Do you do a grocery store prep before going to the store? Seems like a very silly question, but I was surprisingly shocked over the weekend to learn that alot of my friends + family still do not grocery store prep. And I’m not just talking making a list of the things you need and going to the store either. On my journey to living a little more mindfully + eventually minimally, I’ve taken a whole new approach to going to the store.
While this may not be for you, so to speak, you may find it helpful if you find yourself in any of the following situations:
A. Have food, but don’t want any of it.
B. Have food but no idea what to make or
C. find that you are going to the store several times a week for little things here + there.
Truth Moment? Once upon a time I went to the store no less than 4xs a week + I used to go to MULTIPLE stores on those days (confessions of a mixed diet household). Yep😅. I feel exhausted even admitting that. Ill be even more honest with you, while the restrictions of 2020 did reduce the number of times I left my house, it did not keep me from being in the other 2 situations listed above (food but didn’t want or didn’t know what to make).
The whole idea behind Grocery Store prepping is similar if not the same as meal prepping. The ultimate goal is to save yourself the hottest commodity you have. TIME. Which in turn saves money, so win win.
Mindset change…… ok hear me out lol😂. You actually do have to think a little differently to work backwards. For the most part, or at least for old me, when I would create a grocery list it was done in this order:
– Random items Household members needed
-Household Poll of what meals we would have
-ingredients for meals selected
This worked for the most part but often times w/ the reduce trips to store we ended up in a place of “ugh🙄 I don’t feel like preparing this or that” by the end of each week.
When it came time to creating a list for the store each week we were working from a place of “empty”. That was us working ENTIRELY too hard, because A. Im not a short order cook and B. Truth was we weren’t eating every scrap of food in the house each week lol. We were eating the things we liked of course, but we weren’t eating everything.
Adjustments had to be made because admittedly we were wasting food + going into a very expensive cycle of takeout. SN: Why is it so easy to say “let’s order takeout?” I am NOT reinventing the wheel here, Im pretty sure there are some amazing tips out there when it comes to going to the store. These are just some things that have been working for my household lately:
- Shop based on the ingredients you have on hand. When creating a list PHYSICALLY look at what you have. Ive been guilty🤦🏾♀️ of sitting at the table “recalling” what I believe is in fridge or pantry, friend don’t be me. Literally go look. Check your pantry for grains, beans, canned goods, pastas, etc. Start with what you have on hand + think of how you can potentially build those ingredients into a meal. example:
- dried pasta with canned/jarred sauces or diced tomatoes
- canned or dried beans with diced tomatoes or potatoes for soup
Sometimes you may have the staples already for a great prep meal sitting right in your pantry or freezer. This alleviates the pressure of having to come up with fresh meal’s week after week. Being home this long we have all gone through our best recipes + then some at this point.
Tip: Now while it is great to get the opinions + suggestions of the other people in your household. From 1 tired momma to another, I strongly suggest you personally or the person doing the cooking makes the decision of what to make if creating a meal from pantry staples LOL.
- Fresh Produce. Visit your Farmers Market or see if there is a local delivery service available in your area. This is a twofold opportunity, supporting local farmers + eating in season produce.
Tip: Get produce on a different day than your normal shopping day. This keeps your fridge from being too full + produce potentially going bad.
Based off of what you can make from the items in your pantry/freezer you can add missing ingredients to your list. And because you will be buying fresh produce (if available to you), you will already have an idea of what produce is in season in your area.
Keepin’ it Fresh
While these 2 changes definitely upped my game when it came to grocery store prep by saving me time. The real prep game changer is this app I discovered called Supercook! In this amazing app you can enter any ingredients you have on hand and it will provide you with dozens of different recipes that you can make. The more ingredients you add, the more specific the recipes. There are other great filter features like key ingredients, meal type, diet etc. I really love this app because it helps me think outside of the box when it comes to creating meals for my family.