Meal Planning Part II: The Grocery Store Trip

23 Jul

Hi there! Today we are going to talk about part two of my meal planning strategy- the actual grocery store trip! Catching up? Check out Part I: Before the Grocery Store!

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Although most of us spend quite a bit of time in them, grocery stores can be overwhelming and scary places!  I know I am of the minority when I profess my love for grocery shopping. Tiffany’s is to Holly Golightly what grocery stores are to me 🙂 I grew up with a mom who despised grocery shopping (and still does I think!), so I understand the pain of those of you who side with my mom. Here’s hoping a little guidance and streamlining will help ease the pain… 🙂

The first two steps are the most crucial! If you remember nothing else from this post, remember these rules:

1. ALWAYS go grocery shopping armed with a list! (see Part I)

2. NEVER go grocery shopping on anything less than a satisfied stomach!

(I have slipped up on these two steps before and next thing you know you’re standing in the checkout lane with double your $$grocery budget$$, ten empty sample cups, and a hodgepodge of items! Not good for the wallet, the waistline, or the meal planning.) 

Once you are prepared and properly fueled, you are ready to execute your plan. So grab your imaginary cart and let’s go on a virtual grocery store tour…

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PRODUCE

I always start with produce mainly because of the natural flow of most stores AND to fill my cart with the good stuff first! Aside from what’s on my list, this is what I look for…

– Whatever fruit is on sale for snacks. There is always something on sale! I get enough for at least 1 serving per day per person.

– Citrus for green juice and for flavoring dinners.

– Carrots/celery for snacking and adding cheap nutrition to various meals.

– Avocados for salads, sandwiches, eggs, and the inevitable Mexican night!

– Fresh greens (kale, salad greens, chard, etc.) if we don’t have a garden bounty.

– Anything else on sale/that looks good!

MIDDLE AISLES

Next I move on to the middle of the store. I usually breeze through these aisles pretty quickly, trying to stick with just items on my list. The middle of the grocery store is the place that causes the most “off the list”/impulse buy/junk food trouble for me! Those darn food marketers…

Popular middle aisle necessities include…

– A quick stop in the meat department for the occasional fish. (technically not in the middle)

– Whole wheat or quinoa pasta, canned tomatoes, chips for JWD, nut butter, bars, and cereal.

– Any extras like sparkling water, crackers, hot sauce, coffee, trail mix.

BULK

This is one of my favorite features and the primary reason I go to Whole Foods! I load up on old-fashioned oats, beans, lentils, grains, nuts, and anything else needed for the upcoming week’s recipes.

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FREEZER/DAIRY

This is the last stop!

– Frozen greens for green juices (much cheaper than buying all fresh!) and frozen fruit for smoothies.

– Sometimes a frozen pizza if one is on sale and it is going to be one of those weeks (I know you know the kind I’m talking about).

– Almond/soy milks (usually 2 half-gallons), tofu, tempeh, Food For Life bread, yogurts (one Greek, one regular), cheese (slices for JWD and something tangy for my lunch salads), and hummus.

*Note: We buy a dozen eggs every week from a small grocery store that stocks local eggs. We think it’s worth the extra trip!

I take a minute to recheck my list that I have been crossing off as I go to make sure all needed items made their way into the cart. 

And that’s a wrap! Time to pay! We have a set grocery budget and I’ve gotten pretty good at eyeballing the cart and staying within our budget.

Now it’s time to haul it all home… stay tuned for more!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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One Response to “Meal Planning Part II: The Grocery Store Trip”

  1. Mom July 24, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    Yes, you are correct. I’m still not a grocery store fan but you have taught me that it doesn’t have to be so painful. Now if they would just build a Whole Foods closer to my shopping grounds I’d be much happier!!!

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