I very often get asked about diets and nutrition, but I’m not a dietitian or nutritionists so I usually very quickly say that it’s not something I like to give advice regarding. The common follow up is something like, “well how/what do you eat?” I’m also the first to admit that I don’t do any kind of dieting or meal planning, and I just do my best to “eat well”. This is obviously frustrating cause as people we like real and exact answers, and “eat well” doesn’t have an exact template. It’s also going to be described differently based on who you ask.
Since I’m not comfortable giving diet advice I won’t break down eating well like a diet. I am comfortable talking about grocery shopping however, both because I do it often and love it, so I will give some advice for the next time you’re getting groceries. I think this is also the best way to look at making sure you’re eating the way you want because if you start by not buying the stuff that you shouldn’t eat then you won’t have access to it and won’t eat it.
First general tip I keep in mind when I walk in the grocery store: Don’t go down the aisles. All real/perishable items; fruit, vegetable, meats, dairy, eggs, etc. are usually around the outer edge of the store, and irregardless of what diet you want to follow; paleo, vegetarian, or carnivore, these are the things you should be putting in your body. There are two exceptions to this that I can see; frozen vegetables and bread/oatmeal. Frozen vegetables are great to keep around and nutritionally they aren’t any different than the raw thing. As for bread, a lot of diets cut it out, I have no problem with eating it personally, but oatmeal and rice are usually down the same aisle so going down that one is fine.
Grocery shopping often should be a thing. I go to the grocery store at least once a week for a restock on things like fruit, and every other week-ish I make a big full restock run. If you’re buying the stuff on the outside of the store you should honestly have to go often because that stuff will all spoil after a week or so. Obviously lots of things can go in a freezer, but lots of produce doesn’t freeze great so you have to keep that fresh stuff on hand.
Even for that pantry stuff, like rice and pasta and bread, you should have an idea of the “5 ingredient rule”. Simply explained it’s looking at the ingredient label and checking how many ingredients are in something. If you don’t eat bread often, but buy it, you should not be able to have the same loaf in the cupboard for 2 weeks and it still be edible. Bread is a 3 ingredient recipe (flour, water, yeast), so unless it’s a fruit cake listing all the fruits and nuts on it there’s no reason it should have 12 things in it.
The last thing I remember is that I’m trying to eat well, not perfectly. I allow myself a few cruxes. Personally it’s either sugary cereals, Fruity Pebbles usually, or ice cream. They aren’t things I’m constantly having to keep on hand, but every few times I head to get groceries I’ll grab a box or pint to have around the house when I get a craving for something sweet.
Eating well is a really broad and general answer to something people just want a solid answer to when it comes to their diets. Everyone you ask will probably give a different take on what they view as “well”. The underlying concepts of real foods and knowing what you’re eating should be in any of their answers.