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Smiling headshot picture of Mia Swinehart Mia Swinehart, MS, RD, LDN

For many, making healthier choices when grocery shopping can be, understandably, stressful and overwhelming. It can be hard to know what exactly you need, and shopping for a healthy lifestyle can often seem expensive and confusing. As a registered dietitian, I have truly learned to find so much joy in simplifying the way I approach the grocery store. By going in with a good plan each week, getting comfortable with making my way around the healthier options, and practicing money saving tips, I have learned to make grocery shopping a much more enjoyable experience. I am going to teach you my simple tricks and tips to reduce the stress of grocery shopping every week so that you, too, can feel more confident making healthy choices at the grocery store.


  • Take a few minutes to plan your week and make a grocery list filled with healthy items before heading to the store.
  • Choose at least 3-5 recipes you want to make that week for dinners or meal prep, plus a few simple basics to have on hand (think roasted sweet potatoes, grilled chicken, sautéed zucchini, etc.).
  • Once you choose a handful of things you want to make that week, make a list with all the groceries you’ll need to make those dishes.

This saves so much time once you get to the store if you know exactly what you need, saves you money, and helps reduce food waste in the long run by not buying items that you may not necessarily need.

After choosing some specific meals and sides, be sure to add some other healthy staples to the list to make simple and nourishing meals. For example, adding things like yogurt, quinoa, cauliflower rice, tortillas, and bananas to your grocery list will help you to have more complete meals throughout the week!


  • Stick mainly to the outside perimeter of the grocery store.
  • About half of your cart should be filled with fresh produce.

By doing so, you will fill your cart with wholesome, simple ingredients. The perimeter of the store typically includes veggies, fruits, protein sources (chicken, tofu, eggs, etc.), and dairy/dairy-free alternatives like yogurt, cheese, and almond milk.

  • After focusing mainly on the perimeter of the store, you can head into the aisles for your other healthy pantry staples. Some of my favorites include chickpea pasta, brown rice, quinoa, unsweetened peanut butter, low sodium vegetable broth, chia seeds, and black beans.


Another reason many people don’t particularly love to grocery shop is because of the expense factor, especially when trying to focus on more healthy choices. Below are some simple tips to help keep grocery shopping more budget friendly:

  1. Eat seasonally. Eating vegetables and fruits that are currently in season is often a more affordable option than eating produce that may be out of season.
  2. Utilize frozen fruits and veggies. Another great way to save some money is to opt for the frozen version of produce!

I hope you find these tips helpful. I recommend getting a notebook or journal dedicated to your groceries and meal planning to help turn these tips into habits each week. Not only can you plan out your meals and your groceries this way, but you can also write little reminders for yourself about what goals you want to achieve each week to help you make healthier choices, as well as what’s in season or on sale to help save money. I can’t wait for you to try out these simple tips next time you head to the grocery store!

This material provides a general overview of the topic. Health information is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by a therapist, physician or other health care professional. Contact a health care professional with any questions or concerns about specific health care needs.