Shopping List: Your Aisle by Aisle Guide to Groceries

Grouping your grocery shopping list by category ensures you get a healthy mix of foods. Use our simple shopping list to get started

Shopping List: Your Aisle by Aisle Guide to Groceries

Source: Best Health magazine, November/December 2015

What’s your aisle style? Do you start on the periphery of the grocery store and work your way to the middle rows? Kudos, if you do. Experts say you should always shop the outer edges first where most stores locate their fresh produce, dairy, and meats and seafood. More whole foods in your basket, means less room for processed ones, which can be high in sodium, fats, sugars and other nutritional snags. Read on for more grocery shopping strategies.

You’re at the supermarket, shopping cart at the ready. Now what? Equipped with a little direction and sensible guidance, shopping for groceries can be both healthful and enjoyable. You just need a plan in place, armed with a little know-how, and with a few shopping techniques and tricks up your sleeve. Let’s break this down by category.

Produce Aisle

This is a great place to start shopping. First choose your leafy greens for salads, the darker the greens, the healthier, then add a few veggies that you’d like to mix into your salad. Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers are easy additions for a fast, weeknight toss. 

Check out the berry selection, too. They’re packed with antioxidants and easy to work into any meal ‘ at breakfast with cereal, with yogurt, for dessert, or in smoothies.

While you’re in the produce department, swing over to the root vegetables section ‘ they’re plentiful, affordable and make great sides for dinner mains. Don’t forget about grab-and-go snacking fruits, too, such as apples, grapes and bananas.

RELATED: Your Heart-Smart Grocery List

Choose ripe and ready quantities in correlation to how much you will reasonably get through before your next shopping trip. Plan to eat more perishable and fragile items like lettuce and berries first, and save sturdier foods like sweet potatoes and oranges for later in the week.

Proteins Aisle

Here you want to keep balance in mind, so look for a variety of meats, fish and meat alternatives. Eating protein doesn’t mean having roasts every night of the week. Instead, think lean poultry (skinless chicken and turkey), lean meats (beef, bison, venison, lamb, pork), and nitrate-free lean deli meats (turkey, roast beef, ham and chicken).

On the fish front, consider trout, salmon and mackerel, as well as mussels, oysters and shrimp, for well-rounded, healthy options.

Whatever meats or fish you cook, make extra so that you have leftovers for lunchtime salads or sandwiches.

And don’t forget about making soup: If you cook a big bird for Sunday supper, save the carcass. Simmer the bones with aromatic vegetable trimmings from onions and celery for a few hours, then strain for flavourful broth. Use in sauces, soups and risottos.

RELATED: The Ultimate Cholesterol-Friendly Grocery List

Canada’s Food Guide encourages us to get protein from a variety of sources including eggs and tofu. Need some inspo? Try these recipes at

Dry Goods and Grains Aisle

Stock up on grains such as quinoa, barley, farro and brown rice and pasta; they make a healthy go-to starch for any meal. Cook more than you need for dinner, then refrigerate leftovers to toss in morning omelettes, lunchbox salads or dinnertime stir-fries. So easy!

Other nutritious dry goods that you should keep an eye out for when shopping, include:
‘ Beans and lentils (dried, or rinsed, if canned)
‘ Nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios)
‘ Nut butters (almond or natural peanut butter)
‘ Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseed, chia seed)
‘ Canned or jarred fish (tuna, salmon, anchovies, sardines)
‘ Low-sodium canned tomatoes and tomato paste
‘ Low-sodium broth