Grocery shopping with two small kids is no easy feat, so I have quickly had to learn how to get in and get out of the store without a meltdown (or two) and with enough healthy groceries to last our new family of four for a long while. There are a few tricks of the trade when it comes to bringing home healthy goods for fair prices and fast dinners, and I’ve got it down to a science. The “rules” are pretty simple: buy fresh, keep a well-stocked pantry for go-to suppers, and shop the perimeter. With these simple rules put in action, you can make grocery shopping even with two or more kids a breeze…well, most of the time, anyway!
1. Buy Fresh
There’s no easier way to make a meal taste delicious than by using the freshest ingredients. I’m always checking expiration dates and buying the freshest meats, seafood, and produce around. Nothing beats a Saturday morning trip to the Farmers Market, but if time doesn’t allow, the produce department in my local store is my go-to. I always try to stock up on greens and fruit – both can be used in smoothies to make nutrient-rich meals fast and easy, but that’s a topic for another day. The rule here is it’s good to have at least one green and *only* one starch (like potatoes, beans, or rice) on the supper table. Three or four greens can be stretched out over a week’s time easy making trips to the grocer less frequent – a win win!
As for buying fresh meat, this is typically my one splurge. Just because it’s on sale, has a coupon, or is “manager’s special” does not necessarily mean it’s going home with me. I steer towards wild-caught fish and healthier meats like Paula’s endorsed Springer Mountain Farms for the health benefits they provide (ie. humane conditions, no use of antibiotics and pesticide free) and for their sustainability to our environment.
2. Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry
I’ve learned through express shopping (aka shopping with kids) that there are a few basic pantry staples that always need to stick around the house. Aromatic flavors like garlic, lemon, celery, and onion are always good to have on hand. Just cut up those basic flavors or other fresh herbs to give your meal that “oomph” that they need to add a burst of fresh flavor without spending a lot of money. Chicken broth, bouillon cubes, cream of ¬¬you-name-it soup, and canned tomatoes are also always good to have around too. With these items, soups, stews, gravies, and sauces can be made in no time flat. I also like to season well, so The Deen Brothers Funky Chicken Spice and Paula’s House Seasoning (available by calling 866-95-PAULA) are staples around my house. They dress up any meal without reaching for any other spice in my cabinet. Time saver? I’ll take it.
3. Shop the Perimeter
All of the freshest ingredients are on the outer walls of the grocery store. On the end of every aisle, sale items try to lure us down each row looking for items we don’t necessarily need. After becoming a “perimeter shopper,” I’ve found that most of the food in the inner aisles is just junk anyways, filled with fillers, preservatives, and artificial ingredients that we think we want but certainly do not need. Avoiding these fillers by snacking wisely on nuts, fruits, and other healthier options keeps the bad stuff out of our carts and the good stuff in our bellies. Think of all the money you can save by avoiding the inner aisles except to stock up on pantry essentials!
I wish they taught this stuff in classrooms across the country – or at least the ones I was in throughout high school and college! I basically lived off of tuna salad during my college days because I refused to eat the ramen noodles in the pantries of my friends. So college kids, bachelors, and new moms take note! Grocery shopping to eat well doesn’t necessarily have to be out of reach. You just have to know how to shop!
Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm
Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am
I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am
Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm