How To Build The Ultimate Weight Loss Grocery List (5 Easy Steps)

weight loss grocery list

If you want to lose weight successfully, your nutrition needs to be on point. Here’s how to build a weight loss grocery list that'll guarantee your success

If you've been dabbling in the weight loss information world long, then I'm sure you've heard the saying, "weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise."


And it's true:


In order to lose weight, you MUST be in a calorie deficit, and the best way to do that is through structuring your diet in a fashion that has you consistently consuming fewer calories than you burn.


That's why your grocery list is so important...


It's the first step towards creating a nutrition plan that delivers serious weight loss results.


Here in a minute, I'm going to outline exactly how you to build the perfect weight loss grocery list. But before we get too far into the actionable steps, we need to quickly address a big mistake many dieters make with their diet.


If you want to lose weight and achieve your fitness goals, you need to avoid making this mistake at all costs!


The Dieting Mistake That's Keeping You From Losing Weight

weight loss grocery list

If you've read some of my other articles or followed my "Food Comparision" posts on Instagram, then you already know I'm a supporter of flexible dieting.


You see, diet's that are rigid, restrictive, or call for total elimination of specific foods are rarely sustainable...


With flexible dieting, there are no off-limit foods or "good vs. bad" labeling—ultimately making it a much more realistic & enjoyable approach to losing fat and keeping it off.


We have proof, too...


Studies comparing rigid vs. flexible dieting practices repeatedly show a flexible approach being more effective in short & long-term dieting (study)


But just because you can be flexible with your food choices does NOT mean you can throw all structure out the window...


This is where a lot of folks get flexible dieting wrong


Once they learn a calorie deficit is all they need to lose weight, they stop planning their meals and start eating  randomly throughout the day attempting to hit their calorie & macronutrient targets.


This can work for some people—particularly those who've been tracking and logging their food for a while.


But for beginners or people struggling with bad eating habits, a non-structured nutrition plan is a recipe for disaster...


For these folks, trying to "wing it" with calorie & macro targets oftne leads to thinking more about food throughout the day, which increases the number of opputrunities for them to slip up and overeat.


The Bottom Line: We SHOULD be flexible with our food choices...


(I don't know about you, but life without ice cream and cookies on occasion doesn't sound so fun.)


But we also need to recognize that we're human, and food can be extremely tempting to overeat, especially while we are hungry on a diet!


So what's the solution? How can we have our cake, eat it, lose weight, and not fall off the wagon 1-2 months in?


The answer lies in being flexible with food choices... but within a routine diet plan.


That way we can still enjoy the foods we love and not have to obsess about diet-related decisions all day. The first step towards creating a routine diet plan is building a weight loss friendly grocery list!


Your Weight Loss Grocery List - The First Step Towards Building a Successful Diet

weight loss grocery list

"Freedom without structure is its own slavery" - David Brooks

There are times when having flexibility with your diet structure can be a good thing...


surprise dinner dates, last-minute party invites, work functions can pop up randomly.


In those moments, having the ability to quickly adjust your food choices based on your calorie & macronutrient targets can prevent a lot of stress and frustration...


But those events aren't the norm. For most of us, 90-95% of our meals are things we are eating or preparing at home.


So it should be obvious that the foods we bring into our house are going to have a significant impact on what we decide to eat on a regular basis...


Unfortunately, a lot of people will go to the grocery store without much of a plan.


Because of this, they'll buy whatever looks good at the time—which usually ends up being and abundance of cookies, pastries, ice cream, etc...


There's nothing wrong with those types of food in moderation, but when you have them in large quantities sitting around your house, it's only a matter of time before they end up in your belly!


Think about it...


When you're at a public restaurant, it's not "socially acceptable" to order multiple rounds of dessert for yourself.


But when you're home alone—with the kitchen just 10 steps away—it's easier to justify a third monster handful of peanut M&M's...

weight loss grocery list

The "peanut M&M's" in this scenario could be replaced with cookies, cake, or even "healthy" but high-calorie foods like mixed nuts & dark chocolate...


Whatever the case is for you, my advice is the same:


If you want to avoid overeating on a diet, you're better off keeping large quantities of overly-tempting foods out of your living environment.


As the saying goes... "Out of Sight, Out of Mind.”


Now, does that mean you can't have any "fun" food in your house? Of course not!


Like we talked about earlier, total restriction of certain foods often leads to increased cravings and a worse relationship with food.


Rather, you should create a grocery list that includes plenty of healthy, weight loss friendly foods while strategically including treats that are portion-size friendly and satisfy your cravings instead of leaving you wanting more.


So without further ado, here are my 5 Must-Follow Tips for building a grocery list that'll help you lose weight, stay consistent, and help curb the occasional craving without going overboard.


5 Steps For Building The Ultimate Weight Loss Grocery List

weight loss grocery list

STEP ONE: Always Start With Produce!


The produce isle is the one area of a grocery store where you literally can't make a wrong selection...


There are a TON of benefits for eating a variety of fruits and veggies in their whole form such as appetite control, increased energy, better digestion, optimal hormonal profile, and overall better health.


Here's what I recommend buying:


  • Plenty of low-calorie spinach, lettuce, shredded carrots, mushrooms, and other mixable veggies that provide a ton of food volume for very few calories.
  • Peppers & onions to cook and flavor your meals and add volume.
  • Grab & go fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, and oranges
  • Lots of low-calorie berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries) to add to your morning cereal, oatmeal, or to eat on their own.


