By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
Looking to make a grocery list that's pretty healthy? Look no further than this dietitian-approved grocery checklist and list of grocery staples. Give this nutritious master grocery list a go!
Ever find yourself staring into your freezer, wondering how on earth you're going to put together a healthy meal without fresh ingredients?
I know we've all been there, especially when a trip to the grocery store is overdue. The thought of healthy cooking without fresh fruits and vegetables may seem daunting, but it is possible! Stock up on freezer-friendly healthy foods, as well as non-perishable pantry staples so you'll always be ready to cook something quick, simple and healthy.
I'm giving you a list of dietitian-approved freezer foods and pantry staples so you can grocery shop with ease. Now when you're having a busy day or week, there's absolutely no excuse to order takeout every single night. Just take ten minutes or less to whip up a quick, easy meal with long-lasting staples in your pantry and freezer. Score!
Plus, you'll likely save money by having foods that you'll actually want to eat on hand! Go take a look at this free, printable grocery list!
Your Grocery Checklist, According to Dietitians
I recently asked my dietitian colleagues for their must-have grocery items list. Here's what they recommend adding to a basic grocery list that allows you to eat healthy, nutritious food on the daily!
Print out this healthy grocery shopping list of frozen foods and pantry foods, pronto. Now get ready for healthy eating!
Freezer Foods Grocery List
"We get the large bags," says Ashley Koff, RD, author of Your Road Trip to Better Health. "It's food for me and my dog, who has 1/4 cup daily!"
"I like to kill two birds with one stone and hit both the veggie category and protein category in one," says Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN, nutrition blogger at Mama Knows Nutrition. "They’re simple to mix in with rice or pasta, or toss in soups."
"So many recipes call for chopped onions, and I don’t always want to spend the time chopping up an onion or only using half an onion for a recipe," says Mandy Enright, RD, nutrition blogger at Food + Movement. "Plus, they are often on sale for $1 a bag at the grocery store. They’re a time, money, and food-waste saver!"
"Frozen shelled edamame is a quick high-protein, high-fiber addition to stir fries, or pasta," says Tina Marinaccio, RD, nutrition blogger at Tina Marinaccio Nutrition.
Frozen Wild Blueberries
"We have pizza pretty much every Friday night in our house," says Jessica Gust, MS, RDN, nutrition blogger at Element Nutrition Co. "I buy premade dough at the grocery store and then put a couple in the freezer. I pull them out the night before, and they are ready to go. I've started freezing pizza sauce as well!"
"When I get a fresh loaf of bread, the first thing I do is throw it in the freezer," says Michele Sidorenkov, RDN, nutrition blogger at My Millennial Kitchen. "While the refrigerator stales your bread and the forgotten countertop loaf risks exceeding expiration, the freezer actually preserves your loaf for months. Just slice your bread, throw it in the freezer and pull off a slice or two as needed. I always toast my frozen bread slices, and they taste as fresh as the day I bought it. I do this same trick for bagels and burger buns, too!"
"I love to freeze cheese," says Whitney Reist, RD, culinary dietitian at Sweet Cayenne. "Block cheese works the best. When I see blocks on sale, I will cut them into portions or shred it. Then, I wrap individual blocks in plastic wrap, and store them in a freezer-safe gallon bag. I will freeze the shredded cheese in quart-sized freezer bags. Then I'll thaw them overnight in the fridge."
"Wild-caught salmon is easy to defrost the night before you eat it," says Jinan Banna, PhD, RD, author of Tools for Health Education. "I love it because it's a great source of omega-3 fatty acids."
"It tastes just as good frozen as fresh," says Melissa Mitri, MS, RD, owner of Melissa Mitri Nutrition. "It is quick and easy to prepare in stir fries, quesadillas, and tacos, or on a green salad. Shrimp is also low in calories and saturated fat, and is a high-quality protein source."
Pantry Foods Grocery List
Canned Black Beans
"They're so versatile for beans and rice, bean tacos, bean burritos, bean soup, black bean hummus, black bean brownies, black bean burgers, and chili," says Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD, CEDRD, co-author of Cooking with Food Sensitivities Survival Guide.
"Chickpeas are my No. 1 pantry staple," says Christie Gagnon, RD, nutrition blogger at Hoorah to Health. "I love adding them to soups stews, and salads. Homemade hummus is also a family favorite."
"It’s such an easy, shelf-stable protein source for a sandwich, salad, or even pasta," says Colleen Christensen, RD, owner of Colleen Christensen Nutrition.
Natural Peanut Butter
"I could probably survive without peanut butter, but I hope I never have to!" says Dani Lebovitz, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE, author of 101 Descriptive Words for Food Explorers. "It's so versatile. It’s an easy pantry staple you can use to whip something a main course or a tasty dessert, or you can use it as a condiment."
"Tahini is my favorite pantry staple," says Leanne Ray, MS, RDN, nutrition blogger at Leanne Ray Nutrition. "It's incredibly versatile and really elevates an otherwise simple dish to something that feels gourmet and interesting. Nutritionally, tahini contains protein, fiber, heart-healthy fat ,and plant-based iron. Use it to make a quick sauce for drizzling over grain bowls, add it to your favorite fruit smoothies, or swirl it into oatmeal and baked goods."
Boxed Vegetable Broth
"They're budget friendly and can play so many roles in the kitchen," says Erin Hendrickson, RD, founder of No Waste Nutrition. "They work as traditional breakfast to a plant-based burger binder, energy balls, ground up as flour, and even a plant-based milk alternative!"
"I stock up on almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pine nuts at Costco and Trader Joe’s and store them in the freezer," says EA Stewart, RD, integrative dietitian at The Spicy RD. "I’m a big fan of the MIND diet for brain health, which recommends eating five servings of nuts each week. Plus, they’re so darn delicious and easy to add to salads, oatmeal, and so many other dishes. Or just to pop ‘em in your mouth for a nourishing snack!"
"I’m from Puerto Rico, and we use sofrito in almost everything: stews, rice dishes, beans, braises, soups and sauces," says Melissa Nieves, RD, MPH, nutrition blogger at Fad Free Nutrition Blog.
"It makes creating a good ragu easy and is just tomatoes so I can control the amount of sodium in the sauce," says Rosanne Rust, RD, author of Calorie Counter Journal for Dummies. "My pantry shelf is never without a back-up can."
More Healthy Grocery Staples
When you think of processed foods, you probably have images of potato chips and candy dancing in your head. So what would you think if I told you that frozen berries and canned beans are processed? That's right, and not all processed foods are bad for you.
Check out this NBC News article to find out what makes a convenience food healthy and which processed goods, including freezer foods, I always stock up on. (Hint: One of them is a perfect topping for cauliflower pizza!) Want to see what else is on my grocery list, including ideas for canned food storage and freezer essentials?
This blog post was updated in August 2020.
- Ashley Koff, RD, author of Your Road Trip to Better Health
- Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN, nutrition blogger at Mama Knows Nutrition
- Mandy Enright, RD, nutrition blogger at Food + Movement
- Tina Marinaccio, RD, nutrition blogger at Tina Marinaccio Nutrition
- Lori Gardiner, RD, nutrition blogger at Lori Gardiner
- Jessica Gust, MS, RDN, nutrition blogger at Element Nutrition Co
- Michele Sidorenkov, RDN, nutrition blogger at My Millennial Kitchen
- Whitney Reist, RD, culinary dietitian at Sweet Cayenne
- Jinan Banna, PhD, RD, author of Tools for Health Education
- Melissa Mitri, MS, RD, owner of Melissa Mitri Nutrition
- Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD, CEDRD, co-author of Cooking with Food Sensitivities Survival Guide
- Christie Gagnon, RD, nutrition blogger at Hoorah to Health
- Colleen Christensen, RD, owner of Colleen Christensen Nutrition
- Dani Lebovitz, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE, author of 101 Descriptive Words for Food Explorers
- Leanne Ray, MS, RDN, nutrition blogger at Leanne Ray Nutrition
- Megan Byrd, RD, nutrition blogger at The Oregon Dietitian
- Bri Bell, RD, nutrition blogger at Frugal Minimalist Kitchen
- Erin Hendrickson, RD, founder of No Waste Nutrition
- EA Stewart, RD, integrative dietitian at The Spicy RD
- Melissa Nieves, RD, MPH, nutrition blogger at Fad Free Nutrition Blog.
- Rosanne Rust, RD, author of Calorie Counter Journal for Dummies
- 19 Processed Foods Nutritionists Swear By,
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I'd love to hear from you! What would you add to this basic grocery list? If you were to create a list, what foods would you add to your shopping list?
What else would you add to this master list grocery list template? Maybe olive oil? When you create a grocery list, what else will you buy?
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