What I Buy When I Grocery Shop

I did one of these “What I Buy When I Grocery Shop” posts a couple years ago and it was a big hit, so I thought I would do another one! We didn’t have much food in the fridge yesterday because we were gone all weekend in NC, so I hit Whole Foods hard.

First up – fruit! Oranges, grapefruit, and a billion bananas because I want to do some baking:


Plus some grape tomatoes (yes, they are fruit!), strawberries, and kiwi.


Next up – dairy (and dairy alternatives)!

  • Stonyfield Greek yogurt for breakfasts and to mix into things like chicken/tuna salad
  • Organic Valley cottage cheese – my favorite – great with fruit for breakfast or a snack!
  • Organic Valley 1% organic milk – because you just can’t beat real milk in lattes, in my opinion
  • Blue Diamond Almond Breeze almondmilk – love this for recipes/baking
  • Organic eggs


I also stocked up on ground flaxseed (for my Flour Free Breakfast Pancake – still obsessed), bought an organic rotisserie chicken so we’d have some pre-cooked meat on hand for easy dinners and lunches, and bought the most enormous bag ever of raw almonds. I wasn’t intending to buy the entire world’s supply of almonds, but I held my bag under the bulk bin and before I knew it I had a billion almonds. Oops! Oh well, we’ll eat them eventually. Good for snacks, paired with a piece of fruit!


Next up – veggies! Organic spinach for sautéing with dinners and throwing in smoothies, baby arugula and baby kale for salads, steam in the bag green beans (these are the BEST – so easy), bell peppers, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes!


And finally, some hummus, guacamole (Whole Foods guacamole rocks), and two impulse purchases – Columbia Gorge Organic juice (I’m obsessed with the Carrot Leafy Greens one, which is juice carrots, kale, spinach, and other greens pressed together. Sounds disgusting but it’s SO good if you like carrots), and Tessemae’s cracked pepper salad dressing. Whole Foods was doing salad tastings using the dressing and it was so good I bought some! The ingredients are: Olive Oil, Organic Lemons, Organic Garlic, Mustard, Sea Salt, Cracked Pepper. Pretty much exactly what I use when I make my own dressing, and nothing weird in there at all! This is by far the best dressing I’ve found at a store. Apparently it’s a good meat marinade, too!

what to buy at whole foods

And that was that! It’s ironic because I’m an RD but I don’t usually do specific meal planning – I find that what works best for us is to just have healthy stuff on hand and then wing it come dinnertime. Obviously I’ll sometimes pick out a specific new recipe I want to try and have to pick up stuff for that, but for the most part my fly by the seat of my pants approach works well. :) As long as I have some basic staples on hand, we can usually come up with something good!

Other things I often buy but didn’t yesterday because I already have them on hand are:

  • Oats
  • Avocados
  • Canned tuna/salmon/sardines
  • Tomato sauce/salsa
  • Grains (brown rice, quinoa, pasta)
  • Canned beans (kidney, black, cannellini, etc.)
  • Canned beets (so delicious and so easy)
  • Olive or hemp oil, garlic, lemons (for juice), etc!
  • Baking stuff (whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, quinoa flour, chickpea flour, coconut flour, honey or maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.)
  • Chia seeds
  • Almond or peanut butter
  • Ezekiel bread and wraps (found in the frozen section)

Are you a meal planner or do you just aim to have healthy ingredients on hand and then come up with recipes as you go?


  1. 1

    I’m more of a have healthy items on hand type of shopper. I pretty much buy the same things every week.

  2. 2

    I love seeing what people get at the store! I tend to plan one or two healthy recipes (that will garner leftovers) and wing the rest of the week based on my staples.

    I have a request for a future post from you! I’ve been a longtime reader of your blog, and it seems like you have always eaten healthy–I’m wondering what has changed (if anything) since you got your RD? Anything you focus on more that you learned about it?

  3. 3

    We meal plan every week. I make the list Friday night and we grocery shop on Saturday. We prep a lot of our food on Sundays so that we don’t have to cook every night or worry about what to pack for lunch. It saves us a TON of time. Plus if I went to the grocery store without a list, I would come back with a bill of $500 and still have no idea what to cook, ha.

  4. 5

    Love seeing all the things you picked up on your grocery run! I’m a total meal planner and I have to be because my local grocery store is like my second home – I could shop all day if I didn’t have a plan! If you haven’t tried it already, you should try to make your own almond butter with all those almonds you brought home. I have a recipe on my blog – it’s super easy and has become an addictive staple in my house these days!

  5. 7

    Whole Foods seriously makes THE BEST guacamole! So addicting!

