As I make my way home from an extended visit of work and pleasure to Peru and Bolivia, I think about my empty fridge and how to refill it. I make a mental list of essential needs. Some years ago I placed myself under the care of a nutritionist to improve my eating habits and her lessons remain with me. When shopping and planning for meals, I favor sustainment, simplicity, and affordability. What does this look like? Here is the list… Español aquí.

Protein and dairy for strong muscles and bones

I always include eggs and milk in my breakfast. A dozen eggs last about a week. I buy milk in bulk, with packages of three one-liter bags. I’ll drink from one bag and freeze the rest. Calcium is very important for us adult women because we stop producing calcium when are adults and brittle bones make bad accidents.

Cheese is also a favorite. I struggle to find what my people call “fresh” cheese in Toronto, so I substitute it with feta or bocconcini cheese. On this visit I picked up creme cheese because I ran out, otherwise those are my cheese choices.

I alternate my grocery run picks between meats like chicken, turkey, beef and fish. By freezing this food, I space out these purchases. This week I picked up plant-based burgers because I already had frozen cooked chicken, salmon fillets, and shrimp in the freezer.

Fruits for fiber (for the bathroom)

Berries are great superfoods. I favor blueberries, but raspberries and strawberries are awesome as well. A large berry container lasts me 1-2 weeks.

Papayas are also super sources of antioxidants and I love finding them in smaller sizes in my supermarket. I let it ripen and then chop them up for storage in the fridge.

These pears were on sale because they were going to go bad soon, so I added them to the cart. I add them to my berries for breakfast with the peel.

Green leaves and other veggies for healthy hearts

Leafy greens like arugula and spinach are high in iron. I try to mix them to add interest to my salads. My weekly challenge is that they don’t go bad. They last 1-2 weeks.

I eat broccoli when I want more substance from my greens. They taste great with steamed mushrooms. I didn’t remember to get bell peppers, but they taste nice with broccoli and mushrooms.

No less important, tomatoes add color to your greens and studies show that they contribute to cancer prevention. 4-6 tomatoes can feed me for two weeks.

I picked up garlic because I didn’t know if I had any and I like to cook with garlic cloves.


I also added a bottle of concentrated vinegar. This is a great product for cleaning surfaces and it’s environmentally friendly. It’s very common in Canada, so I don’t have a hard time finding it.


Protein and dairy

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Burgers (plant based)
  • Cream cheese


  • Blueberries
  • Papaya
  • Pears

Greens and vegetables

  • Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic


  • Vinegar