Howdy y’all! I’ve been rockin’ and rollin’ with lots of travel, and lots of cooking with my Rouxbe Course. Today, I want to share with you my grocery list and shopping guide – Plant-Based eating is SO not boring and the proof is in the pudding!
While I usually shop at my local Kroger, Sprouts, or Farmer’s Market about once or twice a week, this week I checked out a new Whole Foods store nearby, and this was my haul:
3 Golden Delicious Apples, 1 Bunch Bananas, 2 Avocados, 1 Basket Fresh Figs, 1 Carton Raspberries, 1 Carton Cherry Tomatoes, 1 Small Bag Lemons, 2 Small Turmeric Roots, 1 Pie Pumpkin, 1 Acorn Squash, 2 Cucumbers, 2 Bunches Kale, 1 Bunch Romaine Lettuce, 1 Bunch Rainbow Chard, 1 Bunch Frisee Endive, 1 Bunch Cilantro, 2 Sweet Potatoes, 2 Idaho Potatoes, 2 Sweet Onions, 1 Carton Almond Milk, 2 Cans Chickpeas, 1 Carton Extra Firm Tofu, 1 Package Sushi Nori, 1 Bottle Grapeseed Oil, 1 French Boule Bread, 1 Jar Raw Honey**
All of it was organic, non-GMO, and cost me under $60 for two people, at the most expensive grocery store in my neighborhood. Keep in mind I already have other staples I buy in bulk – grains, beans and flours such as rice, quinoa, oats, mung beans, etc; olive oil, sweeteners like agave and maple syrup, nuts and seeds like chia, hemp, walnuts, pecans, and pepitas, as well as an assortment of herbs and spices. These pantry items I purchase once every 6 months or so as they last me quite a while – even when I’m cooking 2-3 times a day.
So while we do occasionally purchase assorted meats, eggs, and alcohol (Aly is not vegan by any means!), the bulk of our groceries is fresh produce – which we choose to buy in the highest quality possible: fresh, local, organic, and non-GMO.
Notice how many green items are in the above image. The more greens you keep, the more greens you’ll eat! Greens of every kind are the most nutritionally dense meaning high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and also the most low carb, low fat, high protein foods on the planet. Stock up! Here are my tips and tricks on smart, healthy, and cheap grocery shopping:
- Shop 2-3 Times a Week – buy small amounts of the fresh produce you need. This prevents you forgetting about what’s in the back of the fridge and keeps produce from spoiling before you use it. Remember: wasted produce is wasted money.
- Keep a Rotating List on Your Phone – I use Wunderlist, an app which syncs to my laptop, phone, and iPad, so I can update what we’ve finished eating and what I need to by on my next run to the market. I can also use it to set reminders and communicate with Aly about what to add to the list. This is a life-saver when it comes to preventing waste and buying only what I need.
- Meal Plan and Batch Cook – planning out your meals and cooking in large batches at the beginning of the week not only ensures you correctly portion out the foods you just bought, but it also saves you cooking time during the week, allows you to control how much salt, sugar, and oil is going into what you’re eating, and of course, saves you money because you’re not eating out when you’re too tired (or lazy) to cook up a meal. By planning what you will eat ahead of the week, you can shop for just those items and prevent from overspending on stuff you don’t need.
- Shop the Perimeter – All grocery stores are set up the same – they are designed to make you buy more than you intend to, and specifically to shop for higher priced items. By shopping the perimeter, you are loading up on the healthiest and usually cheapest items in the market. (Thank you Rouxbe for this graphic:)
- Limit Your Meat, Alcohol, and Packaged Foods – These are the most expensive items on your grocery list. Guess what? They are also the unhealthiest! Nearly all meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, whether it’s grain- or grass-fed, free-range, organic, non-GMO, bathed in rainbows and diamond dust, is produced en masse, in large factories according to national standards. This means any and all animal products are still treated with a wide array of carcinogenic chemicals to deter bacteria growth, dyes to preserve color, and of course are produced through inhumane methods of slaughter. Alcohol’s greatest vice, no matter what kind, is that it dehydrates you. Whether you’re looking to slim down, bulk up, detox, or get off those meds – water is your greatest ally. Alcohol is just the opposite. Plus, it’s almost always jam-packed with sugar – a big no-no on the path to health. Packaged foods are just that – unnatural “foods” produced with questionable ingredients, through questionable processes, according to questionable standards for a much higher price than it costs to produce yourself. We generally limit our packaged goods to a box of organic quinoa pasta and a box of organic granola once every couple weeks, a bag of organic, non-GMO tortilla chips (with 3 ingredients or less) once a month, a small assortment of canned beans for when we’re short on time, and our protein powders once every 6 months or so.
- Grow Your Own Food – The scope and breadth to which this is reasonable varies from person to person. I don’t possess a green thumb whatsoever, but I’ve managed to keep alive a couple pots of herbs, including basil, green onions, and chives by watering them once every couple days. It may not seem like it – but it’s saving me about $10-$12/wk as I use all of them about 3-4 times a week. What’s even cooler is they magically regrow themselves, so I can use them again the following week!
- Learn How to Properly Store Your Food – What goes in the crisper? What can you put out on your counter? Should you refrigerate grains? Knowing the answers to these kinds of questions means less food goes bad in your fridge and pantry. Remember: throwing away food is throwing away money.
- Bring Your Own Bags – Keep fabric grocery bags in the trunk of your car or fold them up in the smallest zipper of your backpack/workbag. I pile all my produce in one plastic bag if I forget my fabric ones, and let the cashier take a minute longer to sort through each item. Less plastic and paper used = more water and resources for you and your kids.
With that said, here’s a comprehensive Plant-Based Shopping List for you to use (courtesy of Rouxbe) to help plan out your meals. When I first saw this list, I was surprised by how long and, honestly, not boring it was. I hope it helps you come up with some unique, mouthwatering meals as well. Print it out, circle your favorite ingredients, or try some new ones.
Have fun and good luck!
What are your favorite tips and tricks to grocery shopping? Share in the comments below!
**There are differing views on whether or not honey is considered plant-based or vegan. In all honesty, it shouldn’t even have been included in this photo as I use raw the honey as a face wash rather than consuming it. Apologies for any distress that may have caused!