Grocery Shopping 101

While going to the grocery store is somewhat therapeutic for some, it’s kind of like pulling teeth for me. Really. I’d rather clean the bathrooms and do laundry. Reason being…it’s like the never-ending story. Every single time I go, I forget something! Then I’m back the next day, if not just a couple of hours later. Then even if I don’t forget something, I STILL have to go back when food runs low. It’s a necessary evil, though, and it’s crucial to achieving your transformation goals. You’ve heard me say over and over again that “abs are made in the kitchen,” and this is totally true. In fact, 80% of transformation success IS nutrition! So before you head out on your next grocery run, check out Chris’ and my awesome tips + our go-to foods we buy every. single. week.

And just in case you missed any of our tips, or want to add our faves to your list, here’s a recap:

1. Before you walk out the door, make sure you have your list ready to go so you’re not tempted to buy those foods that are not on your nutrition plan. Trust me on this one…that list is a lifesaver!

2. Shop the perimeter of the store first.

  • Produce: Those colorful fruits and veggies are seriously the foundation of good nutrition, so stock up on your fave fruits, veggies, and root veggies.
  • Dairy: Nonfat milk is a great option for high carb days, and unsweetened almond milk is an awesome option for any day! And don’t forget those eggs—they are one of the best (and cheapest) sources of protein.
  • Meat & poultry: Grab those lean meats like chicken, lean steaks, and ground turkey. And here’s a meal prep tip: We grill and bake these in bulk 2 times a week so they’re always ready to go.
  • Deli: Lean, low-sodium cold cuts are easy to grab n’ go, and don’t forget about all the healthy ready-to-go meals too.

3. Time to hit the aisles.

  • Grains: Look for whole grain bagels and English muffins.
  • Frozen vegetables: These are a staple in our house because they’re frozen at the height of freshness and are full of awesome nutrients.
  • Cereals: Be sure to choose those that are high in fiber.
  • Pasta: Go for the whole grain kinds and cook them in bulk for an easy meal any time.
  • Marinara sauces: Sauces are awesome—and healthy—toppers for all of your starches like rice, potatoes, and pasta.
  • Plastic containers: These are super convenient for storing all those healthy foods once they’re prepped, and these babies are another huge secret to transformation success!

You ready to get your buns to the store?? Grab your list, and let’s go!



Related reading:

The Extreme Cycle | Meal Planning Tips
4 Kitchen Must-Haves for Transformation Success
Eat Your Veggies!
Breaking The Brown Bag Blues: Healthy School Lunches!
The Power of Protein
Carb Confusion


  1. Brian Bazinet - January 8, 2018

    Just started using your TRANSFORM app today and I am super excited but BOY the food!

    Do you have a list of preferred products that you suggest? In this day in age there are so many brands and the nutritional values vary greatly, would like to be as close to your macro suggestions as possible.

    What are your goals for a protein shake? (I know I have seen it but can’t find it now)

    • Team Powell - January 8, 2018

      Hi Brian: We really don’t have a list of preferred products, but we do use very commonly found products in our recipes. If what you choose is off by a few grams here and there, no worries! For low-sugar granolas, we use KIND brand. As for protein powders, aim for low fat (less than 3g), low carb (less than 5g), with around 20-25g of protein per serving. Other than that, go with what you like best! We hope you love the app!

  2. ANITA - May 1, 2017

    What’s the difference between whole grain and whole wheat? Does it make a huge difference in the carb cycling?

    • Team Powell - May 2, 2017

      Hi Anita: Whole grain can include other grains besides/including wheat. Whole wheat is just wheat. Both are great options in carb cycling!

  3. Rebecca - April 10, 2017

    I am struggling with Eric issues and only eating under 800 calories and have been this way since the end of January. I am not skinny but I have lost 70 pounds.
    I am eating plate full of foods but it only adds up to less then 750 normally. I am reading the dangers of eating low calorie diet and I’m getting worried about myself. Although I am not sick , weak or tired. I am wanting. To know the best foods so that I can eat them but not gain back all the weight I lost.
    If you could give me some ideas for breakfest, lunch and dinner that will help tremendously. Also maybe tell me how many calories I should take in daily.
    And I don’t know if I should get help for this issue as I am scared to eat more than 700 calories.
    Thank you.

