Everyone wants to know how to eat healthy on a budget but many don’t know how to create a healthy grocery list.
Today I’m going to share with you just how we go about creating our healthy grocery list.
Lately I’ve noticed many people visiting CBB looking for a healthy grocery list or samples of a grocery list so today I will give you both.
Keep in mind that not every week is perfectly healthy for us (we do like splurge once in a while) and what healthy is to us might not be to you. I always like to stress that but sticking to the basic food groups is always the best way to go.
If you like to meal plan than you pretty much should know exactly what you need to buy for groceries. A basic grocery list is all that is needed when getting started to create your healthy grocery list because it’s just a list. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you don’t know how much your grocery budget is or should be that is where you should start before rushing to establish your healthy grocery list. Just like good food takes time to cook grocery shopping also takes time to ensure you pick the best food products you can. Note I didn’t say expensive either.
I only say this because depending on your health needs you may need to spend more or less money so it’s important to have somewhat of a concrete amount that you can spend when you grocery shop.
There is no special number that you will find online to tell you how much your grocery budget should be. That is UP TO YOU! You know your debts and how much money you earn so do the math, create a budget and the numbers will fall into place.
Sample Healthy Grocery List
Below is a sample of some healthy grocery list ideas that we would typically purchase. We may bot buy all of these items in one grocery shop but you will get the idea.
I’m the King of Lists and if you want to download the list I have in the photo above you can easily do that by downloading and saving the free template grocery list which you will find on my Free Money Saving Tools page.
You will see a meal plan and grocery list all-in-one that you can edit and print. This is what we start with each week along with the weekly grocery flyers. We are then able to create our meal plan and grocery list around sales of the week to help us stick to our $235.00 a month grocery budget for 2 plus a baby.
If you are as semi-organized as we are you will already have your pantry and freezer lists up to date so you already know what you have in stock. This makes creating your healthy grocery list that much easier because now you aren’t buying doubles or running out of products when you need them when preparing a healthy recipe.
Healthy eating for us is based on the Canada Food Guide but for some people it may mean you have products you can’t eat for whichever reason. Such as if you are only able to buy gluten-free products than you will adjust your healthy grocery list as needed. For this reason you know what you can and cannot purchase based on your own health requirements.
Just because you want healthy eating to be part of your lifestyle it doesn’t mean you have to bust your budget to buy the most expensive products either. Where you save in one area of the grocery store you can gain the rewards in another. Don’t pass by the reduced rack without a quick look to see what bargains you can find in the produce, meat, dairy and bakery departments.
Types of Fats
When looking for healthy products you want to stay away from saturated fats and enjoy the good fats because we still need fat in our diet.
It’s very important to always read labels on products you buy so you understand the nutritional values and can see the ingredient list. The top ingredients are the first on the list so be aware of how much fats, sugars and salts are in those products.
I found an excellent website called Health Castle made up of dietitians which is great because I’m not one and wouldn’t have been able to tell you about types of fats like they can. I know about them but it’s one thing to know and another to teach.
If you are ever unsure your family doctor may be able to give you tips or your works benefits might even allow you a budget to see a dietician so don’t be shy to find out and use that benefit.
The article Fats 101 and How to tell the Good and Bad Fats apart is a great post to learn more about what you can and shouldn’t be eating in terms of fat. Below are two healthy fats we should enjoy in our diets while eliminating or limiting saturated fats which are no good for us.
Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Nuts including peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios, avocado, canola and olive oil are high in MUFAs.
Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Seafood like salmon and fish oil, as well as corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils are high in polyunsaturated fats. Omega 3 fatty acids belong to this group.
Buying bigger lean cuts of meat which generally are cheaper to buy and creating portions will leave you more money to spend on the other categories such as dairy, grains, produce etc.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to buy the leaner meats trim the fat if you see any from the cuts that you do buy. This is what we do because we really don’t need all that fat in our diet.
We also tend to you cooking sprays and healthy oils like canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil over vegetable oil to cook with. Most processed foods that are deep-fried are likely made with vegetable oil so make sure you read the labels. We do prefer butter over margarine so we do purchase butter to use in moderation.
The key here is to know your prices and do the math. If it’s worth the savings buying the bulk item you might want to consider that. Having a frugal budget means watching where the money is going so creating a shopping list for healthy eating means we eat what is in season and on sale.
Loading up on vegetables and fruits will help keep your grocery list a healthy grocery list. What people tend to avoid is the over-processed foods that add no nutritional value to the diet. You are pretty much wasting money when you buy these products.
Bulking your diet out with healthy foods such as beans, nuts or even frozen vegetables will help when you create casseroles, stir-fry or other one-pot meals that you want to stretch over the course of a few days.
When buying condiments keep in mind the salt content because many products are full of sodium which is not good for the healthy eater. We also like to watch for sugar in condiments and opt for low-fat or fat-free products when possible but know that we don’t have to compromise taste.
Healthy eating doesn’t mean you have to eat fat-free it means eating in moderation. In a processed world many of tend to eat too much food and are not as active as we’d like to be. Portion sizes coupled with healthy choices on your plate and snack-time will make you a happier person in the end.
