What I Buy At The Grocery Store

Venice, CA

I’ve thoroughly come to enjoy grocery shopping.  I used to loathe it, but with all of the fresh produce here in LA and my newfound love of cooking, I have really come to love it! Today I wanted to share how I navigate the grocery store, how I decide what to get, and a few rules I live by. Honestly, I know grocery shopping can seem overwhelming for some. There are so many options and so many labels jumping out at you. “Buy me! I am healthy! I’m gluten free! I’m low in calories!”  It can really be quite confusing – like what is actually healthy?!  So here are my tips for grocery shopping and everything to look out for/steer clear of!

I buy as many fruits + veggies at my locals farmer’s market as possible before going to the grocery store

This allows me to eat fresh, seasonal produce and get the maximum amount of nutrients and flavor from my fruits + veggies.  Farmer’s market produce tastes 20 million times better because it’s truly fresh.  Most of the farmers pick the produce that morning or a few days prior to selling it .  Have you ever bitten into a farmer’s market peach and then a peach from the grocery store?  The difference is HUGE.  Did you know that some produce at grocery stores such as apples, could be a year old?  Yep – that’s right – do a little research and see for yourself.  

wild caught fish

I was getting a salad with delicious salmon on it from one of my favorite restaurants here in LA for lunch a few times a week, but felt sick and inflamed every time I ate it.  I couldn’t figure out why – the salad was so healthy with minimal ingredients, but then I asked them if their fish was wild caught and they said no it was farm raised.  Farm raised fish is bad for you – I don’t care how someone spins it and says they were humanely raised or raised in a “nice farm environment” – whatever – the facts are the facts; farm raised fish is full of toxins.  Most restaurants serve farm raised fish because it’s cheaper, so when I eat out, I only eat fish at restaurants that say it’s wild caught, otherwise I order something else.  Yes wild caught fish is significantly more expensive, BUT you cannot put a price on your health.  I often buy fish at my local farmer’s market and I’ve heard Costco has great wild caught fish!

organic produce and meat

I don’t eat red meat, so I only buy organic chicken which has fewer/to no antibiotics and hormones, and then organic fruits + veggies have fewer pesticides.

I don’t buy a ton of pre-packaged, processed stuff

Because most of it really is crap!  I don’t care how healthy it says it is on the box, how few calories it says, how gluten free it is – whatever – if it’s in a box, it’s been processed which instantly diminishes the nutritional value and is probably loaded with chemicals that will make me bloated.  If something is in a box that I need/want like crackers or pasta – I always read the ingredients.  If something has more than 5 ingredients I usually won’t buy it and if there are any ingredients/chemicals like guar gum or carragenean which are known gut irritants I stay far away from it.  You will find fillers like this in “healthy” yogurts, almond milks, gluten free baked goods, etc too so BEWARE.  As consumers, we must be more savvy because the food industry is soooo sneaky!  You can check out my favorite snacks with under 5 ingredients here!

I steer clear of gluten free baked goods

They seem so tempting and healthy, but honestly, most of them are not healthier than a regular ol’ baked good and often make my stomach hurt more than just eating the real deal!  So don’t let these fool you and always look at the ingredients.  Common gut irritants like brown rice syrup and gums/filllers are often in them.  If you really want a croissant, I say, just eat the real thing every once in a while!!!!  And go to a delicious, high quality, authentic bakery to get one – and savor it!

I don’t buy pre-made lunch/dinner items from the deli counter

Why?  Have you ever looked at the ingredients in any of the side dishes that are in the case at somewhere like the Whole Foods deli counter?!  Here’s what’s in something a simple like their mac and cheese: Pasta (durum wheat semolina, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Alfredo Sauce (milk, water, cream, romano cheese [pasteurized cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, powdered cellulose (anit-caking)], parmesan cheese [pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes], modified cornstarch, enriched flour [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], garlic, butter [cream, salt], cultured dextrose, salt, parmesan cheese flavor [parmesan cheese (pasteurized milk, cultures, salt, enzymes), water, salt, disodium phosphate], spice, citric acid), Whole Milk, Cheddar Cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, microbial enzymes, annatto [for color]), Monterey Jack Cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, microbial enzymes), Panko Bread Crumbs (unbleached wheat flour, natural cane sugar, yeast, sea salt), Cream (heavy cream, carrageenan, mono & diglycerides, polysorbate 80), Parmesan Cheese (pasteurized part skim cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, powdered cellulose added [to prevent caking]), Salt. 

WOAH all of that crap – just for simple mac and cheese?  NO THANKS!!!!  Beware of “simple” seemingly harmless meat and fish sides too – most grocery stores or delis cook with canola or sunflower oil because it’s cheaper than olive oil, but canola and sunflower oil are not good for you.  I get that not everyone has the time, money, or desire to cook – but seriously, buy an Instant Pot and you’ll have a full blown, delicious meal – minus all of these crazy ingredients – in 15 minutes or less.

Here’s what I DO BUY!

