A meal plan and shopping list that works! Learn my meal plan and shopping list for weight loss to help you drop pounds fast. I’ll also share some of my favorite tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Losing weight isn’t always easy. You have to look at the big picture and find a diet that has variety and will fit into your schedule. It needs to be one that you can stick with for the long haul, and not something that you’re going to fall off from week after week.
9 Items to Add to Your Grocery List to Help You Lose Weight, According to Dietitians
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES / IGOR ALECSANDER
Diet culture will have us believe that in order to lose weight, we need to eliminate completely healthy foods, like carbs, gluten or dairy. But research shows us that restrictive diets don’t work. You’re much better off focusing your efforts on eating more of the foods that help you lose weight. We talked with two dietitians to get their recommendations for what to add to your grocery cart to do just that. These 9 foods deliver fiber and protein, while being lower-in-calories—a combination that makes it easy to lose weight, without feeling deprived. Read on to learn more about these dietitian-approved picks.
1. Salad Greens
“Upping your vegetable intake is a great place to start when trying to lose weight or get healthier in general,” Jessica Ball, M.S., RD says. “Tacking on a side salad to your meals is a delicious way to fill you up and add fiber and nutrients to your eating pattern.” Leafy greens—like spinach, kale, collards, lettuce and cabbage—deliver fiber and water, meaning they’ll keep you hydrated and help fill you up for very few calories. Keeping pre-washed salad greens or a bagged salad kit on hand makes it easy to toss together a leafy green salad when you’re in a pinch. Not particularly fond of salads? Throw greens in a smoothie instead.
Snacks are especially important when trying to lose weight, as they help prevent you from becoming too hungry in between meals. Choosing a snack like popcorn allows you to eat a large serving for few calories, which means you’ll feel nice and satisfied while working toward your weight loss goals. With a crunch akin to chips, it’s a good alternative that delivers about 4 grams of satisfying fiber in 3 cups. “If you’re hungry, you need something to grab that’s low calorie and also going to fill you up,” Killeen says. “Popcorn is one of those great ones.”
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pairing well with just about anything, olive oil houses a slew of health benefits. One tablespoon contains 14 grams of healthy fat—including mono- and polyunsaturated types, which help keep cholesterol levels in check and protect against heart disease. “Just a little bit of olive oil makes stuff taste so much better,” Breanna Killeen, M.P.H, RD, says. “Plus, you need fat to absorb nutrients and keep you satisfied and full. You want to pick something, like olive oil, which is an unsaturated fat that is both healthy but also has that satiating effect.” All around, olive oil is a great grocery store buy, and a tasty oil-based dressing levels up any veg-packed salad.
4. Whole Milk Yogurt
Contrary to what trendy fad diets might suggest, research says opting for whole-fat dairy doesn’t contribute to obesity. In fact, it might even help prevent it. The low-fat yogurt varieties lining the shelves might be lower-in-calories, but with the lack of fat, they’re also less satisfying. Opting for whole milk yogurt keeps you full longer, which helps fend off mindless snacking later. Yogurt not only builds bone strength (hello, calcium), it also delivers a healthy dose of protein and probiotic cultures that aid digestion. Killeen recommends buying it plain, then adding honey and fruit as a natural sweetener. Or, top with homemade granola.
5. Chia Seeds
Small, but mighty, chia seeds might be a best-kept secret when it comes to weight loss. “To me, chia seeds are a no-brainer to add to your shopping list if you want to up your fiber intake. The little seeds boast an impressive 10 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein per a 2 tablespoon serving, making them filling and nutritious,” Ball says. “Research has shown they can help with weight loss and reduce waist circumference, which is important for keeping your internal organs healthy.” Ball recommends popping these powerhouse seeds in oatmeal, smoothies and salads to sneak them into your daily diet.
Arguably the most versatile food of all time, eggs go with any meal. Whether it’s egg cups in the morning, a hard-boiled egg for lunch or fried rice with eggs for dinner, they’re a quick-cooking option that delivers a healthy amount of protein per serving. “Especially if you’re somebody who doesn’t want to eat as many carbohydrates, or if you’re gluten free, eggs are such a great option,” Killeen says. “They’re also a good source of fat and micronutrients that you can’t get in a lot of other places—like biotin and vitamin D.”
