I will post dinner tomorrow morning… I wanted to answer a reader’s question!


Diana by Design asked, "I was wondering if you could do a post on some bare essentials to get at the store for people who are just starting to eat healthy? I am just becoming a runner and eating healthy but I’m not sure what foods to buy at the store so I end up with very mismatched foods that don’t make great meals…."


Answer:  To answer this question, I waited until I went grocery shopping for the week so I could show you my weekly haul!


There are some pantry items that I don’t buy every week, so I’ll just list them below. 


Next to each ingredient I’ve listed meals I make each week using the food.  I only list meals  you could make with said item (plus a good list of spices, olive oil,  and other basics on-hand).


Cold Stuff


  • Polenta – Great for use as a grain alternative (search the blog for polenta recipes).
  • Block of Cheddar Cheese – Used on sandwiches, in omelettes, on top of beans and rice, omelettes, as a snack.
  • Eggs – to make pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, eggs over easy on English Muffins.
  • Frozen Chicken, Ground Turkey, or Other Lean Meat – For stir-fry, for sammies.
  • Deli Meat – for sammies, in omelettes.
  • Yogurt/Cottage Cheese – as a snack or breakfast when mixed with granola or cereal.
  • Skim Milk – for cereal, banana oatmeal, pancake mixes, drank straight up.
  • Half and Half – for coffee.




  • Bananas – eaten whole , with PB, or in banana oatmeal
  • Raw Spinach or Romaine  – in salads, on sandwiches, in green smoothies
  • Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries (whichever is on sale)
  • Peaches or Plums
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potato – for side dishes, as fries, in a black bean burger patty
  • Celery or cucumber – for salads or snacks
  • A  green vegetable for side dishes with dinner – Asparagus, broccoli, green peppers, etc.


Pantry Items and Boxed Stuff


  • Brown rice
  • Beans – on top of rice, in stir fry, into bean burgers.
  • Garbanzo beans – to make into home-made hummus
  • WW Pita Bread or English Muffins – an option to bread when you need something different (you can always freeze it).
  • Organic Peanut Butter
  • WW Pancake Mix – for pancakes or waffles
  • Nuts – for snacks or mixed into pancakes or oatmeal
  • Oatmeal
  • Maple Syrup
  • Dried Fruit
  • Bars
  • WW Bread – for sammies, French toast
  • Coffee
  • A chocolate bar!


So, that’s it!  This runs us about $60 to $75 a week (for two people.  Also, we make all our meals at home, so we don’t regularly eat out).  I probably wouldn’t have to buy the basics so frequently if I was living alone (as mentioned, freeze bread!) and it would likely be $40 a week. 


What’s your grocery list look like?



  • VeggieGirl February 23, 2009, 7:01 pm

    Hooray for groceries!! Mine is always loaded with produce, water, and Puffins 😀

  • Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) February 23, 2009, 7:04 pm

    Piles of veggies. I could just stare at the produce section all day. Good night!

  • Danielle February 23, 2009, 7:04 pm

    We get a lot of the same things while grocery shopping.
    I buy a lot of frozen veggies as well though, my boyfriend isn’t the biggest veggie fan (although he’s coming along) so some things that I don’t eat that often I get frozen so I don’t have to worry about them spoiling.

  • talieworld February 23, 2009, 7:11 pm

    You are really good at budgeting groceries!

    My list always includes premade soups, amy’s products, nut butters, cereal, and bread. Yeah, pretty much anything that can be consumed in my dorm room!

  • Julie L February 23, 2009, 7:12 pm

    I also buy frozen veggies, especially a mixed pepper blend – then I have frozen diced green/yellow/red pepper for lots of recipes – a great shortcut! Also, I love sweet potatoes and lately, regular potatoes. Turkey ham or turkey sausages we eat too…we like meat protein.

  • Bec February 23, 2009, 7:14 pm

    Its always interesting to see other peoples grocery loads. Mine always includes lots of veggies, soups and of course a couple of treats.

