By now it’s not a secret, I like food. In order to acquire food, I either need to buy meals from restaurants or go shopping for ingredients and cook. I dabble in both, but usually, you can find me prepping my own meals. When it’s time to treat myself — I love to buy a meal from my favorite restaurants. Making my own meals is healthier and honestly, cheaper. Since the onset of the pandemic, going grocery shopping hasn’t just been a way to feed myself — but rather also the few times I get to go outside. So you better believe I make the most of it. Here is how I plan my grocery trips to make grocery shopping more fun and efficient.
Choose the right place and an optimum time
Depending on where I go shopping, buying groceries for me is either a fun activity or just another errand I need to get over with. Depending on my mood, I shop at a different store. Some of my go-to stores for groceries are Trader Joes, Sprouts, Target, and the occasional Indian store stock up run for rice, lentils, spices, etc. I love these stores since they are always creative and have their own line of innovative foods. I love trying new and exciting foods. I also hate crowds (pre-COVID as well), so I always choose times where I can be free and not be hurried by store personnel. Luckily, up until now, my student schedule life has allowed me to hit up grocery shopping at the off times but if you work, and usually end up going to the store when literally everyone else does, then you probably should come up with a list of alternative stores that carry the items you need. Find your products without all the people!
Make a list
Cooking requires groceries and unless you have a personal shopper/cook or someone who buys your groceries/cooks for you, you must have at least made one grocery list once in your adult life. You may already have your “listing” system going for you or you may be someone who never makes a list and just goes with it (like my mom haha!). If you’re looking for a way to make a good efficient list — look no further! Typically I have a pinned note on my phone titled “To buy”. Under it, I have different checklists for different stores (it’s unlikely I find everything I need at just one store) and I add to it as I use up stuff at home and check them off in the store. Sometimes, I take an extra step to order my list by the walking pattern of the store (yeah, call me crazy but it helps me so much to not miss an item and have to walk all the way back to that section!). Making a list helps me stay on track of what I absolutely need to get and once I have that in my cart, I can spend more time looking at the things I do not need to get, which leads us to the next section.
Spend time off the plan
I make a list and plan so that I have more time to just window shop and peruse the new and exciting stuff. This for me, adds the fun to grocery shopping. Both Trader Joes and Sprouts have their own in-store brand of amazing and diet-inclusive food products. They never fail to disappoint and somehow I am always able to find new items. In order to not go overboard, I always tell myself, 2-3 new items per trip. Whether it is Trader Joes’ brownie-coffee-ice cream-cakes or Sprout’s organic popcorn – I always add time and budget to grab some fun snacks.
Just by doing these few things, I make the most of my grocery trips and try to make fun and relaxing an otherwise menial errand on your list of things to do!