Getting Started: Grocery lists

Writing a grocery list is the first step in eating healthy.  A grocery list requires some level of planning.  It can help us save money and set the mood of what we will eat that week.  Having a list also supports our willpower at the grocery store.  Walking by the soda aisle becomes easier when you see that soda is not on your list.  You can also offer the list as a reason to your sugar-frantic child why you won’t be going home with Snickers this week.

Tips for Writing a list

  • Have about 3 meals in mind for the week.
  • Include a healthy proportion of vegetables, grains, and proteins on your list
  • Include a few items that will soothe a craving
  • Develop a list of “Always Items”
  • After you’re finished writing it down, look over and it and decide if there are things you don’t need.

If you have about 3 meals in mind for the week, you’ve not only written your grocery list, you’ve also planned 3 meals for the week!  Look in your pantry to see what you already have.  Often, you will only need to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

An example of a healthy proportion of vegetables, grains, and proteins could be 40-50% fresh vegetables and fruit, 10-25% dried grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, 25-50% proteins including animal, soy, bean, and grain proteins, and 0-25% food products including beverages, sweets, and anything not fresh that comes in a box or a bag.

List Ratio Pie Chart.tiff

Don’t be too hard on yourself.  You deserve a treat!  Make sure you include something that satisfies cravings for you and your family.  When consumed in moderation, some healthy treats and snacks include:  coffee, chocolate, almonds, pistachios, trail mix, low sodium tortilla chips and salsa, celery and carrot sticks, apples with peanut butter, coconut water, cheese and crackers, etc.

Developing a list of “Always” items will save you time in the future.  This list does not follow the ratio rule, and are mainly items that can be stored.  They are must-haves in the pantry.  My partner and I have developed one.  We don’t “always” need to replenish our supply, but we often save a lot of money when these items go on sale.  Our “always” list includes:  eggs, chips and salsa, apples, beans, lentils, rice, quinoa, polenta, peanut butter, flour, butter, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari, onions, garlic, ginger, tomato sauce, coconut milk, to name most of the list.

Now, look over your list.  Get rid of the excess, and give yourself room to start eating healthily!

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