Shopping and Meal Planning: Part One – Shopping
I recently made the statement that I don’t meal plan and that I never have. The whole subject came up while starting the autoimmune protocol diet. I signed up with Angie Alt to do the “SAD to AIP in 6” program beginning on March 7th. Part of the first week’s information included a template for meal planning. But I just don’t cook that way and I posted such on the group FB page. Angie replied to my comment that perhaps I should add a “min. of planning & prep at least, to help you deal w/ the moments when you are hungry, too tired, have to travel, etc., but are in full elimination phase of AIP & can’t easily just “pick something up.”” I rarely, if ever, find myself in those situations so it had me thinking that I must have some sort of system that is working for me (and my husband). I certainly don’t fault anyone for meal planning in any way that works for them. I may not plan in the conventional way but I thought about it and I do have my own system. So the following is my system, if you will.
I should start with my system for shopping since all food starts with shopping, or at least some foraging. But I’m here to tell you that I don’t even shop with a real grocery list. I have a shopping list phone app that I use. It has a heading for all the places I shop (off-line), even “hardware store”. I just add, as they come up, things that I’ve used up or am almost out of. This doesn’t include the things I buy every week. This list is for what I call the outliers to my normal shopping. I am also big on ordering things from Amazon and Thrive Market. I pretty much already know when I will have a hard time finding something during my normal shopping circuit. Those items get ordered on-line. I let my Thrive Market basket sit with the items in it until I’ve reach the free shipping threshold and then I purchase. Sometimes I stock up to reach the “free” zone. With Amazon, let’s just say I love Prime!
I physically shop only once a week. I do it on Tuesdays since I am always off on that day. It also happens to be the day that there is a year round Farmer’s Market nearby (15 miles, mostly freeway). I don’t need a shopping list to go there. I just look in my fridge before I go. Did I eat all the apples or should I buy less this week? Did I eat all the kale and spinach? Do I still have any onions and garlic? How’s big is my hunk of ginger, now? You get my drift. I look in my freezer too. There are 3 vendors at the farmer’s market from whom I purchase meats. I keep my meats well stocked; so I look to see if I am low on anything. Then I go to the farmer’s market. I buy kale, spinach, dandelion greens, and romaine hearts. The romaine hearts and spinach are pre-washed. It probably costs a little more but this is my idea of fast food. I buy onions, garlic, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and beets. I buy whatever vegetables and fruits are in season. I run the following calendar week in my head, or look at my phone calendar to see if there are engagements that will alter the amount of meals I need to make.
When I get home from the farmer’s market, I do a little prep work. I separate the beets from their greens and put the greens in a sink full of water to wash and soak. I put the mushrooms in a mushroom bag and the spinach in a container to keep it fresh. I take filet mignon out of the freezer. Why? Because Tuesday is #filettuesday. After everything is put away, I head back out for the rest of the shopping.
The next stop is Target. That is where I get my Kombucha for the week. I also purchase any household items that I have put on my Target shopping list app. Target and Trader Joe’s are located in a huge shopping area so I can also buy my vitamins and dog’s food all conveniently located near each other.
Lastly, I end up at Trader Joe’s. I buy some produce here but I really try to buy most of my produce at the farmer’s market. I buy a couple of packages of riced cauliflower to put in the freezer at home. It is a real fast convenience food to have on hand. I buy organic chicken and both fresh caught wild salmon and smoked salmon. I buy prosciutto to have on hand. I buy frozen veggies and frozen seafood. I buy some canned goods. My husband buys some things that aren’t AIP…like a bag of corn chips and salsa…but I just don’t eat any. He also buys the pre-made sushi and spring rolls to have as lunch when we get home. I have taken to making my own spring rolls at home using Paleo Wraps. I have used both frozen shrimp and canned crab to make these.
Very rarely, I have to go to a conventional supermarket to buy roasted unsalted peanuts to have as a treat for my bird. While there, I will usually look at the organic produce to see if anything strikes my fancy.
I usually get home from all this shopping around 1 pm. I put everything away and then make and eat the spring rolls. I will write about how I do (don’t do) meal planning in another post.