My FreshDirect Essentials (Grocery List)!

Earlier this year, I asked a bunch of you (on Instagram) what you wanted to see from me from a content POV, and a good chunk of you said “more everyday meals.” It was so funny to me, because when I started this blog and my Instagram page, it was like, “let’s see more bacon,” but now, foodporn is so horrifically overdone, I think people want to see the more “normal” side of eating. And I get it.

Another reason some of you asked to see what I eat regularly (outside of the occasional Taco Bell or bagel binge), is because I flash my semi-abs every now and then, and I have also shared my struggles with lowering my cholesterol over the last few years, andddd I finally did it! It wasn’t ridiculously high or anything dangerous to begin with, but it was enough for my doctors to tell me to watch my saturated fat (read: cheese) and red meat intake.

I spoke to a nutritionist as well (shout out Jaclyn London on IG!) and she gave me some pro tips on clean eating. She also told me to eat more fish, which I have done, begrudgingly, but I enjoy it now! Will air-fryer branzino ever be steak with herb butter? No, because we’re realists, but you can still enjoy both things.

Now, before I dive into my grocery list here, let me be clear on one thing: I have not stopped eating cheese and red meat, but I have cut WAY back on meat, specifically red meat.

If I’m going to eat red meat, it’s going to be WORTH IT. I’m talking a steakhouse or a good smashburger (thinking Gotham Burger Social Club or 7th Street burger vibes). Cheese I’m definitely guilty of indulging in too much probably, but I try to also make it worth it – ie pizza and a good sandwich that requires it. Or Taco Bell. Always and forever, Taco Bell.

Another thing I want to call out that has helped my health journey: reading labels.

I look for a few things on labels, and I try to eat as “clean” as I possibly can (aka no fake stuff, if possible, but it happens because Totinos Pizza Rolls exist). I look at calories, saturated fat, trans fat (aim for ZERO there), cholesterol, and sugars – obviously the lower the better on all of these things, but even more importantly, the less ingredients, the better. Also, if you don’t know this already, per the FDA:

“ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance by weight, with the ingredients used in the greatest amount first, followed by those in smaller amounts.”

In simple terms, if you look at a label and see the first or second ingredient is “high fructose corn syrup”, you do not want that. I make the exception for certain coffee creamers having “cane sugar” as the second ingredient, because at least that’s not fake sugar! But for the most part, I avoid things like that.

Listen, we live in America and I eat my share of processed things, but if you can avoid products with a ton of chemicals and additives, great.

Last thing: foods that are high in fiber are helpful for lowering cholesterol in your diet!

I started making the viral Jennifer Aniston Salad every week for meal prep lunches and it’s really great. Chickpeas, cucumbers, red onion, parsley, feta, quinoa, with olive oil + lemon juice dressing.

Ok I think I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Actually I lied, one more tip:

I drink water with lemon and cucumber first thing in the morning before I make coffee. I feel like that’s worth mentioning. If I can make my mornings feel like a spa experience with some lemon-cucumber water, why not?

Onto the list!

I have been working with FreshDirect for many, many years now, and I decided to make a list of my “everyday essentials” for you guys! And the best part? This list will be available for your easy ordering needs on FreshDirect! EXCITING!! And thanks to FreshDirect for working with me on this 🙂

And I have a promo code for you! Use code DARA15 for $15 off your order of $75 or more! (Code is good through end of June 2024)

These are the products I have been buying regularly for the past few years, some of them even longer. I will update this as much as I can if I find something new that I love.

My FreshDirect Essentials Grocery List


Califia Farms Oatmilk – this is just three ingredients – water, organic oats, and sea salt. It’s clean and it’s my favorite for cereal and protein shakes, cooking, etc. It’s thin in terms of consistency, so if you’re looking for something to liven up your coffee, I use almond milk creamers for that. See below.

Silk Almond Milk Coffee Creamer or Califia Farms Oatmilk Creamer – these definitely have sugar and “gums” that a lot of people would say are unhealthy, but I tried to pick the one that’s least offensive/tasted good. Both are only 3 grams of sugar. It’s my one indulgence that makes my morning/my coffee better. Not giving that up.

