Your Ultimate Grocery List

Pull up your most comfortable pair of yoga pants; we’re going grocery shopping. 

I love cooking and preparing food. But both normally come with a good sense of preparation. What really helped me optimize my skills in the kitchen was making a list of things that I’m going to eat throughout the week and savoring some time on the weekend to go to the grocery store prepared.

Utilizing such lists helps me quickly pull together foods like smoothie bowls, soups, and snacks. The list is made more for fresh seasonal produce like fruits and veggies — everything else you can buy and keep around for more extended periods. The specifics obviously change depending on the mood and the taste buds. Eating, according to the predominantly plant-based diet, including fresh and lean protein and healthy fats, helped me build a balanced diet and curb most of my sugar cravings.

When buying fresh produce, I like to stick to the rule of buying things that both grow locally and are in season. I also like to be mindful of my budget. There are plenty of fruits that can be found out and about in nature, while you can attempt and grow some of your veggies at home. Buy organic produce from your choices that have thin layers. For example, berries and leafy greens have thin walls. The organic kinds are definitely sprayed less. While with avocados and citruses, you shouldn’t worry so much whether they are organic or not as their walls are quite thick.

Some of the veggies are just fine if you buy them frozen like cauliflower. Plus, you can put it directly to the mixer from the frozen bag and add your smoothies’ extra creaminess and fiber-rich nutrients. Also, buying frozen organic berries helps save you some money.

When it comes to oils, you pick your preferences. I know I only use organic olive oil for cooking and adding to salads and coconut oil for baking as it never breaks down its nutrients with heat. Its taste is also so bland that other ingredients don’t take it on. While for baking, I normally go for the cocoa butter.

Speaking of protein, there is much of it in vegetables already. Beans and lentils are protein-rich foods. While my diet is mostly plant-based, I don’t really say no to some lean and quality meat from time to time. Make sure that the animals are fed with quality foods and are preferably locally farmed. 

I also like adding nuts, seeds, and healthy fats found in avocados to every meal I enjoy. Buying nuts and seeds on the pound might save you money. See your options and possibly use discount coupons whenever possible on the items that cost more and are considered a luxury, not a bare necessity like bread and butter.

Here are some extra tips on how to walk into a grocery store on a mission:

  • To save up more, also consider following the sales.
  • Stay away from the middle aisles. It is where the processed foods are. Try staying along the perimeter of the store where there are fresh produce shelves and cooled aisles. 
  • Plan meals ahead. It will clarify your grocery list and help you stay within budget. Also, when I tend to run into a store unprepared, I certainly get chocolate and eat it half before the checkout. Smart, right?
  • Take a list with you. It will help you keep a clear head throughout your shopping experience. 
  • Buy locally produced foods. For this, farmer’s markets are your friend.
  • Buy whole produce rather than pre-cut, packaged versions. Yes, they might be super convenient, but they also come at a higher price. 
  • Bring your bags. It doesn’t cost you a dime.

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