Thursday, May 10, 2012

How I Learned to Food Shop

I knew living on my own was going to come with new responsibilities.  The thing I was dreading the most was food shopping.  Who has time to spend a few hours each week at the grocery store? Not me!
I had to devise a plan to streamline my food shopping, and to do it under a budget.

CJ and I both love to cook, and eating healthy is important to us.  I did some research to figure out how to buy and make healthy, affordable meals. 

Here's what I did:

1. Get organized.  I'm a huge nerd, so I created a "Meal Planning" Binder.  I found a meal planning template online (I just searched, "meal planners") and printed it out.  The one I found has a space for every meal of every weekday.  It also has a grocery list space at the bottom.  I plan to sit down each week with the binder and plan out all of our meals.  I showed this to a friend of mine and she said, "Wow, I don't know anyone who cares about what they eat as much as you do."  I was thinking to myself, "well, I certainly do, and I can show you their blogs"
2.  Look up recipes: About a month before we moved out, I started printing out recipes for the meal planning binder.  To find them, I searched through some on my favorite food blogs, and I also checked Eating Well for healthy recipes.  Eating Well is great, they have lots of articles like "quick chicken dinners" or "dinners for less than $10."  It's really helpful for finding dinner recipes. 

Also, I brainstormed some basic meals and searched for healthy versions online.  For example, I knew we would want to make Fettuccine Alfredo, so I looked for a healthy recipe.

My Favorite food blogs for Dinner Inspiration:
Carrots n Cake
Joy the baker
Bev Cooks
How Sweet it Is

3.  Get a Cook Book:  I bought the cookbook "Poor Girl Gourmet"  by Amy McCoy.  It has tons of yummy and fancy recipes to try.  She also has a lot of advice like "buy meat with skin, and on the bone, it's cheaper" and "buy seasonal vegetables" and she even tells you how to make your own vegetable stock for soups from leftover veggie scraps.  All of her meals cost between $5 and $10 for 4 servings.

4.  Read Some Advice.  Many food blogs have a food shopping section.  I read every one I could find for ideas and tips.  Here are some that I found helpful:

Carrots 'n Cake: Grocery Shopping 101
Yes, I want Cake: Grocery Shopping 101
Peanut Butter Fingers:  Healthy Grocery Shopping on a Budget
Food Enthusiasm: Eating Healthy on a Budget
Trading Up Downtown: Saving at the Grocery Store

5.  Look at flyers and clip coupons.  Figure out what grocery store/s you want to shop at and get their flyer/s.  I look at the website for my grocery store to see the flyer before it even comes out.  This way I can start my meal planning in advance, and do my shopping on Sunday. 


  1. i can't wait for you to have fancy dinners at your apartment!

    then maybe i'll make fun of the meal planning binder less :)

  2. hahab yea stop making fun of me!! or I won't cook for you!

  3. you. are. adorable. I hope I get to check out your place one day!

  4. thanks Lindsey! Yes, I'll have to have you over!


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