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Shopping routines?

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  • Shopping routines?

    Now that I'm buying everything fresh/ not packaged, I keep buying too many vegetables and fruits for the fridge. I can't see what I have, so some stuff is going bad before I eat it. I don't have a chest freezer, either. I need to get a system, or I'm going to be wasting a ton of money.

    This sounds like kind of a dumb question, but can anyone share their Primal shopping routine for us newbies? Like, do you shop more than once a week? Do you have a system for what stuff you get at which stores/ markets? For instance, we have a new Trader Joe's (never had one around here before), but I don't know what Primal things might be better or cheaper there.

    Thanks for any ideas you guys have!

  • #2
    I'm poor and live right next to the grocery store, which is kind of a sweet combo! For financial reasons, I wait as long as possible to buy something I need, and I only have to walk 5 min (or drive if it's -8F like it was today!!) to the store to pick it up. Consequently, I don't really have many things that go bad.

    I buy the smallest quantities I need, and buy frozen when I can. For fresh things, I always make sure they're in a clear container (like clear tupperware or glass storage containers). I also clean my fridge out pretty regularly (at least once a week) not only to get rid of any old things, but mostly because I need to free up some tupperware! Just a general rule that I use when it comes to fridge storage: put larger things near the back, smaller things near the front.

    I've been to Trader Joe's a few times, and wasn't overly impressed. Maybe I just wasn't looking close enough, but things didn't really seem any cheaper than what I could get at my local Kroger. Also, I don't know if its just the Trader Joe's near me or all Trader Joe's, but I didn't see any fresh meat there. They seemed to be more centered on a vegetarian lifestyle than a primal one. (Just my impression.)

    I hope this helped a little bit!


    • #3
      A lot of produce doesn't need to be refrigerated if you're going to eat it quickly. Tubers, cabbages, most fruits, and squashes can sit out for a while without going bad. I even find that berries and tomatoes taste better unrefrigerated, but they need to be eaten within a day or two. I generally use the store as a guide to whether or not to refrigerate. If it wasn't at the store, it doesn't need to be. Even mushrooms aren't always refrigerated and would probably be fine out. It would help free up fridge space to keep fruit and squashes in bowls on your table and tubers and mushrooms in a basket in a cabinet. As far as where to shop, I get my produce, eggs, bacon, and butter at the farmer's market, and meat and nuts at Sam's Club (I can't afford grass fed, as much as I'd prefer it).


      • #4
        It's all about knowledge accumulation.

        First is figure out the groceries that are close to where you live and where you work. Find out what is typically fresh or on sale at each of those places, and accommodate your schedule to purchase them when they are in stock, or just when it's convenient for you.

        Personally, I work about 1/2 mile away from a Whole Foods and I live 1/2 mile away from a Korean supermarket that carries local produce. My gym is less than 5 minutes drive away from a Sprouts and Trader Joe's. I buy meat and stock up on my freezer when it gets low (about a week's worth of meat left), mostly from a local farm that I drive to if I'm in the area (I've also stocked up from online orders). I also purchase from Whole Foods and Sprouts when very, very good quality meat is on sale there or fresh wild fish from the Korean supermarket when my stash gets low and I don't have time to go to the farm. I buy fresh vegetables every other day, if not daily, from Whole Foods and the Korean supermarket, and make the 1 mile total trip part of my daily exercise routine, although I sometimes buy from Sprouts if I'm at the gym. I also buy a weekly supply of tubers from Trader Joe's or Sprouts. And TJ's is there for whenever I have a snack craving....
        My chocolatey Primal journey

        Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog


        • #5
          I feel your pain. I hate grocery shopping and used to keep my (prePB) veggies in plastic bags because I knew they were going to rot. Easier to toss them by just grabbing the bag.

          Solution to the veggies: frozen when possible. If you know you love something (organic cherry tomatoes in three colors, for eg.) go ahead and stock up. I know with those tomatoes that no matter how much I buy, they'll make an appearance in almost everything I eat 'til they're gone (and they're a good midnight snack, also).

          Prioritize. If you have X dollars, I like to concentrate on the highest grade animals and animal products I can. If you can't get all your produce organic, learn about the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen (you can google that).

          Find out which stores near you have what you like and at what prices. I shop 90% at two stores. At one, I buy all my beef, cheese, organic chicken livers, some chicken, some produce, lox, and they have organic frozen veggies.

          The other store has better eggs, the same half and half and butter but cheaper than the first store, and a fanfreakintastic produce dept. They also have more of the kinds of fish I like.

          I also check for things. Currently I get organic coffee and sardines by ordering online. If I could do all my grocery shopping online, I surely would.

          Once you know which stores carry the things you like, you can rotate your trips. I've kind of got it to the point where I only have to grocery shop at each store about once a month (standard size fridge and freezer here, nothing big), though to be fair, I also have a corner store that's convenient for things like mushrooms and wine.

          When I first started eating Primal, I missed the convenience of MalWart, but I've gotten used to it. I think you'll find your groove.

