From what I’ve heard, there are two strategies to grocery shopping right now:
- Go weekly, get your usual stuff so that you are in and out quickly.
- Go bi-weekly or once a month to decrease the frequency of going to the store.
I don’t think one strategy is better than others. It’s a personal preference. For us, I’ve been going as little as possible. I go to Costco once a month and order the rest from Thrive Market and Amazon. Of course, I also get my Butcher Box for meat, so I never have to worry about that. It’s not ideal, I miss Sprouts and Trader Joe’s, but it works for now.
I realize I’m in a privileged situation to work from home with my husband. The least we can do to support those that are putting their health at risk because they are volunteering or have to for work is giving up frequent trips to my favorite grocery stores.
That being said, I wanted to share some tips to adapt your grocery shopping so that you can go longer between trips (if that’s your strategy.)
What’s funny is, this is the way I used to shop. Before food blogging and babies, I used to go to the grocery store only twice a month, sometimes once a month. Going back to that is kind of nice, knowing I have just to use what I have is both a fun challenge and just a tad bit anxiety-inducing. That’s life nowadays, though, right?
1. Buy LESS Ripe
When you are at the store, buying things like avocados, apples, bananas, even tomatoes. Those things should easily last two weeks or more in the refrigerator if you buy them as green as possible. If you want some to eat right away, pick out one or two to eat right away and buy the rest as firm and green as possible.
When you get home, put those less ripe in the crisper drawer, but keep them separate from apples. Apples emit a gas that ripens other fruits, so keep those in the fridge away from the rest of the produce.
2. Use Perishable to Least Perishable
This may seem kind of obvious but use your perishable items first. Anything refrigerated takes priority, then freezer items, then pantry items. This is most obvious with veggies in our house. We use all fresh produce, before moving on to frozen then shelf-stable meal options.
3. Take Inventory & Make A Plan
Once you get home, make a list of what you have in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Usually, I would say do this BEFORE you go to the store to help you meal plan and purchase what you need. However, the way the stores are now, you can’t be sure what will be available, so, do it after.
Use your list to plan meals you’ll make first out of your fresh food, then out of your freezer food, and then out of your pantry/shelf-stable meals. (See Shelf Stable Swaps + Healthy Meals To Make With Shelf-Stable Ingredients) Use the tips below to stretch things out as well!
4. Make Fresh Foods Last
There are all kinds of tips to make your fresh foods last a little longer. One thing I’ve been doing is putting my fresh herbs in a mason jar with water and putting that in the fridge.
The jar above has been in my fridge for over three weeks and still going strong!
And another tip, although I usually say to prep your foods right when you get home, in this case, you may not want to. Produce in the whole form, think entire heads of lettuce will stay good longer than when it’s cut up (think chopped bagged lettuce.) Prep it as you need it to make it last longer.
5. Make Freezer Meals Ahead
When you are making your shopping list, plan to include a few freezer meals you will make within a day or two of shopping and freeze for later on in the month. So, in this case, you are making your fresh foods last longer by freezing them for later. Need ideas? Check out 55 healthy freezer meals to make.
6. Eat Healthy Carbs
Mr. Hungry and I are often happy to make a meal out of protein and veggies. I love zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, and all that fun stuff. The thing is, you’ll have to eat a lot more of the protein and produce items you are trying to make stretch to be full. You’ll go through it faster and have to go back to the store sooner.
If you add high-quality carbs (think quinoa, brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.), you’ll stretch how many meals you can eat that protein and produce. So instead of zucchini noodles, I might do brown rice pasta with cut up zucchini in it and whatever protein I was going to have with the zucchini noodles. You don’t have to make it the base of your meal, Standard American Diet (SAD) style. About 1/2 cup will be a good starting point.
What To Eat? Meal Plans
If all this is overwhelming to you, I get it. My meal plan subscribers voted, and instead of weekly meal plans, they will be getting meal plans that move them from fresh foods to frozen to shelf-stable foods over the course of a couple of weeks. That way, they have a quick shopping list done for them and ready to execute. They spend less time in the grocery store, don’t’ waste food, and go to the grocery store less frequently.
Do you have additional tips? Share them below!
How often have you been going to the grocery store?!?