Over the past few months I have found myself *attempting* to answer a gamut of questions from friends and family about eating clean, or eating paleo, or whole30, intermittent fasting or however you'd like to slice it. How do you do it? What do you eat? How do you cook? Where do you shop? What are the best recipes? I'm not going to tackle every facet of this thing. I can't. I don't know enough. But let's start with some foundational things, cool?
With all those questions whirling around in my head, I started to get a little mixed up with my approach to food and started to tackle it exactly how I do fashion and design. (Turns out, you can look at almost every area of your life the same.) How would I organize all of that? What is the most efficient way to get the biggest bang for my buck with the most versatile *insert whatever fits* (for this post we will say meals). You can totally replace the word meals with decor, wardrobe, hairstyle, makeup look, etc. It totally works. Really.
I started to think of my grocery list as a capsule. For me, (you see what I did there, I said FOR ME, so this may not work for you) it has become INCREASINGLY easier to purchase groceries and prep for meals if I keep the list as minimal as possible. And I PROMISE minimal DOES NOT mean boring. You have got to declutter your grocery list so that you are purchasing the least amount of food necessary to reach the most efficient goal possible. Efficient for your budget, efficient for your shopping path (y'all know you have your routes planned out in the grocery store), and efficient for your body to break down and metabolize (gettin' borderline scientific here, watch out! haha).
The two places where I buy groceries at the most are Kroger (hey fuel points!) and Costco (hey money back ever year!). Buying in bulk will definitely save you money IF 1) you can freeze it or 2) eat it all before it goes bad. Most people don't buy their produce in bulk because they buy too much, and it rots before they can consume it all. This is what I mean by saying they buy too much ... they buy too much diversity. It's ok to buy 2 whopping bags of fresh leafy greens. But guess what that means, you better plan on eating lots of salads and green smoothies for the next 1-2 weeks. AND THAT IS NOT BAD! It's not BAD to eat lots of the same types (OF FRESH AND WHOLE) things for a week or so. You can pair so many different things together to make different flavor profiles that it is EXACTLY like having those foundational wardrobe pieces that you pair a different bottom or layering piece or accessory item to have a completely different look for your ensemble. Also, if you are really interested in cutting down on your food budget, then I would suggest reading this post that Katy wrote over at Bird In A Tree. I will be diving in to Aldi world asap.
HOWEVER ... If you are needing a grocery list renovation, then let me lay my list out for you to get a feel for what a revamp could look like for you and your family. About every two weeks, we try to do a big grocery haul and get most of the following BASE items to build our menu from:
Ground Beef (Org Grass Fed - Costco)
Chicken (Thighs or Breast - Costco)
Ezekiel Cereal (Kroger)
Coffee (Blue Bottle/Collectivo)
Butter (Kerrygold - Costco)
Sriracha (duh, as needed)
Spaghetti Squash (in season for pasta dishes)
Almond Butter (Costco)
Tessamae's Dressing/Marinade (Kroger)
Sweet Potatoes (Costco)
Beets (Fresh - Kroger)
Brocolli (Frozen - Costco/Fresh - Kroger)
Green Beans (Frozen - Costco/Fresh - either)
Mixed Power Greens (Costco/Kroger)
Berries (Frozen/Fresh - either)
Apples + Bananas (for school lunches/snacks)
Peanut Butter (for special treats/snacks at home - either)
La Croix (either)
My best friend/roommate from college, Jenna, and myself spent a few hours on the road together this weekend talking about basically everything under the sun (we haven't seen each other in years ... years people.) And one thing that we talked about was food and how we grew up eating/building meals. It always seemed like our plates were full growing up. Full of 4 or 5 different things. So in our minds we thought everything revolved around recipes and full spreads on our plates. And it is HARD to break away from that mindset. But once I got my brain on a protein/carb track, that's what I started to shoot for. Do I have a protein on my plate? Do have nutrient dense carbs (like veggies, not breads/grains) to balance that out? And y'all. I found SO MUCH freedom in SIMPLIFYING!!! We meal prep at the beginning of the week and then again around midweek by cooking up a lot of protein: grilling or baking 8-10 chicken breasts, browning 2-3lbs of ground beef, or skewering/grilling steak/shrimp/chicken kabobs that you can put on salad, in pasta, with a side of quinoa or roasted roots, etc. Your plates don't have to be loaded with a million different looking things. Just load with NUTRIENT DENSE foods. AND forget recipes. Find your basic herbs and spices (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, chili powder) and use those to create vastly different flavor profiles. And of course, you can always add Sriracha. ;)
Whew. I feel like I've already given an overwhelming amount of info. Was is too much to digest? Or are you inspired to get started? Would you like for me to make a post full of food pairings from that grocery list? And are there other questions you'd like for me to tackle like: If I want to buy healthy do I have to eat everything organic? Cause really, why organic? Or what about gluten free? Or what about sugar substitutes? PLEASE LET ME KNOW! I want to help as much as I can, and when I get out of my depth, I'll bring the hubs in for a guest post and more in depth look at whatever your hearts desire.
Much Love + Happy Grocering (cause that's a word)-
Can we have a moment of silence for how beautifully organized that produce section is? ... *moment of silence* OK GIVE ME ALL THE PRODUCE!