Miyokos Plant-Based Butter – this is by far the best plant-based butter I have ever used, I feel like it tastes and melts just like the real thing. I buy the hint of salt, but a lot of people prefer the unsalted for cooking. I tend to use the below oil spray for cooking, whereas I use the Miyokos for English Muffins and bread, things that I don’t mind having the extra salt.

Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Spray – I used to use Pam, but that stuff is oil + chemicals. This is just 100% avocado oil. I use it for cooking my eggs in the morning, and anything I put in the air fryer, I give it a quick spritz!

English Muffins – I buy the original ones, sorry, they’re my favorite. The light multigrain ones might save you 50 cals per muffin but I find the taste to be weird and they go stale/hard much faster.

Kite Hill Chive Vegan Cream Cheese – I’ve tried many brands and so far, this is my fave and has been for years. I find it most enjoyable on a toasted English Muffin (highly underrated breakfast vehicle).

Kodiak Cakes Power Flapjacks – these are frozen pancakes and they’re full of protein, so when I’m in a rush and need just SOMETHING in my stomach, I throw 2 of these in the toaster and top with a little of my favorite Miyokos plant-based butter or a light drizzle of Soom Chocolate Tahini. YUM. Also they have waffles too!

Quaker Old Fashioned Oats – No “quick-cooking” oats! They will not serve you! Ok that was aggressive but if you want to make overnight oats or just normal oatmeal, you need the old-fashioned kind. Quick cooking oats absorb liquid more, which will make them pasty, and steel cut sometimes don’t absorb well-enough. Stick with the old-fashioned or “rolled oats.” If you want some recipes, I went on an overnight oats journey a while back and have quite a few on the site. Click here.

Eggs – I go for cage-free if possible, but whatever eggs float your boat!

Strawberries – don’t buy the pre-sliced stuff if you can. It never stays fresh for as long. If I find mine are starting to go bad, I cut them into quarters and pop them in a bag to freeze for smoothies!

Sumo Citrus – when in season, they’re THE BEST. Just so good. Best oranges ever.


Simple Mills Almond Flour Cheddar Crackers – these are great and I usually buy the little snack packs if they have them – perfect for when I’m feeling snacky but don’t want to overdo it. Portion control is king!

Pretzel Shells – I love these because they feel less dense than regular pretzels, I also love anything crunchy/crispy. They’re great for dipping in hummus or my favorite Greek yogurt onion dip (made with this dipbuy on amazon, it’s SO good!)

Siete Lime Tortilla Chips – these remind me of healthy Doritos. They’re super thin and crispy, Grain-free, with a delightfully tangy lime flavor.

Tostitos Salsa – I know this might be tacky to some, but I’m a Tostitos salsa gal and always will be.

Konscious Foods Plant Based Onigiri – I’m lovinggg these! The BBQ mushroom ones are the only ones I’ve had and I’m afraid to stray, but I probably should try the other flavors…

Nona Lim Turmeric Chicken Bone Broth – not sure this counts as a snack, but I usually have it in the late afternoon to curb hunger cravings! I love this one. Comes frozen, so you can stock up and defrost when needed!

Bare Apple Cinnamon Chips – these are AMAZING and clean! TWO ingredients, apples and cinnamon. And they go SO well with Soom Chocolate Tahini for dipping.

Lily’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chips (Chocolate Chips) – I use these for my PB Energy Bites a lot of times, and I think they’re awesome. They’re sweetened with Stevia, so if you’re against that, move right along. But I like them. And these are the coconut flakes I like by Bob’s Red Mill!

Lunch Staples/Fixins:

Organic Mini Seedless Cucumbers – I use these for my water in the morning and for the dressing in my Jennifer Aniston salad! I literally go through probably 3-4 lemons/week.

Feta Cheese – do NOT buy the pre-crumbled stuff. It’s usually sprinkled with anti-caking agents (aka chemicals) to keep from clumping. Buy fresh whenever you can.

Organic Parsley – FINALLY they made this in small portions. I was out here buying bunches of fresh parsley and end up throwing a lot away. Now this is the perfect size for my salad and maybe one other dish during the week, like my pantry pasta.

Chickpeas (Low Sodium)

Microwaveable Quinoa – I realize all of these things have a little bit of oil in them to prevent clumps but I don’t care. It’s worth saving the extra time and I love the manageable portions.

