It’s 11pm, you’ve been working on that paper for hours. You find yourself looking through your cupboards and fridge, and before you know it, you’ve eaten your way through an entire package of cookies…
I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been there.
Eating healthy all begins with what fills your kitchen cupboards. And it seems like every time I walk into the grocery store without a list, I forget everything I need to buy and somehow end up with lots of macaroni and cheese. (Velveeta, of course). For this reason, I started making real grocery lists, and my diet improved immensely.
But here’s the trick to a good grocery list: the simpler, the better. My roommates tease me every time we shop because I bring the same list, and it always looks something like this:
- A meal
- A treat
Now, I know what you’re thinking, that looks really boring… but all I can say is, don’t judge until you try it yourself. (This list is assuming that you already have all of the staples like flour, sugar, eggs, peanut butter etc.).
As weird as it may sound, when my cupboards are full of healthy snacks, it’s much easier for me to eat well.
Fruits. They’re the perfect snack at any time of day (or night). They’re delicious cut up on cereal or mixed with yogurt for breakfast. My staple fruits include a few bananas, a few apples, one carton of berries depending what’s on sale, and because it’s winter, a couple cuties.
Vegetables. The most difficult food group for me to actually eat every day. I’ve found that what helps me the most is buying two or three, washing and cutting them up as soon as I’m home from the grocery store, and then when I get in those snacks moods, they’re already ready to be eaten! I’ll usually get carrots, broccoli, and a red pepper.
Bread and cereal are staples for me because I eat a lot of sandwiches and a lot of bowls of cereal. I just make sure it’s all whole grain, or at least half whole grain. Your go-to staples might be a little different depending on what you like to eat.
Milk. Got it? I mean, everybody could benefit from a bit more calcium. If you don’t like milk, go for yogurt or maybe even try out something like Almond Milk.
A meal. Before I go to the store, I will decide on a meal that I want to eat that week. Maybe it’s spaghetti or chicken fajitas or stir fry. Whatever it is, I buy all the ingredients that I need for that one meal.
A treat. I don’t care who you are, everybody needs a treat once in a while. It’s my opinion that we’re missing out in some of the joy life has to offer when we always say no to a cookie, or even worse, make ourselves guilty over accepting a cookie. The trick is to not overeat. If you want it, buy it, eat it, enjoy it, and save the rest for later. Sometimes I’ll buy ice cream, other weeks I’ll buy a brownie mix, just depends on my mood that week.
Because everybody is different, there might be a category that I missed on this list that you absolutely cannot live without. Like, some people really like chips. I just don’t, so I don’t buy them. For that reason I’ve left an extra category for you to fill in with whatever might go on your staple grocery list that I’ve forgotten.
I’ve included a template for you grocery-shoppers out there who might not entirely trust yourselves quite yet. Try it out for a month and see if it makes any difference in how you eat.