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Your Guide to Healthy Grocery Shopping [Including Sunday’s Grocery List]

A routine shopping list full of healthy options creates a kitchen full of pantry staples and fresh produce that can enhance your family’s health. And equally important, it can also save time and money. Think of it like this. A grocery list is like following a map leading you through a busy maze full of yummy food. Guiding you past temptations and things you genuinely don’t need, getting you out the door as quickly as possible.

But before making a list, you need to know the basics of healthy grocery shopping and how to navigate through a store effectively. A get-in and get-out nutritious grocery shopping experience is possible. Here’s everything you need to know about healthy grocery shopping in this must-read guide.

P.S. Read until the end to find a family-approved Sunday grocery shopping list. 

Uncovering Unhealthy vs. Healthy Food

Let’s face it. Most grocery stores are designed to overwhelm and influence shoppers with unbeatable sales and pretty packaging. In fact, stores often change their layouts to entice shoppers to buy more tempting, not-so-nutritious food items by making you walk through pre-arranged aisles.

But a deal on junk food isn’t a deal in the long run–especially when you factor in your quality of health over time. Regular consumption of unhealthy food has been shown to increase the risk of weight gain and many other chronic conditions. And moreover, it just makes the whole family feel well, blah. Let’s take a look at the key indicators of unhealthy and healthy foods. 

Unhealthy Food Clues

The most important step to eating healthy is getting comfortable reading food labels. While it can be rhythmic walking aisle by aisle throwing things in your cart, to truly be healthy food conscious, you need to know what to steer clear of when buying food.

Things to avoid when buying food:

  • Long ingredient lists. If the back of your grocery item has a list that just seems to keep going, it’s probably best to find an alternative. “Avoid products with long lists of ingredients including artificial sweeteners, additives, excessive added sugars, and unhealthy fats,” says Clarissa Lenherr, a registered nutritionist and workplace wellness expert. Long ingredient lists are typically a key indicator of preservatives and extra fillers that are likely not the best for you and your family.
  • Ingredients you can’t pronounce. Often, ingredients that sound like chemicals or are hard to pronounce typically aren’t nutritious for you. If it doesn’t sound like food, it probably isn’t. Some examples are monosodium glutamate, butylated hydroxy anisol, and propylene glycol.
  • Sugar as one of the first ingredients. Ingredient lists have a method to them–foods are listed in order of quantity. So, if you find sugar or sweetener in the top three ingredients on a food label, that means your food is mainly made up of sugar. Also known as lacking key vitamins and is probably not very nutritious for your family.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup. Food manufacturers love this additive because it’s cheap, sweet, and can be added to just about anything. “Corn” also makes it sound nutritious. But in reality, high fructose corn syrup wreaks havoc on our bodies. Experts have found that consuming high fructose corn syrup leads to obesity, liver disorders, and diabetes.

Healthy Food Clues

With so many tempting options in the grocery store, it can be hard to pick out the healthy choices for your family. But it’s important to know that the healthiest foods are usually located on the grocery store’s outer aisles and actually have no food labels at all. Let’s glimpse at what else you should look for in healthy food options.

Things to look for when buying food:

  • Whole foods. The healthiest foods have one ingredient and no labels. No ingredient list means no extra fillers, additives, or chemicals. Think fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, and eggs. Each one of these is whole, unprocessed, and ready to eat–filled with nutrition. “Whole foods allow nutrients to act together like they were meant to,” says NorthLakes Community Clinic on their patient blog. 
  • Colorful produce. Bright red strawberries, deep green spinach, bright orange tangerines–eating the colors of the rainbow is so beneficial for you and your family. In fact, vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables are known to have the most vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Organic labels. Foods labeled as organic are vital because they mean what you’re buying is grown without artificial pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Recent studies have found that long-term ingestion of food exposed to these pesticides may lead to cancer and cause damage to your reproduction, immune, and nervous systems. Be on the lookout for the organic label on your meat, produce, dairy, processed foods, drinks, and condiments.
  • No artificial hormones or antibiotics. The meat you buy at the grocery store often contains added antibiotics and synthetic hormones. Farmers use these to treat and promote growth in their cattle. However, these have been found to be harmful to consumers. If you can, find meat labeled with no hormones or antibiotics for a healthier option.

