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What A Week of Food Shopping Looks Like for Me

Good morning. I hope everyone is staying warm and safe. Many of my friends in Atlanta and Birmingham have endured really scary situations with this winter weather…like having to spend the night in offices, 12-hour commutes to go just a few miles, being stranded in gridlock overnight, problems getting to their children and so on. I have been shocked to see it all. I know everyone makes fun of the way that Southerners react to the snow but the truth of the matter is that we are just not equipped to deal with bad road conditions down here. I am praying for the safely of everyone that’s been impacted.

Today I wanted to talk about what a weekly grocery shopping trip looks like for me. I have received quite a few questions lately about meal planning and food shopping so I want to do a series of posts about how that works for me. I did a major restock this week so I took photos of everything to share.

Before I get started, a few general things to share about my food shopping.

1) This week’s shopping was done at Trader Joe’s. I probably do my weekly shopping here once a month. Typically I go to Harris Teeter or Whole Foods but I wanted to point out that I spent the same amount this week at Trader Joe’s as I did at Whole Foods last week and got triple the amount of food. Not even kidding. I love Whole Foods but you sure pay for what you get.

2) Β I try to do most, if not all, of my shopping at one store. I don’t have time to visit multiple stores. The exception to this would be April-October-ish when I do a farmers market trip on Saturdays for local and seasonal produce and meats and then fill in the rest at the store. I would like to get better about going the the winter market but I’ve been a slacker this year.

3) I do so much better at saving money and eating at home more when I do one big trip each week versus having nothing and being tempted to eat out or stopping at the store every night on the way home.

So, here’s a week of groceries!



Smoked salmon, turkey burgers, chicken breasts and tofu. I also had a pound of coho salmon in the fridge that I picked up over the weekend from a crazy good sale at Whole Foods.



Frozen fruit mix (for smoothies), mango, pears, bananas, kiwis, lemons, limes and apples.



Shredded brussels sprouts, broccoli, avocados, frozen stir fry blend, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash and green beans. I got two spaghetti squash because they are so cheap at Trader Joe’s and they keep for several weeks.

Note: I already had kale, spinach and spring mix. Salad greens are ALWAYS a must for me to have on hand.


Nuts, Seeds and Soups

Walnuts, pecans, quinoa, soups. I also purchased whole wheat tortillas for wraps/quesadillas and whole wheat pizza dough for pizzas/flat breads but they went unpictured.


Sauces, Spreads and Canned Stuff

Artichokes, kalamata olives, peanut butter, dijon mustard, roasted red peppers, salsa, garbanzo beans, Island Soyaki sauce and hummus.



Goat, toscano, manchego and gouda. (For my nightly cheese snack, you know ;))



Chocolate chips and assorted chocolate bars.

From all of this food + what I already had on hand in the fridge, freezer and pantry (I’ll do another post about those staples), I am able to make breakfast, lunch and dinners at home this week with tons of options and variations.

I hope this was helpful. Please let me know if you have any specific food shopping questions and I will address them in upcoming posts.

Do you do all your shopping at one store or multiple? One big trip or several smaller ones through the week?Β 

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Nicole January 29, 2014, 9:30 am

    I am surprised to see that a lot of what you buy is not organic.

    • Jen January 29, 2014, 9:33 am

      not always possible/available/affordable but i do try to buy the most important things organic when i can. quite a few things in this post were organic…most of the fruits, whatever veggies were available, soups, etc. i almost always buy the organic chicken but it was sold out and didn’t want to make another trip. any fish i buy is always wild caught. try to get local meat when it works out.

  • Stacey January 29, 2014, 9:32 am

    I’m definitely interested in what your pantry/freezer staples are, looking forward to that post. I like to do the majority of my shopping at 2 stores–BJs and Trader Joe’s–and I like to get it all done in one trip, leaves more time for cooking πŸ™‚

  • June January 29, 2014, 9:48 am

    I would never be able to eat that much food in a week; it would go bad. I use to always overbuy because I thought I could. Surely some of this goes into the next week!

    • Jen January 29, 2014, 9:50 am

      while this was more of a “restock” trip, i do go through a ton of fruits and veggies each week since i eat at home for all three meals most of the time!

