Grocery Lists and Your Kitchen Makeover

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 up to chance, you could make poor food choices. Grabbing fast-food or take-out meals 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, and refined or highly processed foods.

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 over-all time and money throughout the week.

Keep a weekly shopping list visible and handy; when you think of food items you need, 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 type of items need to be added to your grocery list.

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.


  • Vegetables: Any fresh, frozen, or reduced sodium canned

  • Fruits: Any fresh, frozen (unsweetened), or canned (juice or water-packed)

  • Whole-grain bread

  • High-fiber (low-sugar) cereals with 4g or more fiber per serving

  • Canned beans, dry beans, or lentils: Any variety

  • Boneless, skinless chicken or turkey breast

  • Egg substitutes or egg whites

  • Tuna or salmon canned in water

  • Low-fat cheese or cheese sticks — choose 1–1½ %-fat varieties

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • Dried herbs and spices: Any single varieties or mixes made without the addition of salt

  • Dry roasted or raw nuts: walnuts and almonds are good choices

  • Non-caloric sweetener

  • Reduced-fat mayonnaise or salad dressing

  • Low-sodium chicken, vegetable, or beef broth

  • Leafy lettuce varieties or bagged salad mixes using leafy varieties

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

  • Canned tomatoes or stewed canned tomatoes

  • Fat-free yogurt: plain, vanilla, or fruit flavored, artificially sweetened

  • Whole-grain crackers

When you go shopping, let your shopping list guide you and stick to your list as much as possible. The healthiest foods are found around the perimeter of the store, and everything else is found in the aisles. Spend most of your time shopping around the perimeter.

Make Over Your Food Supply

Making over your kitchen food supply does not have to be extreme, costly or stressful. You can gradually makeover your kitchen 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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