People ask me all the time where I do my food shopping, how I buy my food etc. Initially this was going to be just one post about where I shop but I thought it was also important to mention how I shop as this really dictates where I shop.
This first post is all about my tips for smart food shopping for healthy and reasonably mindful eating.
I don’t want people to think that I am some sort of food shopping hero, I most certainly don’t claim to be. In my dream world, I would have a vege patch, chickens, buy my dairy via some sort of amazing cow share deal, make my own sourdough never spend a cent in a supermarket and buy all other produce from the farmers market and local shops. Reality is location, time and money are always going to determine what is achievable. For me, I live in an inner city apartment, I have a reasonably demanding full time job and we live on a budget. Everyone has to do the best they can based on their situation and their priorities. If there is one change that I would REALLY encourage everyone to make it would be to minimise the dollars spent at supermarkets on fruit, vegetables and meat in particular. These are the areas where our Aussie farmers are getting most royally screwed over by the big guys.
Now that I have that of my chest, the big question is – how do I shop!?!
We spend between $140-$180 per week for two people. This includes all breakfasts, 5 to 6 dinners, snacks and most lunches plus any household groceries toilet paper, washing powder etc. We eat a wide variety of foods, of excellent quality, ideally seasonally and with minimal grains. How I make this work for us and our priorities -
- In our house, I am unsurprisingly CFO (Chief Food Officer), so I menu plan for the week. Normally I don’t plan specifically what dish but each night will be based around a particular protein eg. Monday – chicken, Tuesday – pork etc and this will vary according to what is on special at the shops
- Menu planning is KEY to avoiding wastage and food wastage makes me sad. The other week, I forgot I had green beans in the vege crisper and they went a little wrong town and I felt so GUILTY!
- I try and shop once a week and do all my shopping in one trip. Supermarket, meat and fruit and vegetables. One trip per week makes it easier to stick to a budget as you as less likely to pick up random things you don’t need. For me the less times I walk into a health food store during a week the better.
- In terms of supermarket shopping, this is purely for household staples and basic groceries. I try very hard to minimise the dollars I spend there for reasons as mentioned above.
- I do also shop at Aldi which is part my same shopping centre so normally I will go in there scope out what is on special and then go to the supermarket if need be. Their organic range is pretty good as are their tinned fish and basic staples. I am wary of their fruit and veg and avoid anything that is over packaged.
- When shopping, I always look at the location of where the food comes from and try to be a local as possible. Generally anything out of season is from far far away. Don’t buy it.
- I buy a lot of secondary cuts, gravy beef, lamb shoulder, mince, gluten free snags etc and prefer to cook with whole chickens or skin on, bone in chicken thighs often sold as chicken chops. They are much more flavoursome and cost effective.
- I love my freezer and use it religiously. If a particular cut of meat is cheap, I will buy it in bulk and freeze it is portions. Whenever I make curries, soups, stews etc I always ensure I make a double/triple quantity for quick reheat meals. Stocks, herbs like curry leaves and kaffir lime, ginger and lemongrass all get stashed in my freezer. As does left over tomato passata – great to freeze in ice cube trays so that if you just need that little bit of tomato you have some already portioned up. Perfect for baked eggs
I think that is it! Obviously, my plans are skewed very much to two people but I think a lot of these principles could be transferred to families.
Do you have any other tips? If I get some ripper ideas I will add them in. And stay tuned for my next post with the inside scoop of where to shop in Melbourne!