Many people ask me not only about how much food they should eat but also what types of foods they should consume. There is a lot of misleading advertising out there and many foods get labeled as healthy, when in fact, aren’t.
I am going to show you an easy way to do your food shopping and weekly meal preparation taking the guessing out of the equation.
1. Make time to go food shopping for the week
Pick a day that works for you. For this you will need to have a list ready so you don’t end up buying things that are not healthy or you do not need. Think of your family’s favorite meals when writing the list of items to buy.
Here I provide you with my pantry staples. These items are great to have on hand to prepare easy, nutritious meals and snacks.
By incorporating these items in your meal planning you will cut down expenses in your weekly shopping trip.
(Some supermarkets have the option for you to order online, and they will deliver saving you that trip to the store).
- Oils: olive oil, sesame oil, vegetable oil
- Grains, legumes, and pasta: brown rice (look for 3gr fiber or more per serving), 100% whole wheat pasta, couscous, quinoa, lentils, split peas, oatmeal and other whole grain cereals.
- Nuts: unsalted almonds, pistachios, walnuts.
- Canned beans: back, red, pinto, chick peas.
- Frozen beans: lima beans, soy beans.
- Frozen meats: skinless boneless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, London broil, frozen Tilapia.
- Condiments: black and white pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, fresh garlic, turmeric, parsley, oregano, cumin, nutmeg, pepper flakes, chipotle, basil, sage, rosemary, cinnamon, hot sauce, soy sauce (lite), BBQ sauce.
- Frozen vegetables: onions, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, sweet peas, corn, spinach.
- Breads: You can buy 100% whole wheat pizza crust, English muffins and other whole wheat breads and freeze them. You’ll just need to thaw them in the morning before you go out and they will be perfect by dinner time.
- Canned tomatoes and pasta sauce.
- Fresh fruits and produce for salads.
Planning is key when it comes to success. You won’t eat what is not in your pantry once you have the staples in your pantry you will only need to shop for certain things like dairy products, eggs, and fresh produce.
2. Buy more raw and ready to eat foods
Fruits and vegetables are a great to grab and go and make great snacks. You can eat them raw or dip them (in nut butter or hummus), etc. Fruits and vegetables will fill you up because of their fiber content and provide you with vitamin, minerals, and antioxidants you need for optimal health.
With these fresh ingredients you can make delicious, nutritious smoothies that are a good to go breakfast, for example.
Buy seasonal items to save money. Fresh markets are great because they have local items and are cheap. For a one-stop-shop try Aldi or Trader Joe’s, I find them to have the best value for produce, as well as other products like cheese and frozen items.
3. Use your crockpot
This is a great time-saving appliance. You set it up in the morning before you head to work and when you come home dinner is ready.
Crock pots will allow you to make double portions of an entrée you can freeze and eat another day when you don’t have time to cook. Some examples are casseroles, soups, and stews.
4. Cook once, eat twice
This method is great for proteins and some side dishes like rice. You cook a little more and you make them do double duty. For example if you buy a rotisserie chicken or cook a couple of extra chicken breasts you can make a salad one night and chicken tacos the next.
Week at a glance meal plan sample
Sunday = Cook on the grill
Monday = Leftovers
Tuesday = Meatless (beans, lentils)
Wednesday = Mexican (fish tacos)
Thursday = Pasta dish
Friday = Homemade Pizza (using frozen crust)
Saturday = Dinner Out
Cooking at home has several benefits. By planning and cooking your meals yourself you control the ingredients and are able to produce balanced meals that are low processed. Use your time wisely. Have the list ready and an idea of what the week is going to look like to make the best ingredient choices that will allow you to prepare quick, healthy meals for you and your family.