Grocery Shopping Tips

I am loving getting questions from the gram! Keep them coming guys! I was asked, “how do you grocery shop?” I do not consider myself an expert in this at all.  I am still getting used to our little fridge on the bus which makes things a little tricky! So right now, I am basically finding myself going to the grocery store every other day, when before it was about twice a week. The key is having some sort of a plan, I’m not saying a full-on meal plan, but just an idea of what you’d like to make & what ingredients you’ll need. 

  • I start off with my staples: I like to always have on hand: a loaf of bread, eggs, cheese, lettuce, beans, frozen corn, marinara sauce, pasta, rice, tortillas, frozen shrimp, peanut butter, yogurt, tuna, canned soup, tofu, ice cream (yes, necessity), and condiments: hummus, jelly, mustard, salad dressing, buffalo sauce, etc. Just from this list I can make: PBJ, eggs & toast, burritos/tacos, pasta w/ marinara, grilled cheese & soup, tuna sandwich, etc. You get the idea- these are simple foods that I enjoy often. By always having ingredients on hand, I know there will be something to eat (even when I don’t feel like cooking).

  • Next, I generally have a few staple meals that I do basically weekly; they are: Stir fry, tacos, a meal on the grill, and a pasta dish.

    • Stir fry: teriyaki, ginger, pineapple/soy sauce. Any meat/shrimp/ tofu

    • Tacos: black bean & corn, refried beans, shrimp, blackened cod, or any ground meat.

    • Grill-fest: this one is (mostly) Thomas’s department! We usually do: any meat, veggie or salmon burger, sweet potatoes, corn, roasted veggies, grilled fruit, baked beans.

    • Pasta: ravioli, spaghetti, tortellini, w/ red sauce, sautéed in fresh vegetables + any ground meat or shrimp.Then my next level of rotational meals (maybe every 2 weeks) is things like naan bread pizza, stuffed peppers, large meal-sized salad w/ bread, or breakfast for dinner.

  • The other two or so dinner meals/ week, I usually pick up something that is on sale, use a wonderful convenience food, or eat out! My convenience meal favorites are mac & cheese, pizza, and soup.

  • Go shopping with an open mind! If you go in hoping to put pineapple and snow peas in your stir fry this week- but see they are crazy expensive, choose alternatives! Canned or frozen pineapple is a good option, as well as green beans to replace the snow peas (you get the idea!)

  • If you find your produce is going bad before you use it, try prepping it all at once! Cut up those carrots and cukes, dice up the watermelon and pineapple, etc. If they are more convenient you may be more likely to use them in your cooking & snack on them!

  • Plan to make leftovers, and repurpose them! Cooking every single night is tedious so here are some tips on how to do less:

    •    Burritos- make extra rice, seasoned beans/corn/meat for stuffed peppers or taco eggs in the AM. 

    •    Marinara sauce leftovers are perfect for pizza night

    •    Making a large batch and freezing what you don’t use can be great for soups, marinara sauce, chili, and cookie dough! 

  • Freeze things before they go bad:

    • Bananas/ Berries- great for smoothies or baking

    • Greens- also great for smoothies

    • White wine frozen in ice cube trays are handy when cooking fish

    • Fresh herbs + olive oil can also be made in ice cube trays 

  • How do you pick what to buy at the supermarket? Ah, the age-old question. I buy store brand unless I really notice a taste difference, I buy only a few things organic/ fair trade- or preferably local: corn, greens, berries, bananas, coffee, soy products, milk, yogurt, cheese. This is just my personal preference! Don’t let GMO’s or pesticides keep you out of the produce department. The fact is, the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables far outweigh the risk of exposure to things like pesticides. This is a great site to learn more: https://www.safefruitsandveggies.com

  • Go for value:

    1. Check out the bulk department. This can be the way to go for a lot of your dried goods.

    2. Shop with a friend! Get the larger portions, that are often cheaper, and then split them. (Great for apples, onions, potatoes, etc.)

    3. Shop sales- as long as you will use the items!

  • Remember meal planning can be helpful so you buy the ingredients you need and have food on hand. Just be flexible! If you don’t feel like having pasta the night you planned it, have a suitable backup!

  • Mix it up! Try new things! The internet is full of great recipes, maybe even check out this blog for some! Take in a variety of colors, to get a variety of nutrients.

  • Try to reduce your food waste. Take stock of what you have before shopping. Try to use your foods up in a timely manner. Did you know about 1/3 of our food ends up in landfills? Being a responsible shopper is good for your wallet and the environment.

  • Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags! Now get shopping!