After college, I ran a meal prep company out of my kitchen for about a year and quickly became a grocery store guru. Even when buying food for 50+ meals per week, I was able to get in and out of the store in under 45 minutes. I have all the tips and tricks to make your grocery buying high quality, cost efficient, and not a total time sucker!
1. A cliché rule of thumb… plan ahead!
Find 3-5 meals you want to make and write the ingredients down. This should only take about 15 minutes – don’t overthink it. This prevents waste, helps you choose foods that work well together, and gives you specifics to look for at the store.
2. Organize your grocery list for maximum efficiency.
Categorize all foods into the store section location (i.e. eggs, milk & yogurt go under dairy, but bananas, spinach & potatoes go under produce). If you frequent a grocery store, then you probably have the layout memorized. Write your grocery list in order of the sections you walk through. Maybe you hit produce first, then go to dairy, meat, then freezer section, etc. This prevents wasting time doing laps around the store to search for items you forgot the first time around. Try downloading a grocery list organizer!
3. Get really comfortable with the clean fifteen, dirty dozen.
The BEST way to ensure quality without breaking the bank. Many people feel they need to buy organic everything and that’s truly not the case. You can save money by only buying the dirty dozen organic. See an updated list here https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean-fifteen.php and check out our blog on this topic (insert Kristen S. blog on clean 15/dirty doz here)
4. Choose from the back.
When choosing food items, reach and grab the farthest item possible. The items with the closest expiration date are in front. While no magic fix, this can keep some foods fresh longer.
5. Buy in bulk.
Foods with a longer shelf life will save money in the long run if you buy in bulk. Things like rice, potatoes, oatmeal and apples can last awhile, but if you buy too many bananas you’ll be throwing some away at the end of the week.
6. Check the cost/oz on the price tags!
Bigger is better for foods that your family eats large amounts of. The example below shows a 50% reduction in cost/oz when you buy the larger tub. If you bought five of the small containers, you’d spend $3.60 cents for 30 oz, rather than $1.62 for the 32 oz container. Beware: don’t just choose the largest tub overall, make sure to compare cost/oz between different brands.
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