Shopping at the supermarket can be a daunting task, even for the most organized person. Rising prices and endlessly tempting, unhealthy foods lurking in every aisle.

What saves the day? The right list for supermarket shopping, which will help you stick to your diet plan and save time. And always with absolute respect for your budget.

Proper planning

Having the necessary ingredients to prepare delicious meals throughout the week is a great way to maintain a healthy diet.

Having an empty fridge, freezer or pantry can lead you to solutions like fast food or eating out, especially when you have a busy schedule.

Studies have shown that people who plan their meals in advance have an overall healthier diet and lower body weight than those who don’t. Meanwhile, those who plan their meals tend to cook more at home, a practice that has been linked to better diet quality and lower levels of body fat.

A great way to start planning is with a table of meals for a typical week (including breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks). After you have calculated which and how many ingredients you will need, add them to the shopping list. Don’t forget to add the available budget for each meal.

Update your list based on current needs

How many times have you forgotten something or bought something that you already had in your cupboard (and in fact, in a large stock)?

Instead of struggling to remember what you have left, keep a list of current needs for items to buy on your next trip to the supermarket. Keeping track of the foods you’ve eaten, as well as the new foods you want to try, will make making your weekly shopping list much easier.

Build your list realistically

When creating a healthy list, it’s important to set realistic goals about the foods you’ll actually eat. Although you may want to try lots of new and different foods when you first start a healthier way of eating, try not to buy them all in the first week. And the reason is that you simply won’t manage to consume them all in just 7 days. Instead, by choosing specific foods at a time, you will reduce food waste and spend less money from your wallet without depriving yourself of anything.

Divide your list into categories

Separating your shopping list by category is a great way to save time. You can organize the list according to the food category or the way the supermarket you usually visit is set up.

A list broken down by type of food could include the following categories:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Legumes
  • Healthy fats
  • Dairy Products
  • Condiments/dressings
  • Drinks

If you know the layout of the grocery store, try dividing your list based on the sections where the foods you want are found. For example, if you usually start your shopping in the dairy aisle, list those first.

Focus on the right kinds

When preparing your grocery list, try to focus on foods that are healthy and nutritious. This can be challenging, especially for those who have recently started a healthier eating plan. If you even know that certain parts of the grocery store are tempting, like the bakery or the candy aisle, it might be a good idea to avoid those areas altogether.

Shop (also) outside the big supermarkets

And here’s a great way to have access to fresh food while minimizing your exposure to packaged and processed products. Certainly in a good grocery store you can find fresh, affordable and varied products, avoiding exposure to highly processed foods such as sweets, soft drinks and chips.

Stick to the plan

Grocery stores are designed to get shoppers to spend money, whether it’s on healthy or unhealthy foods. In-store ads and weekly flyers promoting coupons and sale items can have a strong impact on the foods you choose to buy. So evaluate your needs correctly and don’t spend on products that don’t serve you.

Make sure you know what each category refers to:

In other words:

  • Vegetables: cauliflower, asparagus, onions, carrots, peppers, spinach, cabbage, arugula, mixed greens, radishes, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms
  • Fruits: bananas, apples, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, lemons, pears, cherries, pineapple, pomegranate, kiwi
  • Proteins: eggs, shrimp, fish, chicken, fresh turkey breast, tofu, beef
  • Carbohydrates: pasta, rice, breakfast cereals such as oats, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, quinoa, buckwheat, oatmeal, couscous, wheat, bread, nuts, toast
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, fava beans, chickpeas, broad beans
  • Healthy fats: olives, olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, almond butter, peanut butter, tahini, flaxseed
  • Dairy and non-dairy products: yogurt, cheese, almond milk, kefir
  • Seasonings/dressings: cinnamon, ginger, paprika, curry, turmeric, pepper, spices, apple cider vinegar, vinegar, herbs, mustard
  • Drinks: tea, coffee, herbs

In any case, structure the list so that it is as easy to read as possible for you who will read it. If, for example, you prefer to create a category with the title ‘snacks’ and put under it foods but fruits, nuts, cereal bars, some dairy products or drinks, then feel free to do so.

Go to the supermarket with a full stomach

Because as everything shows, this way you will buy less and healthier food.