I can proudly say that Mike and I have our grocery shopping down to a science. What used to be a once monthly (or less) chore has become a quick weekly event that we actually look forward to. We grab our reusable bags and head to Whole Foods (or Giant Eagle) with a list in hand. The exact items might vary slightly week to week, especially once you build up a supply of staples in the pantry, but since we also have a routine of cooking down to a science, it doesn’t have to be reinvented every week. Here’s a typical week of groceries and what we make from it. Bear in mind this is for two people, cooking almost every meal in – maybe eating 1-2 dinners out per week. Enjoy modifying to suit your own preferences!
Two general tips when shopping – stick to the outsides of the store – the produce section and just a few other aisles are all you really need. The middle aisles full of boxes and bags of processed stuff are not really food! This is not only the healthiest way to shop – it’s the cheapest! Buying processed food is a little bit like eating out all the time – you’re paying someone else to assemble the food for you!
- 1 bunch of collard greens
- 1 bok choy bundle
- 3-4 crowns of broccoli
- 2-3 bell peppers
- 1 box of pre-washed spinach
- 1 package of mushrooms
- 3 onions
- 2 sweet potatoes
- Fresh garlic
- 1 eggplant
- 4-5 bananas
- 4-5 apples
- 2 oranges
- 1-2 kiwi
- 1 pkg blueberries
- 1-2 lemons
Rice Aisle for Whole Grains
- 1 pkg green lentils
- 1 box of boil in bag brown or wild rice
- 2 cups quinoa
- woven wheats are my favorite crackers – they’re a lot like Triscuits only with no oil!
Plant Milk Aisle – usually with baking supplies
- 2-3 boxes of plant milk – We usually go through 2 boxes of almond milk and 1 of low fat soy per week
Bulk food aisle if you have one
- Rolled Oats – not the quick-cooking kind because they’re actually partially cooked!
- Sour cherries or raisins
- quinoa or rice can often be bought in bulk too
Canned Vegetables Aisle
- 2 cans chick peas
- 2 cans black beans
- 1 small jar Thai green curry paste
- 1 can Cream of coconut
- kalamata olives
- 1 jar salsa
- Low sodium soy sauce
- Taco seasoning
Ok, so that’s the produce section plus 4-5 aisles. Not too shabby eh? This list would typically cost $120ish at Whole Foods which gets you most items organic and/or locally sourced, and this feeds two people for the week. That might sound a smidge high but when you consider we’re no longer spending $5-7 per person for lunches, we don’t have to buy soy sauce, olives, and spices every single week, and we’re only eating (and drinking) out once or twice a week, you can assimilate that our entire food budget is something like $75 per person per week, including eating out.
If you’re looking to save more, head to Aldi or Giant Eagle for the items they carry. I’ll warn you though, there’s a noticeable difference in the freshness of the produce at Whole Foods. There’s no denying its quality in my opinion. If you’re cooking for one, this list will last you two weeks. And of course, many of the ingredients will be leftover for a while, so you don’t need to replenish every single item every single week. The bulk of expenses will be in the beginning until you get your groove on.
Here are the meals we make out of that for the week: All recipes can be found on the Easy Recipes page!
1) Green curry with brown rice – 2 dinners and a lunch
2) Quinoa salad with greens – several lunches
3) Hummus – excellent snack with veggies or crackers
4) Baba Ganoush – excellent snack with veggies or crackers
5) Black beans and brown rice – 1 dinner and a lunch
6) Veggie stir fry with garlic soy sauce – 1 dinner and a lunch
7) Lentils and carmelized onions – 2 dinners and a lunch
8) Oatmeal and dried fruit for breakfast daily – 7 breakfasts
That’s oats for breakfast 7 days, snacks and leftovers for lunch for 6-7 days, and dinner for 6 days. That’s assuming we’ll head out for at least one dinner and a lunch each week which is pretty typical.