7. Seltzer Water
Calling all fizz fans! Seltzer, or sparkling water, is a healthy alternative that satisfies the craving for something carbonated, without all the added sugar. Fluids are filling, so sipping on water or seltzer during the day can not only help you stay hydrated but can also contribute to a feeling of fullness. Not to say that water or seltzer should ever replace a meal. Plain seltzer water contains one ingredient only—carbonated water. Squeeze in some fresh lemon or little juice to make it more interesting.
Eating a hearty breakfast is necessary to have a productive, energized day. Research even shows people who regularly eat breakfast tend to be slimmer and keep weight off easier. “Oats are full of fiber, specifically a type called soluble fiber, that promotes feelings of fullness and helps lower cholesterol,” Ball says. “Getting plenty of fiber and regularly eating a breakfast like oats can help with weight loss. I eat them almost every morning with some fruit, nut butter and a sprinkle of chia seeds so I know I’m getting a nutritious, fiber-packed breakfast.” All things considered, oats are a great way to start out your day. Not to mention, they’re affordable and will last forever in your pantry.
“If you’re not allergic, nuts and nut butters are perfect snack foods to have around the house,” Ball says. “They’re packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein that can help you feel full in between meals.” Like popcorn, nuts are another great snack to have around for when midday munchies hit. Regardless of variety, nuts are packed with healthy fats and some protein, and research suggests eating more of them can help ward off weight gain and diabetes risk. Snack on them alone or swipe nut butter on apple slices or a rice cake for a healthy snack option. Nut allergy? Try seed butter instead.
The Bottom Line
Eliminating healthy foods like carbs, gluten or dairy isn’t an effective approach for sustainable weight loss. Instead, nourish your body right with foods that wield healthy amounts of protein and fiber, while being lower-in-calories, to increase satiety and keep you full longer—without feeling deprived. Remember to give yourself grace, weight loss is a marathon—not a sprint. And it certainly doesn’t require you to abandon all the foods you love.
30-Day Eat the Pounds Away Challenge and Grocery List
When you surround yourself with the right foods, you can eat the pounds away!
Exercise is a fantastic way to burn calories and shed excess fat, but you also need to eat the right foods. Most of us are aware how essential it is to make healthy choices if we want to lose weight. One thing that some of us have yet to realize, however, is that dieting doesn’t actually have to taste like dieting. If you want to enjoy delicious foods while losing weight, you’re going to want to participate in our eat the pounds away challenge!
Why it Works
This challenge includes dozens of clean-eating recipes that are made with the healthiest of ingredients! There are many ways to make clean foods taste absolutely amazing without piling on a bunch of excess calories. Recipes made with whole, clean foods (like the ones below) will fill your belly and nourish your body without ever making you feel deprived!
The reason that a whole foods diet works so well is actually quite simple.When compared to processed options, whole foods generally have fewer calories. That means it’s easier to maintain the caloric deficit needed for weight loss.
The Power of Protein
For this challenge, we provide each meal’s protein and calorie information per serving. Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to weight loss, as it helps you tone up, recover faster, and even burn more calories throughout the day!
Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise program are the two most important factors in any weight-loss plan. Flexibility is the third. We’re not talking about physical flexibility, but flexibility in your diet. We’ve designed this challenge to be extremely flexible so you have complete control of the recipes you make! The most effective diet is one that you are able to sustain long-term. Of course it helps when that diet is also tasty and nutritious!
Eat the Pounds Away Challenge
Below, you will find 30 days worth of high-protein, clean-eating recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and even dessert. Browse the recipe lists, pick a few from each category that you are interested in trying, and use the grocery list we’ve created to make your own personalized shopping list!
When you get home from the grocery store, we highly recommend spending some time meal-prepping so that you’re ready to take on the week! Check out the tips in our Busy Woman’s Guide to Meal-Prepping to further simplify the process.
If you stick to the recipes on this list and eat the correct portions for your body, you will notice a difference in the way you look and feel at the end of the 30 days!
Keep in mind that the majority of these recipes will make more than one serving, so you won’t necessarily have to cook a new meal every day! Hello, leftovers! Plus, we know you’re going to come across some recipes that you’ll want to make more than once.
