Many things in life have a beginning and an end. The shopping trip and preparing a healthy meals is no different. It is necessary to, even before you go to the grocery store or start to make a list of foods to buy, it is important to start with a beginning.
I consider one of the beginnings to be making a menu for the week before the list is even made.
The question has arisen on how to make a menu.
I would say that a menu needs to be based off of what foods are typically eaten. I have seen this done in several ways. And like for most things in life there are tools that can be obtained.
I had one client that came to the office and was focusing on carbohydrate counting as a way to manage her blood glucose levels. She had made a list of foods from the different food categories listed for each meal in a serving size of one carb serving, meats commonly listed, and fats that would be commonly eaten at that meal.
For example, for her breakfast meal, her carb choices were whole grain bread - 1 slice, 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, 1 cup 2 % milk, 1Tbsp raisins, 1Tbsp honey, 1 whole lite English Thomas muffin, 3/4 cup cheerios.
For the meat servings - 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 egg, 1 sausage.
For the fat servings - 1 tsp margarine, 1 slice bacon
So she was choosing 3 carbs for each meal. She would pick three of the choices from the carb list for a breakfast meal, one choice from the meat list, and one from the fat list.
So she would write out her choices on a menu sheet, that would dictate her shopping list for the week.
Another way to plan a menu is to use the plate method. With this method, you take a 9 inch plate, divide the plate in half, and then divide the bottom in half. On the top half, is where you would place your non-starchy vegetables, the bottom half would have the starchy food and the protein. The fruit and dairy would sit beside the plate. So make a weeks worth of plates divided in this manner, one for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for supper. List the foods that would go in the appropriate places and you have a weeks menu setup. Ready to make that shopping list for needed foods to make your healthy plates.
But whatever method you choose, these are not the only tools a person could choose to use. There are other places such as Sparkpeople.com that have a menu planner on their website.
But it is a good idea to start at the beginning before you even start your grocery list.