  6. 8

    It is really fun to see what people buy! Love WF guacamole. Do you normally buy your greens packaged? I notice such a better flavor with the unpackaged ones & they actually last a lot longer.

  7. 10

    Thanks for the list! I just tried Tessamae’s dressing too and liked it. The only thing I didn’t like it that it is pretty high in calories.

  8. 12
    Healthy Eater says

    Buying healthy and then figuring out what to eat is my approach…

  9. 13

    Really enjoyed your post and seeing what you buy. Can not believe how many flours you have! I plan our meals but mainly to save money and ensure i have enough in. Here in England i don’t know many people who eat guacamole so just wondered what you had it with.
    I always enjoy reading your posts, thank you.

    • 14

      Well, I don’t have all those flours on hand all the time. :) I usually buy one or two at once and then use them until they are gone, then get something different just to mix it up!

    • 15

      Oh and we eat the guac with chips or with veggies, and I like adding it to sandwiches, wraps, and salads, too!

  10. 16

    I HAVE to meal plan, otherwise I’m totally lost and go with whatever is fastest and easiest (and usually not the healthiest). Interestingly enough, I also JUST did a post about meal planning and grocery shopping! Great minds think alike, I guess!

  11. 17

    I usually have an idea in mind- I really like making a meal in the slow cooker, so it will work as my lunches for a few days. Time saver! :)

  12. 18

    Whole Foods guacamole is where it’s at! I love picking some up to munch on while cooking dinner… although sometimes that backfires. I’m a total planner when it comes to meals and grocery shopping, but it can be fun to use all the leftover ingredients from the week and come up with something new on the fly. I’ve yet to try the rotisserie from Whole Foods, but I’ve heard good things. I’ll have to weave that in to next week’s plan.

  13. 19

    So interesting to see how other people shop! My husband and I very much the kind of people who have certain staples in our fridge/cupboard, but then we buy what we need daily – namely fresh produce. Because I am a vegetarian, and my husband eats vegetarian at home, having good, fresh, seasonal produce as the focal point of our meals is very important!

    Having said that, we have been lucky enough to live in a city with an abundance of markets for the last three and a half years. A great produce stand was located right outside my bus stop, with a Whole Foods just across the street! Daily shopping was easy. However, we are now moving back to the UK (where my husband is from) and we might not have the same easy option as in our last home. We shall see!

  14. 21

    I usually just stock up on healthy stuff and try to make recipes with what I have, but I actually planned out my meals for this week! Still, since moving in with the boy (and having VERY different eating habits) I don’t generally do a one-stop grocery shop. I tend to go as I need things.

  15. 22

    Looks great! These are all pretty much the same things I stock-up on, but I definitely am a meal planner. I cook for myself and am so busy with classes and work throughout the week, that I just have to know what I am making on a day to day basis. I should make a post about some of my weekly meals (for one!) and grocery shoping trips…

  16. 23

    Gah! I cannot buy cherry tomatoes at the store because they’re like $3.99 and I eat them in under 5 seconds! They’re just so juicy and delicious! :D

  17. 24

    This looks super similar to my usual load! That salad dressing looks fab-I’m gonna look for it next time I’m there!

  18. 25

    Sometimes I have a recipe or two in my head that I know I want to make that week, but most of the time I’m like you and I just wing it!

  19. 26

    I LOVE grocery shopping & seeing what others purchase, thanks for sharing! I try to plan for the week so I’m not going to the store multiple times. I usually end up running into a store throughout the week for a forgotten something or some wine :)

  20. 27
    Lindsay @ Live. Love. Nutrition. says

    Most of the time I’m both! I usually like to plan at least 2-3 meals for the week and make a little extra for leftovers, but I also make sure I have healthy things on hand to create quick recipes for the other days – especially those days I’m in no mood to cook!

  21. 28

    Loved seeing what you buy! I definitely buy similar stuff, plus fish. Salmon has become a staple at my house. I try to make general weekly meal plans because I know it helps me eat healthiest, but I allow for some flexibility too!

    • 29

      Yes, I love fish, too! I should have added that to my “often buy” list. I especially like buying frozen fish so I don’t have to worry about using it right away.

  22. 30

    I meal plan for a few meal for the week, but on the other nights I wing it like you! Your grocery haul looks a lot like mine!

  23. 31

    I’m a planner… otherwise I come home from the store with 20 fun ingredients (nut butters, seeds, pomegranate etc.) and zero meal options!

  24. 32

    We usually brainstorm dinner ideas and then choose a few and make a list. I usually pick up some other ingredients too just in case we need to improvise. We then decide which nights to have which meals and include a leftovers/fend for yourself night in there. We also sometimes fly by the seat of our pants with ingredients we have on hand. Cooking dinner is almost always an adventure (even when we ‘plan’ meals) at my house but I love it that way.