  • Olga February 23, 2009, 7:17 pm

    mine is very similar to yours! I buy many more veggies, well…I make my parents buy them for me =]

    I also like easy meat/meat substitutes for protein after long workouts like veggie burgers or TJ’s cooked and heat chicken sausages

  • BOBBI McCORMICK February 23, 2009, 7:21 pm

    Just did a post about this very same thing:) love that you two eat a lot like Hubby and I except your man is not as picky!

  • Leanne February 23, 2009, 7:25 pm

    Good topic! I buy a lot of the same things, plus hummus, frozen fruit for smoothies, avocados for sandwiches and salads and raisins!

  • Mica February 23, 2009, 7:28 pm

    Ugh, between you and Bobbi, I feel like such a big spender on groceries. My total is usually $75 to $80 for two people, and I don’t know what to cut out. Hmm…I guess I’ll reexamine this week.

  • Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) February 23, 2009, 7:42 pm

    Lots and lots of fruit and veggies!

    I like reading your list! Thanks for posting!

  • Joy February 23, 2009, 7:43 pm

    mine always includes fruit (blue & strawberries and cantaloupe), spinach, cereal (organic raisin bran), hummus, ww bread, organic PB, bars, chobani, kashi tlc crackers, and organic chicken breast

  • jenn February 23, 2009, 7:45 pm

    my regulars are greek yogurt, bananas and fuji apples, salad veggies, hummus, soy milk, arizona green tea, eggs, string cheese, fiber one, and staceys pita chips.
    everything else i buy based on what is on sale that week. i also think i spend way too much money on groceries, but i cant help it.

  • Emily February 23, 2009, 7:56 pm

    I feel like I need to budget my groceries more efficiently. I end up spending a lot. Not necessarily on unhealthy items, but buying lots of produce adds up.

  • Meg February 23, 2009, 8:04 pm

    Loved seeing your groceries! I am bad with groceries because I go several times a week based on our needs!

  • Audrey February 23, 2009, 8:09 pm

    i love grocery shopping..it’s like a whole new fresh start every week haha.i usually get about the same lots of veggies,plain nf yogurt, fruit, deli turkey and english muffins are regulars and then anything thats on sale and i cant pass up!

  • Betsy February 23, 2009, 8:12 pm

    Our grocery hauls are quite similar. I posted mine yesterday, and there are a lot of overlaps!

  • Sally February 23, 2009, 8:12 pm

    My husband and I try to stick to the perimeter of the store – weekly essentials include cheese, milk, eggs, greek yogurt, grass-fed/organic meats, and lot of produce!

  • Sarah (lovINmytummy) February 23, 2009, 8:32 pm

    Very interesting! You guys do well for $50-$60/week! Where’s the wine?

    You can see my grocery insanity on this post (I think Diana asked me the same question).


  • Hallie February 23, 2009, 8:41 pm

    My grocery list is RANDOM. I go grocery shopping at least twice a week, and I go between different stores depending on what I need. Tonight, I went in for rotisserie chicken and walked out with black beans, carrots, a pear, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate.

  • Amanda February 23, 2009, 8:43 pm

    You guys must be smart shoppers!! I tend to spend too much bc I run out of fruit or something mid-week, hit up the store, and buy too much!!

    I always buy tons of fresh fruit and veggies, frozen veggies, frozen chicken and shrimp, eggs, deli meat, bread, etc. to pack lunches for the week, tofu, hummus, cottage cheese, yogurt, oats, cereal, etc. etc. …

    I know you like pickles so you will appreciate that I’ve started buying those big pickles by the deli counter to slice and put in my sandwiches! Yum!!

  • Elizabeth February 23, 2009, 9:13 pm

    Great Post! I but alot of the same things, only I need to up my purchasing of fresh veggies!

  • Lost February 23, 2009, 9:33 pm

    Mine looks similar to yours, just multiplied x2 since we are a family of four. I also buy a lot of flours since i do homemade breads too. We do a lot of fajitas so tortillas are a staple as well, and the kids love quesadillas. Frozen veggies and fruits are perfect for lunches for the kids too. I always buy avocados, bell peppers, and onions as well. So We spend around 150/week for a family of 4. I love grocery shopping too.

