The Ultimate Grocery List for Busy Parents


A trip to the supermarket is complicated enough without added conflicting demands on our grocery list.

Do you really need organic pasta? Are store brand products inferior? And have you seen how many flavors there are of yogurt?

All we want is to find healthy, affordable food for our kids, but it seems like too much work sometimes.

So we did the work for you.

RELATED: Grocery Shopping on a Budget: 10 Ways to Keep Rising Food Costs in Check

The following foods, broken down by category, make up an ideal grocery list for a family. Plus, we explain just how you can spend and save in each section. (Costs are estimated based on the prices offered at a national, mid-range grocery chain, but they may vary slightly at your local store.)


Bananas, $.36 each when sold individually
Oranges, $.25 each
Organic Peaches, $.76 each
Organic Pears, $1.49/each
Organic Baby Carrots, $2.09/bag
Avocadoes, $1 each
Frozen Peas, $3.29/bag
Organic Spinach, $4.79/bag

Spend On: Organic fruits and veggies that have edible skin, such as nectarines. If produce makes up a large portion of your grocery haul, and your bills are getting expensive, consider just choosing organic for produce that lands on the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” list of foods, such as apples, which test highest in pesticide residue.

Save On: If you’re craving produce that you can peel–like bananas and oranges–it’s safe to buy the cheaper, non-organic variety. Buy generic produce at the supermarket or do some comparison shopping at your local farmer’s market—seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables are often the cheapest option.

  • Alex

    I love LearnVest, but I strongly disagree with some of your recommendations here. Parents need to know that, with the exception of some local-farm-sourced food, nearly ALL non-organic produce and grains in the US are GMOs (which are proven to cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, and a multitude of other chronic health issues and are ILLEGAL in most developed countries). Similarly, nearly ALL meat not labeled as “organic, grain/grass-fed (depending on the animal), free range” is from animals pumped full of antibiotics & hormones and bred in factory farms with unspeakably unsanitary conditions and widespread illness.  Telling ANYONE, but ESPECIALLY parents feeding developing children, that it’s ok and even “safe” to consume regular/conventional produce, grains, and meat is very irresponsible.

    I understand that not everyone, especially those supporting children, can afford to buy everything organic all the time. As LearnVest is all about saving money and spending wisely, I [sort of] get where you’re coming from with this article.  At the very least, though, inform your readers of the dangers of consuming non-organic food so that they can decide for themselves whether or not they prefer to allocate more of their budgets to buying organic.

    Side note: to any interested parties, Trader Joe’s and Fairway both have a lot of organic options at reasonable prices. I work an entry-level job and pay rent in Manhattan (and have a social life), and I still buy all of my food organic at Trader Joe’s for about $60-$70/week.

  • Daniellekcweaver

    I am horrified that you say it is ok to buy generic baby food. These “regulations” are pathetic. non-organic food in the united states is toxic, for-profit poison! If you want to poison yourself, go ahead, but don’t feed antibiotics, hormones and pesticides to babies! Shame on you. Please do not advise people how to feed children. You are clearly uninformed.

  • Jacquelyn Burch

    This is one of the WORST things I have read in recent history… My head hurts just contemplating the damage that could be done by such irresponsible reporting…. Parents… Please, I beg you, DO YOUR RESEARCH and do NOT listen to these…nutcases.