10 Must-Have Grocery List Items to Keep You on Track
There are a few things I buy at the grocery store. Every. Single. Week.
And there’s a reason for my madness: I always need or use these items. They help me stay on track of my healthy eating and keep me from getting swayed towards the college fast-food chains.
And don’t get me wrong, Chick-fil-A is never off my radar. I still eat out probably twice a week. But other than that, I enjoy eating healthy choices that make me feel better.
So I’ve compiled a list of grocery items that I buy every week. They’re super important to keep on hand. Whether it be for lunch or dinner or whenever, these items should be on your next grocery list.
Lettuce is pretty multifunctional. You can make a salad for lunch, dress up a sandwich or burger, use it for wraps, Buddha bowls… It’s an easy ingredient to incorporate into dishes you already have planned or to base a new meal off of.
I love Kroger’s leafy Romaine bag of lettuce, as well as an Iceburg/Spinach mix. Another great one is the Spring Mix.
Who doesn’t love avocados? I seriously go through two or three a week. I put it on toast in the morning, my salad or sandwich at lunch, and usually at dinner, too. (We love to cook a lot of homemade Mexican food!)
It’s rich and creamy and satisfies my craving for milk and cheese products (a big NO). It’s the same consistency as mayo—but a HEALTHY fat—so if you’re looking for a replacement, avocado is a great choice.
This past week, avocados were on sale for 49 cents each. I bought a few extra that weren’t terribly ripe and thought ‘Oh good, this will last me this week AND next week!’
I was wrong. I ate them all in a matter of days. Lesson learned: buy all the avocados.
Fruit is another all-around, great food that you need to have on hand. It’s great for so many things like breakfast, snacks, and dessert. My favorites are bananas—they’re portable, filling, and sweet. I’m also always sure to buy a few berries or grapes to snack on.
Along the same lines, having easy-to-eat veggies in your fridge is great for your afternoon munchies. I buy baby carrots (cheap and freakin cute) or celery, and I’m always sure to buy hummus to dip them in. I take them with my lunch or eat them as a snack.
Whole Wheat Bread
Sometimes you just need a good, old fashioned PB&J. Or turkey and ham. Or hot ham and cheese. Bread is versatile and easy to store (aka on the kitchen counter). Toast is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast (refer back to the avocado) and it’s great even if you’re not feeling 100%.
Whole Wheat is a better choice over white or other breads. It’s a complex carb and gives you longer sustained energy. Plus, fiber. Do I need to say more?
Tortillas are so underrated. I don’t know why they have such a bad wrap (pun intended, haha!) But seriously, these are great to have. They last practically forever in the fridge (actually, don’t take my word for that—they’ve never lasted that long in my house).
Use them for wraps, quesadillas, burritos, tacos, etc. With the same concept as the whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas are a better choice over white ones. They provide more complex carbs, sustained energy and more fiber.
Or if you’re willing to spend the extra fifty cents, go for frozen veggies. I always buy canned vegetables at the grocery store, no matter what I’m eating that week. Sometimes, what I’ve got planned doesn’t sound appetizing and I end up changing my meal. Having a variety of veggies on hand gives me a little more freedom in what I make.
The shelf life (or freezer life) is practically forever, so stock up and save them for a rainy day.
Frozen Vegan Chicken
You can buy frozen chicken too, but I much prefer the vegan, chicken-less, chicken. The patties from Boca, Morning Star, and Gardein are all great. There’s also nuggets, orange chicken, meatballs, etc. They’re great to have in the freezer for a backup meal or delicious that’s still healthy.
I get the afternoon munchies at 3 o’clock, every day. I used to come back from class and sit down with an entire bag of potato chips (my favorite food btw), and afterwards I would feel bloated and gross.
I started buying a bag of pretzels every week at the store and eating this as my afternoon snack. It’s a better food choice overall and helped me with portion control (and belly aches!)
If you have cravings for salty, crunchy foods, you definitely need to add this to your weekly grocery list.
Lastly, you need to buy something sweet. It seems counter-productive—you want to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, so why would you purposefully buy something sweet?
Here’s why: as your craving for sugar increases and you resist a short while, you’ll end up overdoing it later in the week. You’ll eat an excess amount of ice cream, cookies, you name it. Then, you’ve made it counter-productive.
But if you buy something sweet and make it last, it’ll satisfy your craving. Be sure to eat correct portion sizes and space it out over the week. Like I said, it’s a balanced diet. Sugar and fats are A-okay and need to be in your diet, just in moderation. So buy that box of Oreos and eat a serving every day.
These 10 basic items are on my grocery list every week. They ensure a successful week for meals, snacks and even dessert.
What is on your ‘Must Have’ grocery list?