We’ve all been there, standing in the middle of the grocery store, hungry, wanting to cook something but have no idea what ingredients to buy. Or even worse it’s 7PM, you’re home and all your cabinets are completely empty… didn’t you just go food shopping like yesterday?!? And wait let me guess your next move is picking up the phone to order a pizza from the Nick’s.
I definitely am that person, these past three years at Rowan I’ve had more unsuccessful ShopRite trips than I can admit to. I’ve had my fair share of buying milk and only using it once before it curdles and I’ve definitely experienced opening the refrigerator to the sight of moldy cheese. Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be difficult or overly expensive! Also it’s totally easy to be health conscious without breaking the bank.
Here’s the thing, before stepping into the grocery store you need a plan, and no that doesn’t mean scribbling up a shopping list in the car on your Dunkin receipt. You need a real plan, that includes making a budget. In college budgeting should be your best friend without one the checkout line could easily become your worst nightmare. And not to sound like your grandma but checking the local store’s promotion sales for that week and even doing a little bit of couponing can go a long, long way. Hey we’re in college and clearly not millionaires when I save 5$ at Shoprite that’s definitely something to celebrate.
Another quick tip for you guys PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure you eat before going food shopping. One big and very expensive mistake you can make is going food shopping when you’re hungry!
So here it is the moment you’ve been waiting for my Holy Grail when it comes to grocery shopping tips: Buy some items in bulk and some in small amounts. There’s totally no reason when shopping for 1 to buy a whole pound of turkey, you’ll never finish it and it will stink up your fridge in the meantime. A huge reason people spend too much on groceries is because they buy too much and it goes to waste.
So here’s a little breakdown:
Every 2 months –These are ingredients that would last me several months. I don’t need to buy them often but they’re essential for cooking!
• Olive Oil
• Truvia/Stevia packages – for my coffee
• Frozen fruit – perfect for smoothies!
• Salad Dressings
Every 2-3 weeks
- Cereal – Cheerios, Bran, Special K, Rice Chex, Kix. (Pretty much any whole grain cereal on sale that I could mix with fruit.)
- Bread – try to stick with anything multi or whole grain!
- Tortilla wraps
- Almond/Low Fat Milk
- Greek Yogurt
- Canned foods – I typically buy black beans and green chilis canned to make with omelets and quesadillas, and I buy chickpeas for salads. I’m also a huge fan of Progresso canned soup!
- Nuts - For snacks and for salads
Once a week – The things that go bad easily or run out often. Buy them in small amounts to avoid them going bad.
• Fruits and veggies – If you stick with fruits and veggies that are in season, they are going to be your cheapest bet. Get fruit to mix with cereal and yogurt and get veggies to put in salads and other dinners, but look for the ones that are on sale and in-season.
• Salad mix – Whatever lettuce you like, there is usually a lot of different kinds, and typically the ones in the plastic box containers are the most expensive. Look around to find the cheapest option. I usually get romaine and arugula.
• Protein – I like to grill chicken breasts salmon too! But when in the store stick to one type of meat for the week, definitely no need to purchase too much you’ll end up throwing most of it away!
• Sliced deli turkey – try to stick to about a half a pound no more!RUrec'N? We are.
• Boom Chicka Pop – Bagged popcorn only 35 calories a cup!
• Pretzels or Pita Chips with Hummus
• Fiber One Bars