PRO TIP: If you want to make eating produce easier and more convenient, opt for frozen fruits and veggies. Frozen vegetables are great for saving time—just throw them in the microwave for 5-10 minutes, and they're ready to eat! Frozen fruit is perfect for making smoothies or mixing into other foods. 


STEP TWO: Go Lean With Your Protein

weight loss grocery list

Protein is important—especially for dieters wanting to lose fat while building/retaining as much lean muscle as possible.


When you're building out the protein portion of your weight loss grocery list, try to choose leaner sources that are lower in total fat, and have a high protein-to-calorie ratio.


To give you some context, a 4-ounce (113g) cut of raw, skinless chicken breast has around 125 calories & 26g of protein—giving it a protein-to-calorie ratio of 1:5 (1 gram of protein per 5 calories)


Considering 1 pure gram of protein contains 4 calories, I'd say that's a pretty good ratio!


I recommend finding protein sources that have a protein-to-calorie ratio that is no higher than 1:10 (1 gram of protein per 10 calories)


Some good choices are:


  • 92/8 Ground Beef or leaner (~1:9 protein-to-calorie ratio)
  • Skinless Chicken Breast/Tenderloins
  • Lean Ground Turkey
  • Low-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
  • Tuna
  • Salmon (tends to have more fat and calories, but is very nutritious!)
  • Whole Eggs w/ Egg whites (1-2 whole eggs per 3 egg whites)
  • Lean Tofu
  • Low-Fat Tempah
  • Whey or Vegan Protein Powder (my preferred brand for each)


Things like Deli Meat & Protein Bars are convenient when you’re short on time, but I wouldn't make them staple protein sources in your diet.


STEP THREE: Focus on Filling Carb Sources

weight loss grocery list

Carbs get a bad rap in the diet world.


We've been led to believe that the insulin spike from eating carbs is what causes us to gain fat and get sick...


But the TRUTH is that carbs do NOT automatically cause weight gain.


Instead, it's eating too many calories (from any macronutrient!), which leads to a surplus of energy and fat storage.


If you're controlling your calorie intake and getting plenty of protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grains, then you don't need to worry about limiting your carb intake to excessively low levels.


Plus, there are plenty of healthy and micronutrient-dense carb sources that'll help keep you full and satisfied!


Here are some of my favorites:


  • Sweet & White Potatoes
  • Brown & White Rice
  • Beans (black, pinto, etc.)
  • Quinoa
  • Whole Grain Breads & Wraps
  • Oats
  • Starchy Veggies (corn, pumpkin, butternut squash)


STEP FOUR: Getchya' Some Healthy Fats!


We need dietary fat for optimal hormonal health and satiety.


The one problem, though, is foods high in fat (even healthy fat) come packed with a lot of calories per serving, and those servings are often much smaller than people think...

Instagram: @cartergood

That's why, along with keeping a food journal, it's critical that you're weighing and measuring out your food, especially foods like oil and nut butter that are predominantly fat.


Here are some healthy fat sources I recommend:


  • For Cooking: Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil
  • For Spreading: Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Avocado, Nutella (it's too good to pass up...)


There are other healthy fat sources like mixed nuts and dark chocolate. But for folks looking to lose weight, those foods are best left as treats to consumed in moderation.


STEP FIVE: Strategic Treats to Control Cravings

weight loss grocery list

Remember earlier when we talked about how it's easy to overeat when we are alone in our homes with an abundance of junk food?


Well, that's where this step comes to the rescue!


Here’s what I think: If your nutrition plan is depriving you of food you enjoy, then you're following the WRONG plan.


You can (and should) enjoy "fun" foods like chocolate, ice cream, and cookies while dieting... You just need to be smart about how you're implementing them...


Sure, you could technically eat Pop Tarts, Twinkies, and Cookies all day long and, as long as you're in a calorie deficit, continue to lose weight...


But I think we can both agree that an approach like that isn't optimal or sustainable...


However, if you're tracking your food intake, getting plenty of protein, and making the majority of your calories come from whole foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, etc., then you can have the occasional candy or chocolate without feeling guilty!


My recommendations for buying treats strategically:


  • Find pre-portioned treats (single-serving chocolate bars, mixed nuts packages, and ice cream cups are easy and convenient)
  • Buy treats that satisfy your sweet tooth, but aren't overly tempting
  • Avoid having a variety of treat in your house. Stick to just 1-2 different treats at a time, so you're not overly tempted.


You Have Your Weight Loss Grocery List, Now It's Time To Start Using It!


Going to the store with a list of healthy & weight loss friendly foods is great, but without a solid weight loss plan, it'll all be for nothing...


Luckily, I've created a free course that's exactly what you need to get started!


Fat Loss Forever is my 14-day fat loss course designed to teach & show you everything you need to start losing fat, building lean muscle, and maintaining your success for the rest of your life!


To sign up for free, all you have to do is click the button below.


After joining, your first day's lesson will be waiting for you in your inbox 🙂

14-Day Fat Loss Forever

Enroll in this FREE course and learn exactly how to lose fat, build the body of your dreams, and end your struggle with weight once and for all.


- Carter