What’s in your fridge and pantry can make or break your weight-loss progress. Why? If you don’t have the right foods on hand, you’re more likely to make poor choices—or reach for unhealthy convenience foods. To help ensure success, we’ve compiled a list of 15 must-have grocery items that will set you up for weight-loss success.A comprehensive grocery list can make your trip to the store quicker, and help you stick to your diet. Plus, you’re less likely to waste money on foods you won’t eat or that may go bad before you have a chance to use them.
How Do I Make A Healthy Grocery List?
To make a healthy grocery list, you need to understand the role nutrition plays in weight loss. There are three main types of nutrients: Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each one provides your body with different benefits and can help you reach your weight loss goals in different ways.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. They are found in foods like bread, pasta, ice, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables.
Proteins are important for building and repairing muscles, and they are part of many body processes and structures. They can be found in meats, poultry, fish, tofu, eggs, and dairy products.
Fats are essential for the absorption of vitamins and minerals. They also provide your body with energy and serve many other functions. Fats can be found in oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts.
Rules For Choosing The Right Sources Of Nutrients
Complex Carbs Vs Simple Carbs
Eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs are found in sugary foods like candy, cake, cookies, and sugary drinks. They can cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, which can lead to cravings and overeating (10).
Complex carbs are found in whole grain breads, brown rice, oatmeal, and other whole grains as well as starchy vegetables. They take longer to digest, which means they won’t cause blood sugar spikes (10).
Lean Protein Vs Fatty Protein
Choose lean protein sources like chicken, fish, tofu, and beans. Avoid processed meats like bacon and sausage. They are high in saturated fat. Diets high in saturated fat can increase your risk for heart disease (15).
Plant proteins are a good option for vegetarians and vegans, as well as for anyone who wants to eat more plants.
Healthy Fats Vs Unhealthy Fats
Healthy fats are those that are found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, and oily fish. These can help you feel full and improve your cholesterol levels (11).
Unhealthy fats are found in fried foods, processed meats, and baked goods. Limit these types of fats to reduce your risk for heart disease and obesity (11).
Read More: Yohimbine Weight Loss: What You Need To Know
Accounting For Personal Preference
While making a healthy grocery list, you also need to account for your personal preferences. For example, if you don’t like fish, you don’t have to eat it just because it’s a healthy protein and fat source. There are plenty of other options available.
The same goes for carbohydrates and fats. If you don’t like whole wheat bread, try rye or sourdough. And if you don’t like olive oil, try avocado oil.
The bottom line is that you need to find a balance of healthy nutrients that you can stick with long-term. This grocery list will help you get started on the right foot.
What Should I Put On My Grocery List To Lose Weight?
Diet culture will have you believe that to lose weight, you must give up all of your favorite foods and eat nothing but lettuce. This is not only untrue, but it’s also unsustainable.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to find a diet that you can stick with long-term. This means finding a balance of healthy and delicious foods that will satisfy your cravings and help you reach your goals.
To get started, add these 15 weight-loss friendly foods to your grocery list:
As a child, you were probably told to finish your greens. And for good reason!
Leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They can help you lose weight by keeping you full and preventing you from overeating (13). Plus, they’re low in calories and carbs, so you can eat a lot of them without sabotaging your diet.
Which greens should you buy? Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are all great options. But don’t limit yourself to these three. Experiment with different greens to find the ones you like best.
Flax, Chia, And Hemp Seeds
Seeds often seem like they’re too good to be true. But flax, chia, and hemp seeds are all packed with nutrients that can help you lose weight.
Flaxseeds are high in fiber, which can help you feel full and prevent you from overeating. They’re also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation and promote heart health (17).
Chia seeds are another good source of fiber. They also contain protein, which can help you maintain muscle mass as you lose fat (17).
Hemp seeds are a complete protein, meaning they contain all 20 amino acids your body needs. They’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber (17).
