Learn how to shop smart and create even smarter meal plans with our top tips and examples for the perfect healthy grocery shopping list…

Creating a healthier diet starts with smart shopping. Whether you find hidden gems among the supermarket aisles, explore your local farmers’ market or stock your kitchen cupboards online, there are plenty of delicious, healthy options just waiting to be discovered. And they needn’t be expensive, either – with a little pre-planning and some clever tips, you’ll soon find shopping for a healthy diet a breeze.

Related: The Eatwell Plate – how to eat a balanced diet

Meal planning ideas

Plan your week’s meals seven days ahead to avoid diet meltdowns…

At the beginning of every week, before you head to the supermarket, take some time to plan your meals for the next seven days. Not only will this save you time, wasted food and cash at the till, but you’ll find it easier to stick to your new healthy diet, too.

With a well-stocked fridge you’re less likely to make last-minute trips to the shops for quick-fix meals, which will often be high in empty calories. Organisation, preparation and motivation are the buzzwords for sticking with healthy eating.

How to make a weekly meal plan:

Set aside some time each week to organise your menus. Write out a week’s timetable of meals in a notebook (see right). Fill in your menus, allocating more complicated dishes for when you have more time.

Could you prepare lunches in a batch? Or make double portions so there’s enough for the next day? On nights you’ll be late at work or going to the gym, you could eat leftovers. If you’re time-starved, plan meals that take less than 30 minutes to prepare or invest in a slow cooker to have a meal ready when you get home.

woman following healthy grocery shopping list at supermarket

Your healthy grocery shopping list

Take this checklist with you when you shop, to ensure your store cupboard is filled with a balance of nutrients. Add your favourites if they’re not already on the list.

Healthy cupboard essentials:

  • Wholewheat bread, pitta, wraps and pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Canned pulses: kidney beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans
  • Lentils
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Popping corn
  • Plain rolled oats
  • Unsalted, raw nuts: cashews, almonds, walnuts
  • Quinoa
  • Dried spices & herbs: turmeric, cumin, chilli flakes, oregano


  • Avocado oil
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Rapeseed oil

Freezer essentials:

  • Frozen vegetables: peas, spinach, broad beans
  • Frozen fruit: berries, mango, pineapple
  • Prawns, white fish, salmon fillets
  • Frozen yoghurt

Fresh foods:

  • Experiment each week with snacking fruits
  • Lemons and limes to flavour water and make dressings
  • Vegetables: buy a rainbow: greens, reds, oranges, yellows and purples
  • Salad: choose high-nutrient leaves such as spinach, watercress and rocket
  • Herbs: mint, basil, coriander, parsley
  • Lean meat & poultry: free range and organic preferable
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs: free range and organic preferable
  • Low-fat natural yoghurt and crème fraîche
  • Low-fat cheese: cottage cheese, Parmesan

Save this image to your phone or print it out so you can bring your healthy grocery shopping list with you on your next food run!

healthy grocery shopping list

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