The weekly shop might be a thing of the past but I reckon most of you are still in and out of the supermarket a few times a week to get in the essentials.

Where a great many of us fall down is with our eating habits at home. Now, this stuff doesn’t appear in the cupboard or fridge by magic. It got there because you, or someone else in the family, put it there! Going by that logic, if you’re careful in what you buy on your shopping trip then you can greatly reduce your chances of making the wrong food choices and increase the likelihood that you will make the right ones at home. If it’s not in the cupboard, you can’t eat it!

The first step is planning. How many of you take a shopping list to the supermarket? I reckon it’s less than half based on a straw poll of the people I’ve asked and that leads on to a couple of problems.

Firstly, you’re going to be in and out of the shops more frequently, increasing your overall weekly spend and time wasted as you return to the supermarket for the things you forgot on the last trip, plus no doubt adding on a few unnecessary extras, and secondly, you’re more likely to buy on impulse, and that’s never as effective as planning your meal and snack purchases before you go.

A typical week will see me go armed with a list which covers everything for the week. This isn’t about 100% clean living, unless that is your very admirable goal. We have kids in the family and I like a treat as much as the next person, however it’s about keeping the balance tipped on the healthier side and realising that there are better choices you can make which you can still enjoy. Here’s a few suggestions –

Breakfast – Usually the most challenging meal for many. Porridge, eggs, wholegrain cereals, brown bread, a piece of fruit or nuts. An average breakfast for me would be 110g of oatbran, blueberries, sprinkle of nuts, almond milk, a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Lunch – Salad, baked potatoes with meat/fish/beans, rice, eggs, brown bread sandwiches, brown pasta, last night’s healthy leftovers. An average lunch for me would be brown rice – usually flavoured with spinach and mackerel.

Dinner – A balanced meal with carbs and plenty of protein (lean meat/oily fish) and vegetables (the greener the better). Avoid saturated fats and processed foods such as pies, sausages and pizza. This list could be endless and requires a blog of its own! Hopefully you get the picture. A dinner example for me would be salmon, sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Snacks – Having a good sized meal will stop you snacking less, as will keeping hydrated. Drink plenty of water to help keep the hunger pangs at bay. Keep plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables available. A few examples for me would be a spoonful of peanut butter, Alpen or bananas.

Guilty pleasures – The best approach I find is that if I can’t control my intake then I don’t buy them! Jaffa Cakes are a perfect example. If I eat one then it usually leads on to half a packet or more. My substitute would be something like Paleo Bars (Aldi) which I like but couldn’t eat more than a couple of.

So get a list made! Involve the family and plan ahead with your food. You’ll be surprised at the difference it can make to your waistline and your wallet.