5 Things I Do Before Going to the Grocery Store for a Week of Healthier Cooking

updated May 29, 2019
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Healthy cooking means different things to different people, but no matter what that looks like for you, making it happen takes some work. For me, cooking healthy meals for my family starts way before I step in the kitchen to get dinner going. In fact, my secret to success happens before I hit the grocery store or even nail down my meal plan.

1. I check the fridge for perishables that need to be used up.

My first order of business before even thinking about what recipes I might want to cook is taking stock of any perishables that need to be used up ASAP. Once I know what I’m working with, I start thinking about how I can turn those ingredients into something wholesome.

Note: For leftover veggies, I always have a separate plan. See step four for the details.

2. I take stock of my frozen veggies.

I check on my stash of frozen veggies and see what I can use more of and make note of any new additions I want to pick up. Frozen vegetables just might be my ultimate convenience food. I will admit that my freezer is filled with way more vegetables than my family of two possibly needs at one given time, but we love having different options. And having that surplus of veggies means we’re always more apt to work a little extra into lunch, dinner, and even breakfast.

3. I flip through my favorite healthy-ish cookbooks and sites.

Once I have an idea of what I have on hand and what needs to be used up, I flip through my favorite cookbooks, blogs, and Pinterest for inspiration to fill my meal plan with healthy-ish recipes. Having a plan before I hit the store means I’m more likely to bring home what I need for wholesome, nutritious dinners.

4. I round up all my leftover fresh veggies for roasting.

Some weeks I work any lingering leftover fresh vegetables into specific dinners in my meal plan, but more and more I simply roast them all and call it a day. It allows me to start the week with an empty crisper, and having a slew of roasted veggies on hand means I can work them into grain bowls, bulk up a bowl of soup, or round out a plate of eggs with something wholesome.

5. I check what’s on sale.

When your mission is filling your cart with healthy, nutritious ingredients, the the grocery bill has a way of racking up fast. To keep this in check, I look at a store’s app for the current deals and sales. This is especially helpful when I’m considering items like grass-fed beef, seafood, and pricier pantry staples. You might be surprised how much you can save from this trick alone.