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Veggie Challenge shopping list (to print)

Here is the official 7-day Veggie Challenge shopping list. It includes all of the ingredients required for the featured recipes that you will receive daily in your inbox while taking the Veggie Challenge.

There are two versions:

2-3 servings: Veggie Challenge shopping list 2 serve [pdf]

4-6 servings: Veggie Challenge shopping list [pdf]


Other shopping lists

Here are some additional vegetarian shopping lists that will give you an idea of what to shop for in general:

1. A vegan list – As part of Oprah’s vegan week, published a 2-page vegan shopping list [pdf]. It includes several processed foods, while not always the healthiest options, these can be convenient when starting out.

2. A healthy list – has published a shopping list [pdf] made up of healthier, whole food items.

3. A vegetarian list  – The Ultimatest Vegetarian Grocery List [pdf], a detailed one-page list from They also have editable lists.


Where to shop for fresh food

Shop at a place that emphasizes freshness, only buy as much as you need, and store your foods properly.

Whether it is a natural food stores or supermarket, choose a store that has a commitment to freshness. If items on the shelves are dusty, this is a sign of slow turnover and perhaps a signal to shop elsewhere. Also check for expiry dates.

Larger natural food stores (and bulk stores) are usually the best places to buy find fresh whole food ingredients. And they carry lots of specially vegetarian and vegan products.

Supermarkets carry a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and many are expanding their vegetarian and natural food selections. Note: because supermarkets focus on products with long shelf lives, their ‘natural food’ offerings may be overly sweet, refined, and packaged. And whole grain products may go off before being purchased. I once bought whole wheat flour from a supermarket that must have been sitting too long on the shelf. The muffins I made from it had a rancid taste. • Trader Joe’s (in the U.S.) and Whole Foods are good places to check out.

Other options – Asian stores and markets, Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and the stores of other cultures. You may be able to join a local buying club for quantity orders and delivery. You can also order online for vegetarian and vegan products.

Fresh fruits and vegetables – the best places to shop are farmers markets and produce stores. Larger natural food stores and some supermarkets also may carry nice produce (including organic). Look for locally-grown – not only does it tend to be fresher, it is also best for the environment as it does not require long distance shipping. Fresh produce also retains more nutrients. For example, spinach losses half of its nutrient content eight days after being harvested (see study).

Where to find local farmers’ markets

What to buy

Fruits and vegetables

Avocados, broccoli, leafy greens (kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, Italian parsley, bok choy, rapini), salad greens (arugula, mixed greens, spinach, watercress, romaine lettuce, endive, sprouts), all kinds of mushrooms, cucumbers, carrots, celery, radishes, tomatoes, green and red peppers, artichokes, cauliflower, squashes, sweet potatoes/yams, potatoes, beets, onions, leeks, green onions, garlic, ginger, red and green cabbage, jalapeños hot peppers, plantains,

Fruit – apples, oranges, kiwi, grapes, grapefruit, berries, bananas, lemons, limes, coconuts, cantaloupe, papayas, pineapples, durian.

Buy the following in season for the best flavour and price:

Spring – field-grown lettuce, arugula, garlic greens, radishes, asparagus, peas, snow peas, fiddlehead ferns, rhubarb, strawberries and cherries.

Summer – lots of greens, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, apricots, peaches, wild blueberries, yellow plums, melons, corn, fresh basil, and much more.

Fall – squash/pumpkin, kale, chard, Brussels sprout, fresh shittake mushrooms, parsnips, beets, pears, celeriac.

Winter – Cabbage, cranberries, Mandarin oranges and other citrus, pomegranates.

  • Note: Produce will last longer when it is whole. Look for greens that have some of the stem intact. Don’t buy prepared salad greens or veggies unless you plan on using them that day.
  • You can also buy frozen fruits and vegetables.


