Stock Up Your Kitchen!
by Katie from Colorado
Step one is to plan for your grocery store run before you go. This is a two step process that involves making a meal plan for the week, and making a grocery list to match! This will ensure that you are prepared to take on the store, and you will be less likely to aimlessly wander around or buy things that you just don't need. Making a weekly meal plan will also eliminate that dreaded "what are we having for dinner?" question. Once you have your meals for the week planned, take a few minutes to check what you have in your refrigerator and pantry to make sure you aren't buying things you already have! If you really want to set yourself up for success, try picturing the layout of your grocery store and make your list following the path you take as you walk through the store. By doing this you will be able to shop more efficiently and not be going back and forth as you shop!
Take Advantage of Sales/Stock Up
Every so often, you should take advantage of store sales and stock up on non-perishable items that you may use often in your cooking. You don't need to do this every time you shop, but it is nice to build a bit of a stash at home so when you are grocery shopping it isn't always a big "to-do." Another thing to consider is joining your grocery store's loyalty program. Stores often have additional deals for their members such as buy one get one free, or buy 2 items for the price of one, so this is a great way to save money here and there!
Utilize the Freezer
Did you know that fruits and vegetables are harvested at their peak ripeness and then frozen? For whatever reason, I think a lot of people are under the assumption that fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier or more nutritious than their frozen counterparts, but that is not the case! Of course there is certain produce that just tastes better when it's fresh or might be more suitable for a recipe, but utilizing frozen produce is a great option. Frozen produce can also be more affordable in the long run, because the products will last longer, and it can be a more cost effective way to buy fruits or vegetables that aren't currently in season.
Herb hack: Whether it be for flavor or garnish, a lot of recipes call for herbs, but only a small amount -- so you use what you need and then the rest just wilts away!
Instead of using these fresh herbs, turn to the freezer section! Stores such as Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and large chain grocery stores sell little packages of frozen herbs. If you are unable to find these in your local store, go ahead and buy the fresh option and instead of just letting it sit on your counter or in your fridge, chop it up and store in your freezer to use for future recipes!
-Try to shop the perimeter (edges) of the store as much as possible. This is where you will find more whole foods, and less processed foods.
-Shop seasonal when you can! A quick Google or Pinterest search will educate you on what fruits and vegetables are in season depending on the month or time of year!
-Avoid gimmicks and overly marketed "health" products. A good example of this is something like a "100 calorie" pack. Instead of buying these prepackaged and overpriced processed snacks, try stocking up on things like raw nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, or vegetables and making your own snack bags with whole foods. Worry less about the calories, and more about eating foods that will fuel you.
-Be sure to read nutrition labels if you have allergies or are sensitive to certain foods! Did you know that the top 8 food allergens are in BOLD lettering on every nutrition label? They are also listed at the bottom of the label if the food contains an allergen.
-Avoid shopping hungry, it can lead to “hanger” and impulse buying!
To wrap up this blog post, I am going to share a few items I consider "staples" for your kitchen!
-“Grab and go" fruits like bananas, apples, pears
-High quality/lean meats such as chicken or turkey
-Seafood such as salmon, shrimp, or even sardines (I know, I know)
-Greek yogurt (or any yogurt that is low in sugar and high in protein)
-The milk of your choice (cow's milk, soy, almond)
-Cheese (cheddar, swiss, gouda)
-Beans of all varieties
-Diced or pureed tomatoes
-Pasta made with whole grains
-Fruits, especially berries
-Vegetables like spinach, green beans, or mixed veggies
Wow, I think that is it! What is a household staple you always make sure to pick up? Let me know!
Hope you are all happy and staying healthy!!
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Katie.
Hi! My name is Katie and I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and a Health and Wellness Coach. I am a mom to a one year old little girl, a wife, and a proud Colorado native. I love baking, discovering new recipes, spending time with my family, writing, and traveling when I can!
Want more ways to save money on healthy food for your family? wichealth.org has a free online lesson called Maximizing Food Dollars. Find it on wichealth.org the Planning Simple Meals And Snacks category!