I have shopped every where, every way. From budget shopping to online organic veg box deliveries. If there was an accreditation in grocery shopping I think I would be of mastery level.
I have a love hate relationship with food shopping, there have been hard times in my life when we’ve literally barely had the money to cover the essentials and that’s made it difficult to even bring health and fitness into the equation. Frankly I’d be planning what meals I could skip to feed the kids.
I’m at a place now where I love the weekly shop, I do it on a weekend so I can spend time planning the food we will eat for the week and choosing the produce. I take the kids with me and letting them choose a new fruit to try and lunch box snacks helps them have a better relationship with the food they eat.
Buy the best for your budget
Obviously if you’re on a tight budget splashing out on everything grass fed, organic delivered to your door isn’t going to be sustainable in the long term. I like to prioritise good quality meat and vegetables. If I’m trying to cut the costs I’ll opt for more meat free meals.
Try different retailers with a similar shopping list to test out the cost and quality of the food. Saving money is important but if it’s compromising on taste or quality are there tweaks you can make. Can you shop for different things at different places?
I like to splash out on my favourite more expensive foods at the start of the month and then cut costs a bit more towards the end.
Intermittent fasting also helps cut costs because although I eat the same quantity of food I tend to eat it in less meals. This means less individual items to buy, I might skip “breakfast” and have a large lunch based meal or eat a brunch style breakfast and have a small snack later followed by dinner.
Change how you see your food
When I food shop I don’t see it in terms of breakfast, lunch and dinner. I buy components to make a variety of healthy foods buying choosing, Fruit, Vegetables, Carbs and Protein.
Fruit and Vegetables
Seeing a rainbow of colour at each of my meals not only provides a huge amount of essential nutrients but increases the enjoyment of food. It might be spinach and tomatoes with my eggs, deep colourful fruit in my smoothies or a mixed salad with my lunch. The majority of my food shopping is fruit and veg.
When I’m planning my meals I choose the protein I would like each day it might be that I haven’t even decided what I’d like on what day I simply buy some chicken, fish, mince and kidney beans. My packed lunches I tend to just pick one protein for the three days. I always buy some cupboard protein staples too like eggs and tuna.
Then its simple I need a few carbs to pair with my proteins and veg, regular items are oats, sweet potatoes and buckwheat or brown rice pasta. I don’t have carbs at every meal I listen to my body. If I’m hungry, getting ready for a hard training day or I’ve just trained then I’ll be sure to add some but if I’m feeling more of a light meal like salad I don’t worry about it.
Almond milk goes in the trolley every week, dried fruit and nuts, cooking oils. Things like this will usually be specific on my list based on what we’re running low on at home.
Have a plan
Meal planning is essential but not in the way I see in most healthy lifestyle books.
Sometimes I do it before I shop especially if I’m cooking recipes but sometimes I plan it afterwards based on what I’ve bought.
I always have a list, even if it’s as loose as fruit, veg, protein x 5, carbs x3, Almond milk.
I might outline 2 or 3 breakfasts to rotate that might be two smoothies and some eggs. A packed lunch idea to cover work days. I might decide that Thursday we’re having mince but I’ve not yet decided what I’ll make out of that. It could be that I pick up a lot of protein that’s reduced which is another bonus of weekend shopping.
Keep it Fresh
The majority of your shopping should be fresh, as they say shop the outer edge of the supermarket and aim for ingredients not meals. I don’t buy junk in my weekly shop, not that I never eat it but if I do I go out especially for it. If the kids want biscuits we will go to the corner shop and buy a pack. If it’s not in the house you can’t mindlessly eat it. I try to feed the kids in the same way that I eat but obviously sometimes I’ll grab them an oven pizza on the way back from school. I am a stressed out working mother too.
I’ll be sharing more on my weekly meal plans later, in the mean time I’d love to see pictures of your food shopping or meal plans, tag me on instagram @Kellybeefit.
I hope these tips above help you, food shopping and meal planning is the foundation of your healthy lifestyle.