4 Ways to Up Your Grocery Game

grocery shopping meal prep

My husband and I share many of the same interests: spending time outdoors, going on coffee dates, watching Netflix, etc. The one thing that we don’t see eye to eye on is going to the grocery store. I personally love perusing through the aisles and checking out what’s new. Ben, on the other hand, would rather watch grass die.

So as a registered dietitian (and as the official grocery shopper of my family), I have plenty of tips and tricks for how to make the most out of your grocery store visit. Today I’m going to share with you the 4 steps I take to save money, purchase exactly what I need, and make sure none of it goes to waste.

Tip 1: Think about numbers. Before going to the store, plan out how many meals you think you’ll eat at home (or take with you from home) this week. Do you have dinner plans with friends this Friday? Lunch meeting on Wednesday? Most weeks I know that we’ll eat one or two meals away from home, and I take that into consideration.

Tip 2: Plan out your meals. To make your life easier AND shorten your grocery list, I recommend meal prepping some or all of your meals. There are a few ways you can do this:

  1. Pick a few recipes to prepare, and enjoy them as leftovers throughout the week. So for example, you could choose to prepare a casserole and a pasta dish to enjoy for your weeknight dinners. If you’re just starting out, I recommend starting with 1-2 lunches, and 1-2 dinners.
  2. Instead of creating entire recipes, you can also choose to prep different categories of food to mix and match. This works well for people who want lots of variety. For example, you can prepare 2-3 different starches (pasta, rice, baked potatoes), 2-3 different proteins (tofu, chicken, pork), and 2-3 different vegetables (side salad, roasted zucchini, steamed broccoli). Each meal can be a different combination of these foods. 

Prepping your meals ahead of time reduces your cooking and cleanup time, and also saves you time and money spent in grocery store. It's also a saving grace on those days when you’re too tired or busy to cook. If you’re looking for a little extra help with this, I recommend signing up for my lunch club, where I share easy, delicious, and nutritious recipes, grocery lists and more with my members. 

Tip 3: Organize your grocery list. I start this process by first writing down each recipe I plan on making and the ingredients required. Then, I check to see if I already have any of those items in my kitchen. Finally, I organize each item by a certain category (produce, dry goods, frozen foods, etc). It takes about 5 minutes, and it saves me from an extra trip to the grocery store because I forgot to buy a crucial ingredient. Click here to download my free grocery list template to help you get started. 

Tip 4: Prep it like it’s hot. It’s taken me years and years of wasting money on wilted fruits and vegetables to know that I am L A Z Y when it comes to washing, peeling, and/or cutting produce when I’m in the mood for a snack or need to prepare a quick meal. Something that has saved me from throwing away hundreds of dollars on spoiled produce is prepping it as soon as I get home from the grocery store. If I purchased snack-able vegetables like carrots or cucumbers, I make sure to peel and chop them into bite-sized pieces for easy grab ‘n go. I’ll even go as far as pre-packaging snap peas or baby carrots into portable containers- whatever I can do to make snackin’ on my fruits and veggies easier!

By following these four steps, you can spend less time in the grocery store and in the kitchen, and instead focus your energy on other things you love (like looking at dog Instagram accounts...not that I know anything about that...) YEAH GIRL!

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