Grocery shopping! Grocery shopping can be difficult for one person, not to mention an entire family. Do you by one carton of eggs or two? Three heads of broccoli or one? Shopping for two is equally daunting. Here are some tips I learned while shopping for two:
Resist the Urge to Buy Everything in Bulk
Yes, those extra large cans of Costco baked beans and 40 oz bottles of ketchup are inexpensive and tasty and seem like a great deal, but for two people, are you really going to eat that much? Sure you can separate the extra beans into multiple containers and refrigerate, but those beans are going to go bad very soon, and come on, how many of us really dig into that glad-ware that we place in the fridge? My advice is 1) avoid Costco for food when shopping for two, but 2) buy the regular sized cans on-sale at a regular grocery store. I like to purchase canned goods when Safeway prices them at 2 for 1. They last awhile in the cupboard, and the cans are smaller and easy to store.
Buy Meat in Bulk, though!
I know, I know, I advised against buying in bulk, but proteins like meats and poultry are on my very short, almost minuscule, Buy in Bulk list. Why? We always need or want a protein with our meals, and there is nothing more annoying for me than to open the fridge or freezer and find very little to work with. When I buy meat, I buy the larger packages that contain at least enough meat to last a few weeks.
I use Ziploc Perfect Portions to easily grab the meat and package into regular Ziploc bags. The Perfect Portion bags rock! I place my hand inside the bag (sort of like a glove) and pick up the meat with the baggie glove. Turn the bag inside out, and voila – the meat is in the little bag. I separately bag two pieces, and I place them in a larger freezer Ziploc bag. Name and date the bag, seal, and store. Simple! http://www.ziploc.com/Products/Pages/PerfectPortions.aspx
When Buying Vegetables, Only Buy What you Need
I have been guilty time and again of seeing with my stomach and not my brain or experience. The produce aisle – full of color and the wonderful aroma of fruits and herbs – is hard for me to resist.
So often, I have sadly thrown away bags of vegetables that I bought because I overestimated my time or commitment to cooking for that week. The beautiful veggie that is now covered in mold and a strange slimy goo makes its way to my garbage can. That’s a lot of wasted money if you really think hard about how much food you actually waste over time. I’ve learned to buy only what I plan to use for that week. This way, my garbage can doesn’t become as full as a shopping basket by the end of the week. There is a pitfall to this, but it is easy to combat – what happens if we find we did not buy enough, or we used more than we thought we would one night, and there are no veggies for Thursday’s meal. This is where frozen vegetables and fruit come in handy. I always keep a few bags of frozen veggies in my freezer. These are quick and easy to use in a pinch. They last a very long time in the freezer if stored properly, and while not as nutritious as fresh vegetables, the frozen vegetables certainly hold on to quite a bit of nutrients and remain healthy choices.
Yes, you read that right. Freeze bread. This is a trick I learned from my Paternal Grandmother and my Dad, and unfortunately, I do not take advantage of this lesson as often as I should. There is certainly nothing wrong with frozen bread. In fact, this enables you to buy a few loaves at a time on sale and to store them for later use. I am so guilty of always wanting fresh bread, though. In fact, I don’t even like to touch bread that has lost it’s pillowy softness. Unfortunately, because we live in a very humid environment, we have to refrigerate and/or freeze our bread. My advice is to refrigerate one loaf of bread to use for sandwiches, and freeze the loaf of bread you plan to use for toasting.
Make a List
It is important to shop with a list. Without a list, more items find their way into the shopping basket – extra cookies, crackers, bottles of wine, that cute plush ducky that was calling out to me with it’s sweet little face and yellow beak. I digress. Shopping with a list means you will likely get everything you need and you are less likely to go home with extra items.
These tips work for me, and I hope you find them useful as well.