Our family is on day 15 of staying at home. I have hit the store twice in two weeks and hope to not go again for 2-3 more weeks. I wanted to share a few tips for those of you who are trying to limit your trips to the grocery store!
Clean out your fridge.
Figure out what you already have and make a list of what you are tossing that may need to be replaced (like expired milk, yogurt or condiments). Plan to use the fresh foods you currently have (produce, meat, dairy, etc) sooner rather than later to be sure they are utilized. Then, figure out how much space you have for fresh foods.
Utilize your freezer.
First step, go through your freezer and toss anything that expired a while ago. Anything that is expiring soon, work it into your upcoming meals. Consider buying frozen meals (lasagnas, pot pies, pasta meals, enchiladas, etc) to put in your freezer to help spread out the frequency of your shopping trips.
Consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables to use once your fresh vegetables are consumed.
Be prepared to shop.
Make a list for the store. Go in prepared instead of just buying willy nilly. Try to organize your list based off what parts of the store you will be needing. Put all fresh produce (fruits, veggies, potatoes, etc), frozen foods, shelf goods, etc together on your list.
Be intentional about what you are buying. For instance, consider buying clementines, apples, and melons because they will last longer in your home than fresh berries will. Buying potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, and onions is a smart buy to really help stretch your trips out. Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, has an excellent blog post on items that keep well if stored correctly. Check it out here to get some more inspiration.
Consider buying large pieces of meat (boston butt or chuck roast). These are usually less popular options for other shoppers and can be stretched across several meals (and leftovers)! Our family really likes carnitas and cooking a boston butt in a crock pot is SO EASY! Set it and forget it. Then, we eat burritos, sandwiches, nachos, and salads with the leftovers.
Consider freezing meat to use later. Some meats are already packaged to go in the freezer (vacuumed sealed whole chickens, boston butts, or chubs of ground meat). If meat is not packaged in ways that will freeze well, figure out how to make that happen and buy necessary supplies, if needed.
Consider using rice, beans, potatoes or corn to help “stretch” your meals. Rice is great to add to soups, casseroles, burritos, or as a stand alone side. It is shelf stable and can help push your grocery visits further apart. The same is true for beans (hello breakfast tacos) or corn.
If you can only find large bags of shelf stable goods (flour, beans, rice, etc), then buy large ziplocks to help break down the large supply into smaller more user friendly packages (and be able to share with neighbors/friends more easily!).
Eat foods in the order that they will go bad. For instance, lettuce wilts much faster than broccoli does, so eat the lettuce first. Blackberries usually don’t last as long as strawberries. Be sure to eat all of your fresh produce before digging into the freezer supply. You can also toss fruit that is on it’s last leg into the freezer for smoothies. This really helps stretch out your trips to the store.
Dedicate a section of your fridge (drawer or shelf) to leftovers. This way, you can be intentional about eating leftovers instead of them accidentally getting pushed to the back of the fridge and wasted.
I have been cooking dinner each night at our house and we all eat leftovers for lunch. This has helped us have variety in our meals and provide different lunch options for each of us.
What are you doing to stretch out your trips to the store?
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