September 24, 2015 No Comments By Yildiz Gengonul

The Busy Girl’s Guide To Grocery Shopping

You come home starving after a long day at work, open your fridge, and find … half a head of wilted lettuce and some leftover Chinese takeout from a week ago. Sound familiar?

So, you head to the grocery store. You start walking through the aisles, just wandering around. People pass by you with their full shopping carts, and you can’t help asking yourself, “What the heck are all these people buying?” You end up grabbing a frozen dinner and some frozen yogurt and calling it dinner.

You meant well, but without a plan, you end up settling for whatever is quickest. Or, you go the complete opposite way…randomly putting items into your cart and buying things that will only end up going to waste, because you didn’t have a plan for them.

Trust me, I’ve been there. But over the years, I’ve learned how to plan out my meals and my shopping habits. I want to share a few of my tips with you here. Because good nutrition starts with smart choices in the grocery store.

A few tips…

  • Before you shop, plan out your meals for the week. Map out your plan for a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. Meals don’t have to be complicated: you can simply write down something like “protein + green vegetable” for one night’s dinner, and then make your choices when you’re at the store and can see what looks good and what’s on sale.
  • Create your shopping list. Organize your list around the sections of the grocery store, such as Produce, Meat & Fish, Dairy, and Grocery. Make your list clear, so that you know exactly how much you need to purchase. Scroll down to see the shopping list I keep on my phone, so I always have it with me.
  • Once you’re in the store, stick to what’s on your list. Never go shopping when you’re hungry, or you’ll be tempted to make bad choices. Shop the edges of the store, where the least processed foods are, and avoid the center aisles that are filled with added fats and sugars.

My go-to shopping list…

Here are a few suggestions to add to your list. Do not buy all of this food at once. This is just to give you general idea of the types of foods you should be buying.


Meats & Fish


  • Chicken breasts
  • Cod
  • Halibut
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Low-sodium cold cuts
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia
  • Tuna
  • Turkey bacon


  • Eggs (Hard-boil several at a time in advance. They stay good in the fridge for up to 1 week, and can be a real lifesaver!)
  • Non-Fat Cottage Cheese
  • Non-Fat Greek Yogurt


  • Casein Protein
  • Whey Protein


Non-starchy (fruits and vegetables)


  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Berries (fresh or frozen)
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, arugula)
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini

Starchy carbohydrates and legumes


  • Black beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Chickpeas (garbanzos)
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Navy beans
  • Peas
  • Red beans
  • Soybeans
  • White kidney beans
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Almond flour
  • Brown rice
  • Coconut flour
  • Ezekiel bread
  • High-fiber wraps
  • Quinoa
  • Rice cakes
  • Steel cut oatmeal or whole (rolled) oats
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Whole wheat pastas



  • Almonds
  • Almond butter
  • Avocados
  • Coconut oil
  • Cashews
  • Flax seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Walnuts


  • Hot Sauce
  • Hummus
  • Mustard
  • Spices
  • Salsa
  • Stevia
  • Vinegar

When you have a busy schedule, planning your grocery shopping in advance is the key to keeping your health and fitness goals on track. You’ll save money and time in the kitchen and always have healthy ingredients on hand when you need to prepare a quick, healthy, and yummy meal. Stay tuned for some quick and easy recipes I’ll be sharing with you here in the future.


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