          Oh, one other thing. If you notice some of your produce starting to give up the ghost, what I'll do is saute it in butter or oil, cool it, then freeze it.

          Hope some of that helps.
          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


          • #6
            I have certain things I get at certain stores, either because they have the best price or the best product... and/or because it's convenient to work, another errand, or the route home.

            I shop at Fairway (best price on olives and most pantry items, huge selection at one location), Whole Foods (closest to work, best selection of grass fed beef and dairy, organic veggies), Trader Joes (cheapest ground grass-fed beef, frozen wild fish, frozen berries, unsweetened cranberry juice, grass-fed butter, uncured bacon, bananas, etc. - cheap red wine at the wine-store location), sometimes the Farmer's Market for yummy fruits, veg & meats, but honestly I prefer the never-frozen local meat at Whole Foods... (due to state regs, all farmer's market meat has to be frozen)... rarely shop at the "regular" grocery store.

            We don't throw out much food... usually when we do it's because one of us promises to eat a bowl of leftovers and forgets about it (and the other one thinks "I'm not touching that, my sweetie's gonna eat it!"). *sigh*
            I try to plan meals, buy in smallish quantities, etc. to prevent rotting food... I keep an eye on things and freeze them if they're looking suspect.... learn some recipes to "save" fruits, meats, veg when they're just on the edge.


            • #7
              I have a similar problem. If I buy too much it goes off, if I buy less I run out. As a result I have ended up shopping more often.

              I do see the benefits of having a menu plan and buying what I need for particular recipe rather than just going around the shop picking up one of everything. But I'm not the greatest at implementing it.

              However at least I have sort of trained myself to use the fresh produce first, before dipping into the freezer.
              Annie Ups the Ante


              • #8
                We have a giant dry erase calendar in our kitchen where we write all of our appointments/activities on for the week as well as our dinners. Dinner makes up the bulk of our shopping list, and then I fill in with the things Grace & I would like to eat during the day (fruit, yogurt, etc). Maybe invest in some recipe books and plot out your meals for the week?
                --Trish (Bork)
                TROPICAL TRADITIONS REFERRAL # 7625207
                FOOD PORN BLOG!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dr. Bork Bork View Post
                  We have a giant dry erase calendar in our kitchen where we write all of our appointments/activities on for the week as well as our dinners. Dinner makes up the bulk of our shopping list, and then I fill in with the things Grace & I would like to eat during the day (fruit, yogurt, etc). Maybe invest in some recipe books and plot out your meals for the week?
                  oh this is a great idea


                  • #10
                    I began by planning out meals - on a Sunday evening, I got creative and plotted out the food for the week which made up a list for buying on Monday night. Another shopping excursion for the weekend was done on a Friday night.

                    The problem there is that lists are too rigid and don't account for local, regional and seasonal variations in food supply ... or what's in the cheap section.

                    Now, I just swing by the farm shop and grab a bunch of stuff ... veggies, fish and meat. I then fly through the supermarket grabbing anything cheap, reduced or a good offer. Freeze meat and fish.

                    It's really just a case of shop when you need things, bring food out of the freezer (I only have a small two drawer upright freezer part of my fridge/freezer) and try to be creative with what you have available - primal meals come together easily anyway, and, using your brain is very primal ... creatively, even instinctually, putting foods together.

                    The only planning I do is to ensure that I read up on the seasonal foods for the week and try to prioritise them. I think seasonality is important.

                    "... needs more fish!"


                    • #11
                      I'm terrible about this myself, so these days I keep a stock of frozen veggies and fruit (clean 15 or organic), and only buy fresh if it's a specific thing in our meal plan. I try to make the meal plan on Sunday (ZipList is pretty cool) using what we have in stock, and add any fresh ingredients to my list so I can grab them when I'm out. The only farmer's market worth going to this time of year is a 45 minute drive, so I go once or twice a month and stock up on meat/eggs, and try to limit the veg to what we can use quickly or won't spoil fast like butternut squash or sweet potatoes. These days, about the only fresh stuff I buy regularly is zucchini (for zoodles or sauteeing), rutabaga, onions, sweet potatoes, bananas, celery, cucumbers and carrots (for my preschooler's lunch), and heads of romaine because they don't go bad as fast as loose salad mix. If our carrots, celery, or onions are starting to look sad, I toss them in the freezer to use in stock later. I had to toss some zucchini the other day, it was a very, very sad thing.


                      • #12
                        I think a shopping routine depends a lot on what you have access to and that can vary *a lot*. Primal in northern Delaware is a big job, lol. After 6 months I am still adding to my sources and shifting where I buy what I need. DH and I have subscribed to a CSA and installed a couple of raised garden beds, so I expect come summer we will be adjusting again. If I can find a nearby source for top quality meats, trips to Costco and Whole Foods will need to be adjusted too.

                        Another thing that I am still getting a handle on is how the total quantity of food is shrinking as we improve the quality of what we eat. I expect to be in flux for at least another year, lol.
                        50yo, 5'3"
                        CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
                        GW- Goals are no longer weight-related