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.
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.
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!).
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!
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.
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 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:
- 6 apples
- 3 pints of raspberries
- grapes (I always have grapes in my fruit bowl for easy snacking!)
- baby carrots
- baby spinach
- 2 red peppers
- 1 large onion
- 4 tomatoes
- green onions
- 4 parsnips
- Liberte vanilla Greek Yogurt
- 3 PC Greek yogurt fruit cups
- shredded mozzarella cheese
Meat and Seafood
- frozen shrimp
- ground beef
- 1 full chicken (that I used tonight to make easy chicken fajitas!)
- turkey deli meat
- beef broth
- Prego pasta sauce
- chick peas
- red kidney beans
- Kashi granola bars
- whole wheat spaghetti
- frozen strawberries
- fat-free Italian salad dressing
- bread crumbs
- low-sodium taco seasoning
What are your tips for healthy, budget-friendly grocery shopping?