Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo. I had a client come in a few days ago asking me about budgeting for groceries. We were talking about how expensive groceries can be especially the organic versus non-organic sections and fresh produce. Made me think others of you in blog-reading-land would be interested in the top 3 tips I use for my grocery shopping. If you have any questions about today’s blog or would like more information on how to lower your personal grocery bill, give our team a call: 806-322-3188.

#1: Don’t go to the store hungry

You’ve probably heard that before. When you go to the store hungry you typically will grab extra stuff that you didn’t need nor planned on having in the house. Those extra calories will begin to call your name and you might find yourself stuffing your face and gaining weight.  So that is the first step; make sure that you have some food food in your system before you go. The best thing to fill you up before you enter the store is vegetables. Packed with fiber, veggies make you feel full while housing a ton of nutrients. Hopefully you also drank water that day and are hydrated.  This pairing will keep you focused so you can get in and get out and not have to spend an hour and a half the store.

#2: Shop with a plan

When I say a “plan”, a lot of people interpret that as a grocery list. They are partially right. The other part is sitting down before you get in your car to plan out each meal for the entire week. What do you and your family want for breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner?  Designing a meal plan with the needed ingredients is a lifesaver.  In my house, I sometimes eat something different than my kids or my husband do. Knowing who will be eating what for which meal will save you time at the store and when you are cooking. Perhaps your spouse plans to eat at work and won’t need groceries for that meal. Creating a weekly meal plan will help you purchase the right amount of food, so your basket isn’t packed to the gills.

Making that weekly plan can be as simple as a piece of paper that has a column for each day. I like to use my computer to make mine with spreadsheets. On the Y-axis will be the meal name for each person. The X-axis has the day of the week. From there I make an ingredients list for each meal or snack.  That becomes my shopping list. Implementing a meal plan and a grocery list can cut your grocery bill in half.  You only by the foods that are appropriate for that meal plan so you’re not buying things just because you ran out of it or just because you might have it one day. Instead, you are going to the store because you need THIS ingredient for Tuesday night’s meal. Additionally, if you can make each meal just a lil bit larger so that they can span from a night to the next afternoon you’ll be cooking less. This, in turn, saves you money because you won’t be stuck going out to eat for lunches. Forgot to grab turkey for sandwiches? Don’t head to the restaurant quite yet. Check out your frozen leftovers to see if there’s something you can bring with you to work. Healthy and free are the way to be.

#3: Choose meals that can last

Try and plan meals that can last throughout the week. Right now it is fall, so this is the perfect weather for making large batches of soups, stews, and chilis. I know it’s not quite cold enough outside yet, but it’s starting to get there. Fall is thinking about showing up soon. These types of meals are great to make on the weekend so you can proportion it out into your containers for the week. If you make too much you can free those containers and eat it a few weeks later when preparing food doesn’t sound too appealing.  You’ll be able to make multiple meat.

Maybe you made ground beef one night for tacos. Freeze the rest and add it to some chili staples.  You can eventually stockpile a mix and match of ingredients that are already prepared to go with other frozen meals to liven them up. Cheap, easy and cuts down your time in the kitchen.

#4: Extra Credit

I told you there were three but there’s really one extra one that I have to throw in there. This is the biggest waste of money when it comes to groceries. That’s people buying produce that spoils before they eat it all. A client once told me that her crisper drawer was where her veggies went to die. I’ve been a personal trainer in Amarillo for a long time. I’ve seen this happen all too often.   In an ideal world, fresh is best, frozen is second best, and canned is for emergencies only. Canned food is a whole other vlog. Frozen veggies are second best because they’ve been

picked at the ideal time of ripeness, cleaned. and then immediately flash frozen. Frozen veggies haven’t lost nearly as much nutrition as their canned counterparts, but do not have as much as their fresh neighbors.

If you’re buying vegetables or produce and you know that you’re probably not going to use (or you often can’t finish by the end of the week), get them Frozen. Buy them from the frozen section. If you can’t find them in the frozen section, then buy it fresh, prep it by cutting it, and freeze it yourself. Remember when freezing things like that are fresh, you want to get rid of as much air in that bag as possible. If you have a vacuum sealer that’s great. If not, you can put it in a plastic bag, dip it in some warm water and that will allow a majority of the air to escape before you seal it off.

Feeling like you waste a lot of money at the grocery store? Make sure that you’re buying food that you’re going to use. Only purchase the things that you need from your meal list. Don’t show up to the store hungry.  Cook things that can be consumed for more than one meal. Try these tips out next time you restock your fridge and you will be more successful and lower your grocery bill week after week.

If you would like to learn more about nutritional tips, exercise programming, or lifestyle modifications to get you where you would like to be, we would love to help. My team of fitness professionals and I offer an array of services that are customized to you and your needs. We would love to have you come in for a consultation to see exactly what we are all about and whether or not we are the right fit for each other. If this sounds like something that would be interesting to you, give us a call at 806-322-3188 or e-mail info@customfitness.biz.  At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainer in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day!