Our healthiest, freshest ingredients are found around the perimeter of the store. Here we will find all of our fruits, veggies, dairy, poultry, meats and fish. The interior aisles are dedicated to frozen and packaged, processed foods. When shopping keep in mind how often you will be dining out over the course of the week to reduce have to throw stuff out. Look for nutrient dense ingredients. My theory is if I am going to eat something it should be worth it health wise and taste great.
Try to get as many items as you feel you will use. They should tempt you and inspire you to create multiple meals. Look for different colors, textures and flavors to keep meal planning interesting and healthy. The beauty that appears in nature will be your guide. Rainbow of colors supply a diverse range of nutrients that our bodies need. Trust in a varied palette both visually and for your health.
Whenever you can, try to buy organic. These items don’t have fillers, pesticides, hormones and words we can’t pronounce. Our bodies crave whole food ingredients that are closest to the way they are found in nature. Look for produce that is in season. If something is way over priced it is probably out of season, shipped from far away and lacking in flavor anyway. You can always but the frozen choice if it is more accessible.
My Amazon Store
Lots of my go-to ingredients can be easily purchased at my Amazon Store.
Purchase what you think you will use, here is a list of the possibilities that are in my rotation most often.
- Tomatoes: Both on the vine and cherry are my favorites
- Red and Yellow Beets
- Red and Yellow Onions
- Red or Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Yellow Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Spaghetti Squash
- Assorted Bell Peppers
- Sweet Potatoes
- Purple Cabbage, Eggplant
- Green Cabbage (I like Savoy, nice texture in salads), Lettuce (Red Leaf and Romaine hold up well with all kinds of dressing)
- Zucchini, Broccoli, Asparagus, Celery, Baby Spinach, Swiss Chard, Brussels Sprouts
- Cucumber, Green Beans, Various Sprouts, Avocado, Sugar Snap Peas, Artichoke
- Scallions, Leeks, Cilantro, Italian Parsley
- Lemon, Lime
- Mushrooms (varied), Ginger
- Cantaloupe, Honeydew
- Oranges (assorted varieties are good, the kids love small seedless tangerines that fit in their small hands)
- Green or Red Grapes (seedless best for kids)
I always try to buy organic free range meats. They are hormone free and raised in a more humane, environmentally sustainable manner.
- Eggs: Both liquid egg whites and whole organic eggs
- Ground Turkey, Chicken, Bison, Lean Pork
- Chicken – Breast, Whole Roasting Chicken
- Nitrate free chicken sausages. Two great brands are Amylu and Aidells
- Fish, Fish and more Fish – Try to get wild sourced fish when you can. Fish is jam packed with protein and healthy omega 3 fats and oils. It is nice to have a variety of what you like on hand. Frozen choices are great, then you always have a quick protein at your disposal. Great choices: Salmon, Halibut, Black Cod (Butterfish), Scallops, Shrimp, Cod, Tilapia.
- Various Soy sources, Tofu and Tempeh are great in many preparations.
It is best to have a diet low in saturated fats, but we still want healthy amounts of real fats because our bodies need it and crave it. Fat tastes great, helps to satisfy and is essential to our health and well being.
- fat free and low fat Cottage Cheese
- fat free unsweetened strained Greek Yogurt
- fat free milk (unsweetened Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk ok too if you are dairy free)
- fat free or low fat Ricotta Cheese
- Various low-fat and full fat cheeses: Goat, Feta, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Havarti, Brie, Gruyere, etc.
- Grated Cheese, Romano and Parmesan
- fat free or low fat sour cream
- Butter unsalted and salted, Ghee (Clarified Butter)
- Heavy Whipping Cream
When possible I like to buy some of these items in the bulk section, much more cost effective and less packaging waste then name brands.
- Whole Wheat Cous Cous
- Oats: Old Fashioned Rolled and Steel Cut
- Oat Bran
- Rice – Basmati, Brown long and short grain, Sushi Rice
- Sprouted Whole Grain Bread, I like Ezeikiel and Alvarado brands
- Whole Wheat or Sprouted Grain Tortillas
- Whole Grain Pasta
- Whole Grain Pancake mix. I love Oat Bran pancake mix, loads of flavor and fiber! Arrowhead Mills and Bob’s Red Mill are excellent choices.
- Various Cereals: Ezekiel, Uncle Sam’s, Grape Nuts and Wheatabix are some of our favorites.
