Have you ever found yourself swirling in aisles, staring at food until it becomes blurry? Or wandering into the produce just to walk back to the only aisle you know? Grocery shopping can be categorized into two headings, therapy or the most stressful and dreadful outing of the day. There are so many options, yet the cart is always empty. Sound like you? Here's a guide on mastering the art of browsing in your local market. Read to the end to see a sample grocery list and a couple of meal ideas!
KNOW THE RULES
The 2’s PLAN
The first rule is to walk in with a plan. I like to use the 2’s rule. Purchasing in two makes it easy to not overspend and ensure you have grabbed all the items on the food map. Two veggies, fruits, proteins, fats, carbs and a treat/snack combo. This is also a fantastic way to welcome healthy eating habits. Focusing on fresh foods with a short shelf life will force you to use them, knowing their limited time.
2. Write it out! Although our digital box
besties are fun, putting your phone away and leaving the shopping to the good old pen
and paper is a terrific way to avoid distraction and overspending. Stick to the list!
3. Define your purpose and schedule for groceries. Are you planning a road trip at the end
of the week? Cutting down on produce and those delicious strawberries can wait until
next week. You want to use them wisely! Will you be running around town all week and
know the kitchen will not be touched until the weekend? You should focus on purchasing
meal prep ingredients and saving those food try hauls for another time.
Don’t fear the unknown while you are vibing in the bright aisle. Now, if you are Gordan Ramsey, you may want to choose veggies that need some pan love. Those bell peppers, cauliflower, zucchini and Brussels sprouts will be great in your favorite rice bowl. If you do not have time to play Top Chef, try a simple option. Green beans and broccoli are often available in microwaveable packages. Within minutes, voila your food is done! For snacks, baby carrots, celery and cucumbers are low-maintenance veggies that will last you a few days longer than our leafy greens. Get creative! Keep it raw, sautee it, spice it- anything works. Sautee your favorite combos for harvest, Mediterranean, and Asian fusion grain bowls!
+Marinated Precooked Chicken Breast
Buying raw meat can be scary, especially if cooking is not your forte. Grocery stores understand your hustle and will precook meat for you! A few precooked ideas to add to your cart are sliced chicken breast, premade chicken sausage and turkey meatballs. For those chef-curious, other options are frozen shrimp, ground turkey and ground beef. This would not be a grocery guide without mentioning the #1 item requiring ZERO kitchen utensils. Rotisserie chicken, the best thing ever made, should always go home with you. Possibilities are endless with this kitchen favorite. Create your favorite chicken tacos or buffalo chicken dip in half the time! For our friends who don’t eat meat, tofu scrambles are great protein-packed meals. Add turmeric, bell pepper, spinach and your favorite spices in a pan, and you've made a meal with all the colors in the color wheel.
Fruits are your best friend! They make great snacks, and some can last for over a week. Bananas make great grab-and-go snacks, smoothie bases and toppings for toast! They do not require refrigeration and can be put to practical use if bought ripe. If refrigeration is out of reach, oranges are wonderful fruits to keep on hand and on the table. Thinking back to rule #3, “Being Intentional,” dividing your two fruits for the week into one fresh and one frozen is a great tip to ensure nothing spoils and you have a backup for smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt and other toppings.
Grains and carbohydrates are pantry homebodies. They are the best items to keep around until desperate times when those refrigerator foods go bad. Oatmeal has sat beautifully on pantry shelves for over a year! Steel-cut oats are a great healthy option to keep in the cabinet. If you snag those frozen strawberries and almond butter, throw them in a bowl with steel-cut oats for an easy, cozy breakfast. Quinoa does not have a bad recipe! It's easy to cook and versatile. Try making a grain bowl with a quinoa base topped with your favorite proteins and veggies. It's at home Cava! If toast is your niche, it is the year of the sourdough. And while it won’t last as long, it's good for you and makes the best toast!
Snack and Sweet Treat
It is okay to break the rules sometimes. Treat yourself! Sweet treat hour does not have to go away while eating healthy. For the final duo of your shopping spree, grab a snack and sweet treat of choice. Whether it is your favorite bottle of bubbly or tub of mint chip ice cream, grab a treat that guarantees a 10/10 review. Pick up the classic Tates Chocolate Chip Cookies or a bag of olive oil-infused popcorn for refrigerator-free options.
Bananas + Frozen Blueberries
Rotisserie Chicken + Frozen Shrimp
Spinach + Carrots
Meat sticks + Popcorn
Avocado + Almond Butter
Grain Bowl Idea!
Sweet Potato, Olive Oil, Quinoa, Chicken, Avocado, Bell Pepper
Morning Smoothie Idea!
Frozen Strawberries, Banana, Milk of Choice, Almond Butter