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14 Grocery Shopping Hacks for a Flat Belly

These healthy grocery shopping tips will set you up for success.
Woman picking out kale and leeks at a farmers market or grocery store

In my opinion, there's nothing more stressful than walking into a grocery store without a plan. The grocery store is full of what feels like endless possibilities, and if I don't have a plan to follow that can help me with all of my health goals, I stress out and end up buying a lot more food than I will ever need. Which is why I established a few grocery shopping hacks that not only help me stay healthy, but can also help maintain weight loss.

From specific items to buy, and what aisles to avoid, here are a few of my favorite grocery shopping hacks that keep me healthy and feeling my best. And if you're looking for even more healthy tips, check out our list of 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.

1

Grab a rotisserie chicken.

rotisserie chicken packages at costco
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One of the easiest ways to add lean protein into your meals is by simply buying a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken at the store. Rotisserie chicken is probably one of the most versatile items you can grab. You can shred up the chicken and add it to salads, sandwiches, or even try one of these healthy rotisserie chicken recipes!

2

Skip individual containers of yogurt.

yogurt aisle
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Even if you're skipping those sugary yogurts and buying plain yogurt, if you're still buying them in individual packs, you're missing out! Not only is Greek yogurt great for a parfait, but you can also put it in all kinds of dishes. Blend it up in smoothies, top on tacos, or even use it in your baked goods! A large container of Greek yogurt can go far in your kitchen, and can even challenge you to get healthier with some of your meals. If you're not sure where to get started, here are 26 recipes you can make with yogurt.

3

Choose one healthy snack.

pretzels
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Those snack aisles are always incredibly tempting, but don't let them fool you. Even if you're stocking up on lots of healthy snacks, you'll likely still be tempted to eat all of them throughout the week and consume more calories than you originally intended. Instead, choose one healthy snack to enjoy throughout the week. Whether that be a few nut and seed bars, popcorn, or even pretzels with hummus. Choose one to snack on, and something new for the following week! Not sure what to grab? Here are The 50 Best Healthy Snacks to Buy for Weight Loss.

4

And one dessert.

dessert aisle
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Similar to buying one healthy snack, choose one dessert item to enjoy throughout the week. By allowing yourself something sweet to enjoy, you'll be less likely to search for junk food when a sweet craving hits. Prepare for those moments by choosing one of these low-calorie desserts, or even prep one of these healthy dessert recipes.

5

Grab frozen fruits and veggies.

Frozen food aisle
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Don't overlook the frozen food aisle! Those shelves are surprisingly full of healthy foods you can stock up in your fridge and use all week long. Bags of frozen fruit not only are great for smoothies, but they can be cooked down into an easy warm jam, topped on oatmeal, mixed in with yogurt, or even baked into some of your favorite healthy homemade pastries. Frozen vegetables make for easy sides with dinner, or can be thrown into some of those easy weeknight meals like fried rice or bowls of pasta.

6

Look for the right frozen meals.

man in frozen food section reaching for food in the freezer
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Sometimes having a few frozen meals to turn to in your refrigerator can be an easy way to get dinner on the table quick—especially if you're short on time. Which is why it's important to scope out the healthiest frozen weeknight dinners that you can whip up in a pinch. Just make sure to stay away from these unhealthy frozen meals.

7

Don't be afraid of canned goods.

Canned pumpkin
EQRoy/Shutterstock

Yes, canned foods can be higher in sodium—especially some of your favorite canned soups that are loaded with salt. However, there are a few canned foods on the shelf that can actually help you easily boost the fiber in some of your meals! Stock up on cans of black beans—which are considered the best carb for weight loss—as well as canned pumpkin, which can be added to your morning bowl of oats. There are even a few healthy canned tomato recipes you can make!

8

Make some high-fiber swaps.

pasta aisle
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Speaking of fiber, take some time to evaluate what you're buying and see if you can make any high-fiber swaps. For example, could you choose bread, tortillas, or even cereal that's higher in fiber compared to your usual go-to items? Are there certain fruits and vegetables you can grab to add to your meals that will help boost the fiber of your meals? After all, having the right amount of fiber in your daily diet can help you lose weight in the long run—and will certainly give you that flat belly!

9

Take a walk down the health-food aisle.

health food aisle
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Not all grocery stores have this amenity, but some popular grocery stores will actually place all of their "healthy" foods in one aisle. If you are in the mood to explore new healthy options for snacks and meals, take a walk down the designated aisle for healthy foods. You may be surprised by some of the foods you'll find—like this underrated breakfast food!

10

Look carefully at your peanut butter.

peanut butter
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Not all peanut butter is created equally! Did you know that peanut butter that contains less than 90% peanuts is labeled "Peanut Butter Spread"? That's right! Even if the peanut butter you like to grab is advertised as being healthier, it actually may contain more sugar and oil than some of the others on the shelves. Instead, look for a jar that is truly labeled "Peanut Butter". Most of the time those jars will let you know the percentage of peanuts in a jar.

11

Buy a few ripe bananas.

Pick bananas grocery shelf
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Most people like to grab a few green bananas so those bananas will last a few days at home before they go bad. But they are typically passing over those ripe bananas, which can be incredibly useful for you as well. If you snatch a few of them, you can peel and store bananas in the freezer for easy smoothies throughout the week. Or you can even use those bananas to make some healthier baked goods—like this healthy banana bread!

RELATED: Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

12

Grab a small bag of your favorite salad greens.

lettuce
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Are you guilty of letting a large bag or container of lettuce wilt at the back of your fridge? It's okay—it happens. Instead of buying a large bag, grab something smaller that you know you'll consume throughout the week. Plus, buy a salad mix you actually like. That way you'll be way more inclined to enjoy a side salad with a simple homemade dressing with your meals. Plus, you'll get at least four or five side salads from the small bag—perfect for each lunch you plan on having throughout the week.

13

Eat beforehand.

man holding bowl of oatmeal
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You've probably heard this tip time-and-time again, but it's an important one. Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach can alter your judgment while you shop, causing you to buy a lot more than you probably need. Instead, fill up on a meal or a healthy snack before walking into the store. That way your decisions are based on healthy choices instead of a rumbling stomach!

14

Walk in with a plan.

grocery list
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While a full stomach does help your decision-making process at the store, it's also important to walk into the store with a plan. By setting a healthy meal plan for yourself and writing out a grocery list, it will be a lot easier to grocery shop and eat healthier throughout the week. Without a plan, you'll blindly buy items and likely find yourself stressed throughout the week because you won't know what to cook with those items—and end up ordering takeout instead. While takeout is good every once in a while, having a plan for your healthy meals can set you up for success—and get you that flat belly you've always wanted! You can easily get started with these 11 Best Meal Planning Apps for Weight Loss.

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more