Real Food Shopping: Reverse Engineering Your Grocery List

It’s like the moonwalk for healthy eating…

    At RD, our baseline habit is eating every two to four hours. Why? It lays the foundation for planning your meals. It’s nearly impossible to eat this frequently, and make healthy choices on the fly. That’s where having a plan and going to the grocery store comes in. 

    To eat every 2 to 4 hours, pick a “healthy” breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with 2 snacks (protein shakes, fruit and nuts, yogurt etc). Crushing your trip to the grocery store starts with breaking down the ingredients of each meal, then multiplying that by the number of times you have those meals, and BOOM, you have your shopping list.  

    Other things to consider would be: are your cheats at home or out? If the cheats are made at home, then include them on your shopping list. If they’re eaten at a restaurant, or ordered out and brought home, make sure this is part of your plan too (included on step 1 below). 

    Any way you cut it, planning is key for staying healthy. Take the time to think about what you’d like to eat, organize your shopping list, and you’re on the way to a leaner you. Follow these instructions to get started.

Steps to creating a shopping list:

1... Set an outline of your menu for the week. How many days are you shopping for? Remember, brainstorm a “healthy” breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus 2 snacks. Don't forget to include your cheat meals if necessary.

2... Breakdown the ingredients of each meal. Your plate should include a protein and a vegetable, a healthy fat or a carb. If your lunch this week is chicken and broccoli with walnuts, write that down. Then…

3... Multiply by the number of times you will have each meal. If you’re shopping for 3 days, take your chicken and broccoli, and break it down into 3 cups of cooked broccoli and 12oz of chicken (for a woman). This makes sure you’re buying what you need and minimizing waste. 

4... Organize the shopping list in the order you navigate the store. For example, put fruits and vegetables first because they’re the first thing when you walk in the store and place eggs and yogurt last because they’re the last thing before checkout.

5... Plan to make your food. If you're not going to cook right away, when will you cook. This grocery list is useless if you never make the food. 

When you start this process, the first time may be time consuming. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a coach and get tips on how to simplify this process. Once you learn this, you'll be moon walking your way to a healthier lifestyle.