Be honest –– how many times have you gone to the grocery store with healthy intentions, but left the store with a ton of junk food, snacks and convenient-to-make frozen goods? Some people enjoy the planning process that goes into grocery shopping, but for others, it can be an overwhelming and time-consuming experience. So, how can you get in and out of the store with everything you need, all while making healthy choices?
Build a Meal Library
Let’s be honest – spending 45 minutes cooking every night after you come home is not ideal. Create a list of go-tos meals that you can make with little effort, but are still good for you. You never know when a day might get crazy, so having some ready-to-go healthy meals is a great option for those days when you don’t feel like cooking. Add them into your meal plan at least once a week to give yourself a bit of a break.
Take 30 minutes out of your day to decide what you’re going to eat for the rest of the week. Planning out your dinners ahead of time can save you time and money. Not only will you have a list of everything you need, but you also avoid letting food expire too! Here’s some ways you can break down the week.
- One big-batch dish: Soup or chili or casserole that you can make on the weekend when you have a bit more time to cook. You’ll have plenty of leftovers to have again sometime later in the week!
- One superfast dinner: Plan one meal you can make quickly, like spaghetti.
- One go-to meal: Pull a meal from that library of go-tos.
- One designated leftover meal: It’s two meals in one. Grill chicken one night; have chicken salad another.
- One Friday favorite: Make Friday night’s dinner something special that everyone looks forward to every week.
Keep Essentials on Hand
Think of some items that you use regularly – butter, tomatoes, pasta, eggs, etc – and stock up on those. Keeping these essential items in the pantry will always give you an option for dinner.
Stick to a List
Grocery lists aren’t just for remembering all the items you need, but can also help keep you on track when you’re at the store. All the cookies might seem tempting, but if you make a list and stick to it, you can save some money and avoid those sweet (calorie-filled) snacks.
Shopping goes much faster if you already know where everything is. Create your list with the store layout in mind, by aisles or departments, and you’ll streamline your shopping trip (and avoid the cookie aisle).