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Grocery List For Weight Loss: How to Shop Smarter

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

grocery list for weight loss

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!

Always on the go, but still want to eat deliciously and healthily? Try one of these weight loss salads!

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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

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:

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Green beans
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bean sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Other leafy greens
  • Eggplant
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Water chestnuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Radishes
  • Zucchini
  • Fresh salsa
  • Veggie chips
  • Low-sodium vegetable juice

Fruits

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:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew melon
  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Diluted fruit juice

Is fruit good for weight loss? Learn about the best fruits for dieting!

Protein Foods

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
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Very lean, grass-fed beef
  • Bison
  • Venison
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Tilapia
  • Haddock
  • Trout
  • Pollock
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Catfish
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Crab
  • Eggs/egg whites
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Veggie burgers
  • Seitan

How much protein do we need per day? Calculate your daily protein intake!

Dairy Foods

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

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
  • Chickpeas
  • Soybeans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Green peas
  • Navy beans
  • Split peas
  • White beans
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-grain cereal
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Popcorn
  • Bean chips
  • Whole-grain pita chips

Nutritious Fats

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)
  • Avocados
  • Hummus
  • Peanut butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Almond butter
  • Sunflower butter
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkins seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Mixed nuts

Healthy Drinks

The best drinks to add to your grocery list for weight loss in women are:

  • Water (bottled or filtered)
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • 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
  • Edamame
  • Whole-food meat bars

The trick for creating nutritious snacks is to ensure a good balance of protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates.

Struggling to find snacks that are healthy for your family? Try these 5 healthy snacks you can make at home!

Sample Weight Loss Meal Plans for Women

Once you have your grocery list for weight loss in place and you've shopped for healthy foods, it’s time to plan your meals.

Use the simple meal plan below to prepare healthy meals and snacks for weight loss in women:

When You Wake Up

  • Drink 2-4 cups of water

Breakfast

  • ½ plate of vegetables
  • ¼ plate of protein foods
  • ¼ plate of starches
  • 1 portion of healthy fat
  • Coffee or tea

Snack

  • 1 cup of dairy foods or plant-equivalents
  • ½ cup of fruit

Lunch

  • ½ plate of vegetables
  • ¼ plate of protein foods
  • ¼ plate of starches
  • 1 portion of healthy fat
  • Coffee or tea

Snack

  • 1 cup of dairy foods or plant-equivalents
  • ½ cup of fruit

Dinner

  • ½ plate of vegetables
  • ¼ plate of protein foods
  • ¼ plate of starches
  • 1 portion of healthy fat

Snack

  • 1 cup of dairy foods or plant-equivalents
  • ½ cup of fruit

Try nutritious Fit Mother Project recipes to give you some ideas for weight loss meals, or use the sample menus below:

Day 1

When You Wake Up

  • Drink 2-4 cups of water

Breakfast

  • 2 cups of water before your meal
  • ½ plate of spinach and mushrooms or peppers sautéed in olive oil
  • ¼ plate of scrambled or hard-boiled eggs
  • ¼ plate of cooked quinoa
  • Coffee or tea

Snack

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt or plant-based yogurt
  • ½ cup of blueberries

Lunch

  • 2 cups of water before your meal
  • ½ plate of leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables with an oil-based dressing
  • ¼ plate of grilled chicken breast
  • ¼ plate of corn, black beans, or sweet potatoes
  • Coffee or tea

Snack

  • 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
  • ½ cup of strawberries

Dinner

  • 2 cups of water before your meal
  • ½ plate of asparagus sautéed in olive oil
  • ¼ plate of grilled salmon
  • ¼ plate of brown or wild rice

Snack

  • 1 cup of a protein shake
  • ½ cup of sliced bananas

Day 2

When You Wake Up

  • Drink 2-4 cups of water

Breakfast

  • 2 cups of water before your meal
  • ¾ plate of an egg and veggie omelet prepared with olive oil
  • ¼ plate of oatmeal
  • Coffee or tea

Snack

  • 1 cup of a protein shake
  • ½ cup of raspberries

Lunch

  • 2 cups of water before your meal
  • ½ plate of tomatoes and cucumbers with an oil-based dressing
  • ¼ plate of a veggie burger or very lean turkey burger
  • ¼ plate of a whole-grain hamburger bun
  • Coffee or tea

Snack

  • 1 cup of plain kefir or protein-fortified almond milk
  • ½ cup of grapes

Dinner

  • 2 cups of water before your meal
  • ½ plate of steamed broccoli
  • ¼ plate of grilled shrimp, scallops, crab, or tofu
  • ¼ plate of whole-grain pasta with an olive oil-based sauce

Snack

  • 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
  • ½ cup of kiwi fruit

Additional Tips for Weight Loss in Women

After using your grocery list for weight loss and planning healthy meals, use the following tips to increase the chance of reaching your goal weight and maintaining it long term:

  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night
  • Drink at least 12 cups of water daily
  • Drink 2 cups of water before meals
  • Stay active all throughout the day, not just during exercise
  • Aim for a least 30 minutes of planned exercise most days of the week
  • Try stress-relieving strategies, such as yoga, tai chi, hiking, or massage
  • Keep a food journal
  • Set weight loss and healthy lifestyle goals
  • Choose protein bars over sugary drinks and sweet treats
  • Join an organized weight loss program

To help boost sleep quality, sleep in a cool, dark room and set a regular sleep schedule. Head to bed at the same time each night and avoid caffeine late in the day.

Aim to move your body for at least 30-45 minutes every day in addition to formal exercise.

Examples of activities to try include walking your dog, doing yard work, cleaning the house, and playing outside with your kids.

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Erin Coleman

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on building a grocery list for weight loss.

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Our Fit Mother Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Mother Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Mother Blog and YouTube channel:

  1. All of our content is written and reviewed by licensed health professionals (dieticians, personal trainers, doctors).
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  3. We include research-based videos to accompany our articles to make it easier for you to consume our content, put it into action, and see results.
  4. Inside our articles & videos, we do promote our free meal plans, workouts, and/or paid programs, because we know they have the potential to change your life.
  5. We openly take feedback here on our contact page. We welcome your content suggestions… and even feedback on grammar (we’d like to thing that we’re pretty OK at spelling and “stuff”).
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Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality.

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