    • Team Powell - April 10, 2017

      Hi Rebecca: Here’s a link to Chris and Heidi’s newest book, “Extreme Transformation”: It will teach you everything you need to know and do to achieve your transformation goals! And they recently launched an amazing app, which offers you a totally customized meal plan and exercise program, and you can learn more about it here: You can do this!

  4. Melinda - February 9, 2017

    I like all the food they got. However, I am on a tight budget and wouldn’t be able to get all that stuff for the month. Any suggestions? I am around 50 pounds overweight and need all the help I can get.

    • Melinda - February 9, 2017

      I am very picky though about milk and not a fan of a lot of vegetables or eggs. I had to take a test and had to eat scrambled eggs with dye in them and haven’t been able to eat them since.

    • Team Powell - February 10, 2017

      Hi Melinda: Here’s a post that outlines several options for the Extreme Cycle, and it can really help with meal planning on a limited budget: You can do this! 🙂

  5. telia - January 6, 2017

    how can you get heidi to email you personally?

  6. Dennis - December 8, 2016

    Hey Heidi and Chris:
    I have been wondering about the Milk products although I am Lactose intolerant and I can’t Drink regular Milk and ice cream and cheese. What are the Products that I can get to get nutrition and Food that I can get to help me lose weight. I am 6ft7 and weigh in about 368lbs and what is the best weight loss and limit do I need to be at my height?

    • Team Powell - December 9, 2016

      Hi Dennis: Chris and Heidi recommend drinking unsweetened almond milk. As for your ideal weight range, that depends on your body composition and some other factors unique to you, so it’s best to discuss this with your healthcare team and have them help you figure out what is best for you. 🙂

  7. Lily - November 29, 2016

    How do you do it? I want to learn how to balance my day. Fitness and meal planning for the whole family. There are bits and pieces of info out there, but I find it a bit overwhelming. How do you put it all together? I’m a mom to a wonderful and busy big family. I need to find the formula that can make this all work without going mad. ? Thanks so much!

  8. Dina - November 1, 2016


    Does flax seed and Chia seeds fall under fat or carbs

    • Brittany Williams - November 3, 2016

      Even though fax seeds and chia seeds contain some carbs they are mostly considered a healthy fat.

  9. Jodi Cooper - October 30, 2016

    Hi Hidei Jodi Cooper again wow I know how frustrating this is my oldest daughter is adhd we all as a family not eat anything with high friutos corn surp fake flavoring and fake color I have always need help understand how to label red for 10 years now I still need help with this
    Thank you Hidei and God bless you and your family
    Jodi Cooper

  10. Jessie Palafox - October 30, 2016

    Great advice! I always get distracted (I need a list!) and buy twice as much as I need and probably not as healthy as I should.

  11. Adam James - October 29, 2016

    Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite things to do since I am
    Lactose Intolerant and also have gastroperesis, Severe Acid Reflux, and horrible IBS. I get to see all the stuff I love but can’t eat and some days it seems like there is nothing I can eat without feeling horrible the next day. But I stay positive and do the day to day:)

  12. Kendra Crosby - October 29, 2016

    I have always heard to stay out of the middle aisles and just buy around the edges like vegetables, dairy and meat. I’m a potato chip addict but I’m trying. I appreciate the tips I’m trying to apply them to my life and make a lifestyle change not go on some crazy diet.

  13. Ashlee - October 28, 2016

    I loved this article! I’m with you on always forgetting something every single time I go, and I usually have my kids with me which can be a nightmare! I’m a get in get out fast kind of girl! I love the tips, cause going grocery shopping stresses me out! It’s nice to have a list for sure! ❤️

  14. HEIDI - October 28, 2016

    I soooo needed this article. I try to eat healthier, but it is so hard when I don’t understand what I’m reading on those food labels. Thank you so much for writing this article!! I will take these notes with me next time I go

  15. Lindsay - October 28, 2016

    Love the tips! I shop weekly and shop the perimeter!