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Beans And Other Legumes
When you think of beans, you probably think of them as a side dish. But beans and other legumes are actually a great source of protein, fiber, and vitamins.
Protein is essential for weight loss. It helps you maintain muscle mass as you lose fat, and it can also help you feel full and prevent you from overeating (12).
Fiber is another important nutrient for weight loss. It helps you feel full and prevents you from overeating. Plus, it helps to slow down the absorption of sugar, which can help to regulate your blood sugar levels (12).
There are many bean varieties to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for choice. The most popular varieties include black beans, lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas.
Other legumes include peas, soybeans, and peanuts.
Chicken, Turkey, And Other Lean Meats
Chicken and turkey are both great sources of protein. Protein is essential for weight loss because it helps you maintain muscle mass as you lose fat. It can also help you feel full and prevent you from overeating (15).
When choosing chicken, go for skinless breast meat. It’s lower in fat and calories than the other parts of the chicken. Turkey is another great option. It’s also a good source of selenium, which is a mineral that can help to boost your metabolism (16).
Other lean meats include beef, pork, and lamb. Just be sure to choose the lean cuts to keep your saturated fat intake lower.
Salmon And Other Fatty Fish
Salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation and promote heart health (6).
When choosing salmon, go for wild-caught salmon if you can. It’s thought to be lower in mercury and higher in nutrients than farm-raised salmon. Other fatty fish include tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring.
Eggs are a great source of protein and nutrients. In fact, they’re one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. They are a perfect weight loss food because they can help you feel full and prevent you from overeating (8).
Eggs are also a good source of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps support your metabolism (2).
It’s easy to run out of breakfast options while on a weight loss diet. But Greek yogurt is a great option that’s packed with protein and nutrients.
When buying Greek yogurt, choose plain yogurt. It’s lower in sugar than the flavored options. You can add your own fruit or honey to sweeten it up.
Nuts And Nut Butters
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They’re also incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes.
There are many different types of nuts to choose from, including almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios. You can also find nut butters made from these same nuts.
Just be sure to choose natural nut butters with no added sugar. And if you’re watching your sodium intake, opt for the unsalted nuts.
Eating nuts on their own as a snack can make you overeat. They are so small and tasty, you might not realize how many you’ve eaten until it’s too late. Be sure to portion them out ahead of time.
Multiple studies have shown that eating oats can help you lose weight. Oats are a great source of fiber and protein. They’re also low in calories and contain antioxidants that can help to fight inflammation (14).
Their winning quality is that they have an effect on controlling hyperglycemia and lowering blood lipids (14). Hyperglycemia is high blood sugar, which is experienced by those with diabetes or insulin resistance.
Your blood lipids are your triglycerides and cholesterol. Triglycerides are the main type of fat found in your body, and high levels in your blood are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Keeping your triglycerides low is important for maintaining a healthy heart (1).
Oats can be eaten in a variety of ways. You can add them to smoothies, eat them as oatmeal, or use them in baking recipes.
When buying oats, choose plain, rolled or steel cut oats. And be sure to avoid the instant oatmeal packets, as they often contain added sugar.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
When you’re thinking about fat burning foods, olive oil is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But it should be!
Extra virgin olive oil is a healthy, monounsaturated fat. It’s been shown to improve heart health and help with weight loss (5).
When using olive oil, be sure to use it in moderation. A good rule of thumb is to consume no more than two tablespoons per day.
You can use olive oil in a variety of ways. You can drizzle it over salads or use it in cooking. You can even add it to your smoothies for an extra boost of healthy fats.
Extra virgin olive oil is better than other types of olive oil because it’s less processed, so it’s thought to retain more nutrients. It’s also a good idea to buy olive oil that’s cold-pressed. This means that the olives were pressed without the use of heat or chemicals.
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Whole Grain Bread
We all love a good sandwich, and trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you have to give them up. But you should definitely avoid white bread.
