What would Mary buy (WWMB)?

In the last few weeks, I’ve had a couple of friends and family members ask me about grocery shopping.  Things like what I buy, how I save money, and where I find certain products.  I didn’t really think much of it, until my friend Natalie asked me to post a list of products I use to “healthify” my meals.  I thought this was a terrific idea!   But…. once I started working on the post I realized there really isn’t anything special about my grocery list!   But here goes!

I’ve heard the phrase “shop the perimeter” before, and I guess you could say that is what I do.  Not because I’m trying to follow some guideline, but because that’s where most of the stuff I genuinely like can be found!  My purchases are greatly affected by what’s on sale in any given week.  I hate to say I’m a cheap ass… but.. well, I’m a cheap ass!  I try to save money on things like food, groceries, utilities, etc. so that I can spend more money on FUN things like travel and going out to eat!  I may really want asparagus, but if it’s not on sale chances are I’m not buying it.

When I decided I wanted to start eating healthier, one of the biggest changes for me was understanding portion sizes.  For example, I really had no idea what a serving of meat looked like, and I NEVER measured out my morning cereal.  Turns out I was typically eating 2 times the normal serving size on my meats and nearly 3 times the serving size of cereal!  I invested in a kitchen scale which helps me a TON… and when I say invested I mean I bought one on eBay for $8.  I also make sure to measure pretty much everything that goes into my recipes or onto my plate.  It can be tedious, but I personally think it’s worth it.  If you put 4 ounces of chicken on your plate then load the rest of with delicious roasted veggies, you’ve still got a full plate o’ food.  In my book, eating healthy does not involve going hungry—it’s all about making healthy swaps. 

My list typically starts off with a ton of fresh produce.  I try to buy ingredients that I like and that I know I can incorporate into several different recipes.  That way I can cook whatever I’m craving and not be stuck to a rigid plan.  That also helps me to save a lot of money on groceries.  I try to avoid buying any sort of “special” ingredient, unless it’s something I’m super excited about.

My Favorite Fresh Produce:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Green Pepper
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Grapes (if they are on sale, of course 😉 )
  • Romaine Lettuce (for salads and for lettuce wraps)
  • Spinach (salads, sandwiches, green monster smoothies)
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Bean Sprouts

 I’d say 75% of my groceries in any given week come from the produce section.


I typically only buy 1 package of meat a week.  If I’m craving something different, I’ll freeze half and pull something different out of the freezer (which I stock pretty well when the meat sale rolls into town 😉 )

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Lean ground turkey breast– I like the 99% fat-free, but it’s harder to find in my area.  (For those of you in Akrowdy, check out Giant Eagle)
  • Jennie O Spicy Turkey Sausage – All I can say is YUM.
  • 96% Lean ground beef



  • Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk – LOVE this.  It’s good on cereal, oatmeal, shakes, etc.  Big big fan.
  • Greek Yogurt – typically Chobani or Dannon (depending on what’s on sale).  Greek yogurt has WAY higher protein than regular yogurt, and to me it’s worth the extra $$
  • Stonyfield Farms Plan Fat-Free Organic Yogurt  – I LOVE this stuff.  It’s a great substitute for sour cream and mayo and can be used in smoothies too.
  • EGGS!  I love me some eggs!  I typically go through an 18pack of eggs each week. I use a lot of egg-whites (yes, I throw away the yolks), but I find it cheaper to buy a carton of eggs than to get eggbeaters.  BTW… are eggs considered Dairy??
  • Babybel light mini cheese rounds –> this stuff melts really well. Great for pizzas, oven baked sandwiches, etc.
  • Laughing Cow Light cheese


 Other Stuff


Things I can only find online:

Anytime I order online, I check out Netrition first because they have $4.95 flat-rate shipping.  And we all know I’m a sucker for cheap shipping 🙂


I’m a numbers person, so for me seeing the nutritional content of all my meals throughout the day is extremely important and valuable.  I use MyFitnessPal to keep track of all this information, and I’m pretty much obsessed with it.

Question:  What are some things you typically buy for a healthy meal or to healthify recipes?

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  1. I loved seeing your shopping list! Some of my favorites on there are almond breeze, Franks (I use it everyday too), all of that yummy produce. For my protein, I usually go with tempeh, tofu, and lots of beans! 🙂

  2. Very cool to see your shopping list! When it comes to yogurt, we stick to Brown Cow and Wallaby. I just discovered the unsweeted almond milk, only have bought one box to try. I’ll probably be getting more. 🙂

    We like to get our eggs at the farmers’ market. It’s usually $4 for 30 eggs, which for farm fresh eggs is really good.

  3. Mare,

    I thought this was very helpful! Thank you for taking the time to do it. I know that putting something together, like this, probably took a good bit of time, and I appreciate your investment.

    I would love to see a note by the items and other stuff, as to where you usually buy it acme vs. Giant Eagle vs… wherever, just to see where I know for sure I can purchase it. I almost never go to Giant Eagle, but I would be willing to plan out a special trip, if need be.

    Thanks a bunch! I’m making my grocery list at lunch. Very excited.

    1. I meant to say Dairy items & other stuff… I’m pretty sure I can get a good handle on the produce. 🙂

      1. Hey Nat – for all the items above unless I specified that I can only find them at GE, Trader Joe’s, or online they can be found at any store including Acme. Hope that helps!

  4. thanks so much for sharing. i love reading about what others put on their ‘healthy’ list! i also was amazed at the size of a ‘true’ serving of food. i used to eat 3 times a normal portion. at first i was like….um, hello…where’s the rest…but obviously your body adjusts. the first week i was STARVING! it’s so interesting how your body adapts and now a ‘real’ single serving fills me up!!!! have a great day!

  5. Love this list! I pretty much have the same stuff on mine!

    PS I just signed up for myfitnesspal. I’m curious to see how many calories I’m intaking a day as many tell me that I don’t eat enough. I’m pretty much on track. I ALWAYS measure my food out (it has become a pretty natural thing to do when I’m cooking!)

  6. Ohh I love this post!! Makes me wanna do one 🙂

    I get tons of fresh produce on my weekly grocery list too–lots and lots of fresh fruit as well as carrots/broccoli/lettuce/zucchini/asparagus — and I definitely find what is on sale!

    I’m so impressed that you only buy one package of meat each week though! My husband and I usually have some boneless/skinless chicken breast each week and some ground turkey each week.. those are our staple meats.. we also enjoy the occasional steak (1x/month) and mix things up with beans and grains!

    Oh yeahh.. and eggs are dairy 🙂