Stay Organized with a Healthy Shopping List
Eating healthy on a budget is easier if you use a shopping list. Make sure you have your weekly meal plan done before you start your grocery list so you'll know what you need to buy. There are good healthy and economical choices in every aisle of the grocery store. Here are some tips on putting together a good grocery list and sticking to it through all the distractions and temptations you may find at the grocery store.
- Use your weekly meal plan to create a list of groceries that you need to buy. Don’t forget to include vegetables, fruit and milk that might not be part of a recipe but are basics for healthy eating.
- Write your grocery list down. You can write it on a pad of paper, enter it into a computer or use a free mobile grocery list app. Keep an ongoing list in your kitchen and add items as you run out.
- Organize your grocery list so shopping is quick and easy.
- Avoid impulse buying. The best way to avoid impulse buying is to be prepared before you go grocery shopping. Make your list and stick to it!
Get Organized Before You Go!
Look in your freezer, pantry and refrigerator and see what you have on hand. You can save money by using these items in some of your meals for the week. Research some recipes that use specific ingredients so you can make use of what you have on hand already.
Make sure to set aside enough time for planning meals, making your grocery list, and shopping. Rushing through these important chores will cost you time and money in the end. Include healthy snacks as well as main menu items on your list. Consider the time of day and the day of the week that you grocery shop. Grocery stores are usually the least busy early in the morning and in the middle of the week. Try to avoid the first day or two of the month as this is when many people receive pension or paychecks.
Essential Items to Have on Hand in Your Kitchen
The first step to eating healthy is to stock your kitchen with a variety of foods that you can throw together for healthy meals in a hurry, and that are easy on your budget. Here are some of the kinds of things you should have on hand.
- Beans and lentils, either canned or dried, can be used to make nutritious, hearty soups, and can also be a healthy side dish with the addition of fresh vegetables.
- Brown Rice is a great addition to leftover meat and vegetables. Although brown rice is slightly more expensive than white, the additional nutrition it contains makes it well worth the extra cost.
- Pasta is quick and easy to prepare as well, and can be combined with vegetables, meat, or a fresh salad. Try adding some extra ingredients like mushrooms, spices and herbs to a good, store bought pasta sauce. Choose whole-wheat pasta whenever you can.
- Soups are great for nutrition and convenience, especially since you can use canned or packaged soups as your base, then add your own vegetables and leftover meat. Experiment with the flavor by adding your own herbs and spices.
- Fresh vegetables and fruit should be bought at least once a week, preferably in season for the best taste and nutrition. Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are healthy alternatives when fresh varieties are not available. Some form vegetable should be eaten with every meal, and fruit makes a quick, nutritious snack.
- Meat and fish can be kept on hand for healthy budget meals. Try tuna and salmon in the pouches – they keep better after opening than cans, and look for inexpensive cuts of meat that work well in stews and casseroles.
- Condiments add flavor and diversity to your dishes. Keep a selection of dried herbs, spices and curry powder, along with marinades, vinegars and various sauces in your cupboard.
So get started on that healthy shopping list, it'll save you time and money at the grocery store and will keep you on track to healthier eating.