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Your essential weight loss grocery list

February 14, 2024
5 minutes
Healthy Eating
Diets and meal planning

When you're working to help your body achieve healthy weight loss, nutrition is key. While exercise is vital for physical health, it's tough and unhealthy--if not impossible--to try to out-exercise a diet that isn't giving your body what it needs. While it's important to eat fewer calories than you burn in order to lose weight, it's also important to provide your body with the macro- and micro-nutrients it needs in order to thrive--and make your weight-loss stick over time.

When you develop a healthy grocery list, you'll find that you have plenty of options to keep your nutrition exciting, try new foods, and provide your body with the fuel it needs to achieve your goals.

Building a foundation -- essential nutrients for weight loss

When you're working toward weight loss, the goal isn't to eat as little as possible--the goal is to enjoy healthy foods that support your body, keep you energized, and meet your caloric needs.

Understanding the nutrients that support healthy weight loss can help you find the foods that will help you on your weight-loss journey.

Let's take a look at some of the essential nutrients you'll need to include in your nutrition plan to help you lose fat and stay energized.


Protein is a macronutrient, meaning it makes up a part of your total caloric intake each day. Getting plenty of protein in your diet can help regulate your body's hunger hormones, boost your metabolism, and reduce your appetite.


Iron is a vital nutrient that helps your blood carry oxygen to your hard-working muscles, which can help your body burn fat. Some signs of low iron include low energy levels, weakness, and fatigue. If you think you may have low iron, talk with your doctor about getting tested.

B Vitamins

There are a number of B vitamins, including folate (B-9), riboflavin (B-2), thiamine (B-1), and niacin (B-3). B vitamins support a healthy metabolism and can help your body convert food to energy.


Magnesium is necessary for many vital processes in the body, including regulating blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, strengthening bones, and helping the nervous system function properly.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for a healthy immune system, and a 2011 study showed that people who were overweight and took vitamin D supplements lost a greater amount of abdominal fat than people who did not take the supplements. The jury is still out on exactly why vitamin D may help with weight loss.

Smart shopping strategies

Don't go to the grocery store hungry. When we're ravenous, it's easy to load up the cart with snacks that are designed to be hyper-palatable. Hitting the grocery store after you've had a healthy, satisfying meal can make it easier to stay on track when it comes to making choices that support your goals.

  • Shop the perimeter first. When you do a lap of the perimeter of the grocery store, you'll get to choose your produce, protein, and dairy products before you venture into the aisles for pantry staples. Loading up on the good stuff can help you stick to more non-processed items.
  • Make a list. Planning out your menu for the week can work wonders when it comes to boosting the nutrition levels of your grocery cart--and the balance of your bank account. Make a plan, make a list, and stick to it.
  • Read labels. If you're working to lower your intake of added sugars, be sure to keep an eye out for sneaky sugar code names that may sound healthy, like agave nectar, barley malt, cane juice, fruit juice, and fruit juice concentrate.

Proteins -- fueling your weight loss journey

Research shows that a daily protein intake equal to about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight can support healthy weight loss.

Healthy protein options to keep on hand to support your weight-loss journey include:

  • Beans
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Lean beef
  • Low-fat dairy, especially cottage and ricotta cheese, as well as low-fat, unsweetened yogurt
  • Seafood (canned options like tuna can be especially convenient when you're on the go)
  • Turkey

Veggies and fruits -- nature's weight loss allies

Veggies and fruits give your body the fiber, sugars, and micronutrients that you need to feel your best. You may find that loading up on fruits and veggies helps you feel more satisfied throughout the day.

Some of the best produce items to include in your meals for weight loss include:

  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Kiwis
  • Leafy greens
  • Pomegranates
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes

If you're venturing into the world of produce for the first time in a while, it's OK to take it slow. Start with a few tried-and-true favorites and work to incorporate something new into your meal plan each week.

Planning your meals

Keeping variety in your nutrition plan can help you stay on track over time. Two days enjoying foods from your weight-loss grocery list may look like:

Day One

  • Breakfast: Yogurt with berries and peanut butter
  • Lunch: Broiled fish with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli
  • Dinner: Ground chicken tacos topped with homemade pico de gallo

Day Two

  • Breakfast: Omelette with lean turkey and a sprinkle of cheese
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken salad topped with olive oil and lemon juice
  • Dinner: Sliced turkey breast with roasted vegetables and a side salad topped with cucumbers and tomatoes

Processed foods & frozen foods

Many people are surprised to learn that frozen fruits and veggies can be just as nutritious as fresh! Be sure to read labels, however, as some frozen options are loaded with preservatives, sugar, and sodium. Stick with options like mixed berries, mixed veggies (without butter), broccoli, peas, and cauliflower.

Let's be clear: losing weight does not mean that you have to cut out foods that you love. Enjoying processed foods sometimes is not going to derail you from your goal, especially if you make a point to give these foods a supporting role in your meals, rather than making them the star of the show.

Evidation: supporting your weight loss journey

Understanding your health-related behaviors is key when it comes to making strides toward your goals. At Evidation, our team is here to provide you with the personalized articles and insights you need to keep moving forward. Download the app today and start making your health data work for you.

Diets and meal planning
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