Have you ever opened the pantry or fridge and reached for any ingredient that wasn’t there? This is SUCH a frustrating feeling, especially when you’ve just gone to the grocery store – that morning.
This is exactly why I have a go-to healthy grocery staples list that I bring with me (almost) every time I head to the grocery store. It saves time, energy, and stress on my weekly shopping trips. This healthy grocery staples list is more important than ever since our newest family addition is taking up most of our time and energy (in the best way possible).
After 10+ years of making recipes for you guys (and myself – let’s be honest), I’ve nailed down my staple ingredients list and know which healthy foods I need to make delicious meals for the average week.
So I thought I would post my go-to list of healthy grocery staples so you can be inspired to make your own or feel free to just copy mine! This list is filled with some of the healthiest food options out there that are are also delicious and versatile for lots of recipes.
If you want to create your own staples list around healthy eating, consider adapting this list to meet your personal health and household requirements – like taking out my cheese and dairy section if you are dairy-free, opting for gluten-friendly breads if you’re gluten free, or adjusting “meat” section with tofu or tempeh if you are a vegetarian or vegan.
**Note: I do most of our shopping at Costco, Trader Joes (see my TJ favorites list here), and Publix.
Healthy Grocery Staples List
I always, always make sure I have:
- Bananas – these guys are easy to eat one handed (key these days!) and have a good amount of B6, making them a great snack, especially before or after a run. I also use them in a lot of my smoothie recipes!
- Honeycrisp or Fuji apples – I love these with peanut butter for an afternoon snack
- Berries (fresh, if they’re in season) – Berries are rich in several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and manganese. Plus, they have tons of great antioxidants.
- Pineapples – I was on a big pineapple kick throughout my pregnancy and it’s stuck even after giving birth. So right now this is a food staple for me, although in the past, it was definitely more of a “special occasion” fruit.
**Note: I always try to buy organic for anything that doesn’t have a peel
I buy a bag of frozen strawberries and frozen mixed berries, mainly because they are great for smoothies and I love just snacking on frozen strawberries. I typically get these at Costco.
Green leaf veggies like kale, romaine, spinach, and arugula are my go-to’s. They’re are all excellent sources of iron and calcium, plus they taste delicious as a base for all my favorite salads.
Other veggies I usually buy: cauliflower, broccoli, haricot verts, onions (red and yellow) and whatever else is in season. Right now it’s lots of squash and I am LOVING it.
I’ve talked about this before, but sweet potatoes are probably my favorite food EVER. Not only do they taste amazing, but they are a really great source of carbs for runners.
Here are some of the most recent sweet potato recipes on the blog:
Lemons are so versatile. I like to squeeze fresh lemon juice into my water, tea, and even on my salads when I want an extra burst of citrus flavor. I also love lemon-baked salmon and chicken, combined with some herbs and white wine.
I always have parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese in the fridge. They are necessary for baked potato or chili and those are cold-weather staples for us. I never buy pre-shredded since it tastes so much better from a block that’s freshly shredded.
Our house has a split milk agreement: Tommy uses 2% while I use unsweetened, plain almond milk. But really I’m not particular about my non-dairy milk since they are pretty easy to swap out in any recipe. I will sometimes grab cashew milk if I plan to make Gluten-Free German Pancakes or coconut milk if I want to make a Coconut Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl. Otherwise, I stick to almond milk since it’s easy to find.
We go through a lot of greek yogurt in our house. I opt for plain and add my own sweetener, while Tommy goes for pre-sweetened and flavored. We also love Noosa yogurt (and I mix it with plain greek yogurt!).
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – I don’t like dealing with bones when I am cooking chicken, so I usually choose boneless chicken breasts for my chicken recipes. But, sometimes I opt for chicken thighs since they are so moist!
Here are some of my favorite chicken recipes:
Frozen shrimp – this is super handy to have when I want to a quick-cooking protein source! I usually just end up adding shrimp onto my salads or to mix into pasta.
Cereal – I don’t eat cereal too often but my husband loves Frosted Mini Wheats and Honey Nut Cheerios. And I usually steal a few bites of his. 😉
Old fashioned oats and steel cut oats – I never buy instant since you get more nutritional benefits in old-fashioned and steel cut oats. I personally love oats because they are high-fiber and heart healthy. Here are some of my favorite oat recipes!
