I’m one of those people who actually enjoys grocery shopping, as long as I’m by myself. I like putting my headphones in with some music, while I look for sales, read ingredient lists, and search for the freshest produce. Crazy right? I have just begun making a menu and grocery list before shopping. Unfortunately, I didn’t think I needed to do this before and I probably wasted a lot of money going to the grocery store without a plan or list. So I am turning over a new leaf, and being diligent to write a menu plan and ingredient list so I’m not making multiple trips to the store or wasting food during the week. I’ll explain how I make a menu plan in a later post once I work out what I feel is a good system that saves money and time.
You have probably heard the best and most healthy food is along the walls of the grocery store. It’s true. This is usually where you find your produce, frozen, and refrigerated meat, eggs, and real food. I follow this tip whenever I grocery shop and find I don’t often have to drift into the other aisles anymore for my groceries. I start at the produce section and take my time going through each shelf and aisle to find fresh and preferably local produce. I spend my most time in this section, and the rest of the shopping goes really quick. I then move on to natural foods. Unfortunately, just by labeling something as natural or organic means the price is going to go up. Be wise when you shop in this section, you can end up needlessly spending more on something that really isn’t all that natural. In this section I can find my tofu, almond milk, yogurt, jam, flour, and pasta. The boxed or bagged food in this section isn’t always what it seems so read ingredient lists!
At this point, I usually pick up my fish and any meat or eggs I need. Then dairy, frozen fruit and veggies, and then to the check out. I usually don’t need to go into the other aisles every week since I stock up on canned fish and certain boxed food when it’s on sale. Then there is baking supplies and household items that can usually be bought monthly. I also make a Costco trip every month to look for natural foods and household items. They surprisingly stock some good quality food items. The items on my grocery list change from week to week depending on the season, and sales, but here is one week of groceries for me and my family:
Green Onion- We add green onion to everything. It really adds extra flavor to most meals.
Green and Red Pepper- Stir fries, salads, snacks. Peppers are versatile veggies to keep on hand.
Cucumber- Love this as a snack or in a salad.
Kale and Arugula- Chop up into a salad, add to smoothies, add to meals, or used in sauces.
Shittake mushrooms- Mushrooms are good to add as filler to stir fries, salads, meatless meals, lasagna, etc.
Tomatoes- Sauces, salads, and can be used for multiple recipes.
Avocado- Sandwiches, smoothies, toast, sauces, pudding, etc. The list is really long for avocado uses. I bought five of them at Costco for $5.00 and have already used three of them for pasta sauce and avocado pudding.
Banana’s- Great for smoothies or for a quick snack with some nuts or other source of protein. Also good for baking when they’re ripe.
Lemon- I use lemon for fish, sauces, lemon water, garnish, face masks, and toner. Check out a recipe for lemon juice toner here.
Eggs- We use eggs almost every day either for meals or baking.
Tofu- I’m added tofu to this category because it is used in place of meat in meals. Find this in the Natural Food section and make sure it says “made from non genetically modified soy beans.
Cottage Cheese- Cottage cheese makes a good afternoon snack or used in various recipes such as quinoa burgers.
Yogurt- We always have greek yogurt in the fridge. It’s a high source of protein, can be used in many recipes, sauces, and smoothies.
Almond Milk- I realize this isn’t a dairy product but it’s used in place of milk. Find this in the Natural Food section and look for unsweetened original. You can also find this at Costco for a cheaper price.
Lentils- I love lentil soup and it’s easy to add as a side dish to most meals in place of meat.
Chick Peas- I add these to stir fries and salads.
Vegenaise- I can’t say much about this one since I haven’t tried it yet, but it was on sale and recommended in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook “It’s All Good”. I’m going to try it in a few recipes and for sandwiches.
Dijon mustard- I don’t usually care for mustard but I wanted to try in some recipes and my husband uses it for sandwiches.
Maple Syrup- This is an all-natural sweetener that can be used in almost everything in place of refined sugar.
Pure Vanilla- Used for baking.
Kamut pasta- One of my favorite kinds of pasta due to it’s high protein and iron, plus it tastes great and only takes about 8 minutes to cook. Found in the Natural Food section of Super Store.
Dried figs- Great for baking with and can be used as a sweetener. Bought them at Costco.
Sprouted Chia and Milled Flax- I usually buy hemp hearts but this was on sale. This can be added to various recipes but I plan on mainly using it for smoothies.
Light Spelt Flour- I find this flour to be almost perfect for any dessert type baking and breads.
Stone Ground Buckwheat Flour- I use this for pancakes, bread, and mixed with spelt for cookies or muffins.
My grocery order from Super Store and Costco came to roughly $150. Which is what we budget for our weekly groceries, we also eat out one or two times a month. Keep in mind we usually don’t spend quite that much but I need to budget in enough for household items, baking items (which I had to stock up on this week), toiletries, and diapers. I am still working on cutting down my spending when it comes to groceries. It’s a work in progress but I am unwillingly to sacrifice nutrition to spend less so for now it is costing about $100-$150 per week for a family of three. I should add that since I stock up on things when they’re on sale I also keep canned fish in the cupboard, chicken and wild pacific salmon in the freezer along with frozen fruit and veggies, and various sauces in the fridge and cupboard.
Making lists, menu plans, and grocery trips can take time if you want to save money while still eating healthy. Keep checking back for an article on creating a menu plan, saving time and money, and I’ll be sharing my own menu plan as well.
Do you have any tips on saving money, grocery shopping, or creating menu plans? I would love to hear from you.