Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The grocery list

I've been asked "What's on your grocery list?" several times lately when people hear that I eat at least 6 times a day, eat healthy, and spend around $20/week on groceries. Oh yeah - and I purchase very very very few prepared foods. Due to my recent medical condition, I stay away from highly processed or hormone laden food. (Betcha didn't know that soy has an artificial estrogen in it that can really screw with women, and increase things like inflammation!) Even when I was married, it was rare that we spent more than $60/week on groceries. In fact, looking back now, I see a lot of areas where we could have saved more, had we taken the time to make more.

So here's my shoppers creed:
Spend money on QUALITY fuels for my body, not just QUANTITIES of food. Since I buy nearly everything fresh, I rarely "stock up".
I use up what I have first. That means if there are still veggies enough to make a salad, I'm not going to buy more.
Become sale savy and brand-name-blind. Ask yourself, "Do you really NEED chicken every week? Or can you do the pork chops that are on sale? What about eggs?"

NEVER EVER EVER shop hungry. Treat yourself to a latte or something while shopping to take your mind off your stomach. It's an investment your wallet and your waistline will thank you for.
Be open to trying new things.
Aim to stay balanced - buy fiber, protien, and greens.
Keep in mind what you are paying for. Often, it's convience. For example, you will get more for your money buying actual APPLES rather than packages of APPLE SLICES.  You're paying extra for LESS apple, and the convience of a bag to throw away instead of a core.
Shop around.
Bring your own bags. Most places in California will credit you $.05 each time you use your own back. Those nickles add up.

So, today was grocery day. Here's how it usually works:

Step 1:
Take stock of what you've got.

Step 2:
Decide on what you NEED. Not what you want. Not what you might need. Decide on what you NEED. What is a staple you can't go 2 days without? Buy that.

Step 3:
Know your local stores.
Today I went to Trader Joe's, Henry's, and Target. Notice NO major chains are on this list. This is often the case. Sometimes they have good deals, but I find that often times smaller markets have better, less expensive fresh foods. I use places like Target for dry goods that Target usually buys in such a bulk that I save money going with them.Here was my list:
Luna bars (?)  -
These make a great pre work out meal, BUT they can be more than I want to spend, so this was an "if they are available for a decent price and I feel I'd like them" item. NOT a staple. Often, I skip this item.
Fruit - This means I'm looking for a snack. Rule of thumb - must be under $1/lb. I find what IS on sale (sometimes it's several things) and go with that. Many times I've discovered new types of apples that I adore!
Cereal - This I am particular on. I've found that a tasty, crunchy, fiber filled cereal must also have protien to last me through the morning. I also have had problems with binging on sweet cereals or extra light cereals in the past. Yes, Rice Krispies may be cheaper, but they aren't filling, so I eat more of them adding not only useless fuel to my body, but end up spending more on my groceries since it takes several boxes to even come close to this particular cereal.
Crumpets - Love love love these little puppies. They are filling, tastey, low-cal treats - and usually under $3 a pack.
Eggs - This is on the list as a place holder for "inexpensive protien source". Eggs usually take the cake here, as long as they are under $2/dozen.
Frozen Veggies - I was considering these for a possible stir-fry w/ the tofu I have already in the fridge from last week's grocery run.

Here's what I got:

9.23 lb seedless Watermelon ($1.00/5lbs = $1.85) Henry's
1 package Crumpets ($2.49) Henry's
1 dozen large eggs ($1.19) Henry's
2.13 lb Boy Choy ($1.68) Henry's (I opted for this instead of frozen veggies. It gave me something different and versatile w/o making me adding 1 more stop to my grocery run. It was definately cheaper than the frozen veggies too.)
4 different flavors of non-fat greek yogurt (4/$5) Henry's
5 different flavors of Luna bars ($5.94) Trader Joe's (A box of 6 bars costs this price at Target, however they are all the same flavor. This was a treat purchase, so I opted to pay the extra few pennies to add some variety)
16 oz package of store brand frozen turkey meatballs ($2.69) Trader Joe's
16 oz jar of Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut butter ($1.89) Target (Low in sugar and cost, high in protien)
1 box Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal ($2.89) Target
DISCOUNTS: $.10 for use of my own bags.GRAND TOTAL OF THIS WEEK'S GROCERY RUN: $25.52Many of these things will last me well over a week. The peanut butter is to replace the one I am almost out of. Pair this with any veggie or apple and you've got a healthy snack.

So ladies and gents - that's how it goes!


  1. Thanks for the suggestions! I am slowly but surely trying to learn these lessons for myself. The shopping while hungry I must say is my biggest downfall... not to mention the wandering around the grocery store aimlessly... BUT at least a majority of what I am getting contains at least something good, ie, protein, fiber or fresh!
    Thanks for sharing!
    ~ Maryann

  2. Very nice, thrifty shopping. I see you over on The Voice alot so I thought to take a look. Are you just shopping for yourself?
    I have 5 to shop for and keeping the bill down is tuff. But i manage too. I meal plan. Plan out 10 days. From breakfast to dinner.It keeps cost down.
    Then we prep, mark all what goes with what.
    Yes soy is not a great thing for women. specially when like me you have dairy problems. So Almond milk or goat milk.

    So how are you doing?? =)
    Team Voice, Many Goals,One Voice!!

  3. Hi Rae-
    Yup! Just shopping for me! :) Welcome to the blog! This one is my personal blog - a bit different from the Diary of a Mad Fat Woman. FAR less structured. ;) I just write about whatever strikes me.