Planning is the key to quick, easy and economical grocery shopping. Check out our ten tips to help make your shopping painless.
2. Set aside one-half hour to write it all down; gather your family calendar (and the school’s lunch calendar) to determine who will be eating which meals. This half-hour will shrink to about 7 minutes in no time as you re-cycle your best days.
3. Be realistic; if no one likes Brussels Sprouts, don’t plan them into your menus.
4. Check your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards for inventory. Any foods that need to be used up? Any foods that no one has any intention of eating? Plan to use up the odds and ends or donate or discard the “bad” purchases.
5. Don’t hesitate to make planned-overs (they taste so much better than leftovers). That roast chicken on Sunday not only becomes a sandwich on Monday but chicken noodle soup on Tuesday.
6. There’s great convenience in single serving items for lunches but you are paying more for the package than the food. Buy a large bag and have one of the kids count out portions into reusable containers.
7. For fresh produce, consider their shelf-life. Use highly perishable fruits and veggies early in the week and keep those that have a longer shelf life for days 6 and 7.
8. Frozen fruits and vegetables can easily round out that end-of-the-week meal.
9. Make sure you have storage containers and supplies. Those two pounds of hamburger in the freezer will be harder to use quickly than the 1/2 pound packages you created (and labeled and dated!).
10. Encourage the whole family to participate. You can educate everyone about budgeting, time management, cooking and, of course, good nutrition. Dole out questions, tasks and responsibilities appropriate for your age child.
We promise, careful planning will make feeding your family a real joy!
Marcia Crawford, MS, RDN