Diet Plan With Shopping List — The secret to lose weight and get fit is the diet plan accompanied by a shopping list. The first thing you have to do when you start a diet, is create a shopping list. It’s not just to have an idea which kinds of food you should buy, it’s also a very convenient way of keeping track of everything you need for this diet. This helps to reduce the number of different shops that you need to go to get all the stuff for your diet.
How To Plan Healthy Meals For Weight Loss?
If you’re trying to lose weight, meal planning might be a useful tool. It can help you establish the calorie deficit necessary for weight reduction while also providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function and stay healthy. Planning your meals may also help you save time by streamlining the meal preparation process (11).
To meal plan successfully, consider the following:
Daily Nutritional Requirements
Different people require different amounts of nutrients, especially those who are very active or working out regularly. Determine how many calories you need each day so that you can adjust your meal plan accordingly.
Ideal Calorie Deficit For Weight Loss
According to experts, you’ll need to reduce your calorie intake by 500-1000 calories per day to lose weight at a healthy and steady pace (10). The exact number of calories you need to cut from your diet depends on various factors, including how physically active you are and your height and weight.
Food Preferences And Tastes
Take your preferences and tastes into consideration, as well as any dietary restrictions and allergies you might have when choosing foods for your meal plan. Plan meals that offer a mix of flavors to keep things interesting. You can also use seasoning mixes to boost the taste of healthy foods without adding fat, sugar, or salt.
Level Of Cooking Expertise
If you are new to the kitchen, keep things simple. Choose recipes that require minimal preparation and cooking time. Also, avoid recipes with many ingredients or complicated steps as they may prove too difficult for novice cooks.
Available Time For Meal Prep
How much time can you spare for meal prep? If you have enough time and want more variety in your meals, you can choose recipes that take longer to prepare. If you are short on spare time, focus on quick-to-prepare recipes instead. You can also save time by preparing some elements of the meal ahead of time (e.g., cutting vegetables).
Best tips for grocery shopping for weight loss.
Shop Around the Perimeter of the Store
One of the most fundamental weight loss grocery shopping tips is incredibly simple: shop around the outside of the store. The reason? Whole, natural foods tend to be located on the perimeter, while more processed foods are typically placed in the center of the store.
Foods that tend to spoil – like fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products – are most often placed around the outside edges of a store, along the walls. That is because electrical outlets are located on the walls, and these foods often need to be kept cool, wet, or frozen.
While it may seem counterintuitive, you should predominantly buy foods that will go bad. Shelf-stable foods like chips and cookies may last a long time in your pantry, but they don’t have a whole lot of benefits when it comes to your health and wellbeing. Foods that can spoil, like strawberries, fresh spinach, eggs, and chicken, offer far more nutrients than processed foods and are often critical for weight loss efforts.
The research is clear: eating highly processed foods isn’t great for our bodies. In fact, eating too many processed foods is linked with obesity and chronic illness. Eating whole, minimally processed foods can help to reduce the negative effects of processed foods.
With a few exceptions, such as for olive oil, spices, and other healthy, minimally processed items, you should avoid the center part of the store. Sticking to the perimeter can keep you focused on the food that is best for your body and your diet. While there may be times that you need to grab some items from the center of the store (like a cake mix for a birthday, or even a jar of tomato sauce), your best bet is to focus as much as possible on the fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meat that are found along the outside of the store.
There is an old saying, “failure to plan is planning to fail.” This saying can be applied in any number of situations, including trying to lose weight.
When you have an empty fridge, it is all too easy to fall back on high fat takeout, fast food, or convenience foods like boxed macaroni and cheese. Keeping your fridge stocked is critical to any weight loss plan. In fact, studies show that people who plan their meals tend to have a lower body weight and a healthier diet than those who do not.
Thinking about what you will eat for the week also empowers you to cook more at home, as opposed to grabbing something on the go or ordering a pizza because you didn’t plan dinner. Eating at home, as opposed to in a restaurant, is linked to lower levels of body fat and a better quality diet. For example, a grilled hamburger with caramelized onions that you make at home will have less fat and fewer calories than almost anything you would get at a restaurant (not to mention…no tempting side order of fries!).
You can plan your meals for the week on a dry erase board, a piece of scratch paper, or even in a journal. The method doesn’t matter as much as taking the time to make a plan. Once you have an idea of what you’re going to eat, you can then put together a grocery list.
When making a meal plan and grocery list, try to base it around what you will actually cook – and eat. It can be all too easy to go into a deep dive on healthy recipes on Pinterest. But if the recipe you found requires 16 ingredients that you don’t have and 3.5 hours, start to finish, will you really make it after you get home from work?