Energy Boosting Breakfast
- PB & J Protein Shake — 19 grams of protein / 388 calories
- Chocolate Coconut Protein Breakfast Shake — 17 grams of protein / 288 calories
- Spicy Vegan Breakfast Tacos — 15 grams of protein / 293 calories
- Egg and Turkey Sausage Breakfast Tacos — 20 grams of protein / 334 calories
- Hummus Breakfast Bowl — 14 grams of protein / 354 calories
- Slow Cooker Spinach and Mozzarella Frittata — 12 grams of protein / 139 calories
- Oatmeal Blueberry Protein Pancakes — 40 grams of protein / 398 calories
- Bacon and Egg Breakfast Muffins — 16 grams of protein / 168 calories
- Souffle Omelette with Mushrooms — 6 grams of protein / 72 calories
- Greek Egg Muffins — 5 grams of protein / 45 calories
- Ham and Egg Breakfast Cups — 10 grams of protein / 92 calories
- Avocado and Egg Protein Wrap — 10 grams of protein / 317 calories
- Clean Eating Refrigerator Oatmeal — 11 grams of protein / 238 calories
- Pesto and Egg Breakfast Sandwich — 17 grams of protein / 381 calories
- Spinach and White Bean Breakfast Quesadilla — 15 grams of protein / 326 calories
- Low-Carb Turkey Club Lettuce Cups — 33 grams of protein / 382 calories
- Thai Chicken Veggie Salad with Peanut Dressing — 30 grams of protein / 263 calories
- Skinny Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps — 30 grams of protein / 376 calories
- Easy Black Bean Soup with Avocado — 22 grams of protein / 395 calories
- Skinny Chicken Tortilla Casserole — 20 grams of protein / 314 calories
- Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocado — 25 gram of protein / 313 calories
- Mediterranean Chicken Kofta Wrap — 32 grams of protein / 461 calories
- Clean Eating Chicken Salad — 25 grams of protein / 291 calories
- Healthy Vegan Jambalaya — 11 grams of protein / 246 calories
- Warm Chicken Salad over Arugula with Creamy Dill Dressing — 20 grams of protein / 167 calories
- Clean Eating Chicken Fried Rice — 23 grams of protein / 266 calories
- 6-Ingredient Orange Chicken — 26 grams of protein / 387 calories
- Easy Tuna Casserole — 26 grams of protein / 437 calories
- Skinny Chicken Nuggets — 21 grams of protein / 240 calories
- Skinny Burrito in a Jar — 15 grams of protein / 191 calories
- Easy Skillet Cilantro Lime Chicken — 46 grams of protein / 285 calories
- Slow Cooker Easy Italian Meatballs — 31 grams of protein / 284 calories
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta Casserole — 29 grams of protein / 374 calories
- Skinny Salmon, Kale, and Cashew Bowl — 22 grams of protein / 429 calories
- Chicken Fajita Power Bowls — 44 grams of protein / 534 calories
- Slow Cooker Healthy Meatloaf with Tomato Glaze — 32 grams of protein / 367 calories
- Turkey Sloppy Joes — 23 grams of protein / 167 calories (doesn’t include bun)
- Tuna Zucchini Noodle Bake — 18 grams of protein / 167 calories
- Skinny Chicken Parmesan Casserole – 35 grams of protein / 493 calories
- Slow Cooker Thick & Chunky Beef Stew — 23 grams of protein / 317 calories
- Stuffed Philly Chicken Peppers — 23 grams of protein / 259 calories
- Skinny White Chicken Enchiladas — 18 grams of protein / 316 calories
- Coconut Fried Shrimp — 20 grams of protein / 258 calories
- Pistachio Crusted Baked White Fish — 16 grams of protein / 248 calories
- Skinny Lasagna Rolls — 15 grams of protein / 240 calories
Simple and Satisfying Snacks
- Skinny Bell Pepper Nacho Boats — 13 grams of protein / 145 calories
- Asian Chicken Wraps — 11 grams of Protein / 123 calories
- Garlic Lime Shrimp Skewers — 15 grams of protein / 108 calories
- Chipotle Honey Chicken Skewers — 19 grams of protein / 192 calories
- Sriracha Deviled Eggs — 7 grams of protein / 83 calories
- Spicy Tailgate Meatballs — 22 grams of protein / 139 calories
- Oven-Baked Zucchini Chips — 6 grams of protein / 99 calories
- Easy Stuffed Mushrooms — 8 grams of protein / 146 calories
- Tuna Salad Stuffed Eggs — 13 grams of protein / 118 calories
- Baked Onion Rings — 11 grams of protein / 111 calories
- Tuna Cucumber Sandwiches — 9 grams of protein / 81 calories
- Sweet Potato Chips — 1 gram of protein / 58 calories
- Pizza Zucchini Boats — 7 grams of protein / 116 calories
- Carolina Style BBQ Chicken Skewers — 26 grams of protein / 162 calories
