Happy Monday! Coach Stefanie here!
In my last articles, I talked about why I grocery shop once a month and how I prepare. In this article, I want to go a little more into detail about what I purchase while at the store and how to make sure my groceries last.
- The Why: Grocery Planning 101
- The How: Meal Planning for a Month
- The Secret to Success: Frozen Foods
- The Day-to-Day: Tactical Tools
As many of you know, some groceries won’t be good for 4 weeks so we need to plan accordingly.
Of course I could simply eat foods that have a shorter shelf life first. Then eat those with a longer shelf life at the end of the month. However, that doesn’t always seem appealing to me. It’s likely not the best tactic for my weight loss journey, either. Instead, I utilize my freezer. I am in no way a prep-er! I’m just lazy. So, I have a freezer stocked full of delicious food at any given time.
Anything I can grab frozen I tend to get frozen.
This includes most of my fruits and vegetables. While people often think that frozen vegetables are less nutritious, the opposite is actually often the case. When we buy “fresh” fruits and vegetables they are often harvested before they are ripe so they can ripen during the journey or, even worse, will be ripened using gas once they reach their destination. That way, the companies can make sure their produce does not go bad in transit.
Frozen fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, are picked at peak ripeness and flash frozen which locks in all of their nutrients. So, the only concerns between fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables is generally the crunch factor. One way to keep vegetables crunchier is by steaming them instead of cooking them. If that is a concern make sure you keep them separate.
If the vegetables are already frozen, it makes adding them to meal packs much easier. But if not, I will go ahead and chop them up so I can add them to bags with all of the ingredients of specific meals. This does take some time and prep work at the beginning but is totally worth it during the week when I don’t have to start chopping one onion for my meal.
With meat however, I often like to purchase unfrozen so I can chop it up if the meal requires it. I tend to avoid defrosting and refreezing meat since it is not the best thing for the quality and taste.
Many freezer meals are based on precooking the food and often consist of a lot of casserole dishes which aren’t something my husband and I enjoy. Instead, I will prepare stages and not precook the food.
Take my favorite balsamic chicken dish for example:
- I will add the chicken, the marinade ingredients and vegetables (chopped and ready to go) to a freezer bag.
- The night before we want to eat it, I simply take the bag out of the freezer to defrost and the meal is ready to throw in a pan when I get home from work.
- If my meal has 2 steps, I will pack them in 2 separate bags which I will then combine in one larger freezer bag. Since the larger one does not touch any food, you can reuse that one and just write on it what the meal is and how to prepare it. I recommend doing that with all of the meals or you will be very confused later on!
- To write on the bags, write on them before filling them with a sharpie as that will make things a lot easier.
- Close them in a way that pushes as much of the air out as possible, then freeze the bags individually laying down on a baking sheet.
- Once they have gotten solid you can take them off the baking sheet and layer them on top of each other in your freezer to save room!
Hopefully this shed some light on the prepping piece of my grocery scheme! Next Monday will be the final piece of the bulk shopping puzzle. Has anyone else started shopping in bulk like this? Or was anyone already giving it a try? Comment below!
Read Part 1 HERE
Read Part 2 HERE
Read Part 4 HERE