Shopping is a personal and unique experience. No two shopping lists are the same. People develop and evolve their groceries according to their needs and situation. But if you’ve never made a grocery list before, where do you start? Well, we have a basic grocery list to lay the foundation for your own grocery list masterpiece.
If you’re living in dorms or moving into a new home, your closets will likely be empty when you get there. So it’s up to you to stock them up and keep yourself from going hungry.
You’ll undoubtedly be eager to search for those crazy new recipes you’ve seen online, or your favorite food. However, this can leave some gaps in your ability to prepare fulfilling and filling meals when needed. Alternatively, you might find yourself pressed for time and wanting to make something quick and easy rather than spending hours creating a gastronomic wonder.
Before we get into the list itself,Here are some dos and don ‘ ts that might help you shop even better for these foods. Alternatively, you can simply download a free printable version of the list right now.
Basic Shopping List Guide
What You Should Do…
Expect another trip – Remember, this is just a basic grocery shopping list. It should set you up with the main ingredients for basic meals to keep you ticking over.
Once you have the basics, you can start expanding to include more complex meals and comprehensive meal plans.
This is when you start to expand on your essential shopping list to build one that is uniquely yours. But even then, you could still get that 100% right on the next trip. So be prepared to do a handful of deals on your new digs in the first week or two.
Consider frozen produce – Although fresh fruits and vegetables are considered kings of healthy eating, don’t be too quick to overlook frozen versions. While they are a little more expensive,they last much longer.
They can be very convenient and save time when cooking if you have purchased some prepared (chopped, etc.) varieties. One important thing to remember when buying frozen is that it loses little to no nutrients compared to fresh.
So the convenience of having frozen foods on your shopping list will not be detrimental to your health.
What You Should Not Do…
Buy too much – There is a temptation to buy in bulk and save money. However, this can cause more problems than it solves. You may not quite have the storage space to store everything.
Also, if the items you buy are perishable, you may end up with food waste, which means you are actually realistically spending more than you saved.
After you’ve done some business with your basic grocery list or start expanding it, you can make better decisions about how much storage you have and how quickly you use up perishables.
Basic Shopping List…
Now that we’ve established some ground rules, let’s work on what the basics of your shopping list should look like. We have some healthy options.
But if you really want to kick your health, we recommend you also take a look at our healthy shopping list items.
Meat & Fish
Meat-which type is up to you. We would recommend skinless white meats like turkey or chicken, as they are considered the healthiest due to the low amount of saturated fat. If you like something redder, then try to choose lean cuts.
Oily fish-It is recommended that each person eats two servings of fish per week, one of which should be oily fish such as tuna, haddock or mackerel.
Luncheon meats-These are good for popping into sandwiches
Grains & Bread
Pasta – this is a great base that is easy and quick to cook
Rice-another great meal essential that will fill you up and bulk out your meal
Bread-ideal for sandwiches. To get more healthy fiber into your system, recommend whole grains or whole wheat varieties.
All-purpose flour-it’s always good to have some nearby. Not only is it the core ingredient for a cake, but you can also use it as a sauce thickener or coat meats and other ingredients to give them a crispy finish when roasting.
Breakfast cereal-this will give you a decent start to the day. Try to avoid the more sugary varieties and opt for high-fiber ones, as this will keep you fuller longer. Consider things like unsweetened granola or oatmeal/oatmeal.
Oil & Fat
Cooking oil – you’ll need this to cook most things. For healthier options, opt for olive oil, l canola oil or other oils full of omega-3 fatty acids.
Butter-If you’re making sandwiches, you’ll need something to spread on your slices. You will also need this if you feel like making a cake.
Dairy & Eggs
Milk-a breakfast essential if you have cereal for breakfast, if you prefer your hot drinks a lighter shade of brown, or want to make a sauce. Vegans and the health conscious should try milk alternatives like soy or almond.
Eggs – these versatile little things are essential ingredients for a cake, or can be prepared in many different ways for a quick breakfast or lunch.
Cheese-a great standard sandwich filler or for an ingredient in cheesy side dishes or main courses.
Yogurt-use it to mix with fruit or honey for a quick delicious dessert
Onions-it’s hard to imagine a homemade dish that doesn’t use these. These keep well in cool, dark places and are always good to have a few extra just in case you need to cook something extra or make larger portions
Garlic-another essential ingredient in many meals to add flavorFruits-these contain a variety of vitamins and fiber to help you be healthy and maintain an effective immune system. They also serve as great healthy snacks.
Vegetables – a great source of vitamins. It’s best to mix as many different colors as possible, as each vegetable color usually contains different essential vitamins. So make sure your greens are not all green!
Tinned & Dried Produce
Legumes-If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or even flexitarian, you’ll want to fill these up to get this essential protein into your system instead of meat and fish
Chopped tomatoes-These are incredibly convenient, as they save on skinning and chopping fresh tomatoes themselves. In addition, these form the base for many sauces and dishes. Need a quick basic meal? Fry up some onion, garlic and add a can of chopped tomatoes for a simple tomato sauce to go with some pasta.
Soup – a great quick emergency lunch. Canned soups tend to contain more nutrients than their instant counterparts. However, they require much more storage space and are a bit more expensive.
Fruits, seeds and nuts-these are great for filling and healthy snacks
Salt-this will enhance the flavor in your meals. However, if you are on a low sodium diet like the DASH diet, you may want to replace it with some herbs and spices.
Pepper-another staple to add flavor to your food
Herbs & Spices-more ingredients that make your food so extra delicious. Choose herbs that suit your cooking tastes and preferences. If you lean toward Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, make sure you have plenty of basil and oregano. If your tastes fade toward the further reaches of the Eastern Hemisphere, fill up on coriander and cumin.
Stock cubes – another key ingredient in some sauces. Also great if you’re looking to make your own soup from scratch.
Honey-use this as a natural sweetener for things like yogurt and granola.
Vinegar-add some zing to your food. You can also mix this with oil to create a simple and healthy salad dressing.
Sugar-Add some sweetness to your tea, coffee, cakes, and life! Buy artificial sweeteners if you are concerned about getting healthier and cutting calories.
Are there other staples that is a must for an essential shopping list? What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done with some of these ingredients? How many of the items on this list are on your regular list? Let us know in the comments.