As a registered dietitian, I know more than anyone the importance of good nutrition, especially during times like these where we’re wanting to ensure that we stay healthy and our immune systems are functioning well. As such, it’s important that we’re making sure to get enough fruits and veggies, lean protein options, healthy fats, fibre and vitamins and minerals. Just as important is minimizing or limiting the amount of ultra-processed, and high salt and high sugar foods that we eat (and feed our kids) too. Things like store-bought cookies, candy, chips, sugary drinks, gummy “fruit’ snacks, boxed mac and cheese, etc. These foods are fine once in a while (for fun), but shouldn’t dominate your family’s diet.
The good news is, this is absolutely 100% possible, even in these times of grocery shopping weirdness! I limit my grocery store visits to once a week, and am trying to make those shops to fresh perishable essentials only—things like milk, eggs, yogurt, fruits and veggies. Once a month, I do a bigger shop, stocking up on pantry and freezer essentials that will last longer so that I don’t have to replenish each week. Simply put, I try to shop the aisles once a month, and the periphery once a week.
Having an efficient grocery shopping strategy saves you time, cuts down on the number of trips that you take, and decreases food waste. It also saves you money! Along with having a standard list like this, it’s helpful to keep these few things in mind to ensure that you’re being as efficient as possible with your grocery shopping:
Some fresh fruits and veggies last longer than others. Be very selective with the short-lasting fruits and veggies you buy and make sure that you can eat it all before it goes bad (or freeze it to eat later). Otherwise, focus on frozen fruits and veggies (which I’ll talk about shortly), and long-lasting ones such as
I’ve made the mistake of doubling up or tripling up on certain foods because I didn’t go through my pantry, fridge or freezer before shopping, and unfortunately what this means is that I end up wasting food. Make a list of what you don’t have and need, and also do a quick (and very simple) menu plan (even just dinner), so that you don’t over-buy (or under-buy) fresh ingredients. If you notice that fresh foods are going to waste in your house, make sure you absolutely know how you’re going to use the new fresh foods that you buy. And if you don’t know, don’t buy it.
Even if you plan out your suppers for the week, this can really help with keeping you organized and decreasing food waste. Along with this, I love the strategy of bulk cooking and having leftovers, OR cooking A LOT of one ingredient and using it multiple times, in multiple ways throughout the week. I think this is an extra important tip right now, to make sure that you’re making the most of your ingredients.
A couple of examples are ground meat: Cook up a big batch of lean ground beef, turkey or chicken and use it throughout the week for things like spaghetti sauce, tacos, burritos or taco salads. Another great example is chicken breast – cook up 8-10 chicken breasts and use it for salads, pizzas, sandwiches, wraps, stir-fries etc. I also do this with dried lentils – I cook up a big batch and use in baking, smoothies, and to bulk up ground meat dishes.
Once a week, take some time to make some homemade granola bars, energy balls, and/or muffins that you can refrigerate or freeze for quick and easy snacks. I love Made with Local’s Granola Bar Mix, which can transform into not only wholegrain high fibre granola bars, but also energy balls, muffins, homemade granola and more. Having a few packages on-hand can save you time, but also means that you always have nutritious, wholesome and filling snacks on hand.
Love this resource? Share and Pin!