Healthy Grocery List for Weight Loss

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The best healthy grocery list for weight loss includes a wide variety of foods. And, believe it or not, most of the best weight loss foods aren't even "diet" foods or items that advertise to be "low-calorie." If you want to boost your energy levels, eat better and slim down, take this list with you to the grocery and fill your cart with these basic, healthy and natural foods.

Basic Grocery List: Bread and Cereals

  • whole-grain bread
  • whole-grain cereal
  • oatmeal (rolled oats or steel cut oats)

Bread and cereal buying tips: Many packaged cereals and bread products are loaded with sugar and refined starches. They are what smart eaters call "bad carbs." To avoid them, read labels and look for products that include whole grains and no hidden sugars.  You'll find many of the healthiest products on the very lowest shelves where they are a little bit harder to see.

Basic Grocery List: Meat and Fish

  • lean ground turkey
  • white meat, skinless chicken
  • sliced turkey breast
  • lean cuts of beef
  • tuna steak
  • fresh salmon
  • pork tenderloin

Meat and fish buying tips: Don't be afraid to ask your butcher about the leanest cuts of beef and other meats. He can often trim the fat off of your favorite steak to reduce the fat and calorie count. And be sure to grab at least one or two servings of fish. The healthy fat in fish is a smart addition to a weight loss diet.

And experiment with leaner varieties of white fish like cod or tilapia. Bake the filets and use them in tacos or simply served with fresh steamed veggies.

Basic Grocery List: Canned and Packaged Foods

  • brown rice
  • whole-grain pasta
  • quinoa, barley, or other whole grains
  • dried or canned beans
  • dried lentils

Canned/packaged food buying tips: The packaged food aisle is where smart shoppers need to get diligent.

Many canned and boxed products look healthy, but contain added sugars, salt, and fat. So ignore the label on the front and read the Nutrition Facts label to make the best choices. Fill your cart with beans, lentils and grains like quinoa, barley or even couscous.  These foods add a healthy dose of protein to salads and side dishes. Replace white rice and white pasta with whole grain versions to increase your fiber intake and curb hunger.

Basic Grocery List: Fruits and Vegetables

  • dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, chard)
  • colorful, spicy veggies (peppers, radishes)
  • versatile veggies for salads, sandwiches (tomato, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce)
  • crunchy snack veggies (carrots, celery, jicama)
  • easy-to-carry snack fruit  (apples, bananas, oranges)
  • fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  • seasonal sweet fruit (melon, pineapple, kiwi)

Fruit and vegetable buying tips: Smart dieters spend most of their time in the produce section of the market. You can talk to the produce manager to find out which items are in season and get creative ideas for using them in your meals.

If fresh produce is too expensive, buy frozen fruits and vegetables. Look for the bags that don't contain any added syrups, salt or sugar.

Basic Grocery List: Dairy

  • fat-free or low-fat milk
  • fat-free or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • low-fat cheese
  • low-fat cottage cheese __
  • eggs or egg substitute __

Dairy buying tips: Dairy products are not off limits for most dieters. But just like canned goods, some products may contain added sugar, so check the ingredients list before you choose.

You'll notice that there aren't any sauces, dressings or condiments on this basic grocery shopping list. Why? Because one of the easiest ways to cut calories in the kitchen is to eliminate high-calorie sauces and spreads. Simply flavor your meals with basic seasonings like salt and pepper or fresh herbs.

There are also no processed snack foods, baked goods or high-fat desserts. Snack on crunchy fresh veggies during the day and enjoy sweet fruit for dessert. With this basic healthy grocery list, your kitchen will be fully stocked with the best foods to help you slim down and live a healthier life.

Edited by Malia Frey, About.com Weight Loss Expert

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