Tomatoes and other vegetables in supermarket
Learning to Cook

My Food Shopping Routine

Since my teen years I remember being frustrated with how food shopping was done. It felt like no matter how much shopping we did, we were always missing ingredients, overspending, and letting a lot of food go to waste. So how did I battle these issues?

Food shopping can be super easy when you have a system in place.
Shopping cart with title "My shopping routine"

Backwards Planning for Shopping

In teacher’s college, I learned a concept called Backward Planning or Backward Design. It is a method of planning lessons where you start off with the end goal in mind, such as what you want the students to have learned, and work back to the assessments, and then break it down to the individual lessons.

Let’s apply that analogy to our food shopping routine and cooking. The ultimate end goal is to create enough meals for you and your family. The next step is breaking down the meals into breakfast/lunch/dinner and finding the recipes. Final step is to figure out what ingredients are required and put it on a list to buy.

Once I have an idea of what I am going to cook for the week, I check the recipes and write down the shopping list. Usually, I just check it off on my pantry list and just add any special ingredients onto it.

How often do we shop for food?

Shopping in our house is done once a week, on Fridays or Saturdays. This helps me to not get overwhelmed and just focus on meal prep for a week at a time.

During the week, as certain items run out or I remember that I want to cook something special, I take note of it on my pantry list that is on my phone. My hubby also helps keep track of this through the shared pantry list note.

The beauty of the shared pantry list is that now my hubby can do all of the shopping. He knows what brands we both like as well as how much we usually need for the week. (I trained him well 😉 )

The Miracle of Online Grocery Shopping

Now, we discovered online shopping. Our local grocery store introduced online shopping and we are hooked! How it works: we pick out the items we need and decide on a pickup time, their staff completes the shopping for us, then when we arrive they bring it out to us and even help us load the car. We thought that this was only for those rich, fancy people, but it turns out to be super affordable!

For this convenience, we only pay $5 (the cost of 2 coffees). I highly recommend it for the amount of time and stress that it saves. As a bonus, it helps a ton to stick to your budget as you can see the total cost of the order before finalizing it.

My Grocery Shopping Routine Summarized:

Plan out your meals for the week. 

Take the time to figure out what meals you want to prepare for the week, look at the recipes and figure out what ingredients you will need, and finally, write down your shopping list.

Shop for your on a specific day each week.

We shop once a week and keep it to one consistent day, of course with some flexibility as needed.

Keep track using a pantry list.

Throughout the week, both my husband and I keep track of what we will need to restock on a shared pantry list on our phones. If this is not possible, we would do an inventory of the fridge and pantry before going out to shop.

Grocery shopping online.

Most grocery stores now provide a shopping service where you order online, then come to the store only to pick up the food. This both saves time and helps you to stay on budget.

There you have it, my food shopping routine. I cannot stress enough how much having this routine has helped save my sanity and keep us on track with eating healthy and sticking to a food budget.

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