Going grocery shopping can often be overwhelming and confusing. It’s hard to know what to buy especially when faced with so many choices. Supermarket shelves are stacked with so many foods that we often leave the store with more than we intended to buy, or actually need. Often the layout inside the store isn’t ideal requiring us to walk through many aisles to get to the staple foods, which is when we fall into the trap and buy impulsively.
Tips below to make grocery shopping easier:
Firstly, never go shopping when hungry – You end up buying the foods that are addictive as they appeal to our taste buds, like cakes, crisps, chocolates, etc. Those that are high in sugar, fat and salt.
Meal Planning – Before heading to the store, it’s important to plan what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks during the week . Identify the times in the week when it will be harder to cook because you have a very busy day and make some meals in larger portions, which you can have as leftovers. Also take account of the times when you don’t need to cook because you are eating out.
There are so many recipe resources: magazines, books and you can also get many recipes for free online. Spend some time browsing through these for inspiration if you are at a loss for what to make. Meal planning helps save time and also money as you only buy the foods you need and it minimizes wastage. It also takes away the stress during the week as you know what you are preparing and are well stocked.
Once you’ve chosen your recipes, spend about 10 minutes to note down the meals in the meal planner above. Then use this planner to write your shopping list. I suggest you categorise the list according to the different aisles (e.g. meat, fish, vegetables, canned foods, etc.) to save time in the store. Don’t forget to check what you already have at home so you don’t buy extra.
Sometimes what we need isn’t always in stock, so replace it with a similar food. For example, if there is no kale available, I get baby spinach to use instead.
Stock up on staples – Have a list of staple foods that you always need and ensure you are well stocked, e.g. rice, oil, spices, etc. These usually have a long shelf life.
Keep some non-perishable foods for an emergency so you aren’t caught out – Some good ones are baked beans (low salt and sugar), canned soup (low salt and sugar), canned salmon or tuna.
Don’t forget your snacks – We often don’t think of our snacks when shopping, but these are important to fuel us between meals. Remember to get klike fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and the ingredients to make your favorite dips. If buying packaged snacks like granola bars, crackers, tortilla chips or trail mix read the food labels avoiding those which are high in sugar, salt and fat.
Cook once and eat twice to save time – This could be having leftovers the following day, or making a big batch of soup and freezing some for later in the week. You can also make salad dressings or sauces that will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Or you could use left over roasted chicken and add it to your pasta, fried rice or sandwich.
Being organised is essential and this will save you time and money in the long run – Meal planning may seem time consuming and tedious, but having initially spent some time doing it you will realize it doesn’t take too long to do.