Grocery Shopping Guide
Looking for a simple grocery list system that will stock your kitchen with simple & healthy ingredients? Scroll down for my printable grocery lists! Read on to learn more about how I came about my system, the errors along the way, and a few tips! xo Sarah
How Often I Shop: once a week
How Much We Spend: about $80 per week on food items (family of 2 adults)
Where We Shop: Kroger, Costco, Trader Joe's, and occasionally Fresh Thyme
When I first got married, we'd open our fridge around dinnertime and be shocked to find nothing - and I mean LITERALLY nothing. I didn't know how to grocery shop, build up a stock of ingredients, and we never had ANY money.
So, off we'd go--starving--to Kroger, where we'd wander around clueless until something off a shelf jumped out to us as edible... or on lucky days, a meal idea!! That's how we shopped - we relied on the packaging to tell us if what we were buying would account for a meal. If it had protein or a few slices of veggies = healthy.
We'd leave with a mini cart half full of Tony's Pizzas, microwave meals, and a few rand-o things if I was feeling adventurous.
About two years into marriage, the whole process clicked with me. I understood I needed to find healthy and easy recipes (I relied heavily on Pinterest), write the needed ingredients on a list - and make my shopping list from that. I will save you the trial and error: I started by picking out 12 recipes to cover the 14 lunch/dinner meals during the week. This was WAY too much - both with cooking time and the volume of food I was preparing. After months of trial and lots of error, I realized that I *realistically* would only take out the time to do a full recipe meal 4 times a week. I went with this smaller list for awhile but it left us hungry for a few nights/lunches throughout the week (which lead to drive-thrus)
This year, the final piece to grocery shopping made its way into my routine. I mastered a few 15-minute meal-templates (we call them "Unrecipes" at True Co). Every week, I buy a few basics to stock our fridge (this is my weekly shopping list) so we are ready to throw together an easy meal on the nights we are busy -or- just too lazy to cook the planned meal. We also eat out for a date night or with friends 1-2 meals a week. Between my basic groceries items for quick meals, my four planned recipes, and eating out ... we are all set!
- Take my usual grocery list and add the ingredients needed for my four "big" recipes.
- From my Restock list, I add anything we are running low on to our grocery list.
- I order my groceries through Kroger ClickList (a $4.95 fee) to save time. Many grocery stores offer this feature - it saves time and money (from those extra items you pick up through the store) and is a LIFESAVER for any busy woman or mom.
- We try to do Costco and Trader Joe's just once a month - so when I go I tend to spend a lot, but it stocks us up.
- After home with groceries, I completely clean out our fridge and reorganize.
Below, I have a list of "tips and side notes" and links to specialty items that are cheapest online.
If you have any questions, please comment below or send me (Sarah) a DM through our @wearetrueco Instagram.
Tips & Side Notes
- Under "fruit"on the Weekly Grocery List, I usually pick 2-3 items and buy a few servings worth of each. Our choices change mostly depending on season and we don't eat more than 2 fruit servings per day, ever. Every family is different, so adjust accordingly.
- Meal prep? We don't always do this because we can usually manage to whip up our meals. When we do meal prep, here are our musts: chopped + roasted sweet potato, fresh cut fruit, and veggies that are cut up (chopped/sliced/spiralized).
- Buy organic or the highest quality ingredients whenever you can! High quality food is the cheapest form of medication and source of energy + wellness that money can buy. It is worth it. Can't afford it? Organic not available? Don't sweat it & don't quit eating the best you can.
- Not noted on my list... spices. I buy a lot of mine from Trader Joe's and Costco. I have to replace my spices every blue moon. I've found that TJ Maxx & Home Goods chains have the best high-quality bulk spices at low prices - however you're limited to their selection.
- CHANGE THE LIST AS NEEDED... We don't follow this list religiously. Sometimes we buy more... sometimes less... sometimes we aren't feeling brussel sprouts so we skip them entirely. As you find ingredients and quick meals that work for you, edit this list to reflect your family + life.
- You may notice I don't buy a lot of meat every week... this is because we don't eat a ton. Our diets, especially in summer, are mostly vegetables. We DO buy a quarter cow every year from a family member's farm so we are always stocked with quality beef. Sometimes our "recipe meal" features a meat and we will buy it special. We do consistently eat Aidells chicken sausage and eggs.