Clean eating starts with choosing what you want to eat, then creating a plan and shopping list. This prep work is essential if you want to stick with eating healthy and clean, since you’re far more likely to continue on this journey if everything is available. Think: ready breakfasts, lunch, dinners and convenience of having these foods, or at least all the ingredients at hand. Keep reading to find out more about meal prepping and grocery prep for your new clean eating journey.
First: know exactly what you would like to eat
Decide what meals you’re going to eat this week (get a meal prep template here). Once done, you’ll have a way better understanding of what needs to go on your grocery list. Always start by seeing what clean foods you already have in your kitchen and check out what ingredients are left. This often makes prepping and shopping list much simpler, but will also help to save some money. Clean eating can cost a little more at the start but as you gather the essential ingredients, you’ll soon be saving money by not eating out and not stocking your pantry with processed junk.
Start building your grocery list
First, go through your pantry and fridge and do an inventory. Then start building your grocery list. Your grocery list should be as detailed as possible, listing all ingredients for each meal. If you have any ingredients that you think won’t be available in your store, it’d be a good idea to find them online or put some alternatives on the list to make sure you’ve got what you need. With a grocery list in place, you should be able to avoid the majority of the temptations. Get a grocery list template here.
Start within the fresh produce section
Since a big part of your list is probably fruits and vegetables, you can start building your shopping list in that category. Get all of your fresh produce here first, including things like the healthier salad dressings or hummus, nuts and seeds, especially if you’re trying to find the raw, organic varieties.
Dairy, meats and seafood
Once you’ve put all the fresh products on the list, start adding your meats, seafood, eggs and dairy products. These should be close to one another in the fridges of the store. Imagine walking through the grocery store and plan your shopping list in line with that, making walking around it much easier.
Go to the middle aisles only for necessities
When you plan your trip to the store, head to those middle aisles last, and only if you absolutely need to. The middle aisles are full of packaged and processed foods. You’ll want to avoid them on a clean, healthy diet, and it helps to reduce the temptation. You are likely to find grains and oils there. Get out of the habit of walking down every aisle out of curiosity, as this is often where you get into trouble. Avoid the cereal aisle if you aren’t getting oatmeal and don’t even bother with the aisle that has chips and crackers if you don’t need any snacks.
Why is it important when eating clean?
You won’t snack so much
The first reason to consider meal prepping is so you’ll avoid snacking on foods that aren’t that good for you. This is often a really common pitfall for people. It may stop you hitting up the vendor machine at work or grabbing a couple of cookies for a snack. If you prepare before the week begins, you’ll have all the clean snacks you need, from fruit and nuts to homemade clean food, and won’t need to grab trashy snacks.
You’ll have enough food to get you through the week
In addition to avoiding small snacks, which will add up fast, you’ll also have all the food for every day of the week. It is another common pitfall of switching to eating clean – people simply run out of food for meals later in the week. This can lead you to be tempted to order fast foods. By planning out all of your meals, you’ll have all the stuff at home and cooking your meals will be much more convenient.