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Your Grocery Survival List

The basics, 5 rules to shop by:

1. EAT. It's that simple. If you eat before you shop, you are less tempted to impulse buy and end up with snacky foods that sabotage your goals. Eat every 3-4 hours. Not just on grocery shopping day... every day.

2. PLAN. Keep a running list throughout the week on your smart phone. Break it up into the main categories:

  • Veggies

  • Fruits

  • Proteins

  • Starches/Whole grains

  • Healthy fats

  • Flavor boosters

As you run out, add the item to your list. This will give you access to what's missing in your pantry at all times.

3. Identify "TRIGGER FOODS," or a food that you are unable to control the amount that's eaten in one sitting. Here's the deal, if you buy them, you will eat them. See rule number 1. Counseling sessions explore more in detail how to overcome disordered eating habits and improve your relationship with foods.

4. BASKET vs. CART: If you don't need much, stick with a basket, you are less likely to buy unnecessary items.

5. Shop the Perimeter? No. Many nutrient dense foods like grains, flavor add-ins, and shelf-stable produce are found in the aisles.

What they don't want you to know: grocery stores thrive on impulse buys, store layout, and sampling techniques so you end up buying more than you need.

Now for creating your grocery list template:

*note: this is not tailored to a specific diet. Counseling sessions explore dietary restrictions where we work together to develop custom meal plans, recipes, and grocery store lists tailored to your unique needs.

Let's start with the most important.

Veggies: Fresh = Frozen > canned.

- starch bulking veggies --> cauliflower rice, frozen cauliflower florets, spiralized veggies

- pantry staples that last 3 months --> winter squash (spaghetti, kabocha, butternut, acorn)

- leafy greens (kale, spinach, arugula)

- crunch snacks - carrots, jicama, parsnips, radish, celery, beets

- meat bulking --> mushrooms, onions, garlic

Fruit: Nature's Candy

- Frozen berries

- Bananas

- Lemons

- Frozen pomegranates

- Grapes (freeze for a quick ice pop treat)

* Fruits and veggies: refer to Environmental Working Groups dirty dozen and clean fifteen for pesticides

Proteins: including with meals and snacks increases calories burned per meal:

- Frozen or canned fish (aim for 2 servings or more per week) --> canned sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna or frozen salmon or cod

- Shellfish (scallops, shrimp)

- Poultry (chicken or ground turkey)

- Red meat (limit to less than 4 oz per week) - choose grass fed/organic varieties

- Eggs

- Beans: look for canned varieties that don't contain much salt or ingredients. Recommended brands include Rienzi, Trader Joes organic, Wholesome Pantry. All beans are equally nutritious! Try chickpeas, red beans, black beans, fava etc!

Best high protein bean snacks:

  1. Biena dry roasted chickpeas

  2. Enlightened dry roasted fava beans

- Lentils: to cook, add 1 cup lentils + 3 cups water, bring to boil and simmer for 30 mins! For easy meal prep freeze in 2 cup portions and defrost as needed. Use as ground meat alternative or as a meat bulking. Easy go-to recipes include lentil sloppy joe's, lentil tacos, lentil burgers, etc!

- Dairy products (non-dairy alternatives do not provide protein, and that's ok! find other sources in your meal or snack)

  • Greek yogurt (higher in protein/lower in sugar) - use as a breakfast bowl, snack or sour cream replacement

Whole Grains: Stick with a program you see yourself following for LIFE. If you can't wait to re-incorporate breads and pastas, never eliminate them! I can show you how to love these foods and lose weight :D

  • Quinoa (GF)

  • Farro

  • Freekah

  • Bulger

  • Rolled oats or steal cut (can be GF)

  • Teff or amaranth (GF)

  • Brown or wild rice (GF)

  • Beans/Lentils (GF)

  • Starchy Veggies: Peas, Potatoes, Corn (GF)

  • Pastas --> regular pasta can be ok, but give healthier varieties a try --> Bean based varieties are sky high in protein like Banza, Trader Joe’s black bean or red lentil pasta, Explore Cuisine edamame pasta, Tolerant Organic lentil pasta, Lotus Foods brown rice & millet ramen noodles

  • Breads (with at least 3 g of fiber and ingredients you can understand!) --> highly recommend: Dave's Killer Bread thin slice

  • Wraps: Trader Joes --> 45 calorie low-in-carb wraps are great.

Healthy Fats: (But I said your the good kind of fat!)

- Nuts/Seeds: Variety is key -> almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, cashews, etc. Limit nuts to 1/4 cup per serving

- Avocados (~1/4-1/2 per serving)

- Seed butters: Sunbutter, tahini, pumpkin seeds butter (1/4 cup or 1 small handful per serving)

- Nut butters: peanut, almond, cashew butters (RX bar adds egg to boost protein content) (1-2 Tbsp per serving)

- Oils: Avocado oil for cooking, Extra Virgin for topping (1 - 3 tsp depending on individual)

Flavor Boosters!

- Trader Joes: Everything but the Bagel Spice, Coffee BBQ rub, Chili Lime spice

- Other spices: Cumin, Turmeric, Garlic, Ginger, Paprika

- Lemons or lemon juice (reduces the amount of salt needed in a recipe)

- Dips: salsa, hummus, tzatziki, babaganoush

If you stock your pantry with healthy food, you'll eat healthy food! Keep it simple. Refer to Meal Prep Basics for easy weeknight meal ideas and batching cooking tips, you guac this!



Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutritionist
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