The chores we have to do on a daily basis can quickly become overwhelming. There are some that you can do on autopilot; emptying the dishwasher, doing the laundry, taking out the garbage.
But feeding yourself and your family is a different sort of animal entirely. It takes endless thought, planning, prepping and execution. Is it any wonder that we all end up ordering out so often? Not the best option for our health or our wallets.
But, like every area of your home, if you have a system that works for you, even this monumental chore can become second nature.
Below, we have 5 simple tips to make your grocery shopping more efficient.
1.) Keep A Running List
Whether you prefer a digital list on your phone or a paper list on your fridge, keep a running tab of all your go-to items. Pantry staples like bread, nut butters, grains, etc constantly need reordering and if you have a visible list, you’ll remember to check before you put something your online cart or head out to the store. Do the same thing with your fridge; milk, eggs, your child’s favorite yogurt…anything that gets eaten on a daily basis.
This list will be the backbone of your system. It needs to be easily accessible and up to date. If your youngest ate peanut butter and jelly for entire year but now won’t touch either with a ten foot pole, take those off your list and add cheese slices since he’s now in a grilled cheese phase.
Even if you prefer paper, we recommend having a basic list on your phone so you have something to refer to if you have to run into the store at the last minute.
2.) Clean Out Your Fridge Before You Bring In More Groceries
One of the best ways to ensure that your grocery situation runs smoothly is to clean out your fridge before you bring in anything new. Get rid of any funky stuff that got pushed to the back, edit anything that is never going to get eaten (be honest with yourself here – yes, you spent good money on that matcha ice latte concentrate, but it’s gross and you’re never go to drink it – let it go because it’s not going to be delicious 2 weeks from now).
Clear out old condiments, empty the vegetable bins of sad, spoiled greens and wipe down shelves and drawers.
Make sure that everything in your refrigerator is edible, fresh and in date. This may seem like a lot to do, but if you’re consistent about it, it should take less than ten minutes.
3.) Shop Your Fridge, Freezer And Pantry
Before you make a brand new list, go through your fridge, freezer and pantry and plan meals around what you already have. This is the most efficient way to make sure you don’t waste food or money. Don’t let that nice cut of steak become a frozen hunk of mystery meat. It happens to the best of us, and we all make mistakes, but the more efficient your system, the less that will end up in the trash.
Use up the bits of pasta left in those three different boxes (everyone loves a pasta mashup), roast up any vegetables that aren’t going to make it another week and grate the end of the cheese blocks to add to salads or casseroles. Once a week, dedicate a dinner to leftovers. Put everything that needs to be eaten on the counter and let your family members choose what they’d like to have. It’ll give you a break from cooking and it will get all that extra food out of the fridge and consumed before it goes bad.
4.) Make An “Eat First” Section
An “eat first” section is a great way to keep everyone in your home involved in your system. You can’t expect your partner or kids to know what needs to be eaten first if they haven’t been doing the cooking and putting away (if they have been, our hats off to you!).
This bin, section, or shelf should have all the foods that need to be eaten before anything else. It could be leftovers from last night’s dinner, a lone apple that will be lost in the crisper, or the bottom of a bag of chips. Whatever it is, make sure everyone in your home knows to eat these things before they open new packages.
5.) Plan Your Meals Ahead Of Time
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I can’t deal with making a list right now, I’ll just wing it when I get to the store”?Hmmm, we highly advise against this. It’s a fool’s game and you’ll end up with 4 different kinds of Oreos, a box of dog treats (you remembered something you needed!) and nothing for dinner. A sound plan with recipes and the necessary ingredients will ensure that you have something to feed your family with no guessing or “let’s just order in” nights.
If we’re being completely honest, the whole food/meal/cooking situation is a drag. There, we said it. But having a functional system will lessen your burden and even if all the preparation seems like a pain, in the long run we promise it will make your life easier.
If you need help with more than just grocery shopping, our Love Your Home Again course has everything you need to whip your house into shape! From the kitchen to your bedroom, from the bathroom to your basement, our expertise is available to you in one simple-to-follow document! You can learn more about it here!