Similarly, you may go a bit overboard in buying healthy food at the grocery store. It can be exciting to add things to your diet that will boost your well-being – like trying out the latest superfood. But unless you know that you like it, and have a plan for how you will use it, doing this can be both expensive and discouraging if you don’t end up eating it before it goes bad.
Instead, incorporate a few new foods (at most) into your diet each week. If you’re trying to eat more dark, leafy greens, consider starting with a small bunch of kale before loading up your cart with piles of greens. Similarly, if you want to try an exotic fruit, just buy one piece – and see if you like it before committing to more.
Keep a List
There are many options out there for keeping a grocery list, from apps to magnetic to-do lists to the notes app on your phone. There isn’t any one right method for grocery lists. The most important thing to do is actually make the list.
Keeping a running list of what you need can help keep you on track, and prevent list-making from becoming a chore. For example, if you eat eggs every morning (like our amazing zucchini egg wrap cups), add eggs to the list once you notice that you’re running low. If you like to snack on strawberries after dinner (something that spoils fairly quickly), keep them as a permanent fixture on your grocery list.
When you make your grocery list, try to organize it by food category or how your grocery store is laid out. This can help you shop much more efficiently, and will help to keep you focused on foods around the perimeter of the store. Try dividing your list into sections, such as:
- Pantry goods
If you want to cut back on certain types of food – like snacks – it is then easy enough to eliminate those categories on your list.
Another benefit of having a well-organized grocery list is that you are less likely to buy unhealthy foods if you aren’t wandering through the store looking for the groceries that you need. Instead, you will go directly to the departments that you want – and can bypass the aisles that have the foods that you are trying to avoid.
Stick to the Plan
After you have done the work of meal planning and making a grocery list that is based on your store’s layout, the next part is critical: you need to stick to your plan. Grocery stores are designed to get customers to spend money, and the highest markups are often on the least healthy foods. Keeping focused on your list – and not being swayed by in-store promotions or coupons – can help you stick to your weight loss plan.
One of the most common tips for better grocery shopping is to never go when you are hungry. There is a good reason for this: when you are hungry, you may grab products out of convenience or because they look appetizing, rather than buying based on what you should be eating. Try to have a healthy snack before heading out to the store to help you avoid falling into this trap
How to Make a Healthy Grocery List
Bringing a list to the grocery store can help you make more nutritious choices that support a healthy lifestyle and a balanced body weight. Nutritious foods to include are those that supply vitamins, minerals, good fats, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which are valuable for overall health. Focusing on whole, unprocessed foods is a wise way to ensure more nutrients and fewer less additives, like unwanted sugar.
If consuming a more balanced nutritious diet is important to you, you can create a list of foods that support this goal. Below, you will find ingredients that fit the bill.
Fruits and Vegetables
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables for optimal health. A daily serving is equal to about 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit.
Consuming a wide variety of whole fruits and vegetables will help ensure you obtain the essential nutrients your body needs to feel and perform at its best. Choosing whole foods, instead of juices or sauces, will provide the added benefit of fiber.
Dried fruit and vegetables offer concentrated amounts of nutrition but may also be high in natural sugars, so be conscious of this if you are watching your overall sugar or carbohydrate intake. Here are some types of fruit and vegetables to add to your list:
- Dark green vegetables: Such as spinach, broccoli, kale. Aim for 1.5 to 2 cups per week.
- Red and orange vegetables: Such as peppers, red cabbage, carrots, tomatoes. Aim for 4 to 7.5 cups per week.
- Beans, peas, and lentils: Such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, edamame. Aim for 1 to 3 cups per week.
- Starchy vegetables: Such as potatoes, squash. Aim for 4 to 8 cups per week.
- Other vegetables: Such as mushrooms, onions, cabbage, cauliflower. Aim for 3.5 to 7 cups per week.
- All fruits: Such as apples, kiwi, bananas, melons, grapes. Aim for 1.5 to 2.5 cups per day.
Dairy and Eggs
Dairy contains significant amounts of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium which are vitamins and minerals responsible for strong and healthy bones, reduced risk of osteoporosis, and reduced risk of bone fractures.4 Aim to consume 3 cups of dairy products per day.3
Without dairy products in your diet, it is more challenging to consume the levels of these nutrients necessary for bone health. However, if you are plant-based, careful planning can help ensure your bones stay healthy. There are several fortified dairy alternatives available.
Before you start adding dairy alternatives to your shopping cart, it it’s important to note that not all alternatives are fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients that mimic the nutrient profile of animal milk. Read the nutrition labels before making any decisions.