35-50 minutes to cook – Brown rice (short, long, jasmine, basmati and sweet), wild rice, pearl barley, whole oats (grouts)

15-30 minutes – millet, quinoa, kasha, white rice (arborio, short, long, jasmine, basmati and sweet), course cornmeal (polenta), steel cut oats, barley flakes, amaranth.

Fast cooking – kasha (buckwheat), quick brown rice, couscous, bulgur, fine cornmeal, rolled oat flakes, rye flakes, teff, pastas

Flours – whole wheat, spelt, kamut and flours made from the grains above.

Pasta and noodles – pasta made from wheat, rice, kamut, corn, etc, and Asian style noodles (e.g. udon, buckwheat etc.).

Breads, crackers, breakfast cereals – made from all of the grains mentioned above. Breads are available in soft and denser loaves.

The above grains are available in bulk or packaged. Make sure to buy whole grains fresh – check expiry dates or smell. The oils in grain oxidate over time and smell faintly of oil paint or crayons once they have gone off.

You can also buy white rice, pasta and flour. Such foods have less nutrition but cook quicker and have  a longer shelf life.

Legumes (beans, lentils, pulses)

Slow cooking – Beans (black, white, kidney, pinto, red, lima, fava), chickpeas/garbanzo

Fast cooking – lentils (red, green, yellow, black, brown), split peas, mung beans

The above legumes are available dry in bulk or packaged. Also canned beans are available at a higher cost but are a real time saver.

Soy products – tofu (sold refrigerated or in small tetrapak packages), tempeh (available fresh or frozen). Dry soy beans take a long time to cook unless you have a pressure cooker.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts – walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, hazel nuts (filberts), Brazil nuts, and peanuts (a personal choice given modern allergy problems – choose organic if possible).

Seeds – sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax (great for baking), chia, sunflower, and sesame seeds

Nut and seed butters – tahini, peanut butter, almond butter etc. Sold in jars or you can also make your own.

Nuts and seeds are available in bulk or packaged. Make sure they are fresh (check expiry dates, smell them, or taste one) and use quickly. Only purchase small amounts at a time. Sometimes there will be one or two bad nuts in a batch, especially for Brazil nuts, hazel nuts and walnuts. If you have a mixed batch, you may want to cut off a bit of each nut and sample before using.


All round – Extra virgin olive oil (high in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants), canola, grape seed, coconut

Specialty – hemp and flax (best for omega-3), walnut oil. (check expiry dates, use cold and store in fridge).

On toast – spoon on liquid oil or use a small amount of virgin coconut oil. Butter or one of the ‘healthier’ margarines are also options.

Don’t buy large amounts of oils at a time. Olive oil and coconut oils can last for up to a year, but all the others ones go off quickly. Use oils sparingly and don’t ever let them smoke. When frying, keep the temperature low and/or mix in some water.

More information: See Butter versus oil, the championship fight


  • Places to stock up on vegetarian pantry foods include health food stores, health food co-ops, large health-oriented super-stores or supermarkets, fruit and vegetable stores, some bulk/wholesale stores, local markets (farmer’s markets etc.) and straight from boutique stores on farms.
  • Don’t over look your local supermarket. Many mainstream grocery stores are now catering to the veggie crowd by offering several varieties of soy milks, tofu and vegetarian ‘meat’ products as well as organic produce.
  • Some specialty grocery stores are also great to visit in and discover new flavours and textures; try Chinese, Lebanese, South African, Italian, West Indian, Samoan, etc. stores for new ideas.
  • Some artificial sweeteners, while low in calories, have been implicated in health problems in some individuals. Research carefully before choosing an artificial sweetener option. Stevia is a good, natural sweetener alternative that avoids potentially problematic chemicals.


National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference – USA database of ingredients. You can search for a wide range of ingredients and find their nutrition profiles.

Vegan supermarket options in the UK –

A nice list of vegan product substitutions for foods containing meat and dairy (US-based) –

wikiHow article on How to Stock a Vegetarian Pantry.

  • VegSteve

    Chinatown and Indian neighbourhoods are worth checking out.