Tag Archives: grocery shopping

Familiar Grocery Store vs. Unfamiliar Grocery Store

I have said it before, and I will say it a million times more, I cannot stand grocery shopping in an unfamiliar supermarket.

I know my grocery store intimately. I know where everything is, I usually go there knowing what I’m looking for, and I have a hot route planned out. I may defer from my hot route from time to time to pick up extra things that I need, but I still know where things are, and I still know where I’m going.

My grocery store is familiar to me, and I am attached to it.

Here is what happens when I go shopping in my regular grocery store:

That is honestly close to my exact store layout, and my exact hot route. In and out, and I am a happy camper.

Here is what happens when I go to an unfamiliar grocery store:

I don’t know WhereTF anything is. Even if it’s a similar layout, I will spend hours looking for something ridiculous like salsa. I get out of there a hot and sweaty, annoyed and irritated mess.

Is it too much to ask for all grocery stores to be consistent? Honestly.

Healthy Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning Tips

I had a request from my friend Leanne (or Uncle Leon) a couple weeks ago to do a post on grocery shopping and meal planning and how I plan my eats!  I went grocery shopping yesterday before the baby shower so I thought it would be a good time to tackle this topic.

I could honestly spend hours in the grocery store looking at all the different kinds of foods, but because I didn’t used to leave a lot of time for food shopping and it was one of those chores that I needed to squeeze in quickly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of actual grocery shopping.

With a bit of meal planning beforehand, this has changed around.  I can get in and out of there pretty quickly, because I have a routine and I already know what I’m looking for.  Easy peasy.  Plus, I then have everything I need for a week of healthy eating in, and I don’t stress out when I get home from work about what I’m going to make for dinnah!

So here are my tips.

Choose Your Time

I always do my big shop on the weekends because I have more time, and usually in the morning because if I go any time after 11:00 it’s absolutely rammed in there.  I also make sure I go once a week so that it’s not overwhelming.  Once you have a routine, it’s not so bad!

Choose Your Store

I like to choose one grocery store and get it all done there because it’s familiar, and I find when I am in an unfamiliar grocery store I spend way too long hunting for things.  I always go to the Superstore near my house, and I know that place like the back of my hand.

Superstore

I chose Superstore for a few different reasons.  My gym is there so it’s super convenient to squeeze in a workout as well as a grocery shop (yesterday for example, after my shop I hit up the arc trainer for half an hour).  It’s cheaper than Metro and Sobey’s, and I really like President’s Choice products, which are found there.  Joe Fresh being in there doesn’t hurt either ;).

I tried going to Walmart Supercentre for grocery shopping in the past, but it is just way. too. big. for me.  I couldn’t find anything and I was seriously overwhelmed.

Plan Ahead

I always do a bit of planning beforehand and have a general idea of my dinners for the week.  I will usually go online and check out the flyer first and see if there’s anything on sale that I would like to incorporate into my meals and kinda plan them that way (example – I bought shrimp because it was on sale, so for dinner one night we will be having shrimp!).

Shrrrrrrimp

Sometimes I will look up recipes beforehand that I have been wanting to make, and make sure to pick up any ingredients I might need.  Although the ingredients that are not fresh (spices, etc), I usually already have on-hand.

I only loosely plan my dinners for the week, as I always buy basically the same items for lunch, breakfast and snacks, and I have them on-hand for easy meal prep.  Those usually depend on what is on sale as well though, for example raspberries were on sale for three pints for $5, so I know I will be incorporating a whole lotta raspberries into my breakfasts and snacks!

Berries

It’s very important that I plan my dinners though, otherwise after work I’ll think we have nothing to make, even if I’ve just been shopping, and then we’ll just eat out!  I try to make as many meals as possible at home.  It’s so much healthier and cheaper.

Buy On Sale

Since Ando and I have bought a house and are making our own dins to save moolah, I am a pretty budget-conscious shopper.  I already mentioned that I buy what’s on sale and plan my meals around that, but for items like bread, if it’s on sale I may buy a lot at one time.  I used to be really weird about freezing bread, but now I’m more comfortable with the idea, and I may buy a couple loaves of bread, or a couple packages of bagels if they’re on sale, and then freeze them.

My grocery shop today I actually did not need to buy any bread because we have a few loaves, wraps, bagels, and English muffins already chilling in the freezer. 

Make a List

This is a no-brainer.  I am a huge list maker.  If I don’t have a list, I will forget something, guaranteed.  Since I loosely meal plan, I write down everything I need, so I don’t throw a bunch of random items in my cart.  My list has direction!

My iPhone has a really great list app called ListPro that separates all your items into their departments, and you can check them off as you go.

Mah List

I would highly recommend this app if you have an iPhone, but a hand-written list works just as well.

Shop the Perimeter

Another no-brainer that I’m sure you’ve heard a million times.  I am a huge fan of shopping the perimeter though.  My weekly grocery shops consist of usually fresh items: produce, breads, meats, yogurt, cheese, etc, all found around the perimeter.

Perimeter = Good Times

I will wander into the isles for items like cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter, etc. but those are not items that I need to buy weekly.  I do always hit up the canned section though, for beans, soups, broths, etc, and the frozen section, usually for frozen fruit or ice cream.  But I try to steer clear of the chip and candy sections, because if I don’t buy them, I can’t eat them!

Are you proud of your shopping cart?

I am!

My Cart

I may have dropped by the Joe Fresh section… ;)

Not including the shoes, skirt, and body wash, I spent about $95 on only groceries for the week.  Here is what I snagged:

Produce

  • 6 apples
  • bananas
  • 3 pints of raspberries
  • pineapple
  • grapes (I always have grapes in my fruit bowl for easy snacking!)
  • broccoli
  • baby carrots
  • baby spinach
  • asparagus
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 tomatoes
  • green onions
  • 4 parsnips

Dairy

  • Liberte vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 3 PC Greek yogurt fruit cups
  • shredded mozzarella cheese

Meat and Seafood

  • frozen shrimp
  • pork
  • ground beef
  • 1 full chicken (that I used tonight to make easy chicken fajitas!)
  • turkey deli meat

Canned

  • beef broth
  • Prego pasta sauce
  • chick peas
  • red kidney beans

Other random

  • hummus
  • Kashi granola bars
  • whole wheat spaghetti
  • PopChips!
  • frozen strawberries
  • fat-free Italian salad dressing
  • bread crumbs
  • low-sodium taco seasoning

Grocery Party!

What are your tips for healthy, budget-friendly grocery shopping?