Healthy Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning Tips

I had a request from my friend Leanne (or Uncle Leon) a couple weeks ago to do a post on grocery shopping and meal planning and how I plan my eats!  I went grocery shopping yesterday before the baby shower so I thought it would be a good time to tackle this topic.

I could honestly spend hours in the grocery store looking at all the different kinds of foods, but because I didn’t used to leave a lot of time for food shopping and it was one of those chores that I needed to squeeze in quickly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of actual grocery shopping.

With a bit of meal planning beforehand, this has changed around.  I can get in and out of there pretty quickly, because I have a routine and I already know what I’m looking for.  Easy peasy.  Plus, I then have everything I need for a week of healthy eating in, and I don’t stress out when I get home from work about what I’m going to make for dinnah!

So here are my tips.

Choose Your Time

I always do my big shop on the weekends because I have more time, and usually in the morning because if I go any time after 11:00 it’s absolutely rammed in there.  I also make sure I go once a week so that it’s not overwhelming.  Once you have a routine, it’s not so bad!

Choose Your Store

I like to choose one grocery store and get it all done there because it’s familiar, and I find when I am in an unfamiliar grocery store I spend way too long hunting for things.  I always go to the Superstore near my house, and I know that place like the back of my hand.

Superstore

I chose Superstore for a few different reasons.  My gym is there so it’s super convenient to squeeze in a workout as well as a grocery shop (yesterday for example, after my shop I hit up the arc trainer for half an hour).  It’s cheaper than Metro and Sobey’s, and I really like President’s Choice products, which are found there.  Joe Fresh being in there doesn’t hurt either ;).

I tried going to Walmart Supercentre for grocery shopping in the past, but it is just way. too. big. for me.  I couldn’t find anything and I was seriously overwhelmed.

Plan Ahead

I always do a bit of planning beforehand and have a general idea of my dinners for the week.  I will usually go online and check out the flyer first and see if there’s anything on sale that I would like to incorporate into my meals and kinda plan them that way (example – I bought shrimp because it was on sale, so for dinner one night we will be having shrimp!).

Shrrrrrrimp

Sometimes I will look up recipes beforehand that I have been wanting to make, and make sure to pick up any ingredients I might need.  Although the ingredients that are not fresh (spices, etc), I usually already have on-hand.

I only loosely plan my dinners for the week, as I always buy basically the same items for lunch, breakfast and snacks, and I have them on-hand for easy meal prep.  Those usually depend on what is on sale as well though, for example raspberries were on sale for three pints for $5, so I know I will be incorporating a whole lotta raspberries into my breakfasts and snacks!

Berries

It’s very important that I plan my dinners though, otherwise after work I’ll think we have nothing to make, even if I’ve just been shopping, and then we’ll just eat out!  I try to make as many meals as possible at home.  It’s so much healthier and cheaper.

Buy On Sale

Since Ando and I have bought a house and are making our own dins to save moolah, I am a pretty budget-conscious shopper.  I already mentioned that I buy what’s on sale and plan my meals around that, but for items like bread, if it’s on sale I may buy a lot at one time.  I used to be really weird about freezing bread, but now I’m more comfortable with the idea, and I may buy a couple loaves of bread, or a couple packages of bagels if they’re on sale, and then freeze them.

My grocery shop today I actually did not need to buy any bread because we have a few loaves, wraps, bagels, and English muffins already chilling in the freezer. 

Make a List

This is a no-brainer.  I am a huge list maker.  If I don’t have a list, I will forget something, guaranteed.  Since I loosely meal plan, I write down everything I need, so I don’t throw a bunch of random items in my cart.  My list has direction!

My iPhone has a really great list app called ListPro that separates all your items into their departments, and you can check them off as you go.

Mah List

I would highly recommend this app if you have an iPhone, but a hand-written list works just as well.

Shop the Perimeter

Another no-brainer that I’m sure you’ve heard a million times.  I am a huge fan of shopping the perimeter though.  My weekly grocery shops consist of usually fresh items: produce, breads, meats, yogurt, cheese, etc, all found around the perimeter.

Perimeter = Good Times

I will wander into the isles for items like cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter, etc. but those are not items that I need to buy weekly.  I do always hit up the canned section though, for beans, soups, broths, etc, and the frozen section, usually for frozen fruit or ice cream.  But I try to steer clear of the chip and candy sections, because if I don’t buy them, I can’t eat them!

Are you proud of your shopping cart?

I am!

My Cart

I may have dropped by the Joe Fresh section… 😉

Not including the shoes, skirt, and body wash, I spent about $95 on only groceries for the week.  Here is what I snagged:

Produce

  • 6 apples
  • bananas
  • 3 pints of raspberries
  • pineapple
  • grapes (I always have grapes in my fruit bowl for easy snacking!)
  • broccoli
  • baby carrots
  • baby spinach
  • asparagus
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 tomatoes
  • green onions
  • 4 parsnips

Dairy

  • Liberte vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 3 PC Greek yogurt fruit cups
  • shredded mozzarella cheese

Meat and Seafood

  • frozen shrimp
  • pork
  • ground beef
  • 1 full chicken (that I used tonight to make easy chicken fajitas!)
  • turkey deli meat

Canned

  • beef broth
  • Prego pasta sauce
  • chick peas
  • red kidney beans

Other random

  • hummus
  • Kashi granola bars
  • whole wheat spaghetti
  • PopChips!
  • frozen strawberries
  • fat-free Italian salad dressing
  • bread crumbs
  • low-sodium taco seasoning

Grocery Party!

What are your tips for healthy, budget-friendly grocery shopping?

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8 responses to “Healthy Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning Tips

  1. LOVE popchips. Love Joe Fresh. Dislike limited selection at Canadian grocery stores. Especially the greek yogurt. Why do we get left out?! And the Kashi cereal is twice the price. The thing is, it’s not really budget conscious for me to drive 40 minutes over the border just to grocery shop, but some of the prices here freak me out. $8 for cheese? My tips for healthy grocery shopping are to buy frozen vegetables if you’re not using a lot at one time, and to limit what you buy in the middle aisles. It’s almost all processed stuff.

    • I know! You just mentioned all my pet peeves. Why do we Canadians always get shafted?! No fair.

      Also re: Joe Fresh, I feel ya on the limited selection. My yoga instructor has an awesome pair of JF tights that I’ve been trying to locate, and I can’t find them in any of the Superstores. Probably will have to hit up an actual JF store…

  2. Great tips! I always make sure I’m not hungry when I shop because my belly does the deciding and my belly is quite cheeky.

    Also, this sounds creepy but I know where you shop. Lol

    My brother’s family lives out in Ajax, close to Whitby so I know that area.

  3. I almost always wait to meal plan until I see what is on sale. This is especially true when it comes to buying meats. I only buy the meat that is on sale and then plan around that!

    Also, I try to go vegetarian with my meals a few days a week (using things like beans or soy products instead) and that can save a lot of money!

  4. You’re shopping habits are very similar to mine Bobby. Minus me run to the adult diaper section because when ya gotta go, you gotta go.
    Steph is a stalker….it’s very brave that she’s admitted she’s a creep to the whole world on your blog.

  5. Pingback: That Silly Grocery Shopping Thang | Happy or Hungry

  6. Pingback: My Seven Links | Happy or Hungry

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