Grocery shopping is my therapy.
I like to take my time and walk around, checking out the new products in store, trying samples, and simply being able to relax and grab my food for the week. However, I know this is not the case for many people. That is why I wanted to create a no-frills guide for how to grocery shop stress-free and get exactly what you need for your weekly meal prep.
As a single person who lives alone, I do not need a ton each week (unless I am restocking on my essentials) so my grocery trips can be pretty short and sweet.
I always start by doing a loop around the perimeter of the grocery store, which I highly recommend. This is where all of the healthy, whole foods can be found, including produce and fresh meat and seafood. This is where I do most of my shopping, actually. I am a big vegetable fan and always stock up on salad greens (my favorite are baby kale and romaine), sweet potatoes, cucumbers, avocados, and whatever other veggies that are in season at the time.
This week, since it is finally starting to warm up in the Midwest, I grabbed zucchini, peppers, and asparagus. I’ll go into more detail of how I typically prepare each of these veggies and the rest of my meal-prep in another blog post soon.
After grabbing what I need of produce, I make my way to the seafood department. As a way to save money, I typically buy the bag of frozen salmon filets (at Whole Foods) because it is slightly cheaper than buying the fresh filets from the seafood counter. Buying them frozen also allows me to have healthy protein stocked up and not have to make as many trips back to the store. When I run out of salmon filets I will occasionally switch it up and get chicken breasts or lean ground turkey from the poultry department to make my meal-prep turkey and kale meatballs or whatever recipe I am itching to try that week.
A few pantry essentials I like to keep stocked at home include canned chickpeas, black beans, quinoa, and occasionally sweet corn, which I will either buy in cans or frozen. My tip for when you are buying canned veggies is to drain and rinse them well. This gets rid of excess sodium that they are typically stored in.
When it is on sale, I also like to stock up on Annie’s White Shells & Cheese because it is my favorite quick and easy dish to make when I have little to no time. My tip: load up that mac with other goodies, like frozen broccoli and chicken sausage. It stretches the box waaaaaay further and makes you feel a little less guilty for downing an entire box in one sitting *wink* (No judgement here though, we have all done it!)
Other than the pantry stables above, I do not really spend much time on the inner isles of the store. I buy sparkling water, usually Waterloo or the glass Topo Chico bottles if they are on sale. I will also get my oils and condiments from this section of the store. Another item I like to stock up on when it is on sale is the Primal Kitchen Foods dressings. I also vary between buying olive oil and avocado oil spray and will usually just grab whatever is on sale. What can I say, the Millennial in me has a lot of brand parity!
If I am really budgeting, know that I will be traveling, or that I simply will not have a ton of time to meal prep one week, I will opt for frozen vegetables rather than fresh. Buying frozen guarantees that the produce will not go bad quickly and is typically very simple to heat up in the microwave or on the stove top. My favorite produce to buy frozen includes broccoli, mushrooms, kale, and peppers. My little money saving/easy meal prep hack? Buy your veggies frozen! They are just as healthy and almost always just as tasty. Although I love to meal prep, I know that is not always realistic but frozen veggies make it just as easy to get your greens in!
A few other things I also like to buy frozen are my breads and waffles. For bread, I prefer Ezekiel bread because it is full of healthy carbs and packed with protein. It is found in the freezer section at most grocery stores, near the gluten free products or the breakfast goods. It is a nice hearty bread that I like to toast for sandwiches and avocado toast. As for waffles, I will get the Kitchfix brand when it is on sale. Otherwise, I think the 365 by Whole Foods flaxseed waffles are super tasty and filled with protein, which is what I look for when I am buying breakfast items.
In terms of snacks, I like to keep mine simple. I will typically get baby carrots with hummus and whatever fresh fruits are on sale. I also like to snack on mixed nuts, which I get raw from the bulk section. Occasionally I will also pick up chips and salsa or crackers to go with my hummus, but it depends on how I am feeling that week. If I know I am going to be busy, I will grab these quick and easy snacks, but I usually do not like to rely on these items because they can easily become binge foods.
If you have any questions or would like help making a grocery list for your specific diet plans and goals, shoot me an email! I would love to help take the stress out of grocery shopping and healthy living one small step at a time.