost Mens Heath Slideshow