Let’s face it grocery shopping is a time suck. I’d much rather spend my time eating. It’s important for me to maximize my time in the store so that I can get right down to the end result — the food.
Each week before grocery shopping I map out my meals and include where I plan to shop, as well as how much I estimate it will cost.
I don’t use coupons because honestly I don’t have the time nor the commitment it would take to be a couponer. I do check the Sunday circulars occasionally to see if something jumps out at me and I watch the sale papers for items like laundry detergent or other necessities. I’m sure I could spend 20 cents on $100 worth of groceries, but I’m not in the place to do it, but that’s not to say later I won’t try my hand at it.
The hubby and I have grown tired of the same old foods so we’ve gone out of our way to try new dishes. It’s been a hot few months and we also want to prepare meals that require as little effort as possible. We also regularly have salads and meatless meals.
Recently my doctor “suggested” I eat less carbs (boo). I love my carbs, I’m in love with my carbs. I’m not stick thin and don’t plan to be and I don’t eat low fat, no fat, dairy free, gluten free, carb free. Good luck and more power to the people who do. I’m curvy and I’m a woman who likes to eat what she wants. I have very few food restrictions.
I am lactose intolerant, but I drink Lactaid milk and regularly take Lactaid brand pills. I do try to bake, broil or steam meats instead of frying, but that’s not to say I won’t eat fried chicken or fish or pork chops.
So back to grocery shopping and meal planning. I plan the meal before I buy, it’s that simple. I buy staples every so many months or weeks and it reduces my bill and my time in the store.
Our family’s staples are rice, pasta, cheese, milk, eggs, mayo, wheat bread, onions, salad dressing, chicken and Texas Pete hot sauce. I also regularly keep on hand — lettuce or any salad fixings, spaghetti or alfredo sauce.
If you have staples on hand then you can easily map out a meal based on the ingredients you already have. For example, this week I’m making curry chicken. I have rice, chicken broth, tomato paste, spices, carrots and boneless skinless chicken breasts. The only thing I need is two apples. So essentially this meal will cost me less than $2 and should feed us for at least two days.
Say it with me “leftovers are your friend.”
It’s so much easier to plan meals and then go shopping because it saves time and money. I mean how many times have you bought mayo only to find you already had it? Very rarely do I go to the store without a list.
I usually try to buy groceries on Saturdays beginning around 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. I make my rounds to a local produce market that I frequent — Father & Son Produce, then it’s onto Aldi and of course Food Lion (because I live in the city where it was founded so there’s no shortage of the stores).
I get my vegetables and fruits from the produce market and place them in a cooler with ice packs. There’s only a few food items and products that I’m brand loyal to like Texas Pete. I don’t buy any other hot sauce, ever. But when it comes to snacks, pastas, sauces, and bread it doesn’t really doesn’t matter to me, so Aldi it is. I usually choose my meats from Food Lion.
*Tip: Some stores have days of the month when they mark down meat items. My Food Lion marks down meats at the end of the month so that’s when I “splurge.”
This week’s meal (if you’re curious) will include:
- Curry chicken
- Patty melts
- Broccoli casserole
- Garlicky quinoa spinach bowls
- Shrimp pasta salad
- Salads and lots of veggies (asparagus, corn, spinach, okra, zucchini)
Hopefully you’ve learned a few things vicariously through the way the Walkers shop and plan meals. Share your shopping tips below or via facebook, twitter or instagram.