Intuitive Eating: 6 Tips for Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning

Grocery shopping can be overwhelming when struggling with your relationship with food. With
the right mindset and some simple strategies, grocery shopping doesn’t have to be so
intimidating and stressful. Here are some tips and questions to ask yourself that will help you
make your weekly grocery trips easier – and maybe even enjoyable – while you work on healing
your relationship with food.

1. Think about convenience. Allow yourself to have a mixture of convenient meals and
snacks along with ones that require a bit more of your time on your grocery list. Look at
your week and ask yourself what kind of convenience you need to support making eating
consistently obtainable.

Does making a grilled cheese feel time consuming to you or would this be considered a
convenience meal this week? Convenience can look different from person to person
depending on their schedule and skill level. It’s important to do what’s best for you and
allow yourself to meet your own needs to be able to support yourself to stay consistent
with nourishing your body.

What type of convenience do you need this week?

  • Frozen items such as frozen meat balls, frozen burrito, or frozen veggies?
  • Ready-to-eat items such as a sub sandwich or grocery-store sushi for that night you work late?
  • A bagged salad that you can add to a meal or add extra items to make into a meal?
  • Microwave rice, packaged boiled eggs, deli chicken salad, or other items that

would make preparing a meal easier for you?

2. Make a list for some guidance. Once you start to get some meal and snack ideas
down, the best next step is to make a list of ingredients you’ll need for each idea. This
will ensure you have all the ingredients needed for the specific meals and snacks for that
week. Next, see if you can “double dip” any ingredients.

For example, if French toast is sounding good for breakfast, you can also use the bread
for some sandwiches and then hard boil some of the eggs as an easy protein to add to
any snacks. This is helpful for reducing any food waste as well.

3. Keep in mind the importance of satisfaction. Ask yourself, “What sounds good this
week?” and “What am I in the mood for?”. Don’t let any food police thoughts get in the
way of buying what truly sounds satisfying. Regularly having foods you enjoy in your
house supports decreasing any feelings of deprivation. As we know, feeling
deprived/restricted would only increase someone's vulnerability for chaotic eating patterns (feeling obsessed about food, overeating, being “hangry”, binging, etc). Regularly giving permission to buy foods or condiments that are satisfying and not having any off-limit foods supports a healthy and relaxed relationship with food.

4. Add, don't subtract. Ask yourself what you can add to your meals and your grocery list
to boost the nutrition and nutrient variety of your week, instead of thinking about what
you cannot have. Intuitive Eating is about permission for all foods, however, it also takes
into account how food makes you feel. Asking yourself what sounds good first and then
asking what you could add to boost up the nutrition is best for supporting a flexible
relationship with food, while feeling good too.

Are there any meals on your list that could use a boost to make it more balanced and
satiating? For example, adding a side salad or soup to the grilled cheese not only boosts
the fiber and micronutrient content, but it also boosts the satiety of that meal, so you
aren't left hungry within an hour. Not only does this feel better, but it allows you to focus
on other things in your day.

One of my favorite quick meals is boxed mac and cheese. I like adding a handful of
frozen veggies to it while its cooking to boost the nutrition in a way that feels flexible
instead of rule based. And no chopping or extra clean up required!

5. Food prep vs meal prep. Prepping food doesn’t have to look like spending your entire
Sunday making 10 to-go meals to store in your fridge. Let’s think about “food prep”
instead. What are some food items you can prepare in bulk for the week that will make
putting together meals and snacks easier for you?

  • Prepping a bowl of tuna, pasta, or bean salad as snacks or be able to add to a meal
  • Cook up extra grilled chicken when making dinner to easily add in wraps, salads, or quesadillas during the week.
  • Cutting up veggies for easy snacking, to add as a side for a meal, or to easily add into a meal.

6. Meet yourself where you’re at. If the actual act of grocery shopping feels
overwhelming, here are some ideas to help make it feel a bit more doable:

  • Utilize online shopping such as curb-side pickup or delivery if budget allows
  • Try finding a smaller grocery store. Walmart marketplace, Trader Joes, or a smaller local convenience store to lessen any “decision fatigue” when choosing from a large selection.
  • Go during their least busy times (typically early morning or late at night).
  • Writing out a list supports not having to go back to the store during the week


Would you like some extra supportive with grocery shopping and meal planning? Email to learn more about working together.