Our time is precious and we don’t want to waste it. When we purchase food we are using up our time in various ways. We:
- Write a grocery list
- Go to work to earn money to buy food
- Travel to and from grocery stores
- Shop for groceries
- Clean out expired food that has been sitting in the cupboard forever and the vegetable drawer in the fridge
- Unpack groceries
- Write a grocery list…
In this article, I’ll be giving you some tips on how to assess your grocery shop and create your staples list; a basic list of items you buy each week.
By assessing the food we bring into our households each week, we can minimise the time we spend purchasing it. This frees up more time for doing things that matter most. Going to the beach or batch cooking meals for the week! Whatever your heart desires.
In assessing our weekly grocery shop we also receive various other benefits as in most cases we are buying fewer ingredients, which are simpler, healthier and cheaper.
You may have heard of capsule kitchens. This involves reducing the ingredients you buy and use to 33 items. In assessing our grocery shop we are achieving similar benefits of a capsule kitchen but without going to such extremes. We are not restricting the food we buy or removing variety! This will simply give you the tools to purchase food in an intentional way.
So let’s get to it.
Step 1: Write down all of the food you buy each week.
- This might involve writing a list each week for a month and comparing to see what you are buying exactly if you’re not sure. You might also have to compile a few lists from smaller shops you’ve done throughout the week.
Step 2: Assess each item on your list with the following criteria:
- Is it waste free?
- Can it be bought in bulk? If it can’t be bought in bulk can it be made at home with bulk ingredients? E.g. tahini or mustard
- Is it healthy? This is whatever is healthy to you! To me, if it is plant based and minimally processed, it gets a tick.
- Is it expensive? If it is expensive – is it justifiable? E.g. everything else you buy is relatively inexpensive so yes you can justify spending $13 on amazingly awesome activated almond butter
- Is it necessary?
- Are you only buying this item for that one recipe?
- Can you replace this item with something that is used more commonly?
- Will the recipe be largely impacted without this item? E.g. that muffin recipe you had in mind calls for agave syrup but you already have bulk maple syrup at home and decide to use that instead! Or you remove the sugar altogether.
- If it is fresh produce, is it in season?
- Can you buy all of the remaining ingredients from a bulk store, farmers market, fruit and vegetable store or local butcher? Try and find some local stores or markets that are close to one another where you can get everything you need. Shopping at these places will encourage you to buy food that is more sustainably produced and better for you. Plus there is less advertising and packaging so you will be less inclined to buy things you don’t need!
Step 3: Write all of the items that pass the above test down in a list on your fridge or your phone.
Now each week all you have to do is grab your list and see what needs stocking up. I keep my list on my phone and put a cute carrot emoji next to each item I need to stock up on that week. Obviously this list is just a base and if you realllllly need something outside of it you can! This simply removes some of the hassle.
Step 4: Refine
Once you have completed this exercise it will probably take you a few weeks to refine your list and remove/replace certain items. This might be a pain in the butt at first. However, once you finalise your list, you will always know for sure that everything you’re buying is healthy, cheap and zero waste. You will save time through buying your dry goods in bulk, going to fewer stores and cooking with ingredients you’re familiar with.
Click here to find recipes that can be easily made with bulk ingredients and are waste free!