Whole-grain pasta – you never know when you need to whip up a quick meal, so I always have some pasta on hand for those lazy days. I like whole-grain pasta since it has more health benefits including natural fiber and higher amounts of micronutrients compared to white, refined pasta.
Brown rice – is always a go-to and it’s probably a staple for most households on the healthy eating bandwagon. Since brown rice is so versatile, I use it in my dinner and breakfast recipes:
Chia seeds – high in fiber, healthy fats, proteins, and antioxidants, chia seeds got it going on. I actually like to sprinkle chia seeds on a lot of things (and scoop some into my smoothies) but my two favorite chia seed recipes are:
- No Sugar Added Chia Seed Pudding
- A garnish on Homemade Acai Bowls (or any other bowl for that matter)
Sprouted English muffins – I love the Food for Life English Muffins that you can find in the freezer section.
Bread – the Silver Hills Bakery sprouted bread is my FAVORITE. Again this is also found in the freezer section of the grocery store.
For fresh bread, I either make it myself (this whole wheat recipe is so easy) or have my mother-in-law bring me bread from my favorite bakery in Boone, NC. Before our baby came, I also made sourdough every week but I don’t quite have the time now!
Pasta sauce – Remember how I mentioned having pasta on hand for those lazy days? Well, you can’t have pasta without pasta sauce, right?! Rao’s or Trader Joe’s marinara are two of my favorites. I buy Rao’s at Costco.
Vinegar – I like having vinegar for simple salad dressings, cleaning household items, and just as a general cooking ingredient. Balsamic and Apple Cider Vinegar are my go-to’s for salads. I also use white vinegar to make a non-dairy buttermilk in some of my baking recipes:
Unsweetened dried cherries are my favorite dried fruits to have handy for little snacks during the day. I personally like the tartness of them rather than the overly sweet dried cherries or cranberries with added sugar. They’re perfect topped on my easy Kale Salad Recipe.
Medjool Dates are always a go-to staple for me, mainly because they are perfect to eat before a run to help me maintain energy. I talk more about that in my post on What are Good Foods to Eat Before a Run. You can buy them at Trader Joe’s, too!
I use nuts in a LOT of my recipes. And that’s because I love them – plus they have a lot of healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, walnuts, and pecans are my favorites. Here are just a few of delicious, nut-heavy recipes from the blog:
Kombucha – I LOVE kombucha you guys. We go through it so quickly in our household that I actually buy a big jug of it every time I’m at the store.
Spindrift – I got hooked on spindrift during pregnancy when bubbly water was all I could tolerate!
Other Pantry Staples
These are staples that I make sure I have on hand at all times since I use them just about daily for savory meals and weekend baking.
Eggs – packed with rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper, eggs are one of my favorite go-to foods for any healthy meal. Frittatas are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner! And eggs and spaghetti is such a quick, simple dinner!
Spices – I can’t mention a staple grocery list without talking about spices. I have TONS of spices, but I always try and make sure I’m never out of these (since I use them the most): cinnamon, cumin, oregano, black pepper, sea salt, and kosher salt.
Beans – I love love love beans, whether it’s making black bean burgers, vegetarian chili, white chicken chili, topping a salad with them, pureeing into hummus or just eating them with a spoon (seriously, ha!).
Canned tomatoes – I use these in a lot of recipes too, like chili, shakshuka and homemade pasta sauce.
Olive oil – This is definitely my number one oil source. Since it’s one of the healthiest fats we can consume, I love having olive oil handy for salad dressings and any other recipe, for that matter. Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil is a super healthy grocery staple to have in your kitchen.
Coconut oil – I like to use coconut oil in my baking recipes since it’s usually better to bake with than olive oil. It’s higher in saturated fat and it’s linked to boosting heart health, increasing HDL cholesterol levels and lowering LDL cholesterol. Plus, it has a higher smoke point – making it a great cooking oil (if you don’t mind the taste of coconut). Here are two of my favorite recipes that use coconut oil:
Honey & Maple Syrup – These are my favorite sweeteners! If I make a latte with my nespresso and milk frother, I use honey for just a little sweetness.
Maple Syrup Recipes:
- As a topping on these Healthy Whole Grain Waffles
- As an ingredient in this Healthy Zucchini Bread Recipe
Do you have any grocery staples you would add to this list?