Simplify Your Grocery Shopping Experience

We’ve all heard you should not grocery shop when you are hungry. Being hungry while shopping inspires you to buy things you don’t need and stokes your desire to acquire comfort food that is often expensive and filled with calories.

There are any number of ways to simplify your grocery shopping experience but every one of them starts with proper planning. It’s a three step process.

  1. Know what you have on hand
  2. Identify the ingredients you will need for your menu
  3. Only purchase the gap

Here’s an example of my thought process as I planned my grocery shopping trip for today:

Four day MenuHaveNeed
Cod with boiled potatoes and asparagusAsparagusCod and potatoes
Pork bbq with sweet lentils and red cabbage apple slawLentils, Red CabbagePork, tomato sauce
Chicken Quesadilla with red and green pepper Tortillas and cheeseChicken, Red and green peppers
Salmon with broccoli and brown riceSalmon, broccoli and brown riceNothing needed

You might ask, what about breakfast and lunch? The items we eat for breakfast and lunch stay consistent in our house. We buy just enough for a week or so and before I head to the market I double check these too. Those items include:

  • Sliced turkey breast for sandwiches
  • Milk
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Flatout Flatbreads
  • Yogurt
  • Assorted cheese
  • Crackers
  • Chips
  • Cereal, Oatmeal and Frozen Waffles

Lastly, there are the pantry items. These include, but are not limited to herbs, spices, seasonings, flour, sugar, rice, beans, tomato sauce, carrots, celery, peanut butter and frozen peas. When we get low on any of these items, I add the item to my white board in my pantry. If I’m trying a new recipe and don’t have a particular ingredient, that goes on the whiteboard too.

This planning keeps us organized and a side bonus is we tend to spend less on groceries and have less waste. We use what we have. I shop twice per week and try to eat fresh vegetables when possible. The result is I rarely purchase more than two bags of groceries every four days for my family of two.

Here’s my white board. Notice the word peas is circled. That’s because the grocery store is STILL out of frozen peas. I take a photo of my pantry board with my phone and off to the store I go.

Another tip is to use a small grocery carriage and bring two reusable shopping bags, no more, no less. Once you’ve filled the top of a small grocery carriage, you’ve filled two shopping bags and you are done. If you have a family of four, it’s four shopping bags and two levels of the carriage.