Have you ever looked at your favorite celebrity and just wished you could get your hands on their exact meal plan? (Or, even better, their personal chef?) It can be difficult to know exactly what to buy and prepare each week, even if you know what food is healthy and what’s not. Until you have some seriously ingrained healthy habits, it often takes a lot of effort to meal plan your healthy meals and get what you need from the store.
My patients ask me all the time what I eat and make for myself, and so I’ve decided to share all that insider information with you today! Read on to get a sneak peek at my weekly grocery list and the kind of meals I make for myself.
Dr. Nancy’s Weekly Grocery List
First up are proteins because you can’t grow and maintain your body without them. The enzymes that make up proteins are needed for vital biochemical reactions, they help provide structure to our cells, are important for maintaining pH and fluid balance, and keeping your immune system in tip-top shape. Here’s what’s on my list:
- Dr. Nancy’s protein powder (would you expect anything less? I don’t usually need to buy this weekly, but it’s something I use constantly)
- Chicken breast
- Tuna with olive oil
All these foods are full of healthy proteins and low in bad fats. You don’t want to overindulge in even these sources of protein, but your body requires protein to thrive. The good news is, they all taste great so you don’t need to cover them in seasoning to hide the taste.
We all know that vegetables should be the cornerstone of everyone's diet. Veggies are pretty much all superfoods and it is difficult to overdose on them. They contain vitamins and minerals, roughage, and all sorts of must-have nutrients. I like a variety so here is a list of the main ones I cycle through.
- Brussels sprouts
- Heart of palm (palmini)
- Mixed greens
Veggies don’t need to be boring – switch up what you eat each week or discover new ways of cooking them if you find yourself wanting to leave them on your plate. Boiling, steaming, roasting, stir-frying – each gives you different flavors, and that’s before you start combining them in dishes like ratatouille or shakshuka.
This is a list of my favorite veggies, but there are many others available, especially in specialist stores, so don’t be afraid to shop around and try something different.
Fruits are another great source of micronutrients and hit the sweet spot, so perfect if you often find yourself craving something sugary. My favorites are:
- Mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
- Citrus, especially grapefruit
There are plenty of other options, so this is another area to experiment with, especially when a fruit is in season since they nearly always taste a little better when they are.
Don’t limit fruits to snack foods, either. While they make a great snack, they can also be eaten at breakfast or combined with other meals at lunch and dinner.
Fats aren’t all bad and you need healthy fat to stay fit and well. That said, keep away from saturated fats. I only choose healthy varieties such as:
- Almond or coconut milk (you can choose any nut milk)
- Olive oil
- Nuts (especially pine nuts)
Nut milk is generally better for you than cow’s milk and olive oil is the tastiest (and healthiest) oil for cooking and salad dressings. Feel free to add other nuts in, just be cautious if they’ve been salted or roasted.
Seasonings are not only a great way to give your meals more variety in flavors, but most of them have plenty of health benefits, too. I have a pretty full seasonings cabinet but I couldn’t live without these seven:
There are others that I use such as turmeric, oregano, and sage, but those seven are my mainstays.
This is another area where you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment. But go carefully. Many seasonings have a very strong flavor so begin with small amounts, say a quarter or half a teaspoon, and stir and taste before adding more. Remember, you can always add but you can’t take away.
Okay, so how do you prep them?
Below are two of my all-time favorite recipes that are easy to make on a weeknight. If you want more, grab a copy of my recipe book that I wrote with the help of my long-time friend, chef Lindsay Rosenblatt. Inside you’ll find 75 tested recipes that are tasty and healthy, so you won’t need to worry about what to have for your next meal for some time to come!
Dr Nancy’s Favorite Protein Shake
- 1 scoop of my protein powder
- 1 cup of frozen strawberries
- 1 cup of nut milk or water
Making this smoothie couldn’t be easier and is a great way to start the day. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.
Glazed Miso Salmon
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 2 4-6oz salmon fillets
- 1 lime, cut in half
- salt/pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup green onions, white and greenparts thinly chopped
For the Miso Dressing
- 3 tablespoons white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
In a bowl, mix miso dressing ingredients together. In a plastic bag, place salmon and miso mixture together with salt and pepper. Making sure the miso mélange covers the salmon evenly, marinate it inside the bag for at least an hour, preferably longer. Line a pan with parchment paper and place the salmon skin side up. Cook over medium-high high heat for 10 minutes on each side, turning once. Make sure you don’t have too much miso dressing sitting on the parchment paper, and make sure the paper fits inside the pan without hanging over. Once opaque on the inside and crispy browned on the outside, it’s done. To serve, plate cooked salmon, sprinkle on sesame seeds and green onions along with a splash of lime.
Now you’ve had a sneak peek at my grocery list and a couple of staples from my weekly menu, you’re well equipped to put your own list together to head to the store. Don’t forget to grab my recipe book if you struggle to think of recipe ideas.
Dr. Nancy Rahnama, MD, ABOM, ABIM, is a medical doctor board certified by both the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Her specialty is Clinical Nutrition, that is, the use of nutrition by a medical doctor to diagnose and treat disease. Dr. Rahnama has helped thousands of people achieve their goals of weight loss, gut health, improved mood and sleep, and managing chronic disease.