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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegetarian Grocery List: A Complete Guide to Healthy Eating

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Heading to the store with this vegetarian grocery list will help you stock up on healthy whole foods. The items on this list cover everything you need to create delicious and flavorful meals in no time at all!

woman pushing grocery cart and picking up a cauliflower

One of the most common questions I get asked is what to buy at the grocery store. I’ve found that having a vegetarian grocery list is SUPER important when shopping, because it helps me to stay focused and not be tempted by all of the unhealthy treats in the store!

I’ve also found that one of the biggest challenges to healthy cooking is not having the right ingredients on hand. By the time you’re ready to cook, you’re already hungry,  you realize that your fridge is empty, and the last thing you want to do at that time is grocery shop.

But with a little bit of planning, and my simple vegetarian grocery list – you can just get what’s on the list and that’s it!

Then you’ll have all of the ingredients you need to make any of my tasty, good-for-you recipes, and you won’t waste time wandering the grocery store aisles either.

Stocking up on balanced, healthy foods is key to not being tempted to get takeout when those dinner-time-hunger-pangs come calling. Since I use a lot of the same ingredients for most of my recipes, these items won’t ever go to waste.

assorted healthy foods in small bowls: broccoli, apple, basil, hot pepper, avocado, brussel sprouts, flax seeds, blueberries - all ingredients on a vegetarian grocery list

What Do You Eat On A Vegetarian Diet?

When you follow a vegetarian diet you eat a combination of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy, and eggs.

There are however different types of vegetarians. Some vegetarians exclude eggs from their diet but do consume dairy. Others don’t eat dairy, but do consume eggs.

In general, a vegetarian diet includes everything with the exception of meat, poultry, fish, or any foods that use animal derived ingredients.

Top Tips For Healthy Grocery Shopping

Bring A List: When you set off for the grocery store, make sure you are prepared! Bring a list! That’s where this vegetarian grocery list will come in handy. When you go to the grocery store without a list you end up buying foods that aren’t as healthy, or may not make a complete meal. Make a plan, and go to the store prepared!

Don’t Shop When Hungry: Whenever I go to the grocery store hungry I end up buying way more than I intended. I fill my cart with whatever looks good. If you go on a full stomach you’ll be in a better frame of mind to get the foods you need to create healthy meals, not just snacks to appease your appetite!

Buy Whole Foods: Stick to the outer edge of the grocery store. The aisles are mostly filled with processed foods. Buy fresh produce, dairy, cheese, whole grain breads, beans, and lentils. Stay away from packaged products that have a long list of ingredients and preservatives.

Buy In Season Produce: When you buy produce that is in season you not only save money, but you also get the best tasting product! Seasonal produce costs less because it doesn’t need to be shipped from another country. It also tastes better because it is at the peak of freshness.

Prep Vegetables ASAP: To help you get started on your meal planning, prep your vegetables when you get home after you unpack your groceries. Wash your produce. Chop your vegetables, and store them in the refrigerator so they will be ready to go when it’s time to prepare your meals. You’ll find it will save you tons of time!

What Should You Include On Your Vegetarian Grocery List?

This vegetarian grocery list is broken down into sections including organic produce, whole grains, dairy, canned goods, protein, dairy, nuts and nut butters, frozen foods, sauces, spices, and snacks or sweets.

This grocery list has you completely covered to create well balanced meals that include vegetables, whole grains, protein, and dairy.

Organic Produce

fresh vegetables beans, peppers, tomatoes, blueberries, zucchini, scallions, green beans, potatoes - all included on a vegetarian grocery list

When it comes to shopping for produce opt for seasonal fruits and vegetables. I opt for organic produce most of the time, and use the EWGs Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list to help guide me. For more information about organic fruits and vegetables read my article: Is Organic Food Really Better?

I have a list of my preferred fruits and vegetables that I typically stock up on every week. This is because you can use them in a variety of recipes!

Organic Vegetables:

  • Red Peppers
  • Red Onions
  • Garlic
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Kale

Organic Fruits:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries

Whole Grains

whole wheat bread - included on a vegetarian grocery list

Whole grains include breads, tortillas, pita, pasta, rice, and oats to name a few. Always buy the whole grain version of these carbohydrates. Instead of white bread, opt for whole grain bread. Instead flour tortillas, opt for whole wheat or corn tortillas. Instead of white pasta, opt for whole wheat, lentil, or chickpea pasta. Below is a list of the whole grains I stock up on when I’m at the store.

