Grocery Shopping Made Easy!
Grocery shopping…. Where do I even begin? I am very sure a lot of you can relate when I say that I never look forward to our weekly grocery haul. The absolute enjoyment of a nagging toddler, the overly sized red or blue plastic carts shaped as cars, to the endless amounts of aisles loaded with processed sugars and artificial coloring.
As a coach, the number one question I always received within the first week of getting their programs is what should I be purchasing at the grocery store, I am so lost!
I wouldn’t consider myself as a Veteran just yet but I do have to say I have formed quite the routine now when it comes to making sure I limit the amount of grocery trips I must make and especially reduce the amount of times I get the pleasure of practicing my skilled Austin Powers 24-point turn with my car cart.
Routine: Find a routine that works for your family, no two families enjoy the same meals and dishes, and base your list from your own preferences. Choose one day a week that works for you, a day that you can spend a little extra time if needed to follow through with your new formed list. Avoid going on a day that you have jam packed with activities or leaves you limited for time. I know that time is crucial but trust me when I say choosing a less stressed day during the week with eventually pay off. I personally choose a day my husband has work off so if he can come drive the big cart and toddler or I can slip away on my own.
Plan Ahead: Sit down and form a plan for the week, or in my case I stand since sitting down requires my toddler to come and make beautiful art out of the paper I am trying to form a plan on. I take note of how many meals I will be needing to cook over the next week, how many will need to be packed, and if I am hosting an event or needing to bring a meal to an event.
Form a List: Now that you have formed a routine, analyzed what is needed, a list is now formed! I double check all our nonfood items as well as our toiletries throughout the house. I believe this is about the time my clients reach their breaking point and panic…. WHAT DO WE ACTUALLY EAT?!
I formed a list of whole foods that I encourage my clients to use, guaranteeing results all while making it easier to start choosing healthier options and forming a better lifestyle.
Master Grocery List
Turkey (Ground or Breast)
Beef (Ground or Steak)
Seafood (Salmon, Shrimp, Calamari, Cod, Tuna, Tilapia, Halibut…)
Beans (Black, Pinto, Kidney…)
Complex Carbohydrate Sources:
Potatoes (Red, Sweet, or White)
Cereals (Oats, Cream of Wheat, Malt O Meal)
Bread (Whole Wheat or Ezekiel)
Tortilla (Whole Wheat or Corn)
Rice (Brown, Wild, or Purple)
Whole Wheat Pasta
Simple Carbohydrate Sources (Fruits & Veggies):
All Fruits and Veggies
Healthy Fat Sources:
Oils (Olive, Grapeseed, Sesame, Coconut)
Nuts or Nut Butters (Peanut, Almond, Walnut, Cashew, and Brazil)
Seeds (Sesame, Flax, Pumpkin, Hemp, Sunflower)
Build a Stockpile: Normally I don’t have every single item on my Master List in our fridge or pantry but I do choose several different options from the subcategories giving us more variety. Eventually you will find that a stock pile will start to form after following these steps without even trying. Our freezer now has multiple fish options, ground beef, shrimp, and even a couple trays of frozen chicken breast at all times. I only thaw what we need for each meal prep and sometimes it’s more than enough for what I am trying to cook at that particular time, leaving me with random frozen fish fillets left over from different grocery hauls. I like to save them for a day I decide I want to make a spur of the moment fish meal or have a fish craving. Our pantry is also always stocked with some sort of complex carb such as rice, grain, oats, and pasta so that we never run out of an option on those super crazy weeks when planning just didn’t go as I had hoped.
Choose Wisely: In your beginning grocery haul start very basic and pick only a couple options of each subcategory rather than breaking the bank to try and get it all within your first month or so. I would start out by choosing eggs, chicken breast, ground turkey, and your favorite red meat source to fulfill your protein portion. As for your complex carbs, decide what your family prefers over others and choose a couple different options. At our house, we always have some sort of wild rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread or tortillas, and oats. Occasionally when I want to try out a new recipe I will add in a few more just as a trial and error, honestly speaking a house full of kids is the hardest judging panel to win over when it comes to taste testing.
Fruits and veggies are a little bit trickier when it comes to forming a stock pile, most people usually over buy produce and end up wasting a vast majority of it. I have kept a mental note of just how much we go through each week, typically I choose two sources of fruit and two sources of veggies. My son is a creature of habit and with all my digestive issues I must be very picky about what vegetables I consume making our options easy and limited.
BULKING: BUY IN BULK! The bulk bins at our local grocery store saves us so much money every trip, so utilize what they have to offer. I get all our oats, almonds, nuts, quinoa, wild rice, I mean the list is endless and it saves so much in the long run reducing the cost of packaging. Some of the items on the Master List can be so pricey especially if they have to package the product which ends up discouraging you to follow through with the program. Invest in some air tight bins or canisters to keep these bulk ingredients fresh while you have them on hand. Those canisters that your mom and grandma typically have on the counter labeled: Flour, Sugar, Coffee, mine just so happen to be full of oats, wild rice, and fresh almonds or flax seeds.
Follow Through: Just when you thought the hard part was over, the most crucial and hardest step of them all falls in your lap, following through. Now that you have this gorgeous haul of fresh produce and delicious ingredients to make some meals the routine needs to be fully finished. Find some recipes online and put it all together, make the meals that you intended to make, and let your family reap all the benefits from your hard work.
Starting a healthy lifestyle is not easy but with these easy steps you can find that forming a routine, mastering the art of making a solid and efficient grocery list will save a lot of unnecessary time and stress while you are learning your very own routine. It has taken me several years, a new husband, and toddler to discover just how much time it takes to stay organized and on track with my goal of being a healthy mom. I know there are others out there screaming to the clouds for guidance so I hope these steps help and start to make a difference all while giving you more free time to spend with your family or even on yourself, we all know you deserve it. Happy healthy shopping!