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Eating healthy sounds like a daunting task, especially when you’re at the grocery store. With aisle upon aisle of food (including a lot of temptations), you might be confused as to what to stock up on, and what to skip. Assembling a healthy grocery list doesn’t have to be hard, though. While you might not be able to get everything in one trip, stocking up your cart with good, healthy foods and avoiding picking up too many high calorie snacks is a great way to eat healthy.

When your kitchen is stocked with healthy food, you’re much less likely to eat out, saving yourself a lot of money and calories. So what exactly does a healthy grocery list look like? It will make your trip to the store much easier if you plan ahead of time, and focus on fulfilling each food group at once. We’ve broken down what experts say is the perfect shopping list so that you know what to get before you even pull into the store, making your life much easier and much healthier!

Vegetables

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The first stop you’ll want to make on your grocery visit is straight to the produce section. In most cases, vegetables are right at the entrance of a grocery store, meaning that you literally have to pass vegetables on your way in and out to avoid them. These are the most essential items to get into your shopping cart. If you’re shopping for one person in your home, you can make it easier by getting smaller amounts of the following veggies:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Artichokes
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower

Fruits

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Right next to the vegetables (and sometimes they just blend them in together depending on the supermarket) is the fruit. Fruit is also an essential part of any diet, and more people tend to stock up on fruit more than vegetables. Like veggies, however, fruits tend to have a pretty short shelf life. Thankfully, most fruits are ones where you pay by the pound, meaning that you can take just a little bit instead of having to worry about large packaging sitting around like some unhealthier snacks out there. Here are the most important fruits to pick up:

  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Melon (Cantaloupe or Watermelon)
  • Apples
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Plums
  • Mangoes

Meats

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Take the first corner around the produce section, and you’re likely to run into the deli and meat department. While meat not might be for everybody, it’s still a common staple in most households around the world. Instead of going for the fatty beefs that are usually much cheaper, try and splurge a little to get some of the healthier types of meat. Some meats, including chicken, are actually much cheaper than most types because of how common it is. Here are the meats to key in on when shopping:

  • Chicken Breast
  • Tuna
  • Turkey (Breast and Ground)
  • Bison
  • Salmon
  • Sirloin Beef
  • Pork Tenderloin

Grains

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Most people know what the word grains means, but it can be a little confusing to know how to fill your grains quota when shopping. Basically, a grain is anything where the main component is wheat, oats, barley or rice. There are other types of grains, but the ones you should specifically be looking for are whole-grains. These are going to be much more beneficial for your health overall. To make it a little less confusing in the grocery aisles, here are the whole-grains to look out for:

  • Whole-Grain Pasta
  • Whole-Grain Bread
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal (or Rolled Oats)
  • Whole-Grain Cereal (or Granola)

Dairy

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The dairy section is pretty easy to manage as it’s all in one department, but some people tend to load up on too much dairy. Getting the right types for your home will make for better health. It’s suggested that you receive two to three servings of dairy per day. Compared to the four to five servings of fruits and vegetables or the six to eight servings of grains, and dairy won’t take up much room in your cart. Here are the essential dairy products that you probably pick up when you go shopping as it is:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Almond Milk (or Skim Milk)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • String Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Butter

Oils, Condiments and Sauces

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You never really want to load up on too many oils in one day, as doctors suggest you stick to no more than three servings. That’s because the same category also contains fats, so you might be able to get away with an extra serving by sticking to healthier oils instead. Some condiments are surprisingly healthy because of their ingredients, even if they don’t seem that way at first glance. You’ll have to skip the sugary barbecue sauce, but here are some great condiments and oils to take its place:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Ginger
  • Mustard
  • Honey
  • Hot Sauce
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sea Salt
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Low-Fat Mayonnaise (Such as Olive Oil Mayo)
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Sugar Free Jam
  • Olives

Legumes

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If you’re trying to stick to 1,600 calories per day, you should be eating three to four servings from the nuts, seeds and legumes department. We’ll get to nuts in just a moment, but you want to make sure you have enough legumes, first. For those sticking to a 2,000 calorie per day plan, you’ll need four to five servings from this group. Legumes are easy to fit into your healthy eating plan, and they also happen to be among the cheapest foods that you’ll find in the supermarket. Here are the legumes to add to your healthy grocery list:

  • Chickpeas
  • Edamame
  • Lentils
  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Kidney Beans

Snacks

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We all love our snacks, but the ones that we usually pick up from the grocery store can be terrible for us. Between potato chips, cookies and a bunch of other processed junk, try to snack on more natural foods. Even though you might be groaning at the thought of leaving the Oreos on the shelf already, there are still plenty of nutritious snacks that taste great. Don’t believe us? Have a glance at some of the snacks that experts suggest, and you’ll realize that snacking healthy isn’t the bad after all:

  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pickles
  • Raisins
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Hummus
  • Trail Mix
  • Whole-Grain Crackers or Chips

Frozen Foods

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If you can’t get to all of the meat you stocked up on from earlier in the list, then using your freezer is a great way to prevent wasting money at the grocery store. Thankfully, there aren’t many other frozen foods that we suggest you pick up, leaving plenty of room for all of the perishables that you want to save. Many of the frozen foods we suggest are actually just frozen versions of healthy foods that we’ve already listed! Take a look:

  • Frozen Berries
  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Low-Fat Yogurt
  • Whole-Grain Waffles
  • Frozen Seafood (Such as Shrimp)

Beverages

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If you’re trying to stay healthy, you want to walk completely past the soda section. We didn’t even include diet sodas on this list, even though they don’t contain calories. For a better low calorie option, water is always the way to go, and any health expert will tell you the same. The beverage list is pretty short (especially considering you likely have good drinking water at home), so here’s the small amount of beverages you need to pick up on your list:

  • Pure Fruit Juice
  • Bottled Water (Sparkling or Non)
  • Tea Bags
  • Coffee

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