AIM: What’s In My Grocery Cart

logo: Adventures in Maintenance with photos

This month’s AIM topic is courtesy of a question submitted via our Ask Us (Almost) Anything form* and focuses on our grocery shopping habits. Specifically, a reader thought it might be helpful to see what a “regular” grocery shopping trip looked like for us–a kind of show and tell, if you like.

I’m not sure how helpful my grocery cart will be, because I’m currently engaging in an “eat what you have” personal challenge and am mostly purchasing dairy and vegetables? Why the challenge?

packed shelves of pantry and fridge

That’s why. My freezer, fridge, and pantry shelves are well-stocked. I do a lot of batch cooking, and my freezer currently has about a dozen or more entrees ready for my enjoyment. I have a whole shelf of nuts and seeds in the fridge. My pantry shelves hold dried fruits, every form of oats available on the market, pasta, lentils, rice, assorted canned goods and other shelf staples.

In short, I’m shopping my own shelves these days. My grocery store runs are mostly for fresh foods and critical other products, and I try really, really, really hard to stick to my list. Here’s a snapshot of my grocery cart from January 4th that was loitering on my iphone:


Yogurt, salad makings, fruit, cheese, and other critical items. (I told y’all I like olives!) If I recall correctly, I was planning to make some lentil chili, which explains the cans of tomatoes and green chiles, as well as the cheese. All of those items were consumed or put into use that week. (I’m still working on the olives and cheese.) I already had everything else I needed for all the week’s meals in my at-home store.

There are exceptions to the list, of course. Since my budget is really tight, I do keep an open mind for “opportunities”. Take this past week, for example. I needed yogurt, eggs, bananas, bread, and lettuce. Here’s what I ended up with:

grocery cart


A couple of perfectly good red peppers for $0.99? In the basket. Ditto the 98% lean ground turkey breast for $2.49. In fact, I got two of those since it’s normally $4.99/pound and I eat a lot of ground turkey. Bonus: I had a $1-off coupon loaded to my Kroger card! I also had a coupon for the Oikos yogurt, which is why it won yet another weekly battle for cart space. (I switch between Fage, Oikos, Chobani, and Dannon Light & Fit Greek.)

Impulse purchases do come with a small price. In this case, I had to dump my plan to work on my kitchen walls (oh, gee) so that I could get the impulses prepped and in the freezer. As it stands now, I probably won’t be buying meat again until mid-March, so my grocery baskets will look a lot like the one from earlier this month for the foreseeable future.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did return to the grocery store (it’s less than a half-mile from my house) a couple days ago and bought more lettuce, broccoli slaw ($0.99), and a bottle of Bolthouse Farms Ceasar Parmigiano dressing ($3.00). Did I absolutely need the dressing? No, but a) it was on sale, and b) I love it. Besides, I’m almost down to one bottle of my other favorite salad dressing, Marzetti’s Simply Dressed Pomegranate. :)

In addition to putting everyone to sleep, I’ve no doubt given the food purists the twitchy eye with these photos. What can I say? Shopping and eating this way works for me, my energy levels, and my budget. Considering that I used to do most of my grocery shopping at Walgreen’s (snacks, snacks, snacks), I call this a major improvement!

All of this reminds me of something I used to do when I first started losing weight. Just before going to the checkout area, I’d look down at my cart and ask myself, “What would Bob Harper say?” Not that I truly cared what Bob thought of my grocery selection, but it was a fun and silly reminder to scan the cart for anything that wouldn’t contribute to the cause. A last chance clear-out, if you will. :)

Feel free to share your grocery shopping secrets in the comments. I’m always open for new ideas!

* We’ll be responding to more “Ask Us (Almost) Anything” questions in future posts, so feel free to click over to the form and submit your question anytime! We truly appreciate your input!

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the other AIM bloggers to see what’s in their grocery carts:
Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh
Lori @ Finding Radiance
Debby @ Debby Weighs In
Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!

16 thoughts on “AIM: What’s In My Grocery Cart

    • Carla, I really do think it makes a big difference in my sticking to healthy meals, especially evening meals that I might have a tendency to wimp out on preparing.

  1. You and I shop similarly: weekly trips for fresh produce and perishables like yogurt, milk, bread and then I try to buy only really good bargains. In the cold weather, I also batch cook and we eat off of the weekend’s cooking for several days then leftovers go into the freezer. Once in a while (usually before a vacation or a holiday where I’m otherwise consumed with special cooking) I do a freezer clear out and we eat only what is in there. Once summer arrives we grill and eat salads until we’re sick of them!

  2. I most enjoyed squinting and peering into your pantry. (This isn’t the same as looking in someone’s medicine cabinet is it?) I had almond milk for the first time a few weeks ago, but mine had to be in the fridge, and I didn’t manage to finish it all before it went bad. Looks like I need to search up a pantry version. (Either that or you REALLY need to clean out your pantry.)

  3. That is a well-stocked pantry! Ours was getting winnowed out because of the pending move, but now that is delayed, we are starting to fill the staples back up again. (Only to have to deplete again some time…sigh).

  4. I’m right with you on thinking how much better my cart looks now than in the past…so if there’s some things that aren’t exactly 100% Bob Harper-worthy (LOL, love that), it’s still a huge improvement.

    • I shudder when I think of what my cart must have looked like in “the olden days”. I was one of those people other shoppers give the side eye to, I guess. :)

  5. My fridge and freezer look like yours. I need to eat it down! Can not buy another frozen item! Or bake anything that needs to be frozen. Or batch cook anything that needs to be frozen…

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  7. I used to feel super guilty about my grocery cart contents as I headed towards the check-out. I knew the clerks and people behind me would be judging me, because I was a 328-lb. woman who got that way from eating really fattening food. I usually had a cart full of high-caloried snacks, ice cream, candy, potato chips and lots and lots of sugared soda. In fact I bought so many 2-liter bottles of soda when it would go on sale, that the clerks inevitably asked, “Are you having a party?” My boys and I joked that “everyday was a party at our house.” Today, at 165 pounds, I am proud of my cart, full of low-fat versions of food, diet soda, lots of fruits and veggies, and skim milk.

    Judgers are everywhere and I fear them.

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