For the next three weeks I am going to share my grocery shopping with you. I think it’s important to know how to grocery shop because that’s where healthy eating starts. I also think that many people have misconceptions about how and where they have to grocery shop if they want to eat better. You don’t have to go to specialty stores and you don’t have to buy all organic all the time. If you have the ability and the means to do that, awesome! But you can have a healthy lifestyle without those things too.
I have four main places that I grocery shop for our household. Jewel, Whole Foods, Walmart, and Aldi. I go to these places at least once sometimes twice a week. I do one big shopping trip on Friday morning and then supplement throughout the week with a few other trips. This helps me save money and find the best deal on food.
I’m starting with Jewel because that is where I do the bulk of my shopping. Not only are they on my block but they also have a good selection. Before I get into what I buy here are a few quick tips on making the most of any grocery shopping trip:
- MAKE A LIST! A list will keep you from just wandering the aisles and throwing whatever catches your eye into your cart. Know exactly what you need for your meals and what you need to restock and stick to your list!
- Shop early. I know not everyone can go to the store first thing in the morning, but if you can do it. There aren’t that many people there, the shelves are usually fully stocked, and it’s quicker to get done when there aren’t tons of people around. Nothing makes grocery shopping worse than doing it with 500 other people all trying to get the exact same bunch of kale.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. In my experience people who work in grocery stores know A LOT about groceries. They know all the deals, the best time to shop produce, and a few have even given me some great tips on preparing the food I buy. If you have a question just ask!
Onto the shopping! I buy all of my fresh produce at Jewel because they have a good selection and they also tend to have really good seasonal offerings. No matter what the season though I usually always buy:
- fresh herbs
- oranges/pears/plums/whatever other fruit is on sale or in season
Then depending on season I sometimes have squash, summer squash, beets, parsnips, asparagus, leafy greens, or whatever else catches my eye.
I try to stay in season and choose produce that is on sale to get the most bang for my buck. I also don’t buy the organic versions of these. At this point in time I just don’t have the financial resources to buy all organic and that is totally fine! Regular broccoli is better than no broccoli at all. I do however make sure that I wash all of my produce well before I eat it.
Jewel is also where I get canned goods, eggs, and frozen vegetables. I always make sure to have canned tomatoes and tomato paste/sauce on hand and I get the Jewel brand of these. The ingredient list is short and simple which is always important and it’s the cheapest brand, also important! I buy a lot of eggs, at least 24 perhaps more a week, but again I can’t afford to buy organic or cage free at this time so I just get the best that I can afford.
Finally frozen vegetables. Jewel has a really big and inexpensive selection of frozen vegetables that I love. Frozen vegetables sometimes get a bad rap as not being as good as fresh but that is totally wrong. They are just as nutritious and are sometimes more convenient than fresh. I keep a good variety on hand to throw into stir frys, soups, stews, salads, or as a quick side. Some of my favorites right now are:
- green beans
- shelled edamame
- sugar snap peas
- 3 pepper blend (red, green, and yellow peppers)
- california blend (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots)
- chopped spinach or kale
That’s my Jewel shopping trip. My Jewel also has a really good natural food market, a part of the store that has food you would normally find at say Whole Foods but for less money. I’ll sometimes get tea, gluten free pasta, and chickpea flour here.
Next Wednesday I will talk about what I get at Walmart and Aldi. Yes, you can find healthy food at Walmart and Aldi and save a lot of money. Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Where do you shop? What is the hardest part of grocery shopping for you?