I’d like to be able to make bread and tortillas all the time but I just don’t have that time. When I do I try to use whole-wheat flour if I can or add other grains and nuts to up the nutritional value.
High-fibre is important to us so even our breakfast cereals we tend to stick to types with wheat and fibre. My wife likes steel-cut oats so that is what she typically will eat for breakfast along with some toast, fruit and yogurt.
Snacks will make their way into your shopping cart because as much as we all want to just shop the perimeter of the grocery store they are getting smarter with marketing. You will now see along your perimeter shop all sorts of treats strategically placed in your way.
If you want to buy snacks stick to unsalted pretzels, plain popcorn and nuts. Nuts are great on their own, in salads or in a stir-fry . Sometimes we might cut up whole wheat pita and toast it in the oven for a snack to dip with our favourite Greek Yogurt or hummus dip.
I won’t lie and say we don’t go down the middle aisles because WE DO. What we try and do is stick to the meal plan and healthy grocery list that we created which makes all other products null and void. It’s just our way of trying to block them out and although it doesn’t always work that is our plan and we’re sticking to it.
You have to be armed with a plan when you step foot into the grocery store. Probably the easiest type of shopping for healthy foods is going to the market where we find all sorts of healthy foods which helps us to stay away from what we don’t want.
My Top 10 Tips for creating a healthy grocery list
- Create a budget because you need to know how much you can afford to spend
- Organize your pantry and freezer so you know what you have in stock
- Create a meal plan that is full of variety so you don’t get bored (look for recipes on-line)
- Type out your grocery list and print it to take with you grocery shopping
- Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store or only get what you need down the aisles.
- Buy food you have to prepare yourself ie: cook not just throw in the oven or microwave
- Stock up your spice cabinet because spices create different flavours and dishes
- Avoid processed foods and foots that are high in saturated fat and sodium
- Read product labels for nutritional values and ingredient lists.
- Enjoy healthy eating and make it a lifestyle change not a diet!
What other tips can you add to create a healthy grocery list?
February grocery game challenge posts
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.
Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!
Grocery Saving Tips
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.
NEW!! You can now download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide
If you are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.
If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email.
2015 Grocery shop results
If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB Home Chef Nicola Don and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out!
Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $25 per month.
- Ace Potato Bread $4.99-50% +400 PC Plus points
- Greek Red Pepper Dip $4.99-50%
- Cucumber Tzatziki $4.49-50%
- 4 x old cheddar no-name $3.99 sale (stockpile)
Total-out-pocket $6.75 + $15.96 stockpile budget
- Neilson Milk 4 L- $3.97
- 2x Taster’s Choice Instant Coffee $3.97 each
- 2 x Nescafe Instant coffee $3.97 each
- 2x Multi-grain Tostitos $2.47 each
- D’Italiano Bread Buns $3.28-50%
- PC Whole Wheat Thin Buns x 2 $3.19-50%
- Avocado Bag $2.77
- Celery stalk $1.97
- Tomatoes $1.04
- Potatoes white 10lb $1.87
- Yellow onions $1.79
- Bananas $2.54- $0.50 Zweet
- Sweet Potatoes $3.34
- Franks Red Hot Sauce $3.99-$1.50 Snap Groupon
- Aluminum Foil $10.49 100m
- Carnation Evap milk x2 $1.28 Back up for coffee in case I run out of milk
- 2x Whole Wheat Premium Plus Crackers $3.49 each Ouch!
- Red Delicious apples 3lb $1.98
- 2 x Kale $6.00
- 2 whole wheat tortillas $1.49 each
- 1 x Sun-dried tomato tortillas $3.00
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $235.00
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 13505
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Snap Groupon to date: $1.50
- Zweet to date: $1.00
- Cart Smart to date: $0
- Checkout51 to date: $0
GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
- Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): $15.96
- Stockpile budget used to date: $25.00+$15.96
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $3.00
- Total in-store discounts this week: $11.10
- Total in-store discounts to date: $26.04+$18.61
- Total spent this week: $110.54
- Total spent so far this month: $36.50+$110.54=$147.04
- Total over/Under spend this shop: $over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
- Total left to spend for the month: $198.50-$147.04=$51.46
- Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $n/a
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): We spent more than anticipated this week because of the Super Bowl and I wanted to bring some stuff to my friend’s when I went over. I hate going empty-handed. Other than that we stocked up on cheese and the rest was mostly vegetables and other bits and bobs that we needed. I have yet to re-stock the beans, lentils and pasta that we had to throw away. Not much left to work with this month. The only thing not on our grocery list that we bought was the cheese as we didn’t know it was on sale so we grabbed it while we could.
Did you find any coupons? If so share the details in the comment section of this post where you found it and what the coupon is for with expiry.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it all together. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?:
YesNo, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year so we can plan accordingly for our budget. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week and your weekly Checkout 51 offers from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.
You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.
This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.
If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2015 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.
Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general. If you are brave and want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2015!
Join in and become money savers and take control of your grocery budget.
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