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Grocery Routines | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Grocery Routines

First in a series of healthier routines.

When I went back to work full-time – instead of juggling multiple part-time jobs – I worried how I would keep up exercise and healthier eating. Four months into my new role, I’ve developed routines that help me keep my healthier lifestyle.  The key is planning and making routines to reduce the amount of work involved in eating lower fat, nutrient dense meals.

I grocery shop on Saturdays and meal prep on Sundays.

Meat – The Old Fashioned Butcher Shoppe is my friend. I love walking into their shop every week, where the staff greets me by name. They don’t inject their meat with chemicals or water, so I know I’m paying for meat instead of other stuff. They don’t freeze their chicken, and it’s hands down the best poultry product I can get in Evansville. Pork and beef roasts can be done a huge range of ways in a crock pot. I watch their sales and will add something else according to what they have on sale.

Each week, I buy a fryer, an order of boneless skinless chicken breasts, pork chops, and a pound of extra lean beef.  I don’t do lunch meat products, but my husband will happily eat a sandwich for lunch while I’m working, so I’ve started adding a few slices of something for him for lunches. On Sunday, I will stew the fryer for my own sandwiches and use the broth to cook with.

Bread - I go to a bread store outlet close to one of the offices I work in because they usually have low salt-whole grain English muffins I like for my breakfasts. While I’m there, I pick up loaves of bread from their whole grain natural line. If they have the flax added, I’ll buy that.

Groceries – 

Sam’s once a month: When I’m there, I always pick up a container of their organic baby kale mix. It can be used for salads. The perk with the kale is I can also use it to cook with. When that runs up, I pick up a smaller container of it at Schnuck’s until my next grocery run.

I do the rest of my shopping at Aldi’s and Schnuck’s. Aldi’s offers good prices on staples like milk, eggs, and produce. Schnuck’s gives me the best choice of healtheir options. An added feature is both Aldi’s locations in Evansville are relatively close to Schnuck’s. So I can go from one to the other. I watch sales and augment regular purchases with specials.

Weekly purchases:

  • Milk and eggs (if we have used up our eggs)
  • Yogurt – the lower fat options. I like the fruit flavors as well as vanilla
  • Greek Yogurt – the plain variety is a great substitute for sour cream
  • Fruit – bananas, blueberries, a melon, an avocado, and strawberries
  • Vegetables – green peppers, carrots, broccoli, and whatever is on sale
  • Kale – to make a batch of kale chips each week
  • Greens – to cook with for an easy green
  • Liquid egg whites – I use the 100% whites instead of the egg beaters
  • Hummus
  • Orange juice

Staples to keep on hand:

  • Low fat string cheese
  • Happy Farmer cheese wedges
  • Fat free cheeses slices (not for nutrition – merely to keep me from full fat slices when I really want them)
  • Low fat shredded cheese options – the white cheeses generally have less fat than yellow ones
  • Parmesan cheese
  • A margarine or butter option – I don’t want to get into the butter wars. There are some good butter blends that are more spreadable as well as Smart Balance choices.
  • Cranberry juice – I buy the 100% juice varieties and alternate with the new blends
  • Applesauce single serve – for my lunches
  • Oatmeal packs – the new high fiber varieties for my family for quick breakfasts I don’t have to fix
  • Bread crumbs
  • Tortillas
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Apples
  • Dried cranberries
  • Brown rice – plan ahead and bake it the night before with chicken broth from the fryer
  • Couscous – the fastest carbohydrate dish you can fix
  • Salsa – green varieties often have less salt
  • No salt added canned tomato products
  • Cans of fat free refried beans
  • Cans of low salt beans – good in a hurry
  • Cans of fruit – trying to keep fruit easy and available for my son.
  • Pasta – I love the new high fiber or vegetables added varieties. They pack more nutrition while also having better flavor
  • Dried beans – the more varieties, the better
  • Chicken soup base – this has no nutritional value and merely adds flavor. I use in limited amounts.
  • Mrs. Dash varieties – the more, the better
  • Taco seasoning, spaghetti seasoning, and chili seasoning – no MSG low salt varieties when possible
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar, cider vinegar and plain vinegar
  • Hoisin sauce and soy sauce
  • Cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, flour, sugar, yeast, and brown sugar
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Steak seasoning
  • Non-stick spray
  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Frozen edamame (shelled)
  • Frozen vegetable packs when I’m in a hurry
  • Frozen fish – in single servings
  • Frozen turkey breast – Aldi’s sells a boneless variety which can be baked for an easy meat entree for a crowd
  • Peanut butter
  • Honey
  • Dehydrated hash browns (I buy these in a huge container from GFS – no salt added and a super easy, fast addition for a bigger breakfast).
  • Coffee

Guilty Pleasures

  • Sprite
  • Pie filling
  • Fat free  coffee creamer
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Cake mixes
  • Corn muffin mixes
  • Pop Tarts (I have a teen-aged son)
  • Pie crusts
  • Canned biscuits

In future blogs, I’ll write about my cooking and scheduling strategies to stay on plan.


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