Updated: Apr 17
For some, grocery shopping can be dull in their chaotic routines, going from aisle to aisle, trying not to blow the weekly budget.
I may be the only one, but I love shopping for groceries and getting inspiration on what I will cook for my hubby for the week.
I thought I'd share how I keep my pantry well-stocked and some handy tips to help with shopping and planning healthy meals.
The Back-Up Pantry
Ever since covid, we started a backup pantry, our little survival pantry for lockdowns and shortages. Amongst all the crazy, we slowly built up canned goods and doubles that went on sale. If you are on a strict budget, this might not be easy, but it has saved us money in the long run. We rotate stock and wait for it to go on sale rather than running out and buying things at full price.
Look for half-price deals on products with long self-life, such as long-life milk, canned goods, cooking oils (olive), and instant coffee.
Shop around; I have become pretty nifty with sales and prices at different stores; however, if you drive somewhere for one item, it may not be cheaper in the long run. I love going to the bulk food store for my tamari and spices, but I will wait till it's worth it, as it's a 20-minute drive into town.
Make A Plan
Planning out your weekly meals can help, save money and reduce food waste, especially fresh produce. Having a grocery list ready will eliminate the mindless browsing down each aisle.
I keep a magnetic shopping list on our fridge, and anything that needs restocking I pop on the list. Have your weekly meals planned out; If you love a good weekly meal night like taco Tuesdays or spaghetti Wednesdays, this helps with thinking up meals.
Since most of my meals are for the blog, it becomes difficult to drum up new inspiration. I repeat fan favourites; if you want inspiration, check out my delicious plant-based recipes on my blog or from my two ebooks.
If you haven't used a meal plan before, talk to your family about what kind of meals they like and always try and make a healthier version and sneak more veggies in.
Start with dinners first, then when you are more comfortable, plan out your breakfast, lunches and snacks.
I find that Wednesdays are the best day to shop. It is when the new weekly sales come out and are well stocked on this day. Avoid going at peak hours, 4 pm to 6 pm, as these are common times people shop.
I try and stick to the outer aisles with fresh and refrigerated produce. It is all about moderation regarding health and aiming for healthier foods rather than convenient, highly processed, refined carbohydrates that are high in sodium and sugar.
Try and shop the rainbow (fruits and veggies). They will be the main bulk of your shopping. If you are new to exploring outside the norms of "meat and three veg", try introducing new types of fruits and vegetables each week.
If you are on a budget, frozen fruits and vegetables are cheaper and just as healthy.
Stick to the healthy aisle for nuts and seeds, seaweed snacks and gluten-free items.
Swap out wheat pasta for wholemeal pasta or legume pasta
Stroll down the canned goods and pick various legumes, beans and pulses.
Don't forget lots of protein-rich food whether you eat meat or not. Try some tofu and tempeh
If you are a fan of eggs, they have amazing nutrients and protein for thyroid health.
Whether you eat dairy or not, coconut and dairy yoghurts have great probiotics properties.
Cooking oils such as olive, coconut and avocado oils are great nutritional value. You can find olive oil sold in 3L drums, which often goes on sale.
Prepping For The Week
You have done your weekly shop and brought It home; now it is time to prep and store your food for longevity. You are more likely to eat healthier foods when they are prepped and ready to go. The number of times my hubby stares at a well-stocked fridge and says, "we have nothing to eat.
Don't let the older food get pushed at the back, do a stocktake and rotate.
Chop and store melon fruits such as rockmelon and watermelon in the fridge for easy access.
Wash and store berries in the fridge, ready for a quick grab.
Chop snacking veggies such as carrots and celery for easy access in a tall glass of water in the fridge.
Rinse and chop leafy greens and wrap them in a damp clean tea towel for easy access in your fridge.
Pre-washed lettuce, remove from the bag and store in an airtight container lined with a paper towel to keep it from going slimy.
If veggies begin to go wobbly, add them to a tall jar with filtered water, and they will crisp back up
herbs such as dill and parsley can keep their freshness in a jar of water in the fridge.
Add snacking nuts (brazil, almonds, cashews) to jars and store them at eye view. They will be the first thing you will see when opening your pantry.