Shopping time! Hit the grocery store prepared with our handy Supermarket Survival Guide, which will help you:

-navigate the supermarket like a pro;

– shop as efficiently as possible;

– reduce temptations and distractions; and

– ensure you get all kinds of healthy foods!

A few notes: These shopping lists are to give you ideas. You don’t have to buy everything on the list! We suggest you start with a few of your favourites from each group.

For example:

3 veggies: spinach, carrots, broccoli

3 fruits: blueberries, oranges, grapes

3 proteins: extra-lean ground beef, salmon, lentils

3 fats: coconut, avocado, almonds

2 grains: oatmeal, wild rice

If there’s something we’ve missed that fits the criteria, please feel free to try it. For instance, you might find other fresh fish than the ones we’ve mentioned, or another fruit or veggie (cardoons or cactus pears, anyone?).

Always shop with a list, whether that’s ours or your own. If it’s not on the list, you don’t buy it. That saves you time, money, and having to throw out impulse buys.

Good luck!

Supermarket layout supermarket layout

Most supermarkets are laid out the same way: Most of the healthy stuff is around the edges. Most of the stuff to avoid is in the inner aisles.

Stick mostly to the perimeter, where you’ll find lean protein plus fruits & veggies. Areas to avoid or visit sparingly are orange. Be especially cautious around the cash register and ends of the aisles, where there are often eye-catching displays of junk. (And yes, the bakery is the first thing you smell when you walk in… for good reason.)


Fruits & vegetables

Look for colourful fruits and veggies and much as possible. Eat the rainbow! Look for what’s in season and/or local. It’ll be fresher, cheaper, and tastier.

Purple & blue
  • Eggplant
  • Red cabbage
  • Purple kale
  • Beets
  • Blueberries, blackberries, lingonberries
  • Purple carrots
  • Purple potatoes
  • Black grapes
  • Black cherries
  • Black/purple plums
Orange & yellow
  • Oranges
  • Winter squash and pumpkin
  • Orange peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Orange cauliflower
  • Yams
  • Apricots, peaches
  • Mangos
Dark green
  • Spinach
  • Beet greens (the tops of beets)
  • Kale c Broccoli
  • Any other dark leafy green (e.g. turnip greens, collard greens)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Fresh herbs (e.g. parsley, basil)
  • Green beans, green peas
  • Avocado
  • Zucchini, cucumber (if you eat the peel)
Red & pink
  • Red peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Red grapefruit
  • Red-skinned apples
  • Watermelon
  • Red grapes
  • Red radishes
  • Red lettuce, radicchio
  • Rhubarb stems
  • Onions, leeks, shallots
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Fennel/Anise
  • Celery
Lean protein
  • Lean/extra-lean cuts of beef
  • Lamb
  • Lean pork (e.g. pork tenderloin)
  • Wild game (e.g. venison, elk)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey breast
  • Duck
  • Eggs & egg whites
  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Haddock
  • Smaller fish like herring and mackerel
  • Shrimp (fresh or plain frozen)
  • Mussels, clams, scallops
  • Crab, lobster
  • Calamari (not deep-fried)
  • Milk
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat plain yogurt
  • Whey protein
Plant-based proteins
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Hummus
  • Tofu, natto
  • Veg protein powders (e.g. hemp, brown rice, vegan blend)
Good fats
Cold-pressed oils
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • Avocado seed oil
  • Flax seed oil
  • Extra-virgin coconut oil
  • Grass-fed/organic butter
  • Fresh avocado
Nuts & seeds
  • Raw, unflavoured, unsalted nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
  • Raw, unflavoured, unsalted seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.) c Ground flax seeds
  • Fresh coconut
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Natural nut butter
Whole grains

Remember, you want whole grains. The whole thing.

  • Oats (steel-cut or oat groats)
  • Buckwheat
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Red rice
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Teff
  • Wheat berries (whole wheat kernels)
  • Spelt
  • Kamut







 Label reading checklist
  • Whole foods
  • No more than a few ingredients
  • Food that is close to what it used to be
  • Organic if possible
  • Local if possible
  • Minimal or no packaging
  • Sugar (look for trick words and phrases as below)
  • Other sweeteners
  • Hydrogenated and fractionated oils such as corn or palm oil
  • Additives, preservatives, and colouring
  • Any other ingredients you don’t recognize
  • More than a few ingredients
Trick words & phrases
  • “Syrup” – corn syrup, brown rice syrup, agave syrup, etc.
  • Words ending in “ose” – sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc.
  • Words starting with “malto” – maltodextrin, maltitol, etc.
  • “Made with / contains real fruit”
  • “Fortified with”

Don’t be fooled! Ignore what the front of the package says. Look at the back of the package. Remember, if a packaged food claims to be “healthy”, it probably isn’t. “Organic sugar” is still sugar. !!


*This guide is adapted from Precision Nutrition