White bread is made from refined flour, which has been stripped of its nutrients and fiber. It’s also high in sugar and calories.
Instead, opt for whole grain bread. Whole grain bread is made from whole wheat or other whole grain flour, which still contains the nutrient-rich germ and bran. It’s also lower in sugar and calories.
When buying whole grain bread, be sure to check the label. The word “whole” should be the first ingredient listed. You may also want to avoid breads that are made with bleached flour.
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats. They’re also high in fiber. Studies attribute these qualities to their ability to help with weight management (3).
Avocados are also a good source of potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte that helps to keep your body hydrated. It’s also been shown to help balance sodium to lower blood pressure (3).
You can eat avocados in a variety of ways. You can add them to salads, use them as a spread on sandwiches, or even eat them on their own.
When buying avocados, be sure to look for ones that are dark green and slightly soft. You should also avoid avocados that have brown spots or are too soft.
Yogurt, oats, and smoothies are all good breakfast options. Adding berries to all of them can help boost your weight loss.
Berries are low in calories but high in fiber. They’re also a good source of antioxidants. These qualities make them ideal for weight loss (9).
In addition to weight loss, berries may help improve heart health and cognitive function. This is because they are rich in flavonoids, which are plant compounds that have many potential health benefits (9).
When buying berries, try to buy organic if you can. This is because non-organic might be sprayed with pesticides, and berries are more difficult to rinse well than other fruits. You should also avoid berries that are too soft or have mold on them.
Liquid calories are a real concern when trying to lose weight. Sodas, juices, and even some types of coffee can add a lot of extra calories to your diet.
Green tea is a great alternative to these high-calorie drinks. It’s calorie-free (if you don’t sweeten it) and full of antioxidants. These qualities make it ideal for weight loss. Green tea has also been shown to boost metabolism and increase fat burning (4).
When buying green tea, be sure to buy loose leaf tea. This is because it’s of a higher quality than tea bags. You should also avoid green tea that has been flavored with sugar or other sweeteners.
Condiments, Herbs, And Spices
A common misconception when you’re dieting to lose weight is that you have to cut out all flavor. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are a variety of condiments, herbs, and spices that can add flavor to your food without adding many calories. These include hot sauce, mustard, vinegar, salsa, and garlic.
Not only do these ingredients add flavor, but they also have a variety of health benefits. For example, hot sauce might boost metabolism and garlic has been shown to help lower blood pressure (6).
When buying condiments, herbs, and spices, be sure to avoid any that contain sugar or a lot of salt.
The Bottom Line
These are just a few of the must-have items that should be on your grocery list for weight loss. By incorporating these items into your diet, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your weight loss goals.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- An oat-containing hypocaloric diet reduces systolic blood pressure and improves lipid profile beyond effects of weight loss in men and women (2001, nih.gov)
- Choline (2022, harvard.edu)
- Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001–2008 (2013, biomedcentral.com)
- Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review (2010, nih.gov)
- Consumption of extra virgin olive oil improves body composition and blood pressure in women with excess body fat: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial (2017, pubmed.gov)
- Effect of garlic supplement in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM): a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (2017, nih.gov)
- Effects of Dietary Yogurt on the Healthy Human Gastrointestinal (GI) Microbiome (2017, nih.gov)
- Eggs (2022, harvard.edu)
- Enjoy the Health Benefits of Berries (2020, aicr.org)
- Essential Nutrients (2022, maricopa.edu)
- Fats and Cholestrol (2022, harvard.edu)
- Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake (2015, nih.gov)
- Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline (2018, nih.gov)
- Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review (2013, nih.gov)
- Protein- Which is Best? (2004, nih.gov)
- Selenium Supplementation, Body Mass Composition, and Leptin Levels in Patients with Obesity on a Balanced Mildly Hypocaloric Diet: A Pilot Study (2020, nih.gov)
- Specialty seeds: Nutrients, bioactives, bioavailability, and health benefits: A comprehensive review (2021, wiley.com)