  • One Healthy Apple February 23, 2009, 9:56 pm

    Your list looks very similar to ours! We do have a few things that MUST be in the house: hummus, cheese, whole carrots, olives, pita chips, wraps/fajita, and frozen fruit for smoothie ingredients.

  • L.A. Daze February 23, 2009, 9:57 pm

    Wow. Your groceries are cheap! I buy about the same amount as you do (and similar type foods) and I spend around $120-$150 each week (also for two people). I do remember FL being a bit cheaper than So Cal though.

  • Marian's eats February 23, 2009, 10:24 pm

    Love getting new groceries! Bananas, almond breeze, and just lots of veggies always make it on the list:)

  • Leah February 24, 2009, 12:05 am

    I love seeing groceries that other people buy! It gives me so many ideas! Thanks for posting this Caitlin!

  • foodsthatfit February 24, 2009, 2:43 am

    I love grocery shopping, but get myself into trouble b/c I always want to try new products and stray from my list!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 24, 2009, 4:18 am

    amanda- yay pickles!

    everyone – i think produce is cheaper in florida. it’s definitely cheaper than it was when we lived in Pennsylvania.

    One of the other tricks i use is that i buy whatever brand is on sale – especially for things like bread. as long as its WW and doesnt have HFCS, its in the cart!

    i liked seeing everyone’s grocery hauls, thanks for posting links to your blog!

  • Thinspired February 24, 2009, 4:19 am

    You guys do well for getting healthy foods in and keeping your budget in check. I’ve been stocking up a lot on frozen fruit this Winter because it’s cheaper and lasts longer. Your photos remind me that I need to keep more beans in the house!

  • Thinspired February 24, 2009, 4:26 am

    P.S. Thank you for the sweet comment on my blog <3

  • Andrea (Off Her Cork) February 24, 2009, 8:47 am

    Awesome haul! I only hit the store about once a month or every third week, so my haul is rather large. 😀 I don’t even buy any meat at the store (we have a butcher we go to for that stuff) and my bill is huge because of all the produce I buy. Totally worth it though for fresh fruits and veggies!

  • Eliza February 24, 2009, 9:47 am

    We buy all organic, and as much local as we can and end up spending about 120.00 a week (for two people). We decided this was something we wanted to spend that much money on and we’re okay scrimping on other things to make it happen. We alternate cooking nights, and pick out new recipes to try. We also usually buy either a 6-pack or a bottle of wine each week. Lunch is usually leftovers or I make a big bowl of tuna or egg salad. We get most of our produce from the local farmer’s market (although in the winter thats just root vegetables because we’re in Vermont). The most expensive thing for us is meat and dairy because we buy organic and local. Our milk comes in returnable glass bottles which are fun :). Our friends butchered a pig so we can barter things like homemade bread for pork, and my boyfriend’s parents bought half a cow with us so we just have to drive to their house where the big freezer is to get beef.

  • Rose February 24, 2009, 10:01 am

    Love this list. Just curious though – and taking this a step further into details. How often do you buy random essentials that last for a while (items like rice, for example)? For us, it’s about once a month or so….

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 24, 2009, 10:13 am

    rose – we hit up costco 1 a month to buy stuff like oatmeal, pasta, rice, etc.

  • April July 12, 2009, 2:05 pm

    I have a question, I haven't read through all of your posts so this may be a repeat question… now that you've gone vegetarian, what foods are you eating to make sure you get the correct protein, amino acids, iron, etc. balances? I currently have a very similar grocery list, just with a lot of chicken and turkey that I'd like to cut out!


  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 12, 2009, 5:55 pm

    april – i just swapped out the meat for beans and tofu and other protein sources. i eat enough variety so i dont worry about getting a specific vitamin or whatnot. i do take a b12 complex.

  • June February 10, 2010, 3:47 pm

    thank GOODNESS i finally found this post again!!!!! i needed this list soooo badly!! thanks!

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