Guest Post By Uriell Carlson, RDN, Inner Wild Nutrition
I used to go to the grocery store to grab a single ingredient without even thinking twice about it.
These days, there is none of that. Going to the grocery store is a weekly or bi-weekly event that is strategically planned out well in advance.
To be honest, I would love to continue this strategy once we’re back to normal. As I’ve seen it, we’re spending less money and not wasting food, because it all has a purpose.
So, how does this happen? Well, I’m here to share some of my strategy with you. Here are my top tips to plan ahead and make eating healthy a breeze, without going to the store every other day.
Start With Planning a Complete Meal
First, break it down into complete meals: know that every complete meal contains a source of protein, any kind of plants (the more color/variety, the better), a complex carbohydrate and a source of healthy fat. Here’s a shot of the Meal Building Guidelines document in my newest Nutrition Essentials Ebook to give you some examples of each:
Before you go to the store, look at the list above and take inventory of your kitchen. Aim to have a variety of each component in your kitchen. If you only have one source of protein or two different vegetables, you need more to get you through the week. Add what you need to your grocery list to ensure you have enough of each category to cover the number of meals you’re planning to make.
Write Your List in Order of Grocery Store Route
Now that you have a list, write your list in the order in which you walk through the grocery store. I promise this is a game-changer! The goal here is to avoid starting in the produce section and then getting to the opposite side of the store only to realize you have two more produce items at the bottom of your list that you have to now go back for. Get to know your store so well that you can map out your trip for maximum efficiency!
Skip the Meat Counter and Buy Local Instead
Here’s my big pro tip that’s a win-win for everyone involved: skip the meat counter and freezer section by buying local and buying ahead! Proteins such as fish and meat can be especially difficult to buy a week in advance, unless, of course, you’re buying from local sources that provide you with high quality frozen products.
Having a freezer stocked with fish and other proteins that are far superior to anything I can find at the grocery store makes a last minute dinner prep infinitely less stressful and feels like a small win every time. For example, a roasted vegetables and quinoa bowl with baked salmon or a sesame seared tuna on a farro and greens salad are both quick meals that cover the formula mentioned above.
Batch Cook + Plan for Leftovers + Use Sauces
My final tip is to batch cook and plan for leftovers whenever possible. If you’re having that fish, quinoa and veggie bowl for dinner, make a double batch of quinoa and veggies for lunch the following day. Just add a fried egg on top for a different protein.
Sauces are great to make in batches as well. This tahini sauce can be used as a dip with veggies for a snack, or you can thin it out with more lemon juice to serve as a salad dressing.
One final hint: sauces are another great way to switch up leftovers. Even if you’re eating the same protein, vegetables and carbohydrate, a new sauce will make it feel like a new meal!
Lastly, if you want more recipes, snack ideas, a pantry stocking guide and more info about the Meal Building Guidelines document shared above, check out my newest product, the Nutrition Essentials Ebook!
Be well and please take care of yourselves, friends.