Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grocery love

Grocery shopping 101
Here's a secret. I really love grocery shopping. I love making lists, shopping for fresh food and bringing home food. It kind've makes me really happy.

Over the years of purchasing food, I have found things that work for our family. I know certain families use different systems, including shopping in bulk, online, or using coupons. So whatever works for you is great -- go with it.

Here are some tips I have found work.

Also, we have four people in our family. The girls usually smash through our fruit and cereal.

1. Shop the perimeter of the store or shop in a square. Try to go down the middle aisles after you have your veggies, fruit, bread, dairy and meat. Usually, these are the filler things that make your bill go sky-high.

2. Always shop with a plan.
If I am somewhat organized I like to try to write a list and include the prices with the item. This is easy because I use the same store so I usually know the prices beforehand. The link included also lists some healthy budget items like bananas. I love their ideas.

Green salad. I like to make different "color" salads. Try grouping the ingredients on each side.  You can do red, green or yellow salads. I used kale, garbanzo beans, hard-boiled egg, and feta. 

Equal parts canola oil, olive oil, little mustard, salt, pepper, honey, lime juice and process in food processor.

3. Get to know nutrition and what foods are good for you. As I tried to lose baby weight after Sophia, I tried lots of different food systems. I would try low-fat, granola bars, pre-packaged meals, etc. I never really started to make progress until I changed things with our shopping.

1. Learn how to make things you would normally buy from scratch.
  • Learn the culinary basics of soups, cooking grains (oatmeal, rice, polenta), meat, pizza and pizza dough, smoothies, and make them yourself. 
  • This saves money. Your no longer purchasing pizza boxes, taco seasoning, or countless other seasonings packets. And it's a lot less sodium. I do purchase pizza sauce if it has a few ingredients. 
  • Grow your own herbs during summer! This can easily save you around $7-10 per week. 
2. Understand how your body processes food and try to keep eating every 2-3 hours.
How do you feel when you eat lots of sugar or something that has a ton of sodium?
  • Always pack a snack. You are more likely to go through a drive-through unless you pack a snack.  I do nuts, pretzels, trail mix, hard-boiled eggs with mustard, smoothies, etc. 
3. Utilize non-meat sources of protein. 
  • We buy a cow each year that is grass-fed in bulk so it's nice to just pick up chicken or some sort of other protein. But really, meat is expensive. It's been fun to try other sorts of protein. Here are some we really like.
  • Beans - use in salad, dips for veggies, chili, etc
  • Quinoa - use in salads, as a side, cold-salad, etc
  • Yogurt or cheese 
  • Nut butters - in sandwiches, apple slices,  etc. 
4. Buy the good stuff. But buy the store brand if it makes sense.
I love shopping at Whole Foods. But, it can be pricey if you don't shop wisely. I try to stick with either foods I know or the 365 brand. And, I rarely buy cookies, etc there. Buy the best chocolate bar - it may be pricier, but it will taste so much better and last you longer. I try to go for a 60 percent bar.
  • Evoo - 6.00 for huge bottle 
  • Less pricey organic celery, carrots, (with stalks on), bananas. 
  • Really cheap ($1.29) organic peas that taste like they are from your garden. 
  • Dececco pasta - so good. 
5. Use what's in season. It tastes fresher and will be more nutritious. 
Rhubarb crunch
6. If your on a really strict budget or want to make sure you spend only so much money, take only cash in store. Whew. This is a hard one, but it's nice to do so that you only spend your budgeted amount. 

Happy shopping!
Any tips you love to use? 


Julz said...

I have a shopping list app on my iPhone (app is from hensoft and was $2.99). You can input prices, create categories for the foods by aisles so that it is in the order that you will find things when you go through the store, etc. Now that it is programmed, I just enter the items I want to buy,and it organizes my list based on where things are in the store so I don't miss something and have to go back to an aisle, and it adds in tax so I always know how much I am going to spend. It is also a checklist so you can mark things off as you go. The organizer in me loves it! :)

Erin said...

That is sweet! What a great idea!! Brandon always says I should be on the Price is Right because i can guess how much it's going to be - last week I was .90 off.

I love the tax part.

Erin said...

That is sweet! What a great idea!! Brandon always says I should be on the Price is Right because i can guess how much it's going to be - last week I was .90 off.

I love the tax part.