Simplifying Grocery Shopping
Whether you are someone who is constantly on the go and struggling to fit everything in, you have a newly diagnosed food allergy, or you feel overwhelmed by all of the choices at the grocery store, you are not alone if you find grocery shopping to be a challenging experience. Simplifying grocery shopping is something that pretty regularly comes up with the clients I work with. Thankfully, several strategies can be used to really make things easier. Here are some tips and tricks that can make things easier at the store.
Make a Staples List
This is your list of all of the foods you need to have in your house on a regular basis. It may include things like milk, bread, or eggs, but it can also include items that you consistently eat for snacks or with breakfast or for easy or no prep meals if you’ve had an extra busy day. If there are things you want to make sure you always have on hand, put them on the list. It takes a bit of work to create initially, but it will save you the time of needing to re-create that list in your head every time you grocery shop or the headache of going to make your favorite recipe only to find you are out of a key ingredient that you usually have.
Have a Plan
Some people do really well with deciding what they would like to eat at the moment, on the fly, and are consistent enough with what they like that they usually have what they need from their staples list. If that sounds like you, this tip may not be as useful for you. If you are someone who likes to mix things up or is just learning to cook, having an idea of what you’d like to eat throughout the week will help assure you have everything you need. This can also help you avoid the dreaded “what’s for dinner” conundrum that many of us face at the end of a long day. Consider taking some time before you head to the store to think about what you’d like to prepare for meals for the next week. Keep in mind that your plan can also accommodate for leftovers, takeout or restaurant meals, or meals that require very little preparation - there is no specific template you have to follow to have a good idea of what to buy.
Allow for Flexibility
While it is great to have staples and a plan in mind, it can also be fun to be whimsy and creative in the store, if that feels right for you. If you usually buy one type of bread, it can be fun to experiment with a different brand or variety. For example, buy sourdough bread for one week instead of the rye that you usually buy. It is also absolutely ok to buy things that aren’t on your list, as long as your budget allows.
There are so many different ways technology has come into our lives, and grocery shopping is no exception. If you are tech-savvy, you might consider an app to assist with grocery shopping. There are some specific to list making and others that can store all of your recipes and easily convert them over to a shopping list at the touch of a button. You can even use the Reminders app on your phone to make a list that can easily be shared with someone else. If you find yourself too busy to fit grocery shopping in or you find the store to be overwhelming, consider giving online shopping a try to take some of the pressure off.
Remember, the goal of grocery shopping is to make sure you have food that you enjoy and will eat available to you. As with everything else, what works for one person may not work for someone else so feel free to incorporate any of these tips that feel useful. There is no one best way to grocery shop - only the way that works best for you!