When the Groceries Get Heavy

There are some things you just have to keep doing over and over. Like eating. And buying food to eat. And anything you have to do over and over can get heavy. How about a few ways to lighten it up?

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Sometimes being in charge of feeding all the people (and animals) in the house, gets heavy. Not because I just put a 50 lb bag of quinoa in my cart. But because the never-ending process of buying food and creating meals can get tiring, repetitive, overwhelming, and stressful. You feel it?

I like streamlining any household system that I possibly can. We know that about me by now, right? If it’s an I-don’t-like-it-but-I’ve-got-to-do-it chore for existence, I will do my best to figure out how to do it the most efficiently, so I can get it done and move on to something I like more.

I’ve been buying groceries for my own household for nearly 27 years now, and I’ve come up with a bit of streamlining to make this must-do as light as I possibly can. Here are some of my ideas:

  1. Meal Planning. I set aside time once a week to plan out the meals for that next week. The day and time has changed with what’s happening in my life and what makes the most sense for me at any given time. Right now I do it on Wednesday afternoons while the boys take a nap (hopefully). During my planning time I:
    • See what I have. I take a quick look in my cupboards, fridge, and freezer to see what’s in there. That way I don’t forget that I already have an ingredient or a full meal (ahem) on-hand that can be used. Experience speaking here.
    • See what’s on sale. I take a quick look at my grocery store’s circular or app to see what’s on sale this week. I try to plan meals around sale items and I also stock up on any of my food basics that may be on sale. I also use the app to “clip” virtual coupons to my account. Note: items tend to go on sale every 6 weeks, so when something you use goes on sale, buy enough to get you through 6 weeks (if that fits in your budget, of course).
    • See what we like. I take a look at my Master Dinner List. This is just a list I keep on my smart phone of all the dinners that my family likes. In case I need a little dinner inspiration. This year I’m starting a list of sides that we like too.
    • See what’s on the calendar. I take a look at my calendar for the week. Do we have an event one night? Am I going to be really busy one afternoon? What’s on our schedule will factor in to what I plan for dinner that night.
    • Once I’ve done these four things (which really don’t take that long, I promise!) I write a dinner down for each night in my Weekly Dinner List (also a list I keep on my smartphone.)
    • With my dinners planned out, I write up a quick list of ingredients that I need (that I don’t already have) and I add any items that I also need for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Note: I write my shopping list out in the order of the aisles in my grocery store. That way I don’t miss anything or backtrack trying to get everything on my list!

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  1. Shopping. Once I’ve got my meals planned, it’s time to shop! And what time is best is going to depend on you. For me, the best time to shop is 8:00 at night. I get the boys in bed and head off to the store all by myself. And not too many people shop at 8pm either. Seriously, I love shopping late at night! Right now, anyway, that’s what works for me.
  2. Treat Yourself! My favorite way to lighten up my grocery shopping? A little treat! I usually buy myself something small and healthy and yummy. Sometimes it’s a mango juice (I love mango!) or a fruit and nut bar, or something like that. (Side note: years ago I used to buy myself a doughnut. But after realizing that I always felt sick after I ate one changed my “treat” to something that I actually felt good eating!)

And that’s it! Just a few things I try to do to make grocery shopping as light a job as possible.

What do you do to make grocery shopping light?

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