Food Shopping

This section of the website is focused on your first food shop, what you need to buy and the structure of foods you need to buy.


  • Oils, Herbs and Spreads

  • Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fruit and Veg

Get started below.

If you are moving into somewhere new, the first food shop you ever do will be the biggest food shop you ever do – but that doesn’t have to mean it’ll be the most expensive.

It is useful to think about your first big food shop as two separate shopping trips, that way you can make sure you remember everything that you need.

The information below is a helpful guide to doing your food shop. Whilst we have split it into two separate shopping trips, this doesn’t mean you have to visit the supermarket twice. You can buy everything you need in one visit, we would just recommend that you put everything on the first list in your trolley before moving onto the second list.

List #1

It might sound stupid, but food isn’t the only thing you need to buy on a food shop, you will need oils to cook your food and things like salt and pepper to make it taste better.

If you enjoy cooking or want to teach yourself to cook different types of meals, you may even want to buy some dried herbs and spices to experiment with different flavours. We have included a list of some of the more common herbs and spices used in cooking.

The other things that are included on List #1 are butter, spreads, and sauces.

The list below is a guide to the essentials – it’s up to you how much or how little of each item you buy. We have included a little explanation as to how each item of your food shop can be used.


Cooking Oils

Olive Oil – Used to fry food, can also be used as a salad dressing to add flavour. One of the healthier oils to cook with.

Vegetable Oil – Cheaper than olive oil but not as healthy to cook with. Can be used to fry food, but not recommended as a salad dressing.

Sunflower Oil – Similar price to vegetable oil but not as healthy as olive oil to cook with. Can be used to fry food, but not recommended as a salad dressing.

Not essential, but if you want to experiment further…


Coconut Oil – Cheaper than olive oil, and a healthy oil to cook with. Coconut oil will give your food a different flavour to olive oil.

Sesame Oil – Very unique flavour, similar in price to olive oil. If you like Asian food then this would be a good addition to your store cupboard.


Herbs and Spices

Herbes de Provence – it sounds posh but it’s oregano, thyme, and rosemary all together in one pot, which is cheaper than buying all three individually. Used a lot in Italian food, try a sprinkle in pasta sauces or over the top of a salad. This is sometimes called Mixed Herbs.

Paprika – a simple spice to make a meal a bit more interesting. Try rubbing it into some fried chicken or sprinkling over some chips before they go into the oven.

Chilli Flakes – Adds heat to your cooking, if you like hot food add more, if you don’t like hot food add less. It’s your choice.

Garlic – Fresh garlic keeps in the fridge for weeks, you can crush it, or add a clove to your frying pan when cooking meat or fish and it will enhance the flavour. Garlic is really good for you too!

Salt & Pepper – Adds flavour to your cooking and is needed in every cupboard.


There are hundreds of different herbs and spices out there, experiment with different flavours and see which ones you like and which you don’t.


Butter, Spreads, and Sauces

Butter – There are loads of different butters available. They are all very similar in taste but they vary widely in price. There is no need to buy expensive – look for what is on offer.

Margarine – Often cheaper than butter but not quite as tasty.

Honey, Jam, Marmalade – All spreads that can be spread on toast. Jam comes in a variety of flavours, really sweet tasting jams are flavours like strawberry and plum, less sweet tasting jams are flavours like blackcurrant and raspberry.


If you like snacking on meals like toast it can be a good idea to buy things like peanut butter too. These are really filling and high in calories too so they will keep you going if you ever find you don’t have much in the fridge.

Other non-essential items that you might want to think about buying include…


  • Mayonnaise or salad cream

  • Tomato Ketchup

  • Brown Sauce

  • Worcestershire Sauce

  • Vinegar



List #2


List #2 is much easier to buy things for. It is basically all of the things you like to eat.


This list is totally about your preference, please use it as a guide.


Carbohydrates are a staple part of your store cupboard - they are cheap to buy, they fill you up and dried carbohydrates such as pasta and rice can be stored for months.

  • Pasta

  • Rice

  • Potatoes

  • Bread

  • Cereal

If you want to experiment and try new flavours, there are different grains and pulses you can try as well…


  • Couscous

  • Quinoa

  • Lentils

  • Beans



Protein is an important part of a healthy diet and helps to make sure your body functions properly. Proteins are more expensive to buy than carbohydrates so it can be a good idea to store fresh meat and fish in the freezer and get them out, as you need them to avoid things goings off and getting wasted.

  • Red Meat

  • White Meat

  • Fish

  • Eggs

  • Cheese

  • Yoghurt




We need some fat as part of a healthy diet, you should try to make sure the fat in your diet comes from natural sources rather than from sugary things. There is some fat in red meat, eggs, cheese and yoghurt too.


  • Avocado

  • Nuts

  • Nut Butters

  • Butters

  • Whole fat dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cream

  • Ice Cream

  • Chocolate

Fruit and Vegetables


You should aim to eat up to five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Fruit and vegetables are not expensive and can be used as healthy snacks or as part of a main meal.


  • Carrots

  • Cabbage

  • Parsnips

  • Sweet Potato

  • Onions

  • Tomatoes

  • Lettuce

  • Broccoli

  • Cucumber

  • Spinach

  • Cauliflower

  • Grapes

  • Apples

  • Oranges

  • Melon

  • Strawberries

  • Kiwi

  • Peach

  • Mango

  • Cherries


There are plenty of fruit and vegetables out there and it is good to experiment.


Eating a healthy and balanced diet will have a huge positive impact on your mood and motivation. Moving into somewhere new can be a great opportunity to make positive changes to different parts of your life, such as diet. A guide to good dieting:



The 2 lists above are there to help you buy the right ingredients to make sure your diet is fun, interesting and varied – but above all else, healthy.