When you have meals at home, you tend to eat fewer calories. But to make delicious, healthy meals, you need to have the right foods and ingredients on hand. These tips can help.

Make a plan

Plan meals before you go shopping. Decide which meals you’re going to make for the coming week. Write down the ingredients you need.

Create a list

A list makes shopping easier. It also helps you avoid picking up items you didn’t plan to buy. But don’t let your list stop you from trying new healthy foods. And make sure your list includes healthy and convenient snacks. Think about grouping items on your list by where they’re found in the store.

Don’t shop when you’re hungry

It’s harder to stay focused on buying healthy foods when you’re hungry. Shop after you’ve eaten a good meal. Or try eating a handful of nuts or buying a piece of fruit to eat if you’re shopping on an empty stomach.

Shop the healthiest parts of the store

Dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, and seafood are most often located on the outer edges of the store. That’s where to focus your shopping. Fresh foods are usually healthier than processed foods. That’s because fresh foods usually contain lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber or other nutrients. Processed foods may add unwanted fat, sugar, calories and salt.

Read nutrition labels

Check nutrition labels for serving size, calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium. Remember, even foods that are low fat or fat-free can have a lot of calories. The label lists calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol for one serving. But it can be tempting to eat more than one serving. If you’re choosing between similar items, compare their labels and pick the healthiest one.