Optimize Your Bodyweight With This Grocery Shopping Guide!

With a little education and preparation, you can optimize your bodyweight and health by knowing what to eat and what to look for when reading labels. Find out more.

Article Summary:
  • Even though the lists are extensive, I like to use a rotational system.
  • Avoid processed foods by eating more organically.
  • Learn to read food labels so you know exactly what you're eating.
  • Due to the high-volume of my clients wanting to know what groceries to shop for or what to pick when eating out (look for my future article discussing healthy eating out tips), I have put together a to-the-point grocery list that will aid in your next trip to the grocery store.

    With a little education and preparation, you can optimize your body weight/body composition and overall health by knowing what to eat and what to look for when reading labels. Also, even though the lists are somewhat extensive, I like to use a rotational system.

    I Have Put Together A To-The-Point Grocery List That Will Aid In Your Next Trip To The Grocery Store.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    I Have Put Together A To-The-Point Grocery List
    That Will Aid In Your Next Trip To The Grocery Store.

    One week, eat certain fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, starch carbs, etc., then the next week you can eat different fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, starch carbs etc. That way, you get variety in your eating, balance and a lack of monotony. Plus you get the good things a lot of these different foods have to offer.

    My Guidelines

    1. Eat As Close To Nature As Possible:

    Simply follow the guidelines of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, healthy nuts, lean proteins, plenty of water, healthy dairy products, healthy cooking oils, etc.

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    2. Minimize Processed Foods:

    I think of back before we lived in houses and had all this technology. Think primitively, and realize that way back when, food was not eaten from boxes or processed. Fruit and vegetables were eaten from trees and plants, fresh fish and meat were caught, etc.

    In a nutshell, limit boxed foods (i.e. macaroni with sauce packet, frozen food dinners, frozen pizza, etc.). However, if these are convenient for you, as I understand the busy lifestyles of today, pick organic or the lower calorie versions of boxed foods.

    Think Primitively, And Realize That Way Back When, Food Was Not Eaten From Boxes Or Processed.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Think Primitively, And Realize That Way Back When,
    Food Was Not Eaten From Boxes Or Processed.

    Also, watch for sodium on the boxed foods as well. Your best bet is to pick an organic, low-calorie and low-sodium boxed food. Additionally, there are exceptions that I will list as well.

    Exceptions: Frozen or canned vegetables, frozen or canned fruit. The caveat is to watch for added sodium, sugar and preservatives and additives. However, one could simply rinse the canned food under running water through a strainer and knock down the additives significantly.

    3. Label Reading:

    I will list up-to-date the ingredients we want to avoid and list some of my food selection rules.


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    High-Fructose Corn Syrup:

    I believe this syrup actually makes one hungrier after consumption. It may reduce the satiating effect of the food eaten, thereby making one hungrier later, which leads to overeating.

    Hydrogenated Or Partially Hydrogenated Oils:

    These are oils that are taken from a unsaturated state, and hydrogen is added to make them solid at room temperature.

    Trans fats are worse then saturated fats. They not only raise LDL (bad cholesterol), but they even decrease HDL (good cholesterol)! Talk about a double-whammy!

    Artificial Colorings:

    If it is not naturally in the food, ask yourself, "Is this artificial ingredient going to expedite my digestive process or enhance the function of my body?"

    More than likely, it will give your body the added assignment of getting rid of it, whereas your body could be doing more productive things.

    Artificial Ingredients Or Preservatives:

    I will make this one simple. If you can not pronounce it or if you do not even know what the ingredient is or means, it probably isn't in your best interest, which leads me to my next rule.

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    Long Ingredient List:

    If the ingredient list is long, you can probably make a better choice. It is a better choice to pick the cereal with the shorter ingredient list vs. the long list.

    Order Of Ingredients:

    This works well for cereals. Cereals with evaporated cane juice or typically better than a cereal that just says "sugar." The ingredients are closer to nature and less processing has taken place.

    Go Organic Or Rinse/Wash:

    This becomes a budgeting issue for most, but to the surprise of many, most organic foods are not much expensive than conventional.

    In fact, there are simple rules if you want to go organic for some foods and not for others. Go organic for the thin-skinned fruits and vegetables. For example, you would not have to go organic on bananas, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc.

    The produce of which you would not eat the skin, you can go conventional. However, for produce where skin is eaten, it wouldn't be bad idea to go organic. Even if you stay conventional for thin-skinned produce, you could rinse or wash off the skin with water.

    I've heard vinegar and water work even better too. Either way, I believe rinsing water is good enough. I would definitely recommend going organic on dairy products and meats (excludes fish).

    If you do not go organic on meats, try to pick the meats that have minimal processing (grass-fed or no added hormones). Definitely go organic on milk and cheese.


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    Cereal Analysis:

    I have a certain way I go about selecting my cereals.

    Nutritional Value:

    Does it have vitamins and minerals (50-100% daily value)? Are there any antioxidants or probiotics added?

