Systematize Your Grocery Shopping

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If you’re a young city person, you likely have a lot going on! From work, to social events, to fitness classes, to building your side hustle, to making time for that hobby you love - I’m guessing you are always on-the-go. And with your on-the-go lifestyle, you might find you’re often having a similar experience to this: you are so absorbed in what you’ve been doing, and then all of a sudden you get home and look in the fridge and... empty!!! Grocery shopping then becomes a “todo” - something you’re stressing to fit in. You may end up ordering takeout... again... when you had set an intention to make more home-cooked meals to save money and feel healthier. If you’ve ever felt like this - I know what it’s like. I have been there! That was my life before I created a system for getting grocery shopping done - a system that made grocery shopping enjoyable, and that actually saved me time and money too! When we systematize things in our lives, we’re able to be more productive. And with greater productivity, comes more free time to spend on whatever you’d like!

Here are my top tips for systematizing your grocery shopping:
1. Have a weekly “Grocery Day” and a designated “Produce Top Up Day”.
Grocery shopping became something enjoyable for me when I actually made time for it in my schedule. Scheduling it in helped me feel more present since I wasn’t rushing through it and thinking of it as a chore to knock off my todo list. Having a weekly grocery shopping day is also extremely efficient. It helps you ensure you’ll always have food to fuel you, and buying groceries for the entire week helps you avoid going to the store multiple times as you run out of food. I find it works best to have a grocery haul once per week on Sundays. Find a grocery store or farmers’ market in your area that has the best prices and make it your “go-to” spot for your weekly haul. I also like to have what I call a weekly “Top Up Day” around Thursday to restock on any fresh produce that I’ve run out of or that doesn’t last as long. Try to find a convenient fruit market that’s in your neighbourhood so that you can stop by on your way home if you ever need anything extra.

2. Make a meal plan for the week ahead and go shopping in with a list.
Each Sunday, make a meal plan for the week ahead. And remember to factor in any luncheons or dinner nights out that you have schedules. Check your kitchen to see what ingredients you already have, and what ingredients you’ll need to purchase, and go to the grocery store with a shopping list prepared. This will makes things quicker, and you’re likely to save money too because you won’t end up buying things that are not on your list (hopefully)!

3. Don’t go grocery shopping hungry.
The best time to go grocery shopping is after you’ve had a meal or snack. If you’re hungry, you’re likely to spend more on food you don’t actually need and spend more time browsing at what could satisfy your stomach!

4. Keep a well stocked pantry and freezer.
In case you really can’t make it to the grocery store on your weekly grocery haul day, it helps to be stocked up on healthy natural foods that last long in your pantry, such as pseudo grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Stocking your freezer with frozen fruits and veggies is also a great idea.  You can easily make smoothies, smoothie bowls, overnight oats, chia pudding, grain bowls, soups, and stews all with just food from your pantry and freezer. Each week, before your weekly grocery haul, check your freezer and pantry stock levels and include on your list anything that may need to be replenished.

5. Eat produce that lasts longer last.
Hearty root veggies, broccoli, and squash, and fruits such as apples, bananas, pineapple, and melons tend to last longer than more delicate produce such as fresh spinach and berries. If you can only make it to the grocery store once per week, try to eat the food that doesn’t stay fresh as long first, and eat the produce that lasts longer last! This way, you can have something fresh every day!

6. Keep an organized and clean fridge.
By keeping organized, both cooking and shopping will be more efficient. You’ll be able to quickly find things in your fridge, and you’ll know exactly what food items you have and which need to be replenished. It helps to have designated spots for food in your fridge. For example, have a veggie drawer, a beverages shelf, and a section for sauces and spreads. Before your weekly grocery haul, it’s great to spend a few minutes doing a quick fridge clean up - wipe any spills and dispose of any spoiled food. Keeping your fridge clean and organized will not only make preparing food more efficient, but it will help make you feel fresh and calm when it’s time to prepare your meals. Think of it as fridge feng shui!

7. Shop at bulk food stores.
Busy young urban dwellers are often cooking for themselves and don’t want to buy Costco-sized packages of certain foods because they simply don’t need much of each ingredient. Find out where the closest bulk food store is shop there so that you can purchase only the amount of each food that you actually need.

8. Freeze produce before it spoils.
If any of of the produce you’ve purchased is about to go bad, freeze it so you can use it in a soup, stew, or smoothie later. You can also prepare a soup or stew right away and portion it into serving-sized containers so you can easily take one out of the freezer and heat it up. This will save you money and meal prep time later.

9. Shop with friends!
Make grocery shopping a social experience. We all need to eat, so grocery shopping is something we all need to do. Shopping with a friend can be more enjoyable, and if you’re a busy person, it’s a great way to get in more social time with your loved ones. You can even do meal prep together after your grocery haul.

10. Go for whole foods!
Buy whole, nutrient dense foods that will keep you healthy and energized. When you’re healthy and energized, your mind clear and you’re more productive. And like I mentioned before, increased productivity means more time to spend on whatever you desire!

Enjoy grocery shopping! Let me know how systematizing your grocery shopping goes.

Lots of love,

Alessandra