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The "A+" Grocery List

The "A+" Grocery List


Proper nutrition is one of the most important components in living a healthier lifestyle. Our food affects our genetic expression, metabolic function, and mood. Before heading to the supermarket, it’s important to make an informative and diverse list of foods. Making a grocery list, and sticking to it, helps to avoid impulsive purchases and overbuying. Focus your list on whole foods, that don’t come in a package. Although buying whole, unprocessed, and unpackaged food requires more preparation during meal time, it also often provides a greater quantity and nourishment than pre-made meals, ultimately helping you save money in the long run. If it is possible at your local grocery store, choose foods labeled as “organic”.


Your list should be split into the following sections:


    • Ex: fruit & vegetables
      • Cruciferous vegetables – Broccoli, Kale, Brussel Sprouts
      • Dark leafy greens
      • Mushrooms and Alliums (such as garlic and onions)
      • Eggplant, Zucchini, Squash, Carrots
      • Potatoes (Avoid white potatoes)
      • Tomatoes, Avocados, Coconut
      • Apples, Peaches, Pears, Figs
      • Kiwi, Mango, Banana, Orange, Papaya
      • Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry
      • Lemon and Lime
    • Pro tip: Eat the rainbow! Choose produce with various colors for diverse phytochemicals and nutrients


Meat & Fish

  • “Grass-fed”, “Lean” and “Pasture-raised” meat
    • Avoid processed and Deli meats, hot dogs, sausage, chicken nuggets, and bacon
  • “Wild-caught” and small toxin free fish (ex: sardines, herring, mackerel)
    • Clams, scallops, mussels, oysters, and shrimp are also great choices
    • Avoid most farmed fish and big fish (ex: shark, swordfish, grouper, ect)


    • Whole grains
    • Brown rice
    • Chickpea or Vegetable based pasta



  • It is best to avoid dairy and choose plant-based alternatives
    • Almond milk, Oat milk
    • Coconut yogurt


    • Nuts & Seeds
    • Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Pistachios
      • Avoid Peanuts and Nut butters with added oil or sugar
    • Chia seeds, Flaxseeds, Pumpkin seeds, Hemp seeds
    • Beans & Lentils
    • Spices
    • Organic avocado oil, extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil
      • Avoid vegetable oil 

Essentially, you should be returning from the supermarket with all non-packaged and unprocessed foods. In the case you do decide to choose packaged food, be sure to read the food label and ingredient list on the back of the package to make the healthier choice.


What to look for in food labels:

  • Avoid foods with more than 5 ingredients listed on the package. Keep in mind that the first ingredient listed is the ingredient present in the highest amount.
  • Avoid high-fructose corn syrup, trans-fat, and hydrogenated fat
  • Avoid sugar and “hidden” sugars, such as maltose, sucrose, dextrose, barley malt, & rice syrup
  • Be mindful of the serving size per package (Ex: A pint of ice-cream may say 4 servings, but we all know none of us only eat 1/4thof it)
  • Fiber! Healthier options have a carbohydrate to fiber ratio of 5:1. Multiply the fiber by 5 and if it is less than the amount of carbohydrates listed, it is best to avoid that food.


If you don’t know where a food comes from, or suspect it took more than a few steps to produce, then it probably isn’t good for you. Keep these tips in mind next time you buy groceries at the supermarket. Here’s to an A+ grocery list and a healthier life!



Taylor Donald

B.S. Biochemistry, Exercise Physiology

University of Miami