Microwaveable Brown Rice – see above.

Damascus Flatbreads/Roll Ups – Ok I’m obsessed with these when I make them in the air fryer like little pizza flatbreads (see below) – I don’t love them raw. They’re low cal, low sugar, and they are perforated so you can tear one or two pieces off, like Bounty Paper Towels! What a time to be alive!

Gotham Greens Pesto – I use this on sandwiches and on the Damascus Flatbreads with a little tomato paste to make a whole grain pizza flatbread situation in the air fryer (with some mozzarella or Miyokos vegan mozzarella). Don’t knock it til you try it!

Gotham Greens Brooklyn Crunch Lettuce – I find this lettuce to last longer than most I’ve bought in the past. Keeps its crunch really nicely!

Dozen Cousins Beans – I loveee these! Clean brand too! I buy the Cuban black beans and the Mexican pinto beans most often. Ready in a minute in the microwave or stove top, and SO flavorful.

Cleveland Kraut – if you like pickles, you will like this sauerkraut. Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like it just tastes like thin sliced pickles. I use it on top of my rice bowls (brown rice, lettuce, Gardein chicken tenders, Dozen Cousins Beans, salsa).

Dr Praegers Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers – I usually make one of these in the air fryer, cut it up and put it on my rice bowls in place of meat. I rarely, if ever, eat it as a “burger.”

Gardein “Chicken” Tenders – I love these and eat them on my rice bowls in place of meat as well, or sometimes just by themselves with BBQ sauce (embracing my inner child FTW).


Branzino – I can’t stress this enough, this is one of the best and easiest things I make in the air fryer, and FreshDirect’s filets are great! I didn’t even really like fish growing up, and I NEVER ever made it for myself for dinner up until a year or two ago. Now, I make it probably once/week. Just sprinkle with salt, lemon-pepper seasoning, and paprika, then air-fry for 12-13 mins. I make salmon in the air fryer too.

Kevin’s Paleo Korean BBQ Style Chicken/Teriyaki Chicken – I’m obsessed with these. They cook them with the sous vide method, so the chicken is so tender, I just heat it up on the stovetop (but you can microwave too I think), add the sauce, then I add green beans or Steamfresh broccoli, and a package of the Nature’s Promise Jasmine Rice. It’s literally just as good, if not better, than takeout. And SO much better for you.

Jason Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs – I’ll be honest, I have no sensitivity to gluten (though I feel like everyone does to some degree), but I like the consistency of these. They’re like little cracker pieces. And I enjoy the texture on top of my air-fryer salmon.

Frozen Cauliflower Rice w Kale and Sweet Potatoes – I really like this blend and I’m usually not a big fan of cauliflower rice! Goes well with the chicken sausages (below).

Chicken Sausage (Italian) – I find this brand to be great in terms of health + taste. I usually mix it with the frozen cauliflower rice or chicken flavored rice (below). Or sometimes I’ll make lemon potatoes to have with it. Recipe soon on that!

Microwaveable Chicken Flavored Rice – this is one of the things I love that I KNOW has fake stuff in it but I don’t care. It’s not like I’m sitting here eating a Big Mac. It’s not that bad nutrition-wise (if you don’t care about sodium) and I eat half/save the other half for the next day’s lunch or dinner.

Microwaveable Green Beans – I usually make these on the stove top, but sometimes to speed up the cooking process, I’ll par-cook them in the microwave and then crisp them up on the stove.

Broccoli Crowns – Slice the florets off the crown, put on a baking sheet and roast in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 400 for 20 mins or until the florets are nice and crispy. When it comes out of the oven, hit it with a little squeeze of fresh lemon. So easy and delish!

Genio Frozen Pizza – from the folks behind Una Pizza Napoletana in Soho, one of the best frozen pizzas I’ve ever tried, no lie. Crispy crust but still chewy/fluffy on the inside, great sauce too. Good ingredients. Highly recommend!


I don’t do a lot of soft drinks, I’m a big water gal, but I loves me my Spindrift!

The half tea/half lemon Spindrift ones are my absolute fave. Also if/when you can find it, the Apple Cider is incredible. But FD usually has Blood Orange Tangerine Spindrift, which is yum too!

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