Our next Guest Blogger, Jeffrey Rice, is a personal trainer and the owner of Rice Home Fitness in Kansas City. He has a great blog with lots of useful training advice--advice which, in Crabby's case, might have prevented her from a painful shoulder injury. (She discovered she was doing one of her gym exercises wrong!) So be sure to check it out. In this post, however, you don't even need to get sweaty, as Jefferey is taking us on a visit to the grocery store--another place where mistakes can be costly!
Grocery Store Strategy
What you have in your house will determine a large portion of what you eat. Makes sense, right? So you need to shop smart. I eat a ton of food, so I need to shop smart for my health and my bank account. Don't grab just anything shiny like a chimp run amok with a shopping cart. We have grocery chimps for that. So let's discuss strategy:
1. Eat first
You know this is important. If you go into the grocery store hungry, you will get more than you need. Come on.
2. Make a menu
For whatever your shopping period is, make a menu. If you shop a week at a time, make a menu for a week. Choose a day that you can get to the store consistently and always make a menu of meals up to that day. Write down all the basic ingredients. Example
Spaghetti & Eggplant
Make sure you have some like the above example: really easy. Don't get overambitious. That's just another pizza delivery waiting to happen when you get home too tired to stir a roux for half an hour.
3. Make a shopping list from your menu
Now go down your menu, and in the order that items appear in the store (I know that sounds obsessive, but it keeps you from running back and forth, and keeps your head in your list instead of figuring things out), add them to a shopping list and check them off your menu.
4. Add non-menu items to your list
Remember, the goal is to not browse the shelves looking for what you “need.” You will invariably come home with deals so good you couldn't pass them up, except you could have if you hadn't known about them. So add everything else to the list at this point, including things like paper towels and tin foil.
Put some back-up meals on there. You might have a dinner guest you didn't plan for, and now you don't have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I keep a stock of cans of low-fat chunky soup. This eliminates another reason to go get fast food. It's healthier (I know, sodium) and much cheaper.
5. ONLY BUY WHAT'S ON YOUR LIST
Everything falls apart if you skip this last step. Go through the grocery store with blinders on, looking only at your exhaustive list, trusting it, walking to each item with the precision and single-minded focus of a laser-guided laser. If you do this, you know you'll have what you need for every meal of the week and little more.
Advantages of this system
-You'll have fewer excuses to eat out and you'll be healthier for it.
-You'll save money by cooking at home.
-You'll save money and waste less by not letting food go bad.
-You'll save time wandering around the store, or going back because you didn't know what you were going to cook while you were shopping, and now that you do, you realize you need some eggs.