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I’m a little odd, yes, I actually like grocery shopping, in fact it’s become one of my favourite things to do.

For myself, I don’t really like the grocery shopping part, but I like that when I go grocery shopping, it has become my “mommy time”. When I get home and put everything away, I feel accomplished. I feel like I have a giant weight lifted from my shoulders.  I know you’re probably thinking I’ve lost my marbles saying that grocery shopping is my  “me-time” and that I feel accomplished after doing it, but hear me out.

When I go to the grocery store, I leave the kids at home. I go early, when it’s quiet, and I go with a plan, so I am in and out and it’s not stressful. I get to go shopping, something that I like to do, I get to buy something that I like, food, and I get to do it by myself. I have actually started listening to music on my iPhone while I shop, just to add a little more enjoyment to the process. When I get home I put everything away, I make sure that everything is ready to go for the week, and I know that I won’t have to think about grocery shopping for a whole week. Trust me, it’s not so bad once you figure out a plan to make it enjoyable. {seriously}

Here are my tips for getting the most out of your grocery shopping experience.

First thing, I leave my kids and my husband at home when I go grocery shopping. Nothing is worse than having a meltdown in aisle three because one child wants Shreddies, and the other wants Cherrios. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s best to just leave them at home. I mentioned I leave my husband at home too. I do this for two reasons. By law someone has to stay at home to watch the munchkins, and because I tend to veer away from my list if he’s there. I don’t know what it is, but we come home with more than what’s on the list, and end up spending more money than I intended. I’ve just discovered that leaving him at home has worked best. I will send him out throughout the week to grab a few items, if needed. {We always seem to run out of milk mid-week, doesn’t matter how well I plan}

Next, plan your trip. Don’t just say “I have to go grocery shopping”then hop in the car, and drive to the store. Make. A. List. It’s not too hard. Open your cupboards and take a look at what you need. Check out the fridge as well as the freezer and write this stuff down. Think about your week and who will be eating which meal throughout the week. Think about what you want to cook. Get in the basic habit of writing things down when they run out, and you’ll already have your list started.

Go shopping at the same time every week. Why? Because routines are fun. They work. Get yourself into a routine and it won’t feel like a chore, it will actually be something you look forward to. I go grocery shopping every Sunday morning. I wake up at 5am, which is a tad crazy so I only recommend you do this, if you want to. I do it throughout the week so I can get some work done in the morning when my kids are still asleep and they are less likely to bother me at that time. I have to keep this going on the weekend to keep my internal clock set, so I make sure I give myself as task on Saturday and Sunday mornings, so that I know I will still get up. I plan my list on Sunday morning, and get ready to go. Once the store is open, I am ready. Right when the store opens on Sunday, it is generally very quiet. I pop my headphones in and shop from my list. I walk every aisle of the store, because I find it relaxing, but also so that I won’t forget anything. I don’t consider it impulse buying, if it should have been on the list anyways, and my mommy brain is the only reason it’s been forgotten. When I am done shopping I come home, and unpack the groceries. Usually by this point everyone in the house is up and functioning, and they are eager to help me put away the groceries. This is a huge help because then I am not stuck doing it by myself. I hate, hate, hate putting away groceries. So this is a bonus.

Part of my routine is to open, cut and wash everything before I put it away. I will open any packages and place them in the correct spot in my pantry. I get rid of all the unwanted garbage right away. Our garbage day is Tuesday, so this works out great for us. All the garbage and recycling leaves the house right away, in stead of gradually accumulating over the week. With the vegetables and fruit, I will wash everything and cut it up, if needed. I find that is another thing that just makes my life easier throughout the week. I put everything into my Fridge Smarts, and they are ready to go for snacks throughout the week, as well as school lunches. My daughter is a “grazer” so she eats constantly. I am always hearing the “I’m hungry” whines from the other room. The moment I walk into the kitchen she’s right behind me wanting something, and she wants it now. Her favourite line is to tell me she doesn’t want it ‘cooked’. We think it’s because she doesn’t like her food hot, and she doesn’t want to have to wait that extra 3 minutes for something to cook, and then the other 5 for it to cool down. Because of her I have discovered that having ready made snacks is key. I prepare these right away when I get home. I cut up strawberries. I cut up some oranges. I will cut up green peppers, cucumber and anything else that I bought as a snack. By prepping this I know she will have a healthier option to choose from when she’s hungry. I find this works for adults too. If I’m wanting a snack, I don’t want to have to cook or prep it. I just want it ready to go. If I open the fridge and see washed apples, ready to go, I will grab one of those.

Let’s take a step back for a minute to the second tip, planning your list. To be completely honest, that’s not how I plan my list. It is how I did it in the past, but now I have perfected a way of planning my list to get the most out of my grocery shopping. Yes, I plan my list, but I don’t look in the cupboards to do so. I look in my cookbooks. I create a menu plan for the week. I go through my cookbooks of the recipes that I know we love, and plan out which ones I want to cook each day. There are a few factors that I look at when selecting my recipes. Number one, how much time I have that day to cook. If I know we have baseball on Saturday and won’t be home until after 6pm, I am not going to choose to cook something that requires 1 hour of cooking where I will have to be right there, cooking, throughout the entire process. That just won’t work. I would instead choose a meal that could be cooked in the slow cooker over low heat, for 8 hours. I simply look at our calendar to determine what’s happening during the week and go from there. I select at least two new dishes that we’ve never tried before, and I have 5 favourites that I know we all love. I have a recipe book in my kitchen that has all of our favourites in it. Dishes that we have tried and loved. That’s where I start. On nights when I won’t have a lot of time to prepare, I use those. On nights where I have a lot of time to prep, and leave room for error, I will try the new recipes. Now, you’re probably thinking that this would only add to the stress of grocery shopping, but it actually makes it better. I promise. First off I find the recipes, plan which night we are eating them, and put together the meals. I do lunches as well as dinners. Our breakfast’s here are pretty standard every morning so I don’t have to plan too much for those. Lunches for me and my husband are usually left over dinner, or we make wraps. My kids are the only ones I have to plan for. It’s pretty simple. As far as the dinners go, I write out the ingredients and sort them into categories. If you download my grocery shopping list you can see the categories that I use. It’s sorted by how things are found in the grocery store. I put everything I need on that list, then I go shopping…. in my house. I go down that list and check to see what I have. Let’s say I need 8 tablespoons of Olive oil for the week. I take a look at how much I have left in my bottle. Do I have enough? Yep! Awesome! Check that baby off my shopping list. I go through and cross everything that I already have off of my list. Then I go shopping… at the store. By planning our menu I find I save some time grocery shopping, because my list is generally pretty small, and I save money, because I am not buying anything extra. Menu planning takes planning your list to the next step. As mentioned above I have free resources available to help you try menu planning, so you can download them here.

Planning my meals is one of the biggest reasons that I have started to love grocery shopping. It really gives me so much satisfaction to be able to visualize the meals as I am shopping. I feel like I am getting things done, and taking stress out of my week. I don’t have to wonder what’s for dinner. I don’t have to worry about not having enough time to cook. I have everything planned, all I have to do is cook the meals. By taking that extra hour, one morning, while enjoying your coffee, you will save yourself a ton of stress when it comes to grocery shopping, and I can promise that you will actually start to like it. If not as much as me, at least more than you did before.

So there you have it. Those are the simple, yet effective steps that I have use to transform my feelings about grocery shopping!

Do you have any additional tips? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments below!

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