grocery tips

Meat (3 oz = ~25 gm protein)

  • Lean cuts – bottom round, eye of round, flank steak, London broil, lean pastrami, sirloin steak, top loin, and round, filet mignon
  • Ground beef – 90-98% lean
  • Lean frozen burgers, and meatballs (watch for carb content in meatballs)
  • Beef jerky (less than 5 grams sugar)

Fish (3oz = ~18-21 gm protein)

  • All fresh fish (salmon, tilapia, snapper, trout, tuna, catfish, flounder, halibut, haddock, etc. – avoid fried fish)
  • All shellfish (crabs, shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster, scallops, etc.)
  • Canned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, etc.)
  • Frozen fish, shellfish

Poultry (3 oz = ~25 gm protein)

  • Chicken (skinless breast, skinless thighs)
  • Chicken meatballs, burgers, bacon, sausage
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Premade/frozen non-breaded chicken strips/breasts
  • Turkey (skinless)
  • Turkey meatballs, burgers, bacon, sausage
  • Ground chicken or turkey – 90-98% lean

Deli Meats and Cheese (3 oz = ~15-21 gm protein)

  • Turkey, chicken, roast beef, ham (avoid sugar-cured, maple-cured, honey baked)
  • Low-fat cheese
  • You may ask for the least processed, lowest sodium products

Pork (3 oz = ~25 gm protein)

  • Ham, Canadian bacon, pork chop, pork roast, any cuts from the loin

Other Meats (3 oz = ~25 gm protein)

  • Veal chop, leg, top round
  • Lamb center cut, chop, loin
  • Game meats – buffalo, venison, elk

Dairy – All should be FAT-FREE or REDUCED FAT (Can vary from 6- 22 grams per serving)

  • Fat-free or reduced fat cheeses (string cheese, cheddar, Swiss, blue cheese, feta, goat, mozzarella, Laughing Cow light wedges, Baby Bell, etc.)
  • Fat-free or reduced fat sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese
  • Fat-free or reduced fat Greek or Regular yogurt w/ less than 10 grams sugar (Oikos Triple Zero, Dannon Light and Fit, etc.)

Eggs (1 egg = ~6 gm protein)

  • Fresh eggs (can use yolks/yellow)
  • Egg beaters
  • Boiled eggs
  • Frozen/ready to eat eggs without starch (e.g. Jimmy Dean frittatas)

Meat Alternatives (Protein Varies)

  • Tofu (all kinds)
  • Tempeh
  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • Soy burgers (without corn, beans, rice)
  • Soy bacon
  • Soy crumbles
  • Soy hot dogs
  • Soy sausage patties and links

Non-starchy vegetables (This is not a complete list of non-starchy vegetables. Avoid potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, and beans)

  •  Artichokes, arugula, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, cabbage (green, red, napa, savoy), cauliflower, carrots, celery, collard greens, cucumbers, daikon radishes, eggplant, endive, escarole, fennel, garlic, green beans, hearts of palm, jicama, kale, leeks, lettuce (all kinds), mushrooms (all kinds), mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, pepperoncini, peppers (all kinds), pickles, pimientos, radishes, rhubarb, sauerkraut, scallions, seaweed, shallots, snap peas, snow peas, spinach, sprouts, spaghetti squash, summer squash (yellow, zucchini), swiss chard, tomatillos, tomatoes (fresh and canned), turnips, wax beans
  • Steamer, frozen veggies
  • Zucchini noodles
  • Spaghetti squash


  • All fruit (up to 3 servings per day; 1 serving = 1/2 cup to 1 cup or small whole fruit)
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Canned or packaged fruit in its own juice (less than 15 grams of sugar per serving) (Note: pair fruit with a protein for a snack to prevent blood sugar spikes)

Drinks (This is not a complete list. Any sugar-free, non- carbonated, caffeine free drinks will go towards 64 ounce fluid goal)

  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Unsweetened soy milk
  • Unsweetened cashew milk
  • Fat-free or 1% milk
  • Sugar-free, low-fat creamers
  •  Flavored water (no sugar)
  • Sugar-free mixes like Crystal Light, Mio, Propel, True Lemon, store brand sugar-free mix)
  • Diet, caffeine free iced/hot tea/herbal teas
  • Powerade Zero, Vitamin Water Zero, G Zero
  • Oceanspray Sugar-Free juices
  • Diet V8 Splash
  • Diet Lemonade
  • Sobe Lifewater, Hint Water, Bai Water
  • Regular coffee (after 1 month; up to 16oz, does not count toward fluid goals)

Condiments (Should be low fat and low sugar/sugar- free Limit ALL oils to 2 tablespoons per day)

    • All fresh and dried herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic powder, etc.)
    • Low fat, low sugar dressings (Walden Farms, Primal Kitchen, Simple Girl products)
    • Low fat/lite mayo
    • Sugar-free ketchup, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, cocktail sauce
    • Extracts (vanilla, almond, etc.)
    • Mustard (Dijon, yellow, brown, etc.)
    • Mrs. Dash
    • Worcestershire sauce (1 tbsp)
    • Sriracha sauce
    • Soy sauce, reduced sodium
    • Vinegar (all kinds)
    • Salsa (check label for added sugar)
    • Sugar-free jelly/jam
    • Sugar-free syrups, sugar-free honey
    • All spray oils (e.g. Pam) (be careful not to add too much spray)
    • PB2 (peanut butter aisle)

    Treats (serving size should be limited, all sweets should be sugar-free)

    • Sugar free hard candy (be careful with portions, sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect)
    • Sugar-free chocolate syrup
    • Sugar-free cool whip/whipped topping
    • PB2 (peanut butter aisle)
    • Unsweetened cocoa powder
    • Sugar-free fudgesicles and popsicles
    • Sugar-free pudding and Jell-O
    • Halo Top, Enlightened, Arctic Zero ice creams (limit to 1⁄2 cup, wait 6 months after surgery)
    • Protein bars: Quest, Oh Yeah! One Bar, Fit Joy, Pure Protein, Power Crunch (wait 3 months after surgery)

    Pre-made foods/other foods

    • Atkins Meals (look for ones with more grams of protein than carbs and fat)
    • Tuna/chicken/salmon pouches
    • Miracle Noodles/Shirataki noodles (in the produce/tofu section)
    • Fast food – salads w/ dressing on the side, baked sandwiches without the bun, grilled chicken nuggets, Premade chicken, or tuna salad w/ lite mayo (see handout on fast food choices)Premade salads at the deli counter (some may be high in fat)
    • Rotisserie chicken

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