Does grocery shopping put you at crossroads whenever you visit the store? Do you find it difficult to stick to the budget, list, and wallet? Have you splurged on packaged foods, instant meals, exotic produce, and worry being broke? Most people complain about spending too much money on groceries because of a lack of a balanced grocery list.
A habit of writing a list can help you prepare quick meals and research on new recipes for the week. It can save time, money, and reduce food waste by keeping track of your meal plans. When you stock up on healthy produce with a list, you can eat nutrient-rich meals without compromising your cravings. Let’s find out how to create a balanced grocery list to eat healthier meals within a budget.
What is a Balanced Grocery List?
Eating a balanced diet is mandatory in recent times because of our unhealthy lifestyle. If you want to eat balanced meals throughout the week, creating a balanced grocery list will do the job for you.
A balanced grocery list includes ample portions of,
- Herbs & Spices
- Nuts & Seeds
How to Set-up a Grocery List for a Week
Consider your family members and the frequency of cooking for a budget grocery list. I would suggest a 5-day list to reduce stress on workdays and weekends can be a fun time for trying a new restaurant or takeout meals. If you follow a Vegan or Paleo diet, substitute the same list with alternatives. I have included a sample balanced grocery list for reference.
Here is the list of steps to follow in creating a balanced list,
Step 1: Choose Healthy Carbs
- Choose at least 10 different vegetables and 3 fruits to get a healthy dose of carbohydrates in your body.
- You can buy seasonal vegetables and fruits available in the market for a cheaper budget.
- If you are specific with your dietary nutrients, you can choose a combination of cruciferous, watery, and root vegetables.
- Go for fruits with a lesser glycaemic index such as sweet lime, apple, and berries to get all the nutrients.
Step 2: Plant and Animal Protein Sources
- Protein plays a key role in the overall growth and functioning of the body.
- Stock up on 3 varieties of plant and animal protein sources for the week.
- If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can opt for plant-based protein such as soy, legumes, and lentils.
- Animal-based protein lovers can buy red meat, eggs, chicken, and seafood.
Step 3: Buy High-Fiber Foods
- Fiber helps in proper metabolism and functioning of the digestive system.
- Eat 3 types of whole grains throughout the week to keep your body fit and healthy.
- You can eat brown rice, wheat, rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millets, and oatmeal to meet the fiber requirements.
- Choose multi-grain roti, bread, and flours to prepare snacks and baked goods.
Step 4: Go for Healthy Fats
- Use natural oils such as coconut oil, sesame oil, nut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil.
- Include butter, ghee, full cream milk, and artisanal cheese in your diet.
- Eat homemade yogurt or full cream yogurt for good gut health.
- Stock on 3 types of dairy products in your fridge.
Step 5: Snack on Nuts and Seeds
- Buy 5 types of nuts and seeds for a week as they are rich in vitamins and minerals.
- If you prefer stocking up for a month, you can buy dry fruits in bulk to save money.
- Include almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, figs, and dates in your diet.
Creating a Healthy Grocery List on a Budget
When you are grocery shopping for the week, plan a budget first. You can create a budget list by dividing the grocery into different categories,
Staples: Set a staples budget for a month or 3-months and stock up on flours, oil, whole grains, legumes, pulses, dry fruits, and spice powders. Staples should have the major portion of the budget as you can cook many dishes with these products.
Produce: Have a minor produce budget for the week. This can include fruits, vegetables, fresh herbs, and dairy. Shop for them every weekend or midweek and plan your meals based on the availability of fresh produce.
Treats: Use cash instead of cards to buy little treats such as chips, chocolates, cookies, cakes, and ice creams. I buy snacks for a month with my snacks budget. This method has helped me keep the cravings low and avoid buying treats every week. You can try this for a month to save money.
Things to Avoid in a Balanced Grocery List
Though a balanced grocery list can be visually pleasing, we should be cautious of making mistakes when creating a balanced grocery list by including certain products.
Here is the list of things to avoid in a balanced grocery list for your family,
- Don’t make a grocery list with processed foods such as processed cheese, meat, beverages, convenient foods, instant meals, and dairy products.
- Avoid frozen vegetables, fruits, yogurt, and ready-to-eat snacks.
- Limit pre-cut salads, bacon, canned beans, and diet soda in your diet.
- Fancy dressings, sauces, and sugar-rich snacks can compromise your immunity.
A balanced grocery list can help create healthier meals for a week with minimal effort and avoid stress-buying on processed foods.