Melissa Bender’s Grocery List

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Hi Everyone,

I was recently asked if I could share my grocery list. I have mentioned before that I try to keep healthy foods on hand at my house, because it makes eating well much easier! As graduate students Jesse and I have also had to keep foods that are both easy/quick to make, and affordable. 

Eating healthy on a budget can be a challenge, but I think Jesse and I manage to do pretty well. Of course I switch things up sometimes, but I am going to share the basic items I try to keep my house stocked with. 

I do want to say that eating organic and fresh is an excellent option, but as of right now that’s not always realistic or affordable for us. I am sharing the foods that have gotten us through school, on a budget. 

I used to have a vegetable garden that I miss dearly (eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, fresh deliciousness!) Now that we are finished with grad school I look forward to planting again, and eating more fresh foods (Hello Farmer’s Markets!!!)

Always in Our House:

Fresh Baby Spinach leaves
Small Granny Smith Apples
Red or Purple Grapes
Broccoli (fresh or frozen steamable)
Frozen Mixed Veggies (I like the Healthy Colors Market Blend Veggies)
Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts and/or Chicken Tenders
Frozen Salmon (we also get Tilapia sometimes)
Frozen Shrimp
Cooked Grilled Chicken Breast Strips
Vanilla Soy Milk
Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk (35-40 calories)
Coconut Almond Milk Unsweetened
French Vanilla Coffee Creamer (I know, not the healthiest, but I love it)
0% Plain Greek Yogurt
Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt
Tuna Fish (I ussually get the pouches because they are easy to pack/bring along for lunch in a sandwich or salad)
Organic Natural Peanut Butter
Organic Almond Butter
Whole Wheat Bread (Loving Ezekial Bread lately!)
Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins
Cereal (Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran, Fiber One cereals, many kinds)
Instant Brown Rice
Whole Wheat Pasta (rotini, penne, and thin spaghetti)
Marinara Sauce or Tomato Basil Sauce
Canned Sliced Mushrooms
Protein Bars (Fit and Active)
Wheat Thins
Oatmeal (Steel Cut, and Quick Cook)
Stevia in the Raw
Various Green Teas
Cocoa Powder
Dark Chocolate Chips
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Chicken Broth
Nuts (almond, cashew, peanuts, pistachios)

Frequently In Our House

Fresh and Frozen Strawberries
Frozen Blueberries
Various Fresh Fruits (depending on sales, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, etc)
Squash (various types: acorn, spaghetti, butternut)
Feta Cheese
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Bagel Thins (whole wheat)
Cherry Tomatoes
Whole Tomatoes
Baby Carrots
Black Olives
Various Frozen Veggies (brussel sprouts, asparagus, green beans, mixed veg: good things to keep on hand so you have quick options and don’t have to resort to fast food when you’re in a hurry!)
Cheese (Brie, brick cheese, light spreadable cheese wedges, whipped cream cheese)
Almonds (used to always be in the house, but Jesse got sick after eating too many!)
Quick Cook Meals (IE frozen veggie stir-fries that we can add whatever we want to)
Canned Coconut Milk (I like to make fresh green curry stir-fries with this)
Artichoke Hearts
Whole Grain Tortilla Chips
Whole Wheat Wraps
Unsweetened Apple Sauce

We do buy other things, but these are the things that can be found most frequently in my kitchen. I try to keep healthy options on hand. Below are pictures of very typical meals in our home. We also do a lot of snacking. Cereal, peanut butter bread (with a touch of honey if I am craving sweets), and peanut butter greek yogurt (in my recipes section) are typical snacks for me. I do enjoy baking, and I try to make healthier versions of traditional baked goods like Fat Free Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins (made with greek yogurt and applesauce). All of the recipes that I have shared are things we would typically eat at home. 

If you guys have any delicious recipes or ideas that you use at home, please feel free to share!


PS I do most of my shopping at Aldi’s because they have really great prices, and lots of options. 

Plain Tuna with Cheese Spread, and fresh Spinach on a Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin with a side of Fresh Pineapple

Balsamic and Honey Grilled Eggplant with fresh Spinach and Hummus on a Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin with Red Grapes

Grilled Chicken with Steamed Broccoli, and homemade green tea with a frozen fresh fruit skewer (pineapple, blueberries, and red grapes)

Grilled or Baked Salmon over fresh Spinach with red Grapes and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Fresh Spinach with Market Fresh Steamed Veggies and Sun Dried Tomatos (Listed in my recipes, and super quick/easy)

Grilled Salmon with Mixed Veggies and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Baked Chicken with Steamed Broccoli

Baked Eggplant with fresh Spinach and Tomato Basil Sauce

Salmon with Brie Cheese, fresh Spinach and Green beans (seasoned with some old bay and lemon pepper)

Green Curry Shrimp and Vegetable Stir-fry over Brown Rice

Veggie Stuffed Omelette with 1 egg and 3 egg whites. Stuffed with Spinach, Mushrooms, diced Tomatoes, and Veggie Slice Pepper Jack Cheese.

I really LOVE sushi. This is a mixed plate (Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, California Roll)
Fresh Spinach, avocado, red grapes, sliced chicken. (I didn’t use dressing, but if I did it would be plain balsamic vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon)
Whole Wheat Wrap, Spinach, Feta, and Chicken

Whole Wheat Wrap, Spinach, Chicken, Avocado and Red Grapes

16 thoughts on “Melissa Bender’s Grocery List

  1. Good stuff. Only thing I can think that you’re missing is nuts. Vital source of the essential fats and antioxidants we need. The five healthiest nuts: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and brazil nuts.

  2. Erin

    I love that you’re an Aldi shopper too! I go there off and on (would go more often if it was on this side of town) but whenever I do, I always get such great deals! I have heard that they are carrying more organic things now, as well as Greek yogurt and Keifer!

  3. Thank you Melissa! I am making my grocery list right now with these ideas to support my 2014 bikini prep workout schedule!! I especially like the green tea with pretty and yummy skewer!

  4. Fresh Green Curry sounds delicious. Is it possible you could post a sample recipe of the type you make or provide a link to a recipe you use? I would LOVE to make this 🙂

  5. I have been eating healthier and cutting calories so i have started to plan out my diet. It helps me stay on track. A tasty sandwich you might want to try is kale with saute onions a little cheese on low calorie rye bread and then grill it. It is delicious and so healthy.

  6. Hi Melissa, I found your blog today and I really enjoy it, I’m planning to start my diet to reduce body fat to at least 18%, so far it is 24%, I know it will take time, but I’m willing to do it. Thanks for your posts and lovely pics. 😉

  7. Hello Melissa!
    Today I happened to stumble upon your blog and reading your recipes, grocery list and workouts to do at home, I already love it! Thank you so much for sharing! Not planning to get into bodybuilding at this point in my life, but I want to continue my journey to living the fit life and healthy! Again, thank you!

  8. lux

    i see that in your list and meals you have no legumes (lentils, beans ) or vegetables like green beans, peas, artichokes. why you avoid them? perhaps because of abdominal bloating, but in small amounts and one time a week ..??

  9. Bishop

    Not sure if this blog/page is even monitored any more but, I am revisiting your diet and shopping list. I’ve tried pretty much every diet and exercise plan known to man. I am fighting a family history of weight problems. I am by far the thinnest and in the best shape of anyone in my family but still can’t lose my gut. Any thoughts?

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