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?
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:
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!