Your Grocery Shopping List

Having a plan and the right foods on hand is the best way to keep you eating healthier. If you don't have a good plan and leave things to chance, you could make poor food choices. Grabbing a fast-food or take-out meal at the last minute usually means you will be eating fewer vegetables, fresh fruit, or whole-grain foods. At the same time, you will be consuming plenty of calories, fat, refined grains, and possibly sugar.

Set aside some time each week to plan your meals. If you work or have a very busy schedule, a good time to plan or shop may be your day off or a quiet time of the day. A little bit of time invested in meal planning saves time and money.

Keep a weekly shopping list visible and handy; when you think of food items you need, you can write them on your list. Each time you plan, consider what meals and snacks you will need for the coming week. As you develop a shopping list, take stock of the types of foods you have in your kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer, then decide what you need to add.

Having plenty of healthy food choices available all of the time helps you avoid the pitfalls of eating too many empty-calorie foods that get in the way of weight loss or managing your diabetes.

20 Foods to Always Have on Hand

  1. Vegetables: Any fresh, frozen, or reduced-sodium canned

  2. Fruits: Any fresh, frozen (unsweetened), or canned (juice or water packed)

  3. Whole-grain bread

  4. High-fiber (low sugar) cereals with 4 grams or more fiber per serving

  5. Canned beans, dry beans, or lentils — any variety

  6. Boneless, skinless chicken or turkey breast

  7. Egg substitutes or egg whites

  8. Tuna or salmon canned in water

  9. Low-fat cheese or cheese sticks — choose 1–1½ percent fat varieties

  10. Nonstick cooking spray

  11. Dried herbs and spices — any single varieties or mixes made without salt

  12. Nonfat dry roasted or raw nuts (walnuts and almonds are good choices)

  13. Noncaloric sweetener

  14. Reduced-fat mayonnaise or salad dressing

  15. Low-sodium chicken, vegetable, or beef broth

  16. Leafy lettuce varieties or bagged salad mixes using leafy varieties

  17. One or more whole grains: quinoa, amaranth, barley, bulgur, kasha, brown rice, whole-grain pasta

  18. Canned tomatoes or stewed canned tomatoes

  19. Fat-free yogurt — plain, vanilla, or fruit flavored, artificially sweetened

  20. Whole-grain crackers

Make Over Your Food Supply

Making over your food supply does not have to be extreme, costly, or stressful. You can gradually make over your cupboards by phasing out foods of lesser nutritional quality with newer ones that have more health benefits or lower calories. As you run out of items that you already have, replace the item with something new.


Instead of

Replace it with

Garlic or Onion Salt

Fresh Garlic or Onion

Fruit Juices

Fresh Fruit

All-Purpose Flour

Whole-Wheat or Rye Flour

Vegetable Oil

Olive or Canola Oil

Sour Cream

Plain Low-Fat Yogurt

Buttery Snack Crackers

Whole-Grain Crackers


Graham Crackers

Potato Chips

Popcorn (Make Your Own)

Half Gallon of Ice Cream

Single Serving Reduced-Calorie Ice Cream


Thin-Sliced Low-Fat Ham

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