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A New Approach to Grocery Shopping + WIAW

I’ve been trying a new approach to grocery shopping.

In the U.S., many people go to the grocery store once a week, often on the weekends, and buy everything they need for a week. It helps that we have gigundous fridges.

I’ve done that for a long time–one trip a week–but then I often overestimate or underestimate how much I need, don’t end up making all the recipes I planned to make because of time or unexpected things coming up or just being in the mood for something else, and then I end up with food in the fridge that’s too old or that I don’t ever use in the way that I intended it, or sometimes even *gasp* I throw things away.

Then I feel guilty for wasting food, and also guilty if I have to go back to the grocery store between my weekly runs for spending more money…

Okay, I’m actually making this sound a lot more dramatic than it was. I really don’t get that worked up or upset about it. But the last couple weeks, in any case, I’ve been trying a slightly more efficient approach, which is to say, going to the grocery store more often.

Here are the three parts of my new “approach” to shopping.

  1. I plan two or three recipes at a time, but not enough for the whole week.
  2. I go to the store every couple of days and mostly get the things for the two or three recipes, plus a few other staples. (Staples for me include snacks, milk, cereal, fruit, spices, sandwich fixings, etc.)
  3. When I plan my next two or three recipes, I plan at least one thing that uses up whatever I have left in the fridge. For instance, I had half a bag of cabbage left this week, so I planned a cabbage stir fry.

I think I like this new approach. It’s not exactly saving me money, but I don’t think I’m spending a lot more, either–and I definitely don’t have as much random, unused food lying around.

So here’s a few things I’ve been eating lately. To see what other bloggers having been noshing, check out the awesome What I Ate Wednesday linkup, hosted by Laura and Arman.

I made Megan’s Vegetable Bean Soup. It’s yummy and perfect for these cloudy, cold days. Cottage cheese on the side.

You must make Cora’s Healthy Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats. I could eat this healthier Alfredo on anything. Pasta, spaghetti squash, veggies, pizza, on a spoon out of the skillet…

And these Gluten-Free Blueberry Protein Waffles from Fit Foodie Mama. I hadn’t made my own waffles before ever. They were so easy and so good! Note to self: spray the waffle iron every time. *oops*

In effort to eat my veggies, I made some Fit Foodie Finds All-Purpose Creamy Green Goddess Dressing and Dip. The combination of the basil and cayenne is surprising and interesting!

And of course, I still eat my quick staples. Hilary’s Eat Well burgers over spinach salad (there’s another burger hiding down there.)

Tuna, mayonnaise and spinach on Outside the Breadbox gluten-free oat bread. Cherry tomatoes on the side.

FODMAPers: just based on the ingredients, I’m pretty sure these guys would be low-FODMAP. There’s dry milk powder in the ingredients, but it’s the last thing on the list, after even salt, so probably not enough to trigger symptoms. (You would like these, Mad Bad Mommy Bommy.)

How do you approach grocery shopping? One big trip, or a bunch of little trips throughout the week?

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14 comments

  1. Cora says:

    Ahhh I just bought a spaghetti squash and my alfredo ingredients yesterday because after you mentioned it last week I realized I need it back in my tummy asap. So glad you like it, too.
    Speaking of picking up groceries for said recipe…
    This is basically exactly what I do. ALL my grocery shops are on the small side. Both because I usually only plan to make one or two recipes at a time, which then take me through the whole week… and because I bike so can’t exactly carry huge amounts. Oh, and because spending $15 feels a lot “better” than spending $50… even if I do this 4 times in one week. I just hate waste so much so hate if I buy something and then never get around to using it. All those lovely recipe plans don’t exactly always come into fruition.

  2. i’ve been trying a similar approach! I can never meal plan for the whole week, haha. But I do try to just buy what I need for 1-2 recipes at a time and use up what’s left in the fridge!

  3. We used to just do one or two big shopping trips a month, because we lived about 30-45″ from a regular big grocery store, but now we live 3 miles from one, so we take a few more frequent trips during the week. And I’ve been craving spaghetti squash so much this week after seeing you do Cora’s recipe and seeing Cora’s round-up of 15 ways to stuff one.

    1. Joyce says:

      Wow! That’s hard for me to imagine. Spaghetti squash is just the thing for this time of year.

  4. MMM looks like such yummy recipes! I have to go once a week because I don’t have the time to go to the grocery store more than once a week with my work schedule. Unless I go shopping at 10pm…no thanks! I think I would go twice a week if I had a more flexible schedule.

    1. Joyce says:

      I totally understand–it’s hard to go this often when you work full-time! I’m pretty spoiled. πŸ™‚

  5. Evangeline says:

    Interesting idea, Joyce. It looks like it worked well for you. I would struggle to do this though because I live in the middle of nowhere, so frequent grocery store trips would be time consuming. I guess I could start small and just do two instead of one. All those eats look amazing. I’ve been craving soup lately, and that bowl of veggie bean soup is calling my name. Ooh and those granola cups…with almond butter?! NOM.

    1. Joyce says:

      Living a long ways from the grocery store would be tough for me! But, yes–I totally acknowledge that it’s not something that could work for everyone; just what’s working for me right now.
      The veggie bean soup is awesome, as are the granola cups. I recommend both! πŸ™‚

  6. GiGi Eats says:

    I like to grocery shop often because the grocery store is like my “calming zone” – hahahahaha!

  7. Kaylee says:

    Looks like some delicious meals this week! Especially loving that spaghetti squash bowl & veggie burger.

    I know those guilty feelings around a) wasting food and b) spending money. The struggle is real and because of this I actually go grocery shopping every other week, which is probably not my brightest idea so I definitely want to start going more often as well.

  8. Alyssa says:

    Love that approach to grocery shopping. Also that spaghetti squash bowl looks AMAZING!!

    1. Joyce says:

      It’s so good. That alfredo sauce.

  9. Kate says:

    I try to meal plan by making very basic meal out lines for 5 days out the week. It helps make a good grocery list.

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