Stocking an Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen: A Complete Shopping List

Inflammation is the body's natural defense mechanism against injury or illness. Acute inflammation is normal and helps protect us, but chronic inflammation that persists can contribute to diseases and conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. 

Much of chronic inflammation stems from lifestyle factors like diet, stress, and lack of activity.

The good news is making natural anti-inflammatory choices can greatly reduce inflammation and promote better health. 

A nutritious anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and spices. By stocking your kitchen with the right staples and ingredients, you can set yourself up for success on an anti-inflammatory eating plan.

Let’s look at what foods to include, what to limit, anti-inflammatory meal ideas, and shopping tips.

Stocking an Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen: A Complete Shopping List

Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Include

  • Fruits and vegetables: Aim for a lot of produce, especially deeply colored fruits and veggies which are highest in antioxidants. Excellent choices are berries, citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, kale, peppers, tomatoes and more. Go for variety to maximize nutrients.
  • Whole grains: Choose whole grains like oats, brown rice, quinoa, and whole grain breads and pastas. Opt for fiber-rich complex carbs instead of refined grains.
  • Healthy fats: Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish, avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Avoid saturated and trans fats.
  • Herbs, spices and teas: Flavor foods with anti-inflammatory turmeric, ginger, garlic, curry, cinnamon, rosemary. Drink green tea and herbal teas.
  • Beverages: Stay hydrated with plenty of water. Limit sugary drinks and alcohol which promote inflammation.

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Refined carbohydrates: Limit sugar, white flour, pastries, cookies and sugary cereals. Avoid refined carbs and added sugars.
  • Fried foods: Say no to deep fried foods high in trans and saturated fats which trigger inflammation.
  • Processed meats: Limit bacon, sausage, deli meats and hot dogs which are linked to inflammation.
  • Excess sugar: Avoid baked goods, candy, ice cream and other sweets that spike inflammation.
  • Alcohol: Reduce alcoholic drinks which cause inflammation to worsen.

Sample Anti-Inflammatory Meals

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with nuts and fruit; Veggie omelet; Avocado toast
  • Lunch: Salad with salmon and veggies; Minestrone soup with whole grains; Veggie and hummus sandwich or wrap
  • Dinner: Sheet pan meal with protein and roasted veggies; Curry stir fry with tofu over quinoa; Chili or stew loaded with vegetables
  • Snacks: Fresh fruits and vegetables; Nuts and seeds; yogurt; cottage cheese; hard boiled egg

Tips for Shopping and Meal Prep

Making the most of your anti-inflammatory diet starts at the grocery store. 

  • Shop the perimeter first for produce, proteins and dairy before venturing to inner aisles. 
  • Make a list and stick to it to avoid impulse buys. 
  • Look for frozen fruits and vegetables for budget savings, along with canned beans and tomatoes.
  • Prep vegetables like lettuce, carrots and bell peppers after shopping so they are ready to grab all week. 
  • Cook a big batch of whole grains like quinoa or brown rice on the weekend so you have them on hand. 
  • Batch cook chicken breasts or chickpeas to use in salads and grain bowls all week.


Stocking your kitchen wisely can set you up for anti-inflammatory eating success. Fill your cart with produce, whole grains, lean proteins, spices and healthy fats. Limit processed foods, refined carbs, sugars and fried foods. Prep veggies and cook ahead to make assembling healthy meals easy. An anti-inflammatory diet can reduce chronic inflammation and provide better health.