Grocery Shop & Meal Planning Hacks by Koru Nutrition
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When it comes to planning for your weekly grocery shopping, there are a few things that you can do and steps you can follow to make sure you aren’t spending more than you should be, and not wasting precious time.
Below are the best 7 things to remember when planning your meals and getting your groceries in. Note them down, print them off, do whatever you need to start streamlining your shopping trips, keeping costs down, and sticking to healthy eating habits!
1. Make a weekly meal plan*
Making a weekly meal plan (and actually sticking to it!) will help you avoid any unnecessary spending in snacks and takeaways, and will help motivate you to stay on track with healthy meals. To make this step hard to forget to do, I've made it a habit on a Sunday evening that I sit down and fill in the boxes on my meal plan. Remember, as part of this Koru Nutrition Health and Wellness Pack you also got our favourite weekly meal planner so you can abandon old scraps of paper!
2. Bargains are everywhere
Look for bargains and shop around. Some grocery stores have a specific day of the week where they have “super sales” or further discounting, or even time of the day where they reduce the price of certain perishable items – this can be a good way to save money. Veggie markets and butchers as well can have great deals and higher quality produce making it worth the extra stop on the way home and spending less at the supermarket.
3. Look down!
Look at the bottom shelves. Grocery stores know how to catch your eye, and will place popular brands often at eye level so you reach for them first. This can sometimes be the most expensive products, and sometimes even the most popular ones that don't prioritise healthy ingredients. Store brands and non-branded items are usually near the bottom shelves, don’t forget to glance over these too, which are more often than not more or less the exact same products than the branded foods!
4. Cook with the season in mind
Cooking dishes using product most available in the particular season is a great way to keep costs down and have the freshest produce. This is because seasons effect the availability of some produce, and when there's less in stock, the price goes up. For example: the price of a tomato in summer will be more acceptable than a cucumber in winter.
Markets are a good way to make sure you are buying in season and local!
5. Storage is key
Learn how to better store fresh products at home to make them last longer and ultimately avoid food waste. The following blog post is fantastic to learn these simple hacks: https://serendipityandspice.com/food-storage-hacks/
6. Not all frozen and canned goods are best
Buying frozen and/or canned fruit and vegetables can be great. They last a long time, and can be used when it needed and convenient. However, don't let the simple branding deceive you. Watch out for the cans that contain a lot of sugar or salt. Sometimes a simple tin of sliced pineapples or tomatoes can look like an innocent and a healthy purchase, but actually are being soaked in preservatives and sugars to keep them tasting fresh and flavoursome!
7. The full stomach trick
If you were to ask me what my favourite one of all these tips and tricks are, it would be this one. Though it may seem a little colloquial at first, the difference it makes in my ability to stick to healthy foods and keep my grocery trips to no more than 40 minutes is all down to this.
Go grocery shopping on a FULL STOMACH! This will avoid the urge to add unhealthy snacks to the shopping cart – saving you money, and of course unhealthy habits.
Bonus Trick! *How to meal plan properly:
1. Do a weekly pantry inventory, so that you don’t need to re-purchase what you already have from previous shops, and to keep track of things that can be reused in a next recipe. It's crazy what you forget you have sitting in the dark corners of the pantry.
2. Make an approximate budget of what you would like to spend on weekly grocery shops. Studies show that those who write a budget for their grocery ships are x4 more likely to underspend the amount they feel comfortable with and spend more time hunting out bargains.
3. Consider meatless meals. Yes you meat lovers out there read it and weep! Meat is expensive! There are more and more meat alternatives and yummy vegetarian recipes out there now, making the budget lighter and also having a positive effect on the environment and your cholesterol. I'm not saying become a dedicated vegetarian, but I am saying you should try some plant based alternatives e.g. Jackfruit instead of pulled pork, plant based chicken nuggets (they taste so much better than real chicken nuggets), or even plant based sausages!
4. Prep and freeze big meals. It helps to cook in bulk and save for either the next day for lunch, or for a later date by popping leftovers in the freezer for a rainy day. No need for an entirely new recipe!