Use This Healthy Meal Prep Shopping List to Simplify Your Next Grocery Store Run
Feeling overwhelmed by the mere idea of meal prep? Sit tight, sister. We've got you! Washing, chopping, tossing, baking, blending, portioning, and freezing are all enough work on their own, so use our trusty grocery store guide and shopping checklist to make your trip to the supermarket a breeze. We'll guide you through produce, protein, the frozen section, and beyond to ensure you have every single thing you need in the kitchen to prep your menu for the week. Not sure what to make? We have meal prep recipes for you, too.
You'll start with the produce section, stocking up on essential fruits, veggies, and pre-chopped staples. Then you'll move your way into the center aisles for grains, spices, and sauces. Finally, you'll wrap up with the chilled and frozen selections (saving the coldest for last!), so everything stays fresh on your journey back to the kitchen. Check it out.
Fresh Fruit: Produce Section
Start with fruits for smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal toppings, and snacks. You can be more flexible with these selections depending on what is in season, and what looks and smells appealing.
- Berries (sub frozen if not in season)
Fresh Vegetables: Produce Section
You'll want fresh (not frozen!) vegetables for salads, protein lettuce cups and wraps, and grain bowl toppings. You'll also want these for soup recipes and sides. Plant-based for the win!
- Lettuces (butter, bibb, romaine, arugula, cabbage, etc.)
- Peppers (bell, jalapeños, or serranos)
- Green onions
- Herbs (cilantro, basil, mint, parsley)
- Green beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Squash and zucchini
In addition, many recipes (especially soups!) start with a mirepoix (a fancy French word for a specific veggie mix), so include the following for that:
Pre-Chopped Essentials: Produce Section
As a meal-prep time saver, skip chopping garlic and ginger, and opt for refrigerated pre-prepped jars.
Pantry Essentials: Center Aisles
Pantry items like grains, spices, oils, broth, and nuts are essentials; they're peppered through the grains, soups, and baking aisles. See what you already have in your cupboard and fill in the blanks!
- Brown rice
- Olive oil
- Broth (chicken or vegetable), canned or boxed or bouillon
- Turmeric powder
- Ground coriander
- Ground ginger (if you cannot locate fresh or jarred)
- Five spice powder
- Any other spices you prefer for particular cuisine
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.)
You may want some flavors or accoutrements from different foreign cuisines. The ethnic food aisle or section of the aisle should be near the grains and spices. For example, if you're creating an Asian-inspired dish, you may want some of the following ingredients on hand in your pantry:
- Hoisin sauce
- Soy sauce
- Rice vinegar
- Sambal Oelek (or other chile pastes)
- Toasted sesame oil
- Water chestnuts, bamboo shoots
It's amazing what you can do with just a little bit of seasoning and sauce. You can dress up an otherwise boring grain bowl with a little something extra, and it immediately transforms from plain to amazing. Consider oregano, basil, and marinara sauce for an Italian dish, ginger and turmeric for an Indian-inspired meal, or cumin and chili powder for a Mexican twist.
Proteins: Butcher/Deli, Refrigerated Section
Unless you're a soy-averse vegetarian, your proteins will be refrigerated or frozen. Save these for near the end of your shopping trip so they don't thaw or warm up while you shop. Any of these can be found either chilled or frozen (aside from tofu, which is simply refrigerated).
- Fish (think salmon, tuna, mackerel)
- Ground turkey
- Meat replacements, like Boca patties
Dairy, Eggs, and Dairy Alternatives: Refrigerated Section
Also at the end of your trip, pick up any dairy or dairy-substitute items, as well as eggs.
- Cottage cheese (for high-protein snacks or smoothies)
- Greek or Icelandic yogurt, or coconut yogurt
- Plant-based milks
Frozen Essentials: Freezer Section
Whether you need frozen veggies for longer shelf-life, frozen fruit for smoothie packs, or frozen protein in bulk, this is the final stop on your grocery run. Consider picking up the following:
- Frozen chicken
- Frozen shrimp or fish
- Frozen meat alternatives
- Frozen veggies
- Frozen fruit