At HealthBarn USA, we are all about being supermaket savvy when it comes to eating healthfully while feeding over 50 kids a week! We’re so good at it that parents attend HealthBarn USA workshops to learn how to shop on a budget for nutritious foods, and how to make time within their super busy schedules to plan meals ahead of time. The most important success factor to this weekly "chore" is that eating naturally, nutritious foods is a top priority at HealthBarn USA and at home.
Here’s a list of staple foods that we recommend you keep at home as part of your family’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle. TIP: scroll down to the bottom of the list and hit the print button to make your life easier. Happy shopping!
For the Fridge
- Fresh seasonal produce
- Corn tortillas only or soft whole wheat flatbreads to make wrap sandwiches
- Chavrie goat cheese for spreading
- Cabot Creamery 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar cheese (so good!)
- Hummus for a sandwich topping or a dip
- Eggs rich in omega-3 fatty acids (chickens eat good food, too!)
- 1% milk (try to buy organic), soy, rice or almond milk (make sure it’s fortified with calcium)
- Water – tap, bottled or filtered, fizzy or still
- 100% juice. Be aware of brands that add sugar, syrups or artificial sweeteners!
- Salsa for vegetables and baked dipping chips
- Low fat yogurt (we love Stonyfield vanilla or plain)
- Barlean’s flaxseed oil — fresh, pressed daily — great on air-popped popcorn
For the Pantry
- Whole wheat crackers or crunchy flatbreads, like Dr. Krackers — they are our favorite!
- Air tight containers (buy in bulk!) of a variety of "real" whole grains, including quinoa, short grain brown rice, bulgur wheat, barley (good for soups), couscous, rolled oats and wheat berries
- All natural peanut butter – the only ingredients should be peanuts and a little salt
- Fruit spreads, kids will love strawberry and blueberry (fruit should always be the first ingredient)
- A great assortment of teas: green, white, black, herbal
- For something sweet, try 100% maple syrup, honey or agave nectar
- Baked Kettle Krisps and tortilla chips — the best on the planet!
- Toppings to sprinkle on yogurt – try a crunchy cereal like Barbara’s Puffins, chopped raw almonds or walnuts and dried nonsulphured fruit, flaxseed meal or wheat germ
- Dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate morsels — for a treat
- Pasta in fun shapes – check out Barilla Plus elbows. Just be sure to cook the regular pasta al dente, which helps to prevent spikes in your blood sugar as you digest it.
- Tomato sauce, made with lots of fresh vegetables and spices, and no added sugar
- An assortment of dried beans (follow directions on package) make a delicious and easy protein-filled addition to your pasta or any other dish. Kids prefer dried to canned beans (too mushy!)
- First cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, and for variety buy sesame, avocado, walnut and sunflower oils
For the Freezer
- Frozen vegetables, including corn, peas, and broccoli as a good back-up
- Edamame, in pods (great for snacking), and shelled (add to any dish such as mac & cheese or plain pasta for added protein and calcium)
- Low fat Breyer’s ice cream or frozen fruit ice pops
For the Table
- A bowl full of fruit – keep a great assortment of fruit for on-the-go: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, plums, nectarines and apricots, etc.
- Lemons and limes for accessorizing your water and meals
- Nuts (try rare almonds, walnuts or cashews)
- Sea salt in a ramican for a pinch rather than a salt shaker for a pour (plus sea salt contains less sodium than regular table or kosher salt!)
- Dried fruit – unsulfured, unsweetened apricots, mango slices, apple rings, strawberries
For the Windowsill
- Grow an herb garden and snip away while cooking — chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, sage and thyme — your tastebuds will be grateful!
Rules of thumb for grocery shopping:
- Create a shopping list from your planned recipes of the week.
- Shop naturally.
- Buy seasonal and locally grown as much as possible. Our local farmers work hard and we should support them!
- All meat and produce should be lean, antibiotic-free, and grass fed as much as possible!
- Read ingredient lists! Avoid packaged goods like tortillas, crackers and cookies with trans fat (if the label says ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially-hydrogenated,’ that means it contains trans fat which aren’t good for your heart).
- Keep an eye out for added sweeteners. Keep a distance from products that contain high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
- Beware of “marketing madness.” Just because a package says the food inside is “organic” or “light” doesn’t mean it’s good for you!
- Keep a lid on serving sizes, which is easy if you don’t buy ‘super-sized’ packages!
Thanks for shopping with us! We will continue to update our list with new items and we would love to hear about your great finds. Click here to share your recommendations.