  25. 33

    I bought the same dressing/marinade a couple months ago when they had sampling at Whole Foods! I’ve used it as a marinade for chicken so far and it came out really juicey and moist. Once you open it, it will harden when you refrigerate it so you just have to remember to take it out a few minutes before you want to use it!

  26. 35

    I try to do meal planning during the summer time when I have more time off from work. Otherwise, I just keep healthy items around and wing it at dinner time. It kinda drives my husband a bit crazy, but he’s gotten used to it by now! ;)

  27. 36

    I’m a meal plan lover! (wrote about it today actually…) but I also subscribe to the idea that if you have healthy foods on hand, then you will eat healthy foods :)
    Fun post- I love seeing what other people buy at the grocery!

  28. 37

    I love ezekial bread and wraps, delicious! And I always have at least 2 cartons of almond milk on hand!

  29. 38

    I always like grocery haul blog posts – fun to see what an RD puts in their shopping cart :)

  30. 39

    Your shopping cart looks eerily similar to mine! I operate in the same fashion (buying staples and making something from that) for most all but maybe 1 meal where I try a new recipe. Meal planning, while I have tried multiple times, just doesn’t work for me!

  31. 40

    Just a heads up- flaxseed loses its nutritional integrity very quickly once it’s ground- if you buy pre-ground flax and it isn’t refrigerated then it’s pretty much worthless nutrition-wise! I keep whole flaxseed on hand (don’t have to keep it in the fridge unless it’s ground) and then grind it in small batches as needed in a clean coffee/spice grinder or my vitamix (wet blade works fine!). You can store fresh ground leftovers sealed in the fridge for a few days!

  32. 42

    I love to see what other people buy. What you bought are pretty similar to mine, too. I noticed you bought lots of organic and low fat products. Are organic food and low fat food are better in nutrition? I am so sorry for asking such a novice question.

  33. 46

    I do a little of both meal planning and winging it. I am an RD as well, and our grocery shopping seems very similar. I haven’t heard of Ezekiel bread though, so I plan to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  34. 47

    I like to do some meal planning but also have flexibility to mix it up so buy extra ingredients too.

    Love this post it’s so interesting to see what others buy :)

  35. 48

    Looks like a productive shopping trip! I plan but each week it pretty much is the same purchases. Even new recipes, I aim to use what I normally have on hand. So excited that the farmers market opens up here next weekend. It’s where I do the bulk of shopping!

  36. 49

    I usually plan meals with flexibility on what days we eat them. It stops me from going crazy in the supermarket and buying unnecessary things!

  37. 50

    I plan what new meals I want to try out, but usually have healthy stuff stocked up for good old faithful dishes :)

  38. 51

    I love this post! I always enjoy seeing what people get when they go grocery shopping.

  39. 52

    Your grocery list looks identical to mine every single week :)

  40. 53

    I’m totally a meal planner, but I need to learn to be a more flexible/creative cook (i.e not stick to recipes so much) cuz there are too many nights when I come home from work exhausted so we end up running to the store for a rotisserie chicken + bag of salad (at least we’re pretty good about not getting “real” takeout), but it’s still a waste of food & money if I don’t cook what I’d planned!

  41. 54
    Elisabeth says

    I meal plan because otherwise I feel like I spend too much at the grocery!

  42. 55

    I don’t plan out our meals – too much work for me, and it’s not a given that we’ll both be home for dinner on any given night! Instead, I shop sales, and we “wing it” based on what’s in stock in the kitchen. I’m attempting to plant some veggies this year, so hopefully we’ll be eating from our garden come summertime (and not spending so much money on grocery produce!). We’re also lucky to have a big and good local farmers’ market in the non-winter months. On a related note, I wish we had Whole Foods – I’ve heard so much about them. We finally got Earth Fare a couple of years ago, and a Trader Joe’s and Publix last year, so I suppose we’re moving on up… haha.

  43. 57

    I plan my menus a month at a time. Yes, a month!! I do major shopping on each of my 2 paydays (although the 15th is a minor major) and then a few trips in between for produce and milk. If I didn’t plan this way, we’d end up eating out way too often. If I had to come home from work and then decide what to cook, we’d be more likely to just go eat out (and that would most likely be fast food). By planning a month at a time, we eat healthier AND save money!!

  44. 59

    Since I revamped our family’s diet a few months back, there has been a HUGE rise in our grocery bill! I really have to find other ways to save because eating the way we do now really has made a positive difference in the way we all feel (and look!), physically and otherwise! I am not willing to compromise my health or that of my family!

