A shopping list can simply include fresh foods and ready-to-eat snacks, along with the additional ingredients you'll need for upcoming meals. Some foods will need to be replenished every few days and others might last for months. You can make your list just a few minutes before you go shopping, but I prefer to keep a pre-printed grocery list in my kitchen. That way, whenever I run out of something I can mark off how much of that food I need, and when I'm ready to go shopping, so is my list.
What foods go on the list? Vegetables and fruits should make up the largest part of your grocery list. They're rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, and they are usually low in calories. We all need at least five or more servings every day. Choose a variety of green, orange, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables that everyone in your family will enjoy.
Most of your grain and cereal products should be made from whole grains, not from refined flours. Whole grains are important for vitamins, minerals, and for fiber, which is often lacking in modern diets. This part of your list includes 100-percent whole grain breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals. Read labels to look for 100-percent whole grain or 100-percent whole wheat to be sure you are getting whole grain products.
Your protein and meat choices should consist mostly of fresh fish, poultry and lean meats. Eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes are also good protein choices. Choose fresh and frozen unbreaded meats and fish. Avoid breaded, deep-fried convenience foods that you put in the oven. They are high in fat and sodium.
Keep beverages simple. Water, low-fat milk, juices and herbal teas are all good choices. If you opt for soft drinks, choose diet sodas and soft drinks to avoid extra sugar.
Dairy products should include low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. If you do not want cows' milk, choose soy and rice beverages, calcium-fortified orange juice, or goats' milks and cheese.
Be careful with dressings, cooking oils and condiments. They are sneaky sources of refined sugar and poor quality oils. Read labels to choose dressings made with olive oil,canola oil or walnut oil. Choose low-fat mayonnaise for your sandwiches and choose canola oil and olive oil for cooking.
Frozen foods are a convenient way to keep vegetables on hand. There are also prepared meals that you can pop into the microwave or oven. These can be convenient and healthy if you choose low-fat versions with good portion sizes. Read labels and chose frozen foods wisely. Avoid frozen pizzas, pocket-sandwiches, deep-fried appetizers, and breaded foods.
Foods in cans and jars are also very convenient. Look for low-sodium soups, vegetables and sauces. Avoid high-fat gravies and high-calorie foods like canned spaghetti and ravioli products.
For sandwiches, choose peanut butter or other nut butters, low-fat turkey slices or sliced roast beef. Avoid processed lunch meats, sausages and hot dogs.
Don't load up on high-calorie treats and desserts. Choose fresh fruits, healthy nuts, seeds and whole grain crackers for snacks.