Here's The Best Way To Grocery Shop, According To Giada De Laurentiis

Giada De Laurentiis has been enticing fans with her creative and versatile cooking on the Food Network since 2003. In her most recent book "Eat Better, Feel Better," she explains why she's spent the last decade reevaluating her relationship with food (via Barnes & Noble). According to Today, De Laurentiis was regularly indulging in fatty, carbohydrate-rich foods until she realized how detrimentally it had been affecting her mood and energy levels. She gives Today viewers several suggestions for how to live and eat healthier, and one of her most important pieces of advice will change the way you grocery shop.

Namely, make a plan before you hit the grocery store.

De Laurentiis understands how easy it is to lose focus when wandering the aisles without a solid plan, and tells Today that her spontaneous shopping often led to going home with more salty, sugary, or cheesy treats than intended. She recommends creating a weekly (or the time frame that is convenient for you) menu filled with balanced, nutritious options and buying from that list instead of indiscriminately tossing things into your cart because they're appealing "in the moment." When you've had a long day, curling up on the couch with a bag of chips may sound tempting ... but with a plan in place, it's just as easy to whip up a quick salad with the things you already have on hand!

A well-planned grocery list makes your life easier

In addition to avoiding regrettable, last-minute meal choices based on convenience — like that bag of chips — shopping with a specific plan also saves you time. Food Network's Michelle N. Warner emphasizes that compiling your grocery list at home allows you to double-check your pantry so you know exactly what you need for your upcoming recipes, and don't have to make multiple trips to the store. De Laurentiis tells Today she takes an afternoon to prepare large portions of whole grains, rice, and veggies, with which she concocts smart, fast lunches that are easy to embellish or modify to individual taste.

Transforming dinner leftovers into healthy new recipes is another way to make the most out of a well-executed trip to the market. On her website, De Laurentiis describes how to quickly repurpose last night's roasted chicken into spicy, smoky tacos, and leftover roasted veggies into a fluffy, low-carb frittata. With a little forethought and creativity, that's two more meals in one fell swoop! Don't forget the cilantro.