Healthy Food Roundup: Your Sunday Grocery Shopping List

Sunday grocery shopping can be both an anticipated ritual and a challenge for many moms. On one hand, it’s an opportunity to meal prep and stock up on essential supplies for the upcoming week. On the other hand, it can be a stressful and time-consuming task if not planned properly. That’s why we’re here to make your Sunday grocery shopping experience a breeze–in a healthy and nutritious way.


Apples are packed with fiber and so many great vitamins. They also help maintain hydration. But what makes them a staple grocery list item is how versatile they are. Toss them in a salad, on a turkey sandwich, dipped in peanut butter, or just plain as a snack.


These versatile fruits are a nutritional powerhouse packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. And not only are they a convenient, on-the-go snack, but you can also blend bananas into smoothies, sliced over cereal, or used in baking to create delicious, naturally sweet treats that your whole family will love.


Beans in all forms lower bad LDL cholesterol and provide generous helpings of fiber–something that most Americans don’t get enough of each day. They work as side dishes or in casseroles and soups, so they really offer a whole range of uses and tastes for a low price. Some beans will be in the produce aisle, and some will be canned. If buying canned beans, stick to the ones that come in their natural juices with no additives.

Bell Peppers

Get this. Bell peppers offer nearly triple the amount of vitamin C than oranges. This much vitamin C from one bell pepper can help enhance collagen production, immune health, and iron absorption. Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian, even notes that powerful, disease-fighting phytochemicals give bell peppers their many vibrant colors. This veggie can be eaten by themselves, sliced as a snack, in a wrap, added into pasta sauces, or even sauteed and topped on a sizzling steak.


Berries should be a staple on every family’s Sunday grocery shopping list for their incredible health benefits and versatility. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, berries can help support your overall well-being. Whether you sprinkle them on your morning cereal, blend them into a refreshing smoothie, or simply enjoy a handful as a snack, these vibrant gems add a burst of flavor and nutrition to your meals.


Broccoli is one of the most potent superfoods. And because of its generous fiber content, it also helps you eat less while feeling fuller. Whether steamed, roasted, added to stir-fries, or blended into creamy soups, this versatile vegetable offers numerous delicious ways to incorporate nutrition into your meal planner, making it a smart choice for your family.


Oats and other whole grains are rich in soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and promote heart health. They also serve as a versatile ingredient, perfect for whipping up a quick and nutritious breakfast like oatmeal, using them in baking recipes, or as a base for homemade granola. Oats are a must for a health-conscious well-stocked pantry.

Sourdough Bread

Unlike traditional bread, sourdough is naturally fermented, which means it’s easier to digest and contains lactobacillus–good gut bacteria. Plus, its tangy flavor and chewy texture make it perfect for sandwiches, toast, or alongside soups and salads, offering a yummy twist on typical bread while providing digestive and nutritional benefits.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a must-have on your weekly shopping list for many reasons. Not only is it delicious and versatile, loved by both kids and adults, but it’s also packed with healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients. Whether slathered on bread, used as a dip for apple slices, or incorporated into smoothies, peanut butter offers a convenient and tasty way to boost your family’s nutrition and satisfy those snack-time cravings. Just be sure to check the ingredients on the label and make sure no extra preservatives are added.

Sweet Potatoes

Aka, one of the most versatile and budget-friendly foods. Sweet potatoes work in savory or sweet dishes and even as sides. Try them baked and topped with cinnamon or thinly sliced as healthy fries seasoned with sea salt and garlic. Sweet potatoes offer a massive range of dishes without increasing your cost of groceries dramatically.

Chicken Breast

Chicken is a lean source of low-fat protein, making it ideal for those seeking a balanced diet. You can grill, bake, sauté, or use chicken breast in a wide range of recipes, from salads to stir-fries, providing a delicious and nutritious foundation for various family meals. Keep in mind that you want to try and find chicken breast labeled as free range with no antibiotics or hormones added.

Takeaway: Healthy & Effortless Grocery Shopping

With a well-prepared shopping list in hand, you can effectively navigate the grocery store maze of tempting (but not-so-healthy) food items and focus on the nourishing options that matter most. The path to a healthier lifestyle starts with a well-stocked kitchen, and by understanding the difference between unhealthy and healthy choices, you can significantly impact your family’s health over time. Use this guide to your advantage, create your Sunday grocery shopping list, and make your weekly shopping experience a breeze.