Guys – we’re getting a little crazy over here!
Today we’re talking grocery shopping, without a list! What can I say? I’m living on the wild side!
You know how we feel about meal planning – it’s truly a lifesaver. But lately, between work, and family commitments, travel and well, life, meal planning has kind of fallen to the wayside the last couple weeks. #reallife. But, that’s not to say we haven’t been doing the whole weekend meal prep thang. It is possible to still get through your grocery shopping without losing your mind and prep for the week ahead without a full on meal plan.
So How Do I Do It?
I break down the grocery store into categories and buy four items from each category for the week. Why four? When I do meal plan, I always plan for four days. One day is leftover, one is going out, and one is every man/woman/child for themselves! Now how much of each item to buy is up to you – I like to cook enough for meals so that we have leftovers for lunch for everyone needing one in the house the next day. If you’ve got some broccoli lovers in your house like I do, you’ll want to double up on the broccoli. You choose how much you need to eat to feel full and satisfied. But with this method, you can be in and out of the grocery store in a matter of minutes.
Things like milk, yogurt, eggs, and bread are staples for my family. So these are never included in our list. We will re-stock when we need it.
Tips To Grocery Shop Without A List!
Pick Four Vegetables
Whatever veg your family likes! Broccoli and green beans are staple veg for us, as is a bag of that pre-made kale salad. It’s just so easy and so darn tasty! The fourth veg is always a wild card – sometimes it’s carrots, sometimes zucchini.
Pick Four Protein
We will usually eat tofu one night, chicken another, fish a third, and beans/eggs/cheese or a combination another. So for example, the other week I bought tofu, tilapia, eggs, and feta.
Pick Four Carbs
Pasta is for sure one of our go-to weeknight dinners. So that is usually on the list if I need to re-stock. A grain (either rice, farro, or quinoa) is probably the carb of choice for another meal, sweet potatoes are a household fave so those will go in the cart and crackers. When I don’t have time to cook up a starch for our meal, crackers can pretty much go with any meal!
Pick Four Fruit
I’m going to tell you right now this rarely changes from week to week for us. Bananas, apples, grapes, and whatever berries are on sale are always in the cart. You got a fave fruit? Buy it!
Pick Four Snacks
I’m a BIG snacker. I need variety and I need satisfying and delicious snacks. Yogurt is usually a hit with kids and adults in our house, some sort of trail mix (our fave brand here!), popcorn, and cheese sticks. Sometimes there might be a granola bar or sometimes a fun dried fruit – my kids love dried mango (as does my husband!) For other snack ideas, check out our post on some of our favourite snack items.
Pick Four Fun Items
So not that a head of broccoli isn’t fun! But we all need some delicious snacks and foods that don’t fall neatly into one of the typical food groups. We usually like to have some kind of ice cream on hand for a snack, there’s always some sort of chocolate in the cupboard (right now I’m still working my way through my Trader Joes stash!). We also like to have some sort of fun drink with dinner some nights – yes, wine sometimes too, but when you don’t want something a little more PG, we buy a fun carbonated beverage. Makes a Monday feel like a Friday!
So there you have it! Now what kind of dinners can you make with this list??? Here are some ideas:
Roasted Tofu, Broccoli, and Sweet Potatoes
Grilled Chicken with Zucchini and Sweet Potatoes
So a homemade dinner IS possible when you don’t have time to meal plan.
What are some of your grocery store staples for making dinners possible when you don’t have a plan?