Most adults know what foods are good for them and what foods aren’t. It’s not that we don’t realize that eating a salad is healthier than gobbling down a bacon cheeseburger; it’s just that we sometimes lack the willpower to resist that greasy heart attack in a sugary white bun.

In other words, if we want to eat right, we not only have to know what foods we should eat, but we must also consciously choose to eat them. So if you have serious problems resisting temptation, a food list won’t solve your diet dilemma. It will, however, heighten your awareness of the choices you should be making. It will also reduce your tendency to make unhealthy impulse buys at the grocery store. And that’s no small matter.

Food List Rule #1: Only buy grocery items that are on your healthy foods list.

When you go to the grocery store, only buy items that are on your healthy foods list. No exceptions. That means no chips, candies, or pastries that you KNOW don’t support your fitness plan. Stick to the list!

Food List Rule #2: Only include foods on your list that support your fitness goals.

Make a healthy foods list filled with items that will help you lose weight, maintain your energy level, provide good nutrition, and support your fitness program.

First, travel the produce section, either in your imagination or in person, and catalog the fruits and vegetables you love to eat or would like to try. Then add the dairy products, lean proteins, whole grain foods, and other products that you find tasty and healthy. Don’t include items you know your local grocery store doesn’t carry. This is a real list for real life. Not a fantasy food list of things you ought to eat but never will.

Food List Rule #3: See Rule #1.

Make copies of your list and carry it with you to the store every time you go. Again, be sure to stick to it! If you forget to buy an important item, don’t go back until your next scheduled trip. If you do, you’ll be more likely to buy items that you don’t need.

Make a healthy food list your guide for nutritionally sound shopping and eating. Following it will make eating right every day much, much easier.