Meal planning is the key to fitting nutritious and enjoyable meals into your busy schedule. Here are some simple steps or making sure what you buy in the grocery store translates into balanced meals for you and your family.
- Stay Organized. Create a master grocery list of your basic (staple) foods that you always need to have on hand. On my master grocery list I have things like olive oil, rolled oats, almond milk, almonds, avocado’s, whole wheat flour, and berries for an example
- Create a menu for the week prior to going to the grocery store, make a list of all your meals for the week and then make sure you have all the ingredients to accomplish this. This normally takes me 30 minutes to complete and saves me money as well as extra trips to the grocery store
- Plan your meals around supermarket specials and clip coupons to save money!
- Make a list and organize your list according to the departments in the stores so you don’t forget anything!
- Stick to your list! Avoid unnecessary spur of the moment purchases, having unhealthy snacks sitting around the house will be way more tempting than if you never bought them in the first place!
- Do not shop while hungry – the golden rule.
- Try to avoid shopping in the center aisles, the majority of your food items should come from the perimeter of the grocery store. The less processed foods you buy, the better for your health!
- Fill your cart with a rainbow of bright colors to maximize nutrition, the more colors the more vitamins and minerals that you will be consuming
- Purchase only lean meats and try out other alternative sources of protein like beans.
- Choose low-fat and skim milk sources of yogurt, sour cream, and cheese
- Buy complex carbohydrates like whole wheat pasta and brown rice, add lentils to your master grocery list because they are super filling and high in fiber
***By utilizing these tips you can save time and money, make better food choices, and improve overall healthfulness of eating. Now who wouldn’t want to do that?
–Cinthia Scott, RD, LD, CNSC