WHOA, did anyone else feel like this week flew by?! This weekend I am thankful for no alarm clocks, coffee in my pjs, and lots of quality time with the people I love!
I usually spend my weekends trying to find a balance between relaxing and enjoying the slow down, and being productive in preparing for the upcoming week. My Saturday mornings begin with a good sweat and a trip to the grocery store. Call me crazy, but I truly enjoy grocery shopping – maybe it’s the alone time, or maybe it’s the excitement of creating meals and choosing foods that will nourish and fuel my body. I think what I enjoy most about grocery shopping is the feeling of productivity I get when I’m done [kinda like the workout, the end is the best part – haha!].
I know the task of grocery shopping seems like a mundane chore to some, and for others the thought of trying to avoid the temptation of everything sweet and savory can be totally overwhelming. Today, I’m sharing a few of my tips and tricks for enjoying the process, making nutritious selections, and saving some money – because who doesn’t want that?!
- Have a P L A N – Spend some time before you go thinking about and writing down what you will eat during the week. Breakfast and lunch are usually pretty simple for me [protein shakes, sandwiches, salads, snack boxes], and I aim to cook 2-3 dinner meals a week – each time cooking enough food to feed us for the next day or two. Grab this free meal planning template and make yourself a plan!
- Make a L I S T – Take the plan you just made and write down everything you’ll need to buy. I categorize my list [Type A – guilty] by the layout of the grocery store. This keeps me from wandering all over and, inevitably, forgetting something.
- Have a B U D G E T – Know how much money you can/plan to spend on groceries for the week, and stick to it. Keep an estimated running total as you shop. You’ll be less likely to throw in treats that aren’t on your list!
- Buy F R O Z E N Vegetables – My freezer is always stocked with frozen vegetables. They are just as nutritious, but they last much longer and are usually much less expensive. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and green beans are staples in my cart every week. On busy weeknights, they are so easy to throw in the oven straight from frozen and add to any quick meal!
- D O N ‘ T Go When You’re H U N G R Y – Eat before you go! I find myself adding all kinds of extra goodies to my cart when I’m hungry, and before I know it I’ve spent an additional $20-$30 on foods that I probably don’t need to be eating anyway. If you’re on-the-go, pack a healthy snack to enjoy while you shop to help fight off the temptation!
- Shop the P E R I M E T E R First – The foods along the outside perimeter are the most nutritious buys – fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy. These items are, for the most part, unprocessed and contain fewer ingredients…low in calories and high in nutrients – win, win! Fill your cart with these, then head into the aisles for the rest [ahem, ice cream and peanut butter].
- Read the L A B E L – The fewer ingredients, the better. Look for trans fat, hydrogenated oils, high amounts of sugar, lots of sodium, cholesterol – then avoid them. You might find yourself putting things back that you’ve been buying for years. That’s OK! You’re taking a step in the right direction. Hello, p r o g r e s s!
- S T O C K U P on Staples – There are a handful of items that are on my list every week, whether they’re written on my meal plan or not. Almond milk, nut butter, egg whites, chicken broth, rice, beans, etc… They’re the ‘behind-the-scenes’ players when looking at my meal plan. I don’t always think to add them to my list, but I always need them!
- Buy G E N E R I C – Most alway, the generic brands are made by the same manufacturers as the name brands, and they are usually significantly cheaper. I will always splurge for Jif peanut butter and Sara Lee bread, but most everything else I buy is the store brand [Aldi + Trader Joe’s].
- Go A L O N E – I know, this is not always possible. But, when it is, give it a try. You’ll probably enjoy the process more, and you’ll be surprised at how much you save without other people throwing unnecessary [and unplanned] items in the cart!
Here’s to making the most of the experience this week!
Here’s a peek into my cart. What’s in yours?!