Whole Grains/Breads:

  • Whole Grain Bread (see my list of the healthiest breads here)
  • Whole Wheat or Sprouted Wheat Tortillas
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
  • Whole Wheat Pita Bread
  • Quinoa
  • Rolled Oats
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat, Lentil or Chickpea Pasta

Dairy

dairy foods: milk, butter, feta cheese

When buying dairy make sure that you get high quality organic milk, yogurts, and cheeses. Organic milks and dairy products don’t have added hormones or antibiotics, making them a healthier choice for your family.

The other thing to consider when buying to dairy is to stick to dairy that has no added sugar. That means stay away from fruit flavored yogurts, and instead opt for plain Green yogurt that is high in protein, and has no added sugar.

Organic Dairy:

  • 0-2% organic Greek yogurt
  • 1-2% organic milk
  • Shredded Organic Cheese
  • Sliced Organic Cheese
  • Free Range Organic Eggs

Canned Foods

canned beans and vegetables

When it comes to canned foods, I typically choose canned beans and canned tomatoes. You will use these to make chilis, tacos, buddha bowls, burritos, pastas, sauces, and so much more!

When buying canned products be sure that it is in BPA free material, and that you get low-sodium beans, or no salt added beans. When using canned beans, drain and rinse thoroughly.

Canned Items:

  • Refried Black Beans
  • Whole Black Beans or Pinto Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Garbanzo/Chickpeas
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Nuts/Nut Butters and Seeds

peanut butter in a jar with a spoon of peanut butter scooped out

Adding nuts, nut butters, and seeds to your diet add needed protein. When buying nuts, choose raw whenever possible. Salted, and roasted nuts have added oil and salt that you don’t need in your diet.

When getting nut butters make sure that you buy ones that don’t have added sugar or palm oil. Opt for organic nut butters that contain only 1-2 ingredients (e.g. just “peanuts” or “peanuts, salt”).

Nuts/Nut Butters and Seeds:

  • Organic Peanut Butter
  • Organic Almond Butter
  • Organic Cashew Butter
  • Sunflower Butter
  • Raw Walnuts
  • Raw Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seeds

Frozen Foods

Frozen vegetables are frozen at the height of freshness, so they are an excellent way to introduce seasonal vegetables to your diet throughout the year. They’re also super convenient to create numerous recipes.

In addition, using frozen fruits on hand are perfect for making smoothies, oatmeals, compotes, and more!

mixed frozen vegetables - included on a vegetarian grocery list

Frozen Vegetables:

  • Chopped Spinach
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Vegetable Medley
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Butternut Squash

Frozen Fruit:

  • Wild Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Mango
  • Peaches
  • Mixed Berries

Vegetarian Protein

Stock up on dried beans and lentils. These are inexpensive and are excellent sources of protein. You can buy them in the bulk section of your grocery store. Store in a cool dry place. Tofu and tempeh are also good sources of soy.

tofu cube, and dried beans

Examples of Vegetarian Protein:

  • Dried Black Beans
  • Dried Pinto Beans
  • Dried White Beans
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

Sauces, Spices, and Oil

These sauces and spices bring flavor to your recipes. Simple sauces like marinara, guacamole, or even salsa add a ton of flavor without adding a lot of calories or sugar.

Sauces That I Love Include:

  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Ketchup (choose a variety that has only 2 grams of sugar per serving)

Oils That I Use In Cooking:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado Oil
assorted spices in small bowls

Dried Spices:

  • Ground Cumin
  • Ground Turmeric
  • Ground Coriander
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Curry Powder
  • Garam Masala
  • Dried Italian Seasoning
  • Salt, Black Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper

And that is everything that I recommend buying when you’re stocking up at the grocery store!

This vegetarian grocery list is: convenient, simple, quick, cost-effective, balanced, healthy and accessible to anyone (almost all of the ingredients can be bought at any local grocery store!)

I promise it will make cooking at home truly hassle-free. . Take a look at my vegetarian grocery list below, or head to the store with this printer-friendly version (it has everything you need!) Click here to download it. Happy grocery shopping everyone!

Check Out These Other Helpful Vegetarian Grocery Guides!

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