Basil – for my easy 2 minute homemade pesto
Pine nuts – for my easy 2 minute homemade pesto
Olive oil – high quality – check your labels/research the brand they’re not all the same
Pink sea salt
Yellow popcorn kernels
Coconut oil
Maple syrup or coconut nectar (my two sweeteners of choice)
Gluten free soy sauce
Dijon mustard
Lemons
Ginger
Sweet potatoes (not yams)
Romaine lettuce (if I don’t eat it as a salad, it can go in my juicer so it’s never wasted!)
Organic chicken breast
Wild caught salmon
White basmati rice
Kelp noodles
Chicken broth (make sure to check the ingredients and make sure it doesn’t have sneaky cane sugar in there!)
Coconut milk
Jicama, rice paper wraps, or corn tortillas
Nohmad chocolate
Zucchini
Carrots
Artichokes
Asparagus (dip them in little mayo mixed with soy sauce – sounds gross, but trust me it’s a delish aioli)
Fennel
Broccolini
Broccoli
Celery
Cucumber
Parsley
Green apple
Broccoli sprouts (one of the most nutritious, anti cancer things you can eat)
Bok choy
Flackers
Seaweed seasnax
Coconut butter cups

When I’m on my period I eat a ton of butternut squash.

I make butternut squash mac and cheese with this yummy 1 ingredient gluten free rice pasta (which btw is not this expensive at my local market Erewhon!)  If you are wondering why – it’s called cycle syncing and I think every woman should read Flo Living.  Other than that, I just rotate what I make for lunch and dinner with the items listed above.

I’ll have things like chicken noodle soup with kelp noodles from my Instant Pot, or zucchini noodles with pesto and salmon, teriyaki flavored salmon bowls with white rice and veggies, or chicken tacos.  For breakfast I always have a green juice with broccoli, fennel, celery, cucumber and green apple (sometimes I throw in sprouts or parsley.)  If I’m hungry an hour later, I’ll have a sweet potato with coconut oil and pink sea salt.  For snacks I have any of these options.

I really try to listen to my body and if I am craving a particular thing that week I get it.  If I want a glutenous loaf of bread I eat it.  If I want a huge chocolate chip cookie I eat it and truly enjoy it.  I just make sure anything I eat is made of REAL, whole ingredients!  What food items do you love picking up at the grocery store?!

Shop the Post
Joie dress  |  Mansur Gavriel bag
Share this post

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15 Comments

  • Roses for Fridays | by mia says:

    All the healthy and good stuffs for the healthy way of living! 🌷👍🏻🌷

    🌸🍃ROSES FOR FRIDAYS 🌸🍃| by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    August 29, 2018 | Reply
  • Rach says:

    I love that the food you buy is not about it being healthier or less calories, but ensuring it’s real food! You have inspired me to be more mindful!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    August 29, 2018 | Reply
  • Ewa Macherowska says:

    Great post dear! :)

    http://www.evdaily.blogspot.com

    August 29, 2018 | Reply
  • jesse says:

    Printing this and bringing it along to the store with me today!!! Can you post more recipes please? <3

    August 29, 2018 | Reply
  • Kristina Allard says:

    what is your recipe for your pesto?

    August 29, 2018 | Reply
  • Claire V says:

    As always – great, informative post!! I absolutely love grocery shopping but I haven’t been able to go since having my second son so I have successfully pushed the hubby to being a little more mindful of the foods that we purchase and ultimately put into our bodies. Definitely will try the grocery items on your list, especially the items for the veggie juice (fennel and parsley – never would’ve thought to add them in). I absolutely love The Better Chips spinach and kale chips from Whole Foods!

    August 29, 2018 | Reply
  • June Torres says:

    This is an amazing post! Thanks for sharing this information. I’m excited to make new changes next time I go to the grocery store and read the books/articles you suggested. Blessings!

    August 29, 2018 | Reply
  • Lisa Autumn says:

    This was such a different but helpful post Kat! Thank you!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

    August 30, 2018 | Reply
  • Jae says:

    Ah, I always learn something new from you! I didn’t know about wild caught fish. I need to start buying only wild caught fish now.
    Jae
    http://www.allthatjae.com

    August 31, 2018 | Reply
  • Happy Friday | Goodbye, August | Brooklyn Blonde says:

    […] who is one of my favorites, both online and off, shares what she buys at the grocery store. She’s super knowledgeable when it comes to food and nutrition, so I especially enjoyed this […]

    August 31, 2018 | Reply
  • Laura says:

    I love seeing how your blog is transforming following our questions. Thank you for sharing Kat! Super interesting. Kisses from Cadaqués

    September 2, 2018 | Reply
  • Lauren says:

    This was so interesting and helpful! I love your detailed posts on food–your passion really comes through and I really enjoy how much effort you put into your recommendations. You’re definitely always coming up with really creative content, and your blog has become my favorite for inspiration and truly helpful life advice.

    September 2, 2018 | Reply
  • Week Recap, Vol. 63 says:

    […] Sai and Karen‘s glam Ocean’s Four inspired shoot, Katie‘s Miami trip review and Kat‘s grocery store list (love reading what others buy every week!) 5. It’s been HOT in NYC […]

    September 7, 2018 | Reply
  • Desiree says:

    Just came across your blog today through ohsoglam.com and am obsessed lol! Do you have any recs for olive oil?

    March 23, 2019 | Reply