A lot of times I get emails from readers asking about my staple grocery items, or how I plan a grocery budget. Explanations and emails can only help so much, and when I came home from Trader Joe’s on Tuesday, loaded down with 5 big bags, it dawned on me that I had the perfect opportunity to explain it all in pictures. (Note: I was so frazzled from vacation that I forgot my reusable shopping bags, which never happens!)
Rolled oats, brown rice, white rice, quinoa, millet, and steel cut oats – all beautifully displayed in my beloved ball jars.
And aside from grains, our other pantry staples mainly come from the canned department. Beans, coconut milk, tahini, PB2, tomatoes, etc. I always make sure we have a lot of good options available for quick and easy (healthy) meals.
But outside of grains, beans, and tofu – I replenish the rest of our refrigerator and freezer each week. Since I was starting from scratch this time, these pictures are very representative of our weekly groceries. Here goes… The whole loot – $125!
The main thing I buy fresh each week is produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables are 100% necessity in our house. We buy a TON of bananas for oatmeal and smoothies – probably picked up 15 or so this week, and I guarantee you they will be gone by the weekend. I also grabbed 5 peppers, 6 ears of corn, 4 avocados, 6 grapefruit, an eggplant, and a small carton of jalapenos.
Half of my overflowing cart was taken up by all these leafy greens! Between salads and smoothies, we eat our fare share, so I try to get a variety – arugula, spinach, mesclun, and butter lettuce. I would prefer to just buy heads of lettuce and cut down on packaging, but Trader Joe’s is all packaged, and I wasn’t hitting up two different stores. Eight bags of lettuce for 2 people for a week – is that a lot?
Next aisle of the grocery store – the FREEZER section! I am all for fresh produce, but sometimes you need something fast and easy. Even in the summer when produce is widely available, I try to always have a good stash of frozen fruit and veggies that I can throw in a pot and heat up if necessary. And obviously in the winter, these become the main option.
The vegetable group – haricot verts, broccoli, tri-blend of peppers, and a few mixed bags. I love these for making stir fry too!
Tons and TONS of frozen fruit! We made loads of smoothies, so we go through a lot of these. TJ’s has them for super cheap too, so I always buy a lot. Two bags of mango, 2 bags of mixed berry, and 5 each of strawberries and blueberries. I told you – I’m not messing around.
In the carb department, we have English muffins (used as our sandwich bread and burger buns), rice cakes (my gluten free alternative), and some sandwich thins.
And in the random category – applesauce, hemp protein powder ($10), soup, olives, hummus, and veggie dogs. This category drove the total up a bit.
That’s everything!! Does that seem like a lot of food for two people? Remember, when you eat healthy you can eat a LOT. :) I know not everyone has access to Trader Joe’s, but this same strategy can be applied anywhere. It’s all about paying attention to prices and stocking up on things that can last on your shelves for a while. Also, not to push my personal diet on anyone, but it really helps the grocery budget when you aren’t buying meat, cheese, and dairy.
Do you think that seems like a good price for that quantity and quality of food? What are your best grocery store tips?
Okay, I confess – it was actually $126.
Happy shopping! :)