I think I have become a bit obsessed with food, feeding and cooking for my family. It’s probably a control thing but I thought I would channel this into how I do my shopping currently. To start with I am the worlds worst supermarket shopper, I am speedy in it but that’s because I hate the supermarket environment in general so therefore I just grab and go without thinking. This is why we have mainly done deliveries and click and collects for nearly 10 years now.
1. Stock take. This sounds a lot more formal than it is. I use the freezer as my main source for meat so I just have a little look at what we have a week before we are due a delivery and work out those meals. It also usually feeds into the meal plan and gives me some ideas for the week ahead. I am possibly a bit sad that I quite like making sure the oldest stuff is at the top of freezer so there is a bit of rotation and I swere my husband messes with this to get on my nerves!
2. I don’t do it all at once. So I am all for getting a bar of nice chocolate and sitting and doing a food shop online. I click away happily and can easily hit the £150-200 mark without thinking about it. In fact I quite like playing the ‘ if I could have whatever I fancy’ game. The important bit for me is revisiting this, numerous times. I write down things as and when I think in my planner and then make adjustments throughout the few weeks I am planning my shop. It’s a process I guess and I think it results in a more thought out shop.
3. Meal plan, but not too much. My meal plans are usually 2 words, a protein and a carb. So it could be mince and rice, potatoes and sausages or halloumi and couscous. Everything else is what I fancy. That’s because sometimes mince and rice can be a great Mexican picky meal with lots of lovely sides which I love cooking. Equally sometimes mince and rice can be some mince made into chunky meatballs with rice and some frozen peas because I have a child hanging off my leg and I don’t quite have the time or headspace to be creative. I have also started planning our breakfasts and lunches a lot more, mainly to be careful with those carbs that shoot blood sugars up and make the kids (and I) hungry again within 2 minutes. Just trying to add more protein to breakfasts has been a challenge that involves more planning.
4. An extra day or 2. This is 2 fold, I don’t plan every single day of the week, you never know when you might have a takeaway, friends over or over to friends for tea. Those days in our house tend to be a bit more on the spot. Obviously during lockdown these no plan days are more likely to be used for leftovers, stuff from the freezer we have excess of or just something we hadn’t seen whilst planning. This helps keeps costs down but also wastage. Equally we plan our shop 1 or 2 days later than my plan ends, it’s amazing how many meals you can actually make out of your cupboards and freezer.
5. Check (or get partner to!) This is so important for me right now in my pregnant state of needing to nest and needing to eat food that is probably really bad for me. I have to sense check my own shop- 2 jars of Nutella? Probably not needed (one jar? yes please!) I have also taken to stockpiling cornflakes… which as mentioned we aren’t even eating very often for breakfast so I can’t explain (3 boxes currently!) My husband is very much needed to stop me buying a zillion crisps and a billion chocolate digestives too. Even without him going over the list I can knock £30 off usually in the last check by taking off ridiculous impulse purchases or actually checking the cupboard to see what we have already.
I hope this helps in some way, I am sure there are some great tips and tricks out there so please let me know what else I can do! The favourites lists are good but I would say be careful with those last few pages where it’s says things like.. have you run out of..? They can really mess with your head! If like me you have become pretty obsessed by food during lockdown maybe knowing how other people do it may help.