I’ve always been the little girl that loved to go to the grocery store, and over the years, I have grown my passion for shopping at the grocery store or farmers market. It was always the time I was able to get alone with my mother, I was the person (other then my mother) that was the main cook in my parents house, I loved being able to see the new produce and products during the different seasons, and grocery shopping is actually something that helped me overcome some of my social anxiety issues, where grocery shopping was one of the very rare things I would leave my house willingly for.
Of course since moving into my apartment with Michael, where I have taken over the spot of “house chef” as I like to refer to myself as, grocery shopping has become less about leisure activity and more about actually putting food on the table. I still of course just go for a walk through the grocery store (which is a lot easier since the last two places Michael and I have lived in have been close to grocery stores, within a two minute walk even!, and the last place we lived was next to a Chinese grocery store so I was able to see plenty of new ingredients and products!) but know my main time in the grocery store is actually to purchase products to make dinner, and not just to see new items.
Of course a foodie like myself then would have plenty of tips to help others, and myself go grocery shopping, some of these rules have been since I was a pre-teen, some came to me while I was still a strict vegetarian, and some came to me when I started shopping for Michael and I and our own apartment. Below are the tips that have grown over the years:
- Make a list! Make sure you know what your are getting at the grocery store so your not standing in the middle of the aisle wondering what to make for dinner for the next week, better yet make a meal plan, knowing what you need to get and knowing what you will be making calms your nerves in a busy grocery store
- If you have a recipe you are buying for, write down the amounts needed! Knowing how much of an item you need helps you buy the right amount, not to much that will go to waste, or to little that you will have to return to the store later on.
- If you make a list and have a set recipe, write down the recipe title beside the item! ,I use this bracket and recipe idea mainly because sometimes the store I go to doesn’t have exactly what i’m looking for (Ie. some ethnic foods. ) So if I have which recipe I’m getting something for I then know that If I cant find something that i’m unable to substitute anything else for then I might not be able to make the recipe just yet, and that makes sure that I don’t buy all the other ingredients for the recipe and have them go bad or take up small amount of storage I do have.
- Walk or bike to the grocery store (If your not planning on getting to, to much) I’m lucky to be so close to a grocery store and I find it more positive when buying groceries at times, I know I can’t carry to much home, so it stops me from buying unhealthy foods. Just make sure you carry a reusable bag with you still!
- That age old saying “do not grocery shop when your hungry” really should be taken as a rule. If we are hungry when grocery shopping we might happen to buy more food, possibly buy food we don’t need, and simply just buy food that looks good but will never like the taste of (Ie. I’ve bought a ceder plank salmon once while I was hungry and in the store…after getting home I remembered that I really don’t like the taste of salmon and just bought something useless to me personally because of the look of the food.)
- “Shop the outer circle” as in shop around the outer part of the store, and not the aisles in the middle of the store as much as possible. The freshest, and healthiest, and most nutrient rich foods are on the outer part of the store, which should be your main purchases.
- Buy in season, most of the time stores put the in season fruits and vegetables on sale so they are cheaper, and they are at there best flavor while in season!
- Think vegetarian! While I was strict vegetarian I was able to offset the cost of fresh produce by purchasing $2 tofu instead of the more pricey meat products! (other products, kidney beans, legumes)
- Buy Bulk! I know it seems like a daunting task to get home and have this large package, but if you go home, get a few Ziploc bags and portion control the bulk package, you get more bang for your buck! (ie. meat products, potatoes, fruits that you can freeze)
- Double Check Sales! a lot of the time we see the word “sale” and automatically grab the item, but look closer, sometimes an item says sale but has a “20 cents off” which really isn’t much of a sale, personally I like to go by around a minimum of 70 cents off as a “proper” sale.
- You don’t need to buy organic for peeled vegetables and fruits! If you are buying as example a banana you are basically peeling off all the possible pesticides on the fruit which makes the extra money for organic produce basically useless,but if your buying an apple you will be eating the peel so pesticides are more likely to be consumed with that product.
Do you have any personal grocery tips?