  16. Autumn Shady - October 28, 2016

    I hate grocery shopping to as well as putting it all away ! These are great tips that hopefully will make it easier and fast to get in and out of the store !

  17. Louise G - October 28, 2016

    I dont mind grocery shopping. I meal plan and make sure i have everything for my weekly meals. Its the extras O hate – hubby needs bread, DD needs cheerios, brother needs chocolate milk, everyone wants junk food. Its so expensive and tempting when its in the house. Ive cut back on it a lot tho!!

  18. April Boykin - October 28, 2016

    Love this!!!! I love eating healthier options… my problem is if I would stick with it!! I heart fruit and veggies…. my baby girl loves them too!!!!!!! ???????

  19. Kelly - October 28, 2016

    So true! We were always going back to the grocery store. It was a killer on time and money. I can never go in for just one thing! So we made a rule. One trip… that’s it. If we forgot it, it really wasn’t urgent anyway. 🙂

  20. Jennifer Garlick - October 28, 2016

    I saw this video on your IG! Yes yes yes! I’m all about cooking from scratch and shopping only the perimeter of the store! Costco is our favorite! Also, crossing our fingers for the awesome stroller giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity!

  21. Amber - October 28, 2016

    Thanks for the shopping tips!!! Grocery shopping is bitter sweet for me. I love it as it is my time away from the kids alone but at the same time it is one of my least favorite chores!! Lol.

  22. Alexandra Conner - October 28, 2016

    These are excellent tips! I’ve started using Kroger’s clickit app and I order my groceries on there and pick them up when they are ready. It helps me avoid junk food and temptation bc I never have to enter the store. With these tips I can make my shopping list even healthier!

  23. William Zdon - October 28, 2016

    Definitely going to use these tips with our family grocery shopping!

  24. Agnes Bodlovick - October 28, 2016

    I love this! Trying to feed 5 picky eaters in this house. Love your tips.
    Thank you

  25. Erin Worden - October 28, 2016

    I grill my meat in bulk too, but also my veggies! Costco has a great selection of organic produce that I roast in bulk and portion into sandwich bags. 🙂

  26. Lindsay - October 28, 2016

    Grocery shopping can be so stressful! Thank you for the tips!

  27. Shannon Reynolds - October 28, 2016

    Agreed! Grocery shopping is the worse! We go early Monday mornings to avoid the crowds. We are able to get in and out! I meal plan every Sunday night and would be lost without my list!!

  28. Heather - October 28, 2016

    I love this!!! I wish my hot hubby followed me around the grocery store, I mean went with me ? I need to stick to this layout of grocery shopping! Thank you!!!!

  29. Reyna - October 28, 2016

    Love all the tips to pick better choices!

  30. Michelle Cardona Keller - October 28, 2016

    These are great tips! I know this isn’t the post where you recommended Halo ice cream but I have to say thank you!!! Amazing recommendation!

  31. Melissa - October 28, 2016

    Thank you for sharing these tips with us. Always love learning more about carb cycling and what foods are best!!

  32. Leslie Phelps - October 28, 2016

    I too HATE grocery shopping!! I’d much rather clean toilets. I’ve been taking advantage of online ordering recently. Has saved me a ton of grief. Plus, my son is battling brain cancer and I don’t go anywhere but the hospital. So having the ability to order online and pickup from my car is amazing.

  33. Ashley Banke - October 28, 2016

    is Ashley. I’m a stay at home mom to my beautiful 1 year old daughter Penelope. We are from Nebraska. I love watching you and your husbands show on tv. I also follow you both on instagram and your blogs. I recently started my own weight loss journey after realizing I needed to make a change for not only myself but my daughter. I have completely changed my eating and work out habits. I don’t have as much to loose as your extreme weight loss clients but I’m happy to say I’m down 35 lbs and 25 lbs away from my goal. I would love to win your stroller. It would be such a nice ride for my daughter as I take her on all my work outs. I don’t belong to a gym so everything I do is outside! Thanks you for all you and your husband do to inspire people like me to get healthy! You guys have been such an inspiration to me!

