HF 391

Grocery List for Good Health


  • Red – apples, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon, grapefruit, pomegranate, grapes, rhubarb

  • Orange/yellow – oranges, bananas, peaches, mango, cantaloupe, apricots, nectarines, pineapple, lemons

  • Green – pears, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, limes, avocado

  • Blue/purple – blueberries, blackberries, plums, prunes, figs

  • Dried fruit, no added sugar

  • Frozen berries and other fruits, no added sugar

  • Canned fruit, in own juice


  • Leafy Greens – spinach, kale, mixed greens, romaine, arugula

  • Root vegetables, beets, parsnips, radish, kohlrabi, turnips

  • Dark greens – broccoli, green beans, sugar snap peas, edamame, asparagus, zucchini, brussels sprouts, artichoke

  • Red/orange – peppers, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes

  • Blue/purple – eggplant, purple carrots, purple potatoes, purple cabbage

  • White/yellow – onions, garlic (fresh or minced), cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms, leeks, jicama, ginger

  • Frozen vegetables, without sauces

  • Canned vegetables, no added salt

Grain Products

  • Whole grain items – bread, English muffins, bagels, pita, flour, pasta, crackers, cold or hot cereal

  • Brown or wild rice

  • Oats, oatmeal

  • Corn or flour tortillas

  • Barley, quinoa, farro, couscous, bulgur, cracked wheat

  • Ground flax seed

Beans, Legumes, and Nuts

  • Beans – kidney, black, pinto, garbanzo, navy, others, canned or dry, no added salt

  • Lentils

  • Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, or peanuts, no added salt

  • Nut and seed butters – peanut, almond, soy, sunflower seed

  • Hummus

  • Tofu

  • Edamame, frozen or fresh, no added salt

  • Sunflower and pumpkin seeds

  • Frozen vegetable and bean burgers

Meats and Eggs

  • Poultry – chicken (fresh or frozen), turkey (fresh or frozen)

  • Fish, seafood, unbreaded (fresh or frozen)

  • Eggs, liquid egg whites, egg substitute

  • Lean beef – tenderloin, top sirloin, flank, ground round

  • Lean pork – loin chops, tenderloin, lean ham

  • Deli meat, lean and low sodium

  • Turkey bacon and sausage

  • Canned tuna or chicken, water-packed

  • Dairy and Dairy Alternatives

  • Yogurt, low fat and low sugar

  • Cottage cheese, low fat

  • Ricotta cheese, low fat

  • Part-skim cheese – mozzarella, farmer’s

  • Non-dairy milk and yogurt – soy, almond, coconut or rice, low sugar


  • Sparkling water

  • Flavored water, no added sweeteners

  • Unsweetened iced tea

  • Skim or 1% milk

  • Non-dairy milk, low sugar

  • Coffee

  • Tea bags or loose-leaf tea

  • Vegetable juice, low sodium

  • 100% fruit juice

Baking and Cooking

  • Vinegars – red wine, apple cider, rice, balsamic

  • Oils – olive, canola, peanut, avocado

  • Oil spray

  • Simple sauces – catsup, BBQ sauce, mustard (yellow, brown, Dijon), tahini, horseradish, tabasco sauce, salsa, light mayonnaise, soy sauce (reduced sodium)

  • Salad dressings – oil and vinegar, low fat creamy

  • Chicken, vegetable, fish or bone broth, low sodium

  • Chicken and vegetable bouillon cubes, low sodium

  • Tomato sauce and tomato paste

  • Brown and white sugar

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder

  • Vanilla and other extracts

  • Baking soda, baking powder

Spices and Seasonings

  • Herbs (fresh or dried) – parsley, basil, oregano, dill, others

  • Sodium-free seasoning blends (Mrs. Dash®, Pleasoning®, others)

  • Chili powder, cumin, paprika, turmeric, curry powder

  • Red and black pepper

  • Garlic and onion powder

  • Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice

Basic Tips for Shopping Smart

  • Include fruits and vegetables of many colors.

  • Choose more whole foods and less packaged or processed foods.

  • Buy as many items as you can from the outside area of the store, rather than from the aisles.

  • Avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry!

  • Look at the ingredient list (right below the Nutrition Facts label) on packaged items. If there are many ingredients you can’t pronounce or don’t know, it likely isn’t the healthiest choice.

  • Buy items like brown rice, oats or quinoa in bulk to save money.

Teach Back

  • What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?

  • What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?

If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.

Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500 Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.