I'm back from a lovely weekend in Indianapolis with my family. I flew out to spend time with everyone and catch my nephews' play. More on that in an upcoming entry. For now, it's....
FMM: The Grocery Store
1. Do you make a list when you go grocery shopping? Do you stick to it? Yes, and yes! We have a food-planning and food-shopping schedule in place that really works for us. On Saturday, we plan our full menu for the week, whether we will be eating at any restaurants or friends' homes. Then we make a complete list of staples and items for any recipes we'll be tackling. Then we shop on Sunday. We almost never stray from our list, but we leave several things open (like, we need this many "random veg" servings to fulfill our daily total outside of recipes, and this many servings of whatever fruit looks fresh.)
2. Do you buy more groceries when you're hungry? Yes. And I'm much more likely to stray from the list to buy something I don't really want or need. So part of that schedule I mentioned above is that we always try to eat a full meal before shopping.
3. Coupons. Use 'em? Thanks to the stores where we buy our food, we rarely need to. But we do pay attention to the weekly mailings when it comes to meal planning, to see if any of the items that are on special can be highlighted in a recipe.
4. Have you ever complained to the manager of your grocery store? No, but I do occasionally point out when a package of berries has gone fuzzy, etc.
5. Do you like to buy groceries at huge chain stores like Wal-Mart and Target? Or do you shop exclusively at food stores? We rarely shop for food at chain stores. (Actually, when our budget allows for it, we try not to shop at food stores, we prefer farmer's markets.) There are no Wal-Marts in our city limits, and we're not really fond of Wal-Mart's corporate practices. We shop at Target for home goods and clothes, but not food. We typically shop at three food stores each week:
- We buy all of our produce at Super King This international store has saved our budget over and over and over again. They sell all of their produce on a loss-leader basis (meaning that it's deeply discounted in order to get bodies into the store. And boy do the bodies get into the store.) We regularly buy a whole pineapple for $1.50, a head of cauliflower for $0.50, a bag of spinach the size of my torso for $2.50... I kid you not when I say that we aim to eat 49 servings of fruit and 77 servings of vegetables, and we can swing this for less than $40 thanks to Super King's prices. We just have to get there at the crack of store-opening so that we don't have to wait a half-hour just to get into the parking lot. It is BUSY. A huge thanks to David, who introduced me to the store.
- Meat, dairy, and dry goods come from Trader Joe's. Excellent quality, unique selection and great prices. (They even have a no-coupon and no-club policy; their prices are fair without faking anybody out.) They frequently rotate products, which can be fun because there's interesting new things to try, but a bummer because sometimes the things you love most can go away with no warning. Best illustrated by this song tribute to the store.
- We buy all leftovers (and any national brand stuff we need) at Ralph's. If you are in the midwest, you call Ralph's "Kroger's." You also call Best Mayo "Hellman's" and Dreyer's Ice Cream "Edy's." These are the things that fascinate me.
6. How much time do you spend reading labels in the grocery store? The majority of our diet is fruit & vegetable-based, but I absolutely scour nutrition facts for anything that comes with a label. How else would I know what I'm putting into my body?
7. Do you push your own grocery cart to the car and return it? Who doesn't push their own grocery cart to the car? I always try to return it, because I didn't do so as a young adult and I'm trying to make up for my karma. Heh.
8. What is the one food item you always buy at the grocery store that you must have in the kitchen? Trader Joe's fat free vanilla greek yogurt. But there's a lot of such items.
9. Do you enjoy grocery shopping? No, not always. If I'm feeling emotional it's harder to fight the urge to try something that looks good but may not be healthy. And if it's super-crowded at Super King, it's uncomfortable (but the price is worth it.) What I do enjoy is the menu planning. It's so fun to put the week's food together with Tom, and it's very comforting not to have to worry about what to choose for lunch. It's already chosen, and it's going to be yummy.
10. How often do you shop for groceries? Just once a week, barring anything we missed (or any canceled plans that would require us to plan an additional meal in.