  45. 61

    I cook at least 5 dinners a week and with 4 kids and us, I definitely need to plan ahead. I map out all of the dinners and any baking I plan to do for the week and then just wing it with healthy staples for lunches and breakfast. I tend to eat the same things for those meals, so that part’s easy.
    I have my own little ‘healthy cooking for a family’ blog, so I plan out the ingredients and do all of my shopping every Sunday morning. *plus, if you do have a large family, menu planning really can help you budget and stay on track.

  46. 63

    I’m a meal planner because I’m type A and work better that way. I don’t like to make the same recipes very often, especially because we eat each night’s leftovers for lunch the next day. I also like to have figured out which nights I’ll need a quick/easy meal and which nights I can do something more involved, and which nights we have plans to go out. But I do generally buy the same stuff for snacks and breakfasts and staples.

    I do “wing it” a bit when it comes to produce – rather than saying, I’m going to buy this, this, and this, I’ll plan to get veggies and fruit for x number of meals/snacks and get whatever looks best at the farmers market, although I generally know what’s in season when.

  47. 64

    I love when WF does those salad tastings (or any time they give our free sampless, really). I love buying their rotisserie chickens, too – SO perfect for easy lunches.

    ps. we need to get together (finally) soon!

  48. 66

    I love meal planning! On Saturdays I pick out new recipes I feel like trying and then mix them in with the old favorites, and I have my meals set for the week and my grocery list planned! Love taking time at the grocery store to find all of the essentials!

  49. 67
    Paula Sparkle says

    I do a little bit of both – maybe plan a recipe that looks interesting, and then
    have healthy food in the fridge for improv –

    I found that your recipes are great because they dovetail with what’s in my fridge on the “improv” side -( like minestrone soup that can be varied) and also on the “planning – try something new side” like the Thai Spring Rolls – never would have tried them if you weren’t brave enough to suggest it first, Anne! (and they were fun and easy! )

  50. 69
    Paula Sparkle says

    PS For everybody that’s watching the pocket book a little bit, here’s a simple avocado idea instead of guacamole –
    My dear friend Stella who’s Austrian and Mexican (and brilliant) once served me a wonderful soup plus “avocado with toast” – she just cut open the avocado and spread it on the toast (no butter, no oil) and sprinkled it with a little salt. We also had hot sauce to sprinkle. Honest, it was the most delicious thing – I do it all the time now, with chips, bread, maybe sprinkle lime or lemon too- once you get used to it, it’s great, and a little less expensive that Whole Food guacamole (and I’m a WF fan big time)!

  51. 70

    Any suggestions for preparing canned salmon? I never ate salmon from a can. Also, what cookware do you cook with? I am on the market for new cookware. Love your website and blog! You are very talented. Best of luck with your new RD degree! Kathy

    • 71

      Canned salmon is delicious mixed with some plain Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard – eat it like you would tuna salad, on a sandwich, in a wrap, or on top of a salad! You can add some celery or other chopped veggies in there too if you like.

  52. 72

    A little delayed on commenting! Quick question- I’m a grad student who lives alone, so trying to buy fresh foods and have them stay fresh by the time I’m done eating them is a little difficult! I usually buy earthbound farms spring mix, but once I open the box, it usually gets wilted and gross after only a day or two! How do you store the boxed greens in your fridge so they don’t go bad so quickly? Thanks :)

    • 73

      Unfortunately I don’t have any good tips – ours go bad quickly, too! Make sure when you buy it there is no sign of moisture or wilted leaves in the bottom of the container. Also, try buying arugula or baby kale instead – that lasts longer!

    • 74

      Fellow grad student here and in addition to what Anne wrote, I’ve found that I have to store them in my crisper on the highest humidity control setting. And ditto on the heartier greens. I also am a total snob and check through basically every box to find the “best one.” And while this won’t help stuff stay fresh longer, most stores will replace something that wilted or went bad in a couple of days. Just save your receipts. :)

    • 75

      It sounds weird, but give it a try..
      My crisper doesn’t work so I’ve started storing mixed greens in a plastic bag (like a ziploc). Before sealing it closed breath a little into the top so there’s a bit of air. Then shake it around and toss it in the fridge. Yes…I realize it sounds creepy & probably not be the best idea if you share your food with roommates (lol) but it kept my mixed greens fresh for the whole week!

  53. 76

    I meal plan to the max…although I’ve had to give up some control since the beau moved in! I also coupon so grocery shopping is a combination of what we need right now and what we’re stocking up on so we don’t have to buy it for a while. But I love looking through my cookbooks and picking out some new (or loved) recipes to try!

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