That’s a lot of groceries and they weren’t bought haphazardly. I went into the store with a loose plan. When I’m serious into meal prepping, I make a “follow this exactly” type list, but for days like now where I have some time to actually cook each night, I go in with an essential list and see what inspires me. I’ll start off by stating that simplicity is key! Hopefully that statement will take the edge off of grocery shopping. I’m one of those people that look at the grocery flier each week and it has helped me really focus on my waistline and my wallet. Sprouts Farmer’s Market is my grocery store of choice and each week they have amazing deals. Their weekly flier inspires most of my grocery shopping. Eating healthy and as organic as possible CAN be expensive, but I’ve figured out how to do it for a fraction of the cost.

What are staples in your diet? If you keep your meals simple, grocery shopping will be simple. Most mornings breakfast is Greek yogurt with granola or toast topped with peanut butter and banana. Automatically, yogurt, granola, bread, peanut butter and bananas make my weekly list no matter what. They’re simple ingredients that are typically on the cheaper side or you can find on sale each week. Eggs will last us about 2 weeks because we really only use them to make pancakes or scrambled eggs on weekends. I spring for organic eggs now, but if you can’t, look for a brand that is cage free or no-hormones. A ½ gallon of Almond Milk is for coffee and cereal if we’re feeling lazy. After I take care of our “usuals”, I think about what fruit and veggies need to be replenished.

Fruit can really run up your bill, which is why I shop what’s on sale. I’ll admit, I love Honey Crisp Apples but I’m not buying them unless they’re on sale. $3/lb is a rip-off.   There, I said it. Other than bananas, apples are popular in my house.   This past week, Sprouts had green apples and pink lady apples for $.98/lb. AMAZING DEAL. I’m a Fuji fan too, but for $.98/lb, Pink Ladies were coming home with me. If you buy what’s on sale, you’ll save money and you won’t get bored. I was craving cottage cheese, so I added that to my list this week. It will get added to my sliced up fruit as a snack. I’m sure if I ate the same things every week, whether they’re my favorite fruit or not, I’d be miserable. So, that little sale flier saves me that heartache. {OMG PINEAPPLE FOR $2, GET IN MY CART!} Haha!

Veggies, veggies, veggies! We almost always have lettuce for salad making and veggies to cut up for hummus. Sometimes we get carrots, sometimes pepper, and sometimes celery… maybe all 3 if it’s a good deal week. Veggies are something that you can even prep and cook ahead of time. Those two heads of cauliflower will be roasted and stored in the fridge for the week. Asparagus, which were super cheap this week, will be sautéed and stored for dinners and added to a sweet potato hash for breakfast. Raw or cooked, having your fridge stocked with ready to eat veggies will help you ensure you keep your nutrition in check.

So what about big-ticket items like your proteins and nuts? Holy hell, Almonds are so expensive and meat can be ridiculous. Well, the same concept applies like everything else on your list… if tri-tip is $10/lb, go with different meat this week. Before you go grocery shopping, think about the meals you want to put together for the week and remember, keep it simple. Yes, we all like meals that are complex recipes, but we also have lives. A simple chicken breast with a side of wild rice and Brussels sprouts will do just fine. What can you cook that will yield leftovers? I switched to Pescatarian, which means unless I want to give myself food poisoning; I’m not cooking fish ahead of time. This week, I went up to the butcher counter and checked out which seafood was on special. Mahi Mahi and Swordfish. Perfect. I hadn’t had either in a while and they’re normally double the price. You can do the same for beef, pork, and chicken.

Grocery shopping is about controlling your nutrition and being cost-effective. Which leads me to snacks. It is almost always cheaper to make things yourself. I love guacamole, so we buy avocados all the time. California spoils us with cheap avocados. I’m also a fan of salsa. Chips and salsa is a go-to snack for me, so I’ve started making my own salsa. Anything processed or pre-made will always run your bill up, so think about healthy snack options that you can make yourself before going to the store. It’ll save you a lot of money over time.

I have a challenge for you this week:

Sit down with a pen and paper and write down what your essentials/usual foods are. Milk? Eggs? Bread? Most of us have similar go-tos. Think about how you use them and what would be most effective. Then think about some of the things you’d like to eat and make this week. Have a recipe for bulk lemon chicken? See what ingredients you need and what’s on sale at your local store this week. Is there anything on the sale flier that peeks your interest that you wouldn’t have normally bought? Well, it’s the perfect time to try it. Take into account your diet. Is it processed? Try leaving those items off the list this week and opt to make your own. Grocery shopping with confidence is all about honoring good nutrition, being easy on your wallet, and walking in with a game plan.

Have questions about meal prepping, nutrition, or additional grocery shopping questions? Just leave a comment below or email