- Southwestern Kale Chips — 2 grams of protein / 88 calories
- Froyo Berry Bites — 4 grams of protein / 129 calories
- No-Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Energy Bites — 6 grams of protein / 203 calories
- Slow Cooker Fudge — 1 gram of protein / 114 calories
- 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups — 3 grams of protein / 110 calories
- Almond Butter and Banana Sandwiches — 2 grams of protein / 114 calories
- Slow Cooker Bananas Foster — 2 grams of protein / 110 calories
- Quinoa Almond Joy Bars — 2 grams of protein / 94 calories
- Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters — 4 grams of protein / 106 calories
- Mini Strawberry Cheesecake — 4 grams of protein / 138 calories
- Skinny Watermelon Sorbet — 2 grams of protein / 86 calories
- Creamy Vanilla Frozen Yogurt — 10 grams of protein / 196 calories
- No-Bake Mini Apple Cheesecakes — 5 grams of protein / 165 calories
- No-Bake Lemon Berry Cups — 4 grams of protein / 118 calories
- Hearty Oatmeal Raisin Cookies — 13 grams of protein / 257 calories
- Sweet & Salty Chocolate-Covered Pretzels — 3 grams of protein / 155 calories
These recipes sound good, and they taste even better! Don’t put your fitness goals off a second longer. This challenge will prove once and for all that healthy food can be delicious too. Jump into our eat the pounds away challenge today!
Grocery List For Weight Loss: How to Shop Smarter
Believe it or not, but making a grocery list for weight loss is the first step in getting excess weight off and keeping it off for life.
Having healthy, fat-burning foods on your grocery list and in your kitchen helps you reach your goal weight with ease.
Make a commitment to better health while shopping, and watch the weight melt off!
Whole foods (fresh or frozen) are the safest choice for you and your entire family.
This means foods rich in protein, healthy fats, good carbohydrates, and/or fiber, and ones that are free from added sugar, preservatives, chemicals, and other additives.
Keep this in mind when creating your grocery list for weight loss.
Ready to build YOUR grocery list for weight loss? Keep reading!
Sample Grocery List for Weight Loss
Take the following grocery list for weight loss with you when you shop or use the list below to customize a personalized grocery list based on your family’s food preferences:
Non-starchy vegetables make the perfect addition to a grocery list for weight loss, as they are low in calories but rich in satiating fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
When following a 1,200-1,500-calorie weight loss meal plan for women, aim to fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables.
The nutrient breakdown of many non-starchy vegetables (for a 1-cup portion) is 10-40 calories, 2-4 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, 5-10 grams of carbohydrates, and 1-4 grams of fiber.
Non-starchy vegetables to add to your grocery list for weight loss might include:
- Bamboo shoots
- Green beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Bean sprouts
- Other leafy greens
- Swiss chard
- Water chestnuts
- Bell peppers
- Fresh salsa
- Veggie chips
- Low-sodium vegetable juice
Like non-starchy vegetables, fruits are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
When eating 1,200-1,500 calories daily to drop excess weight, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming 1-1.5 cups of fruits daily.
The nutrition breakdown of a 1/2-cup portion of fruits is 25-65 calories, 1 gram of protein, 0 grams of fat, 6-17 grams of carbohydrates, and 1-4 grams of fiber.
Fruits to consider include:
- Kiwi fruit
- Honeydew melon
- Diluted fruit juice
Is fruit good for weight loss? Learn about the best fruits for dieting!
Protein foods are an important addition to any grocery list for weight loss in women.
Studies show that protein gives your metabolism a boost, increases satiety, and helps you maintain muscle mass while restricting calories during weight loss.
When dropping weight is your goal, aim to fill one-fourth of each plate with protein foods.
The nutritional breakdown of many protein foods in each 1-ounce portion is 40-70 calories, 7-8 grams of protein, 1-6 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of fiber.
