When you’re trying to lose weight on a plan, it makes sense to stock your kitchen full of healthy food items. But that list of ‘good foods’ for healthy eating can be long – and it can be hard to decide where to start when putting together a shopping list.
After all, you’ve been cooking meals in a certain way for a long time. To change your preparation methods now because of your weight loss plan – what’s on your shopping list, what you buy, how you plan to cook it – can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’re here to help get both your kitchen pantry and shopping list diet-friendly.
We’ve gathered a list of healthy food items you should pick up and which foods to ‘pass’ on. Print out the list to take with you to the local supermarket when you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey, or if you’re looking for fresh meal approaches or recipes in the kitchen, or even when just needing a panty restock. For inspiration, we’ve also listed some diet friendly meal ideas (full of flavour – not fat) to keep in mind while you shop.
In the produce section
Stock up on as much fruit and veg as you can. Fresh fruit is a great way to kill cravings for sweets, and vegetables are perfect for filling out a meal when you’re aiming to lose weight.
- Apples (an easy tasty snack)
- Asparagus (great steamed, roasted, or stir-fried)
- Bananas (keep some frozen for smoothies)
- Blueberries (sprinkle over cereal)
- Broccoli (steam and serve with salads)
- Butternut pumpkin (great roasted in salads or as a snack)
- Capsicum (use with chicken for bbq skewers)
- Cucumber (chop and mix with yoghurt – a tasty dip)
- Eggplant (also great roasted with a little spray oil)
- Fresh herbs (you can dry or freeze the leftovers)
- Grapes (wash and freeze for a sweet treat)
- Onions (Spanish variety is great for salads)
- Potatoes (mash, boil, roast or poach)
- Rockmelon (serve with light ice cream)
- Salad greens (a side for your main)
- Strawberries (coat in a little chocolate and freeze)
- Oranges (slice and serve cold)
- Any other fruit and veg you like
- Dried fruits
- Salted nuts
In the freezer section
This is a great place to get ‘fresh’ foods that you won’t necessarily eat within the next few days.
- Frozen fruits
- Frozen pre-chopped vegetables
- Convenience foods that are loaded with sugar, fat and salt
- Frozen pizzas
In the deli, meat and fish sections
Skinless, boneless chicken is a great staple, and here are other ideas:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast (great chopped in a sauce for pasta)
- Lean bacon (excellent chopped up in a frittata)
- Lean steak (dinner leftovers are great in salads)
- Lean ham
- Tuna steak
- Processed sandwich meats and sausages
- Fatty cuts of meat
In the dairy section
With a little creativity, you can get a lot of satisfaction out from cooking with low-fat dairy items.
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Low-fat ricotta
- Skim milk
- Low-fat plain yoghurt or diet flavoured yoghurt
- Tofu (the silken variety is a revelation in sauces – firmer types are fabulous stir-fried, sautéd, or grilled)
- Full fat yoghurts
- Cream or sour cream
- Full fat cheese
In the dry foods and canned goods aisles
This is where you’re likely to give into cravings, where lots of tempting convenience foods are stored. Go in with a list and you’ll be fine.
- Canned beans (whole beans are great in salads or pureed for dips)
- Soups (not creamy)
- Canned tomatoes and tomato puree
- Tuna canned in brine or springwater
- Rice (go for basmati or brown)
- Couscous and other whole grains (unflavoured)
- Fat-free salad dressing
- Breakfast cereals (look for high in fibre)
- Popcorn kernels (to air pop)
- Cooking oil spray (you’ll use less than pouring)
- Lemon juice
- Soy sauce and teriyaki sauce
- Creamy soups
- Tomato ketchup
Plan ahead, and keep an open mind
Don’t forget to stock up on freezer-friendly storage bags and containers. You’ll be cooking a lot and you’ll want ways to keep your extras fresh. “I cook things like spaghetti sauce in large quantities so that I can take some out and defrost as needed,” says a Community User.
Remember: This list is just a few foods to get you started on your weight loss journey – when you are comfortable with the healthy meal basics, start exploring the supermarket further!