I'll be the first to admit that I am a total mom when it comes to grocery shopping. I look forward to grocery day every week, and when the time comes I'd ideally spend hours wandering around the grocery store picking out new things to try. What I actually do, however, is write myself a healthy grocery list to keep myself on budget

When shopping for healthier eats it's important to choose foods that are a balance protein, carb, and healthy fat sources to keep your body properly fueled throughout the week. To feel your best physically and mentally, nutrient-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables should make up the majority of your diet. 

Although everyone's healthy grocery lists change a little from week to week and season to season, sticking to a solid structure every time you head to the grocery store will keep you on track in terms of health and budget. Here is a 20-item healthy grocery list that you can use week after week. 


vegetable, cabbage, broccoli, legume
Jocelyn Hsu

Bananas: Bananas are super versatile and usually the cheapest fruit at the store. They're great for quick breakfasts and baking.

Sweet Potato: I usually cook sweet potatoes in the microwave for about 6 minutes and top with cinnamon and nut butter for a breakfast feast. Sweet potatoes can be topped with any number of ingredients for a unique meal every time. 

Avocado: Full of healthy fats, avocados can be used any number of ways. Check out these 23 innovative avocado recipes for inspo.

Zucchini: Like bananas, zucchini is an extremely versatile ingredient. I love to use it cubed in pasta dishes with sauce, Banza chickpea pasta, and chicken sausage. It's also great for baking if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthier way.

Leafy Greens: I love to use greens for every meal of the day. I blend them into my smoothies, make loaded salad bowls for lunch, and cook them into my dinners on most nights. If you don't think you like greens, I highly suggest experimenting with a variety because there are so many different options out there. 

Cruciferous Veggies: Like greens, you have several options with this category. Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts are my personal favorites. I like to roast a big batch whenever I go grocery shopping, then have them to add to meals throughout the week. 

Pantry Staples

Angelica Pan

Nut butter: Although the jury is still out on which nut butter is best, I think everyone agrees that nut butters are a must. I usually have them as part of breakfast to kickstart my day with protein and healthy fats, but they're also great for snacking when you need a pick-me-up.

Oats: Don't let the perception of oats only being for sweet breakfasts kill your creativity. They're also great for savory oatmeal, as a flour substitute in baking, and as a binder for meatballs.

Balsamic vinegar: As I said before, I'm a big fan of making loaded salads for lunch. They're easy to make ahead of time and I usually just toss them in balsamic vinegar when I'm ready to eat. You can also use balsamic in glazes and marinades for veggies and meats. 

Pasta sauce: Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a mom that frequently made homemade meat sauce for pasta. Now I make sure to always have a jar of sauce for a comforting dinner in less than 30 minutes. 

Chickpea pasta: To go along with that pasta sauce, I've turned to using a healthier alternative to pasta made from white flour. Chickpea pasta is loaded with protein and fiber and, depending on the brand, is gluten-free. 

Black beans: Call me a cheater for buying canned black beans, but I don't care. They're super cheap and easy to incorporate into any dish for added protein. I also recently discovered that they make some tasty brownies too

Packaged Snacks

Becky Hughes

Granola: Although I try to keep my packaged foods to a minimum, granola is always in my basket. I like to sprinkle some on Greek yogurt for breakfast or grab a handful mid-afternoon as a pre-workout snack. 

Trail mix: Throughout high school, I had trail mix in my lunch every day. It's the perfect balance of sweet and savory. It tastes like a treat, but has a range of nutrients that make it a balanced snack. 

#SpoonTip: To save a little money, try buying your favorite trail mix ingredients from the bulk bin at your local grocery store and make your own trail mix.

Dark chocolate: Everyone who knows me knows that I always have some dark chocolate on hand. I can't remember the last day I went without treating myself to a square. Hey, it has plenty of health benefits. Make sure to buy a bar with a high cacao percentage to reap the most health benefits. 

Refrigerated Goods

milk, cream, dairy, ice, yogurt
Kristine Mahan

Greek yogurt: I like to start my day with a healthy serving of protein, so I eat Greek yogurt almost every day for breakfast. Recently I've been experimenting with savory applications as well. 

#SpoonTip: If you're planning on using your Greek yogurt for a savory dish, make sure it's not flavored. 

Milk (or non-dairy substitute): I prefer almond or coconut milk because I never drank cow's milk growing up. I keep milk on hand to use in baking, but I also like to have a splash of chocolate coconut milk in my coffee every morning. 

Hummus: I love to keep hummus on hand because it packs an extra serving of protein into all my meals and comes in so many creative flavors. When I'm home, I also like to make my own

Freezer Essentials

meat, beef, bratwurst, mustard, sausage, bananas, filled grocery cart, Whole Foods Market, ham, Fruit, strawberries, Vegetables
Shelby Cohron

Fruit: I always keep a bulk bag of fruit in the freezer for when a smoothie craving hits. I also like to keep frozen grapes as an easy snack. Many people don't know that frozen fruit actually tends to retain nutrients better than fresh fruit. 

Protein: I portion out my meat and stick it in the freezer until I'm ready to eat it. This prevents the meat from going bad in my fridge, and makes it easy to cook just one meal at a time. 

With this healthy grocery list, you have absolutely no excuse to keep putting off grocery shopping and learning to cook for yourself. It's time to stop complaining about disappointing dining hall food and spending too much money on eating out. My hope is that you can take this staple healthy grocery list and make it your own as you discover what works best for you.