Healthy protein foods to add to your grocery list for weight loss might include:
- Skinless chicken breast
- Very lean, grass-fed beef
- Eggs/egg whites
- Veggie burgers
How much protein do we need per day? Calculate your daily protein intake!
Dairy foods are rich in protein and are excellent sources of calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus.
They help boost satiety, and studies show increasing dairy intake during periods of energy restriction results in greater weight and fat loss.
Protein-rich dairy foods help you maintain metabolism-boosting lean muscle mass.
When eating 1,200-1,500 calories daily for weight loss in women, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming 2 ½ – 3 cups of dairy foods (or calcium-rich, plant-based equivalents) every day.
The nutritional breakdown of low-fat dairy foods varies, but often includes the following in each 1-cup portion: 80-160 calories, 8-28 grams of protein, 0-2 grams of fat, 0-12 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of fiber.
Dairy foods or plant-based equivalents to consider for your grocery list for weight loss include:
- Low-fat milk
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Plain kefir
- Reduced-fat cheese
- Vegan, plant-based yogurts
- Soy milk
- Protein-fortified almond milk
- Other plant milks
- Whey or casein protein powder
- Low-sugar whey protein bars
Fiber-rich starches give you long-lasting energy during weight loss and contribute to meeting fiber recommendations of at least 25 grams of fiber daily for women.
During your weight loss journey, aim to fill about one-fourth of each plate with starches.
Fiber-rich starches often contain the following in each ½-cup cooked portion: 100-125 calories, 3-8 grams of protein, 0-1 grams of fat, 15-25 grams of carbohydrates, and 2-8 grams of fiber.
Add some of your favorite starches to your grocery list for weight loss, such as:
- Black beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Pinto beans
- Green peas
- Navy beans
- Split peas
- White beans
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Whole-grain pasta
- Whole-grain bread
- Whole-grain cereal
- Sweet potatoes
- Bean chips
- Whole-grain pita chips
Nutritious fats are an important part of any weight loss diet for women, as these fats enhance heart and brain function and boost satiety to reduce junk food cravings.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you eat about 4 to 5 1-teaspoon portions of nutritious fats when consuming 1,200-1,500 calories daily for weight loss in women.
Sample 1-teaspoon portions include 1 teaspoon of olive or canola oil, 1 tablespoon of an oil-based dressing, 1/2 tablespoon of nut butter, 1/3 ounce of nuts or seeds, 1 tablespoon of hummus, or 1 tablespoon of avocado oil mayonnaise.
Fat often contains the following nutritional profile in each 1-teaspoon portion: 40-55 calories, 0-2 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 0-3 grams of carbohydrates, and 0-2 grams of fiber.
Use this grocery list for weight loss below to personalize your healthy fats shopping list:
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Walnut oil
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Soybean oil
- Vegetable oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
- Corn oil
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower oil
- Flax oil (supplements)
- Fish oil (supplements)
- Peanut butter
- Cashew butter
- Almond butter
- Sunflower butter
- Pumpkins seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Mixed nuts
The best drinks to add to your grocery list for weight loss in women are:
- Water (bottled or filtered)
- Club soda
- Low-sodium vegetable juice
- Diluted juice without added sugar
- Low-sugar protein shakes
- Low-fat milk
- Plant milks
There are a few components weight loss drinks have in common. They are low in calories, calorie-free, or high in protein — and free from added sugar.
Avoid diet drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners, as they can induce sugar cravings.
Healthy Snack Ideas Your Entire Family Will Love
Try the following nutritious snack ideas (using foods from the grocery lists above) for yourself, your spouse, and your children to lose weight, maintain healthy weight management, or meet daily nutritional needs:
- Bean chips with salsa or hummus
- Veggie chips with salsa or hummus
- Whole-grain pita chips or pretzels with hummus
- Popcorn with nuts or seeds
- Plain kefir with fruit
- Cottage cheese with fruit, nuts, or seeds
- Greek yogurt with fruit or nuts
- Fruit with nut butter
- Sliced vegetables with nut butter or hummus
- Low-sugar protein bars
- Protein smoothies made with protein powder, milk, and fruit
- Reduced-fat cheese and fruit
- Tuna on whole-grain crackers or whole-grain pita chips
- Avocado slices
- Whole-food meat bars
The trick for creating nutritious snacks is to ensure a good balance of protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates.