Grocery Shopping 101

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

On my last blog post of 2009, I asked you the readers to give me feedback on what you were looking for in 2010. What questions you had, or what topics you wanted covered, stuff like that. I had a tremendous response, and I thank you for that. A few people in particular asked me to elucidate my grocery shopping habits, and help them figure out what theirs should be.

When it comes to grocery stores, most are set up the same way. The good stuff on the outside, the dangerous shit in the middle. If you stick to the perimeter of the store you will find the fruits and vegetables, the fresh seafood, the fresh beef and poultry, the eggs, the yogurt and usually the nuts. That is the vast majority of your needs right there!

Now you will have to make foray’s into the middle aisles to get stuff like beans, frozen fruit, frozen vegetables, quinoa, oats, milled flax, tuna, salsa, natural peanut butter and more, but the trick is to make a list and stick to it! That is a key point right there, do not stray off of your list, that is when you get into trouble.

Now these same people also asked how I differentiate my shopping. Meaning, where do I buy some stuff, where do I buy others, since not everything I eat is available at one grocery store, or at least isn’t the most reasonably priced at every store. If you have the means, you could probably purchase everything I list below at Whole Foods, if like me that is well outside of your budget, then you should consider splitting up your shopping.

I do the vast majority of my shopping at a local Stop & Shop, with some Whole Foods mixed in and a dash of Here is exactly how I do it:

Stop & Shop (purchased weekly or bi-weeekly)


  • gala apples
  • navel oranges
  • bananas
  • random fruit selection here: strawberries, pineapple, etc
  • baby carrots
  • cucumber
  • spinach
  • sweet onion
  • green pepper
  • sweet potatoes
  • wild frozen blueberries
  • frozen raspberries
  • frozen strawberries
  • frozen mixed peppers and onions (for omelets)
  • frozen mixed vegetables (a few varieties for late-night stir-fry)
  • veggie wash (especially for foods on Dirty Dozen List)

Nuts & Meat

  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • wild salmon
  • buffalo
  • chicken breast family pack (when on sale)
  • tuna, chunk light
  • natural peanut butter

Eggs & Dairy

  • omega-3 eggs
  • 2% plain Greek yogurt


  • organic beans (kidney, garbanzo, black)
  • quinoa
  • old-fashioned oats
  • buckwheat


  • salsa, black bean and corn
  • pesto, extra virgin olive oil and basil
  • hummus, original tahini
  • guacamole
  • POM Wonderful pomegranate juice

Whole Foods (purchased monthly)

  • unsweetened vanilla almond milk (cheaper than Stop & Shop)
  • Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas
  • Ezekiel sprouted grain English muffins
  • Ezekiel sprouted grain bread
  • milled flax (Barlean’s Forti-Flax)
  • raw cheese
  • pasture butter
  • grass-fed beef – sirloin strips and ground
  • coconut, shredded unsweetened
  • Tazo Tea (green, black, white)
  • Rooibos Tea (Republic of Tea Good Hope Vanilla)

Amazon (purchased as needed)

Now this is my shopping list, and it might not be the same as yours, and that is ok. I didn’t put the amounts that I buy because it isn’t always set in stone, but when I go to Whole Foods I generally stock up enough to last me at least one month, usually more, since it is a 20+ minute drive. Hopefully this gives you an idea of how to set up your own grocery shopping, and remember stick to the list!

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Posted on January 11th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre


  1. alex Says:

    great information.

    I have been having trouble recently trying to find good value primal foods. tesco (my supermarket) does not sell much stuff I need.

    I have a whole foods, but 1 hour away and very expensive. doesnt sell chia seeds.

    Anyone know any good UK based websites for primal food?

  2. Sean Says:

    Hey Brian,

    Pretty good guidelines. How would you change it for a college student who pretty much has $100 a week and a Costco card and an Albertsons? Also, this certain college student trains triathlon so refueling is kinda important. Thanks!

  3. Josh Fagan Says:

    Nice article. Very helpful.
    I have been looking at your site for a while and I appreciate the quality information you give – quality content for sure.
    I am always looking to send my athletes to a site that is nutritionally sound and helpful for athletes as well.
    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    - Coach Fagan

  4. Kujo Says:

    Buffalo’s great. I buy ground frozen Wild Bison from a local health food grocery. It’s expensive ($7.99 for like a pound), so I only buy it twice a month, but it’s worth it. Taste much better than ground beef, plus I’m pretty sure it’s grass fed, though it doesn’t say on the packaging.

    You’re list is eerily similar to mine. :) Good stuff.

  5. Jeff Brewster Says:


    I’ve recently begun purchasing sockeye salmon fillets (and occasionally some of their canned wild red sockeye salmon and salmon sausage patties, both of which are excellent) from Vital Choice.

    Given that there is increased focus on the level of contamination found in most seafood, do you think that the purported purity of the vital choice fish still makes it a viable option to eat several times a week, budget permitting?

    I find myself eating it on a fairly regular basis, often 3-5 times a week when purchasing one of their deals on 5 pounds of fillets.

    Just curious if this is still beneficial over the long haul (given the vitamin D, omega 3′s, astaxanthin, protein, etc.) as opposed to harmful, since Vital Choice claims to test their fish and says the mercury levels are far lower than found in most seafood.

  6. Will Says:

    Wish I could afford that much food a week! Damn student living. I’ll stick with my frozen veg and meat!

  7. Brian St. Pierre Says:


    Thanks for the kind words, I don’t know of a place in the UK, but keep looking, I am sure you can find something.


    Well all that food is for me and my wife, so if it is just you alone then you can definitely make it happen. I would suggest focusing on foods where you get a big bang for your buck – fruits, veggies, meats, nut butters (with some nuts), high quality grains, Greek yogurt & eggs. With a limited budget don’t worry about squeezing in stuff like chia seeds and hemp seed butter, stuff like flax is more reasonably priced and will be just fine until your budget increases.


    Thank you for that, much appreciated.


    Twice a month is perfect. It doesn’t break the bank, but it gives some variety and it is a delicious treat.


    Everything I have read and heard about Vital Choice says they are a great company with great products, budget permitting I give them a big thumbs up. It definitely seems like they have great stuff.

  8. Omri Says:

    I think the point about sticking to your list is a vital one. Too often, people get to the grocery store with a list, and then start indulging on the side–that’s why companies pay big money for eye-level shelf placement. Great post!

  9. Paul Connolly Says:


    No Trader Joe’s in the mix? I like Whole Foods, but can’t swing it financially.


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