“Even just a few spices or ethnic condiments that you can keep in your pantry can turn your mundane dishes into a culinary masterpiece.” -Chef Marcus Samuelsson
Your environment plays a huge part in your success toward developing healthy habits. The brain picks up on certain cues in the environment and responds accordingly. For example, if you enter a room in a church, you may tend to start talking in a whisper. Another example relates to shopping. We’ve all seen the decorated end aisles and the appealing displays near the checkout. These elements in a retail environment can cause a person to purchase items simply because they are in plain sight.
Your environment also plays a huge role in building healthy nutrition habits. Your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer can collectively be viewed as your home food environment. When you plan your grocery shopping list with your health goals in mind, you can transform your food environment to be more conducive to healthy behavior change (1).
A Tailored Grocery List
Research has shown that having too many options can be overwhelming. In general, the more choices we have to make, the less self-control we show when making these choices (2).
When you arrive at a typical grocery store, chances are you’ll be faced with an abundance of choices for each item you’re trying to buy. Going to the grocery store with a grocery list tailored to the meals you’re planning on making can help you overcome these challenges.
Luckily, EatLove has that option for you! Using our grocery list feature, you can add your chosen recipes to your grocery list and bring that list with you to the store, so you’re always prepared.
Separate from weekly grocery shopping, your home food environment should be well-stocked with certain staple foods at all times.
Imagine this: It’s one of those crazy weeknights… you know, when you come home late from work and still have a million little things to do. (We’ve all been there!) You don’t have time to make it to the store, but you still need to come up with a nutritious meal. If you keep your pantry stocked with a variety of canned/dry goods, frozen produce, and exciting spices, you’ll still have plenty of nutritious options to choose from to create a delicious and satisfying dinner.
We’ve got some ideas of healthy staples for you below, but everyone is different, so you can always tweak your staples to fit your personal preferences.
· Produce: Onions, garlic, leafy greens, seasonal fruit (good ones to keep on hand include apples, oranges, bananas, and berries), and seasonal veg (some regular items may include bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots)
· Protein: Eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, red meat on occasion
· Canned/Jar Goods: Canned beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa
· Baking Goods: Flour, breadcrumbs, cooking spray
· Spices/Condiments: Olive oil, canola oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme, rosemary, cumin, oregano, and other spices you enjoy
· Low-Fat Dairy: Greek yogurt, cheese, milk
· Nuts, Legumes and Whole Grains: Almonds, peanuts, nut butter, lentils, brown rice, whole wheat pasta/noodles, quinoa, oats, whole wheat bread
· Frozen Foods: Frozen veggies (such as broccoli and carrots), frozen fruit (such as mixed berries)
By having these healthy staples readily available in your environment, you will be more likely to use them. Likewise, by having unhealthy staples in your environment, you may tend to reach for those in a pinch. Having healthy staples is just as important as avoiding unhealthy ones in your environment.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Once you have all of your ingredients, you can use EatLove’s batch prep feature. You’ll spend less time cooking overall than if you were to prepare multiple different recipes. Less time and effort to eat healthier? That sounds like a win to us! You’ll also save money by ensuring that you use each item you buy from the store, which results in less food wasted. These benefits can really add up in the long run.
ASK YOURSELF THIS:
Take a peek at your pantry. What kinds of oils do you have? Are you relying primarily on saturated or unsaturated fats? What are your pantry staples? How can they be modified in a healthier direction? Can you switch a refined grain into a whole grain this week (like white rice to brown rice)?
Use EatLove to help build your very own healthy pantry! First, make sure you add your chosen meals to your grocery list. Check your grocery list before you shop and edit it as needed based on what you already have on hand.