    I like the cereals with 100% of vitamin E, folic acid, etc. I also like cereals with probiotics added or antioxidants added like green tea extract, grapeseed extract, etc.

    Caloric Content:

    Is it less than 1,200-1,500 calories? (Simply take calories per serving and multiply by total servings).

    Exceptions to this rule would be the ezekiel cereals and other cereals that have a lower glycemic index and are made from whole-grains with minimal processing.

    The best cereals I have seen are Fiber one, All-bran, Ezekiel, Heart-to-heart and Kashi. Of course there are other organic cereals that are low in calories as well, but can be higher priced.

    Fiber Content:

    I like cereals that have 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.

    Sugar Content:

    I like cereals with 10 grams of sugar or less per serving. Remember, 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 teaspoon. Ideally, a cereal with 8 grams or less.

    Food Calories Protein Carbs Fats Details
    Fiber One Cereal 197 8.00g 81.00g 2.70g [ VIEW ]
    Multi-Grain Cheerios 361 8.00g 81.00g 4.00g [ VIEW ]
    Raisin Bran 311 7.00g 75.00g 2.00g [ VIEW ]
    Kashi GoLean 314 21.00g 71.00g 3.10g [ VIEW ]
    Heart to Heart 356 13.40g 76.70g 4.80g [ VIEW ]
    Special K 379 22.50g 71.00g 1.55g [ VIEW ]

    Fat Content:

    I like cereals with 5 grams of fat or less. Ideally, a cereal with 1-3 grams or less.

    Protein Content:

    I like cereals with 4 or more grams of protein. The higher the protein the better. I recently found out Special K has a cereal that has 10 grams of protein per serving!

    Ingredient List:

    I like the list short and sweet. Pun intended! No really, I do not want to see the following: High fructose corn-syrup, partially-hydrogenated soybean oil, sugar, preservative, additive or artificial coloring.

    I like the cereals with more natural and organic ingredients and the ones lower in calories.

    Healthy Foods List



    Lean Proteins:

    • Salmon
    • Tuna
    • Chicken (organic or minimally processed)
    • Tilapia
    • Tenderloins, sirloins (organic or minimally processed)
    • 92-96% lean ground beef (organic or minimally processed)
    • Bison (organic or minimally processed)
    • Lamb (organic or minimally processed)
    • Shrimp
    • Flounder
    • Eggs (0-1 yolks per day) (organic or minimally processed)
    • Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese (organic or minimally processed)
    • Protein powders (whey, casein and/or soy)
    • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt (organic or minimally processed)
    • Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese (organic or minimally processed)
    • Turkey (organic or minimally processed)
    • Roast beef (organic or minimally processed)
    • Fat-free or low-fat cheese (American, Swiss, feta, cheddar, etc.)
    • Ham (Try to get sodium-reduced or lowest sodium ham available)
    • Tofu
    • Texturized vegetable protein
    • Quail (organic or minimally processed)
    • Halibut
    • Oysters

    Starch Carbs:

    • Black beans
    • Kidney beans
    • Navy beans
    • Pinto beans
    • Lentils
    • Ezekiel cereals
    • Heart-to-heart cereals
    • Kashi cereals
    • Ezekiel breads
    • Organic breads (if the bread crushes easy into your hand, put it back. Get a bread that is firm to the grip).
    • Old-fashioned or steel-cut oats
    • Potatoes (yes white potatoes are great!) Only 100 calories per AND they are rich in lots of nutrients and antioxidants.
    • Long-grain brown rice
    • Basmati rice
    • Whole-wheat pasta
    • Hummus
    • Whole-wheat flour (buckwheat, barley, quinoa, rye, spelt, etc.).
    • Pre-made waffles or pancakes (Go-lean or Heart-to-heart)
    • English muffins
    • Couscous
    • Bulgur wheat

    Healthy Sweeteners:

    Healthy Fillers:

    Healthy fillers are things we can add to foods that will enhance nutritional value and enhance satiety. For instance, these could be added to protein shakes, cereals, oatmeals, etc

    Healthy Fats:

    Late-Night Healthy Snacks:

    • Popcorn (air-popped preferred) [You can add fat-free butter and/or nutritional yeast for flavor]
    • Sugar-free or low-calorie hot cocoa (warm milk or water)
    • Sugar-free jello
    • Any fruit or vegetables
    • Lean proteins
    • Portion control with starch carbs and healthy-fats
    • Yogurt
    • Protein shake
    • Herbal teas (green, white, chamomile, passionflower, peppermint, etc.)
    • Soups and salads


      The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not serve as a replacement to care provided by your own personal health care team or physician. The author does not render or provide medical advice, and no individual should make any medical decisions or change their health behavior based on information provided here. Reliance on any information provided by the author is solely at your own risk. The author accepts no responsibility for materials contained in the article and will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising from the use of information contained in this or other publications. Copyright Ivan Blazquez, 2009. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder and author of this publication.