When you know what to look for at the grocery store, your healthy dinner shopping list and weekly meal planning can be done in a snap. Knowing which foods to have on hand and which to buy fresh can lessen the meal-prep intimidation factor and inspire you to mix and match dishes that are whole, healthy and super delicious. (Who says eating healthy is boring?)
Before you head to the store with your healthy dinner shopping list, keep in mind the “Half / Quarter / Quarter Rule.“
Each day, your healthy and balanced dinner should look like this:
Half of your plate should be veggies
A Quarter of your plate should be protein
A Quarter of your plate should be complex carbs
Remember, a little fat helps you stay full by slowing down digestion and it enhances your body’s ability to absorb important fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K — all of which are found in foods you eat.
So, healthy dinners start with healthy ingredients. A solid shopping list will keep you organized and help you avoid impulse purchases when you go to the grocery store. Here are some basics to set you up for a great week!
Vegetables (Half of your plate)
· Dark leafy greens such as kale, arugula, or spinach
· 4-5 fresh veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, mushrooms, asparagus, etc.
· 1-2 bags frozen veggies (look for varieties without added salt)
Proteins (A quarter of your plate)
· Chicken, pork, or beef (3-4 oz , or roughly the size of your palm)
· Fish (3-4 oz.)
· Chicken sausages
· Eggs (1-2 eggs per serving)
· Tofu, tempeh, seitan, or other vegetarian proteins (3-4 oz.)
· Nuts or nut butter (1 tbsp – small handful of nuts)
· Cheese such as goat, cheddar, parmesan, or part-skim ricotta (1-2 oz per serving)
Carbs (A quarter of your plate)
· Brown rice
· Whole wheat/whole grain pasta
· Sprouted grain or whole wheat bread
· Beans, peas, or lentils
· Sweet potatoes
Fats (Just a few teaspoons here and there)
· Olive oil
· Coconut oil
· Organic butter
· Balsamic or apple cider vinegar
· Canned tomatoes
· White miso paste
· Spices: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, basil, rosemary, oregano, etc
· A few frozen meals — try products from Amy’s, Kashi, or Luvo
So keep all of these healthy dinner shopping list ideas in mind as you head out to the grocery store and the farmer’s market this week. Remember, you can mix and match different veggies, proteins and carbs, too! Just keep the “Half / Quarter / Quarter Rule” in mind. For some awesome dinner ideas, like honey-soy glazed salmon with bok choy, broiled steak and asparagus with feta cream sauce and roasted shrimp and spaghetti sauce, click here.
Written by Rise Coach Jessica Cording, MS, RDN, CDN. Jessica is a Rise Coach and Registered Dietitian who lives in New York City. In addition to nutrition counseling, Jessica writes for various food/health publications and works with restaurants on menu development. She’s a self-described veggie-lover, red wine enthusiast and coffee-phile Learn more about Jessica and how to work with her.