- Gluten Free Oat Flour, Whole Wheat flour, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Corn Flour (fine, medium and coarse grinds), Spelt Flour, Rice Flour, Graham Flour, etc.
Healthy Fats: Nuts, Seeds, Oils, etc.
To get the most flavor from your nuts and seeds: bake them on a sheet pan, in a single layer in the oven at 350˚F about 10 minutes, until fragrant. Please see Prep Time for more info. Store nuts in the refrigerator or freezer in well sealed bags to maintain freshness.
- Unsalted, unroasted nuts. Peanuts, Almonds (slivered and whole), Pecans, Hazelnuts, Cashews, Pistachios, Walnuts
- Sesame seeds
- unsalted Sunflower seeds
- Pepitas or Pumpkin seeds
- Ground and Whole Flaxseed
- Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Cashew butter (Look for clean ingredients, just the nuts and maybe some salt. You can add your own honey, maple syrup or stevia if you want sweetness)
- Cooking Sprays (Olive Oil and Canola Oil)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Canola Oil
- Not mandatory but fun to have in the pantry are: Walnut, Hazlenut, Grapeseed Oil and some flavored Olive Oils, ie: Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, Truffle Oil etc…..
- Hummus (Assorted flavors according to taste. Trader Joe’s has phenomenal Hummus varietes) Hummus straddles the protein and fat category. It should be used sparingly as it is very high calorie. I add a few tablespoons on the side of each of my savory meals.
- Peanut Flour (great for baking, adding to oatmeal and yogurt parfaits)
- light and full fat Coconut Milk (refrigerated or canned)
- unrefined Coconut Oil
Look for items that are minimally processed, have lower sodium content and have no preservatives or wacky ingredients. Having pantry items handy make our lives easier because they take out some of the prep time and cook time.
- Blanched Almond Meal
- Various canned beans: Garbanzo, Black, Pinto, Kidney, Lentils
- Puréed unsweetened Sweet Potato and Pumpkin
- Some canned veggies (if you are really in a bind or need a quick “add in”: Artichokes, sliced Carrots, Beets etc.)
- Broth (jarred, dry or liquid, I mostly use chicken and vegetable broth) I prefer the jars so I can scoop exactly what I need and refrigerate the rest. organic best, NO is MSG essential.
- Tomato Sauce (No added Sugars)
- Tomato Paste
- Canned Whole or Diced Tomatoes
- Canned Tuna, Salmon Chicken Breast
- Various Dried Sea Vegetables: Look for Hijiki, Wakame and Arame. These can be soaked in water and added to salads, stir fries, omelets etc. Just remember, a little goes a long way once they soak up the water. Also Nori seaweed sheets for making sushi and vegetable rolls.
- Salsa: I use this on all my savory meals. I prefer the refrigerated varieties, but keep some in the pantry for back up. Look for no added sugar.
- Mustard: Dijon, Yellow
- Soy Sauce (low sodium)
- Hot Sauce: So many varieties out there, choose what you like best.
- Vinegar: Balsamic, Rice Wine and others you enjoy.
- Various Teas
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- Loads of Spices and Spice combinations: These are going to give you tons of flavor variety and quick! Make sure they are pure organic ingredients with no MSG.
I try to have fresh herbs available, but it is also important to have dried ones handy too. Some great spices to have are: Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger, Cumin, Thyme, Tumeric, Minced Onion, Curry Powder, Dill, Chili Powder, Garlic powder, Black Pepper, Oregano, Cilantro, Parsley, Herbs de Provence, Red Pepper flakes, Paprika
Salt: Kosher Salt, Sea Salt (fine and coarse), Smoked Salt, Garlic salt, Lemon Salt, Celery Salt
Please see my post on Stevia: my favorite go-to sweetener and why I choose a sugar free lifestyle. I only recommend certain brands and products within those brands. I cannot predict the outcome and flavor of your recipes with products outside my recommendations.
- Stevia Drops – English Toffee and NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia Drops are my favorites
- Powdered Stevia
- 100 % pure Maple Syrup (You can choose from Grade A or Grade B. B is darker and has more Maple flavor, A is sweeter with less maple flavor, your preference)
- Agave Syrup
- Sucanat (unrefined cane sugar)
- unsweetened Fruit Jams
- unsweetened Apple Sauce: varied flavors, just apples or with combinations of fruits.