Eggs are a highly nutrient-rich source of protein. They contain vitamin D (necessary for calcium absorption), phosphorus, vitamin A (responsible for vision, skin, and cell repair), and B vitamins. Eggs also provide riboflavin, selenium, and choline—nutrients vital for brain health.5
Consider adding these products to your grocery list:
- Hard and soft cheeses (cheddar, chevre, parmesan, gouda, feta)
- Cottage cheese
- Milk, cream
- Yogurt, kefir
Some dairy products contain probiotics which provide further benefits for overall health. When choosing dairy products like flavored yogurts, be conscious of added sugars.
Bread, Cereal, and Grains
Breads, cereals, and grains provide fiber and many nutrients, especially in their whole form. Choosing whole grains for the majority of your intake in this category is a wise choice for your overall health. Consuming whole-grain bread, cereal, and grains may reduce your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. The fiber in these foods can also contribute to healthy digestion.6
Whole grains contain all three different parts of grain which are the bran, endosperm, and germ. The bran is the outer layer and contains fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. The endosperm contains the starchy part of the kernel below the bran. The endosperm is what refined flours are processed from and it is naturally low in vitamins and minerals.7
Aim to consume 3 to 5 ounces of whole grains per day.3 Some foods in this category to add to your healthy grocery list include:
- Brown rice
- Quinoa (a seed that’s generally treated as a grain)
- Whole-grain bread, cereal, and pasta
Choose whole-grain flours when baking or cooking to boost the nutrient content of your meals. Look for whole-grain options of pre-made bread, cereal, crackers, and other products when possible. Keep an eye on the labels for added sugars and refined starches.
Meat, Fish, and Tofu
Meat, fish, and tofu as well as other plant-based meat alternatives provide protein. Animal-based protein also contains essential nutrients such as iron, B12, zinc, and more. Protein is an essential macronutrient your body needs to function, responsible for the building and repair of your body’s tissues.
Protein protects against diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer and lowers your risk of inflammation. It’s necessary for the building and maintenance of muscle mass, which is necessary for daily functioning and healthy aging. And, it’s responsible for creating enzymes and DNA, helping the immune system function properly, and helps you grow.
Fish is high in healthy fats as well. Aim for two servings per week of fish and seafood. Fatty acids such as omega-3s are vital for heart health, cancer prevention, and cognitive functioning.
Meat alternatives such as tofu can help plant-based eaters obtain protein. It’s essential that vegans plan their intake carefully since most plant-based proteins lack some of the essential amino acids. Consuming a wide variety of protein-rich plant foods can help ensure you get enough.
Here are some protein-rich foods to add to your healthy grocery shopping list:
- Meat, poultry, eggs: Such as chicken, beef, turkey, pork. Aim for 23 to 33 ounces per week.
- Seafood: Such as shrimp, salmon, halibut, crab, canned tuna packed in water. Aim for 8 to 10 ounces per week.
- Nuts, seeds, soy products: Such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, tofu. Aim for 4 to 6 ounces per week.
Nutritious pantry staples that can help you craft delicious, healthy meals at home include shelf-stable foods belonging to the other food groups. Some ideas of what to keep on hand include:
- Canned vegetables and fruit: Diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, applesauce for baking, canned fruit in water or juice, marinated or pickled vegetables.
- Canned and dried beans and legumes: Chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans.
- Low-sodium broth or stock: Chicken stock, beef stock, fish stock, vegetable stock.
- Oils: Olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil.
- Flours: Whole wheat, rye, oat, almond, spelt.
- Dried herbs and spices: Cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, rosemary.
- Condiments: Mustard, tamari, low-sodium soy sauce, salsa, vinegar, garlic-chili sauce, curry paste, hot sauce.
Snacks are best when they serve as small meals, meaning they are balanced in terms of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Well-balanced snacks can stave off hunger and help you reach your nutrient goals. Not everyone enjoys snacking, so if you prefer to eat the standard three meals per day, that’s OK.
Here are some ideas for nutritious snacking:
- Beef or turkey jerky and pepperoni sticks
- Dark chocolate
- Dried fruit
- Nuts and nut butters
- Whole-grain crackers
- Protein powder, shakes, and bars (check labels for added sugars)
- Hummus, tzatziki
- Carrots, celery, cucumber, grape tomatoes
- Whole fruit
Organize your grocery list for efficiency
When I write my grocery list, I think about how I will navigate around the store. If your store’s layout is different, you may need to shift the order of your list. Grouping items together by area of the store is super helpful, so you can have an efficient shopping experience (because when I grocery shop, I’m all about efficiency). Plus, having an organized list means less risk of needing to double back through the store to pick up a forgotten ingredient.
