I am one of those people who loves to grocery shop. I would normally go two or three times a week for small hauls. It’s always an adventure to find new recipes, get good deals and dream about delicious food the whole time. It’s a different kind of adventure for many of us now as we navigate limited trips, social distancing rules, and new budgets. Certainly, grocery shopping is one of those sneaky areas in our budget where we can overspend without noticing. Since food is essential, we often don’t pay as much attention and/or give ourselves a pass when we overspend at the grocery. As we transition to emergency budgets, this is a good area to hone in on.
Therefore, I’m going to share some grocery shopping tips and recipes that can help us adapt our shopping during this crisis, for both our budget and our health.
Less trips, More Meal Planning
Since we’re all trying to limit our exposure, the less trips you can make to the grocery, the better! A good rule of thumb is to shop no more than once a week. This makes meal planning and grocery lists even more essential so that you don’t have to make multiple trips back to the store to get that one thing you forgot.
- Choose 4-5 meals for the week and fill in the other nights with frozen meals or items that are on sale.
- Look for opportunities to buy in bulk and use items for multiple meals. For example, get a rotisserie chicken for your BBQ chicken salad (recipe below) and use the leftover for chicken salad sandwiches for lunch the next day.
- When making your list, put items in categories that will make them easy to find and get you through the store quicker such as produce, bread, canned goods, frozen, etc.
Choose Budget Friendly, Healthy Foods
- Incorporate foods that are budget friendly such as veggies, tuna, pastas, tortillas, and rice or cauliflower rice. These can be the base for a lot of delicious/healthy meals. Further, choose produce that is in season and plan meals around weekly deals on meat. Most than ever, eating healthy meals during quarantine can help you feel less anxious and help bolster your immune system (lots of oranges/vitamin C in our diet 😊). That doesn’t mean you can’t do Taco Tuesday or have pizza night but the keep it simple and healthy most of the week!
Prep & Mix
- If you are working from home and/or have kids homeschooling, it can be hard to take the time to cook meals three times a day. Try choosing one day to prep for items such as hard-boiled eggs, rice, meat and grilled veggies. This can make it easy for you and your roommates to mix and match the items for an easy lunch (grilled veggie/tuna wrap recipe below) or grab an egg for a snack.
In addition, here are some budget friendly recipes we’ve made recently that are verifiably delicious and easy on your budget:
BBQ Chicken OR Chickpea Salad
- Favorite BBQ Sauce (2.99)
- Rotisserie Chicken (5.99) or Can of Chickpeas (.99) to make it vegetarian
- Can of Corn (.99)
- Avocado (1.29)
- Lettuce (1.99)
- Green Onion (chopped) (.99)
- Carrot (grated) (.50)
- Dressing of your choice (1.99) (I’m always a ranch girl)
- Lemon juice
- Salt & pepper
Serves 4. Total Cost: $16.73/ Per Person $4.18
Saute chicken or chickpeas with BBQ sauce for 7-8 minutes. Secondly, wash and prep veggies. After that, add lettuce to a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Add corn, avocado, carrot, green onion and BBQ chickpeas. After that, add dressing and fresh pepper and use tongs to mix well. Enjoy!
Roasted Veggie/Tuna Wrap
- Tortillas (soft taco size) (1.99)
- 1 Red Pepper (.99)
- 1 Yellow Squash (.79)
- 1 head Broccoli (1.29)
- 2 Lemon Pepper Tuna (Optional) (1.98)
- Hummus (1.99)
Serves 4. Total Cost: $9.03/ Per Person $2.25
Wash and prep veggies. Sprinkle with olive oil, garlic powder and salt and roast on at 400 for 20 minutes. Add tortillas with 5 minutes left to warm/crisp slightly. Construct wraps by spreading hummus on wrap then topping with roasted veggies and half packet of tuna, if using tuna. After that, roll tightly and serve with pretzels or chopped veggies/ranch.
Further, to learn more grocery shopping tips, check out: