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  • Writer's pictureGuest Blogger

Groceries: Plan, Shop, and Cook

by Yana from California

As a mother of three, two 15-year-old twin boys and a 2 year old girl, I have to be very prepared before I embark on my grocery trip.

It starts with a review of the ads from local grocery stores. Luckily, I have a bunch of stores around me to choose from. My menu planning for the week depends on what is on sale in the stores. I must make a list of groceries I am going to buy or I will certainly forget one item. My boys are so used to my strategies that they always ask, “How many items on the list?”

The menu planning helps me to think ahead and use leftovers from the dinner for lunch the next day. For example, if a roast is on sale, we will eat it hot for dinner, and have cold sandwiches the next day. I have learned how to write a shopping list also. It is best to keep it in order: produce that I need listed first, meats, dairy, etc. This saves me time, and I don’t have to try the patience of my kids. I also try to avoid toy aisles; it can be hard to persuade my kid that she does not need a new toy.

Because I grew up in the Soviet Union and experienced many food shortages, I like to keep some staple items in my pantry just in case: oil, flour, grain, potatoes – as my mom calls them, strategically important products.

I do grocery shopping every week, and yes, sometimes I visit two stores. I must admit, as a rule, I only buy meat and fish that are on sale. That often means that they don’t have a long shelf life, but since I am buying for a week, it works for me. To save money, I often buy family packaged meat, such as chicken thighs. At home I am immediately breaking it down to smaller portions – usually 3-4 pieces in one Ziploc bag and I freeze them for chicken soups. You never know when a kid catches a cold and needs a soup ASAP! I like to have at least one on hand in my freezer.

Packaged salad looks good and convenient, but often does not last as long as they state on the package because it is washed. It is often a better deal for me to buy a bunch or a head of lettuce. I also love to visit a sale rack at my grocery store – very often they have sourdough bread on sale and pastries. There are some stores where I prefer to buy produce, but not meats, and some have better fish choices.

A little bit of planning before a shopping trip allows me to save money and minimize stress.

This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Yana.

About Yana. . . Yana lives in Santa Clarita, California with her 3 children.

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