1. Fresh produce
The first (and usually largest) section of my grocery list is devoted to the produce section. In most stores, it’s the first area you see when you enter, so it’s a natural place to start filling your cart. Regardless of my menu plan for the week, I always pick up some fresh fruit and salad greens, usually opting for what’s on sale. Then I’ll pick up any fruits, vegetables and herbs I need for my menu plan.
Before I move on to the next area, I’ll make a point to check out what’s on sale and see if I could add it to any of the meals I’m making that week. For example, if I’m planning to make pasta and I see that bell peppers are on sale, I’ll throw a few of them in my cart for sautéing and snacking.
2. Meat and deli counter
The next part of my list is devoted to any proteins I need for the week. The meat counter is usually behind the produce section so I can move intuitively through the store. Meats and seafood are usually the most expensive items on my list, so to help stay within my budget, I’ll choose smaller portions and more budget-friendly cuts (bonus points if they’re on sale). I’ll also include things I need from the deli counter, such as sliced meats, cheese or olives, in this part of my list.
I like to eat a variety of different types of protein throughout the week, but things like eggs and canned beans or fish are on different sections of my list based on where they are in the store.
3. Canned and dry goods
The middle section of my list is (you guessed it) devoted to the aisles in the middle of the store. This is where stores have the most variety, so I tend to include everything I know won’t be in the perimeters of the store here. That includes things like canned beans, canned tuna, oats, chia seeds, pasta, rice, peanut butter and more. This would also be a good part of your list to include frozen items, like fruits, vegetables and ice cream, as they would be in the same area of the store. And remember that if you’re really trying to make your dollar go further, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables can help you get in a variety of nutrients while staying within your budget.
4. Consider other staples you need to restock
When I’m writing my grocery list, I always take a lap through my pantry and kitchen to see if I’m out of or running dangerously low on important things (because running out of coffee on a Tuesday morning before work is not a good note to start the day on). Other staples I might add to my list include flour, olive or canola oil, spices, honey or maple syrup, and vinegars.
5. Dairy and eggs
The next section of my grocery list is devoted to the dairy and refrigerated sections of the store. I’ll include other staple ingredients I always like to have on hand, like eggs, milk, heavy cream, butter, Greek yogurt and cheeses that aren’t by the deli counter. Since these items are more perishable, I opt to buy the smallest size I can find. Personally, I’d rather run out before my next shop than waste food (and money).
At the bottom of my grocery list, I always leave room to add miscellaneous items. This can include things like cleaning supplies, toiletries, charcoal for the grill or specialty items I don’t usually buy. I put them at the end because it allows me to complete my shopping as I normally would, then leave the searching for last. Also, sometimes when I’m navigating the store as usual, I’ll stumble upon some of the miscellaneous items, which saves even more time and searching. One of the biggest tips I can give for this section is to ask for help if you can’t find something; most employees are happy to answer your questions if they’re asked respectfully. Plus, even if an item is not out on display, they might be able to get it for you from the back.
7-Day Weight Loss Meal Plan
This sample menu includes a variety of meals that are rich in nutrients, fiber, and protein to help you reach your weight loss goals. Portions should be adjusted to your individual needs, according to the calorie deficit you’re aiming for (18). Snack examples are included in this plan but remain completely optional.
- Breakfast: Overnight oats topped with fresh berries and chia seeds
- Lunch: Lentil-bean salad
- Snack: Mango-spinach smoothie
- Dinner: Baked salmon with steamed broccoli and baked potato
- Breakfast: Berry protein smoothie
- Lunch: Stuffed bell peppers
- Snack: Apple slices with nut butter
- Dinner: Zucchini noodles and turkey mince
- Breakfast: Spinach-cheese-egg scramble
- Lunch: Mixed green salad with cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, corn, sweet potato, olives, and grilled salmon or roasted chickpeas
- Snack: Roasted nuts
- Dinner: Oven-baked chicken thighs with potatoes and carrots
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt topped with berries, nuts, and chia seeds
- Lunch: Turkey sandwich made with whole wheat bread
- Snack: Homemade nut and dried fruit trail mix
- Dinner: Grilled tempeh, potatoes, and sautéed kale
- Breakfast: Green smoothie made with kale, frozen cherries, banana, protein powder, flax seeds, and milk.
- Lunch: Loaded baked potato
- Snack: Whole wheat crackers with mashed black bean spread
- Dinner: Grilled steak, baked potato, and steamed carrots