  34. Jessica Turner - October 27, 2016

    Dear Heidi and Chris….I feel helpless but I look to you both and feel HOPE. I’m very sick with an illness that causes extreme nausea and pain. I haven’t eaten in 7 years….I get feed via an I.V in my heart. I’m 4’11” and 111 lbs. I used to weight train before I got sick and really want to get back into it. Is it ok to exercise while being sick or will I further reduce my immunity to other sicknesses? I want to build muscle so that my body won’t consume my vital organs for nourishment. Please help me if you can….the doctors say I’m palliative (I’m only 40, married with 2 kids) and told me 4 years ago that I had 2 years to live……but I want to prove them wrong….that I can do this….I just need help and don’t know who else to turn to. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    • Team Powell - October 27, 2016

      Hi Jessica: Thank you so much for your post and for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry to hear about all you’re dealing with, and I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you and your family. With your health issues, it’s best to discuss any exercise program with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. They are the best ones to help you with this since they understand your health issues and can work with you on a one-on-one basis. We sincerely wish you the best! 🙂

  35. Stacey - October 27, 2016

    I am extremely interested in carb cycling I think it might be what I need to do to get rid of my last 40 pounds. At 47 it seems the weight goes on easy and is tough to drop. I work out 4-5 times a week with a boot camp type class. If I was to get one of your books to Getty started carb cycling which one would you recommend I get? Thank you!

  36. Richard - October 27, 2016

    Come. On. We. All need some junk. In are life

  37. Estelle - October 26, 2016

    Heidi & Chris…that trolley looks amazing… how do you fix a diet of vegan protein shakes, banana, rice cakes, freefrom crackers & potato flake mash. thats all I can tolerate these days…and thats slightly against advice from professionals saying to cut out all food…just have shakes…I’m desperate to eat REAL food

  38. Felicita Rueda - October 26, 2016

    Thank you so much for doing this. I loved it, so very helpful. You and Chris look great!:)
    That bread with the green label, can you get that at Walmart, I think it was Dave’s bread?
    Please do this again soon, very helpful.:)

    Sincerely, Felicita:)

  39. Nan - October 26, 2016

    Loved your grocery tour. For those looking to release weight, when I do my grocery tours I reccomend limiting bagels and pasta.

    • Team Powell - October 27, 2016

      Hi Nan: Healthy carbs, including whole grain breads and pasta, are an important component of weight loss, and they’re included in Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program. You can learn more about the nutrition part of their program here: 🙂

  40. Tiffany - October 26, 2016

    This was so helpful! When measuring out serving sizes for meats, do you measure the meat cooked or uncooked to get the proper number of grams?

    • Team Powell - October 26, 2016

      Hi Tiffany: Unless a recipe calls for cooked meats, measure them uncooked. If your meat is already cooked (like you’d do with meal prepping), then measure it cooked. 🙂

  41. Jensine - October 26, 2016

    Loved this!! Glad to see bagels are allowed cause I was hesitant to buy them the other day at Costco. And the whole wheat pasta! Thanks for sharing. BTW Chris looks so buff! Haha he looks good:) you too Heidi!

  42. Cara Reynolds - October 26, 2016

    This is awesome – thanks for showing this!! I noticed that you showed corn/flour tortillas, but there wasn’t a big red X through them. I try to stay away from them. What’s your advice?

    Do you think there is much of a difference between whole wheat and whole grain breads? Which one would you suggest?

    • Team Powell - October 26, 2016

      Hi Cara: Yes, corn tortillas are awesome carb options! And for whole wheat/whole grain, both can be good – choose the one that has the most whole grain ingredients at the beginning of the ingredients list and look for fiber content also. 🙂

  43. Kim pardini - October 26, 2016

    Love this video!!! Thanks so much for the tips! When buying marinara sauces is there anything we should look for? Low sugar? Also didn’t realize whole wheat bagels etc are ok still thought they weee high in sugar?

    • Team Powell - October 26, 2016

      Hi Kim: Yes, go for low-sugar marinara sauces, and whole grain/whole wheat options are awesome, and always choose those with the least amount of sugar. 🙂

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