  • Julie January 29, 2014, 10:00 am

    Do you eat your kale raw as a salad base or do you cook it first most of the time? I’m a kale newbie and looking for ways to eat it πŸ™‚

  • Amanda @Fitforgloryfoundbygrace January 29, 2014, 10:05 am

    I live two hours from the closest trader joes and whole foods but i LOVE when I visit them. And I always stock up on coconut caramel chocolate πŸ™‚

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun January 29, 2014, 10:17 am

    I don’t do it all at once but I agree that I would save a lot of money doing it that way! Since we are really tight right now this is one of the changes we are looking to make in our budget!

  • Heather @ girlyeverafter January 29, 2014, 10:28 am

    I’m in Atlanta and live in the city so working 4 miles from work was a Godsend. I had an employee call me this morning at 8 saying she JUST got home. She left work around 1 yesterday. It’s so bad here versus NC mtns where I grew up. I have 3 boxes of the TJ tomato and red pepper soup in my pantry. I’m on a weird soup kick, but LOVE it!

  • mary @ minutes per mile January 29, 2014, 10:28 am

    we also shop at TJ’s over Whole Foods — and save at least $50 per trip! πŸ™‚

  • Jodie January 29, 2014, 10:32 am

    Agree with you trader joes vs whole foods.
    Thanks for sharing. Do you have any tips you use to lose the last few pounds.
    Just curious

  • Sara January 29, 2014, 10:57 am

    Not trying to be nosy, just trying to see if that would fit in my budget – how much does a trip like that run?

    • Jen January 29, 2014, 11:32 am

      this one was around $115 because i got some pantry/fridge staples but normal weekly trips are closer to $75-$100.

      • Sara January 29, 2014, 11:55 am

        That’s not too bad!

      • Amber January 29, 2014, 1:29 pm

        Groceries are SO MUCH CHEAPER in the US. All that stuff would easily cost $200 at a Canadian grocery store. Whomp whomp.

  • Jenn@Mark My Mile January 29, 2014, 11:16 am

    All of these items are great and often found in my home : )
    I try to get one big shopping trip done a week with maybe another for impulse items to kick a craving.

  • Abby @ BackAtSquareZero January 29, 2014, 11:47 am

    I usually do all my shopping at Harris Teeter, but once every few months I try to make the drive to Trader Joe’s, they have so many great only TJs foods at low prices.

  • meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles January 29, 2014, 11:56 am

    We buy a lot of the same stuff it seems! I try to get all my shopping done at one store when I can (Trader Joe’s) but I usually end up filling in based upon the sales at local supermarkets and produce markets. And, I end up going back a few times a week because I either forget something or the store is out of something that I needed.

  • Heather January 29, 2014, 12:04 pm

    I’m curious how and with what you eat your smoked salmon, I have some in my freezer and am stunned when it comes to ideas of when, how and what to eat with it.

    • Jen January 29, 2014, 12:06 pm

      i love it plain, with cheese and crackers, on salads and in omelets or egg scrambles.

  • Liz Ford January 29, 2014, 12:19 pm

    I used to do the one shopping trip a week, but my tastes change and I end up stopping somewhere for prepackaged foods. So now I do a big one on Sunday for fruits and veggies for my am smoothies and M-W lunch and dinners, and a smaller one on Wednesday or Thursday so I can switch up my lunches and dinners!

  • She Rocks Fitness January 29, 2014, 12:45 pm

    I LOVE doing one big trip that can usually last me two weeks and then typically I will go to another store for smaller things. I honestly am doing most of my big shopping at Costco. I freeze a lot of meats, fish, fruits and vegetables, so they last me twice as long. It’s awesome and I have it down to a science. HAHA! It’s all about efficiency and doing it on a budget.

  • Jackie January 29, 2014, 1:04 pm

    I also do so much better both budget-wise and recipe-wise when I plan ahead and shop for the week. I’ve been in the bad habit lately of just getting what I need for a few days, have to get back to planning! I prefer to do just one store, but will usually head to Whole Foods or Trader Joes for specialties a few times per month. I noticed you had the Trader Joes 3 layer hummus among your purchases, it is hands down my favorite hummus-so delicious!

  • Amanda Bee January 29, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Do you typically have an idea of the meals you want when you shop, or buy the same staples and figure out recipes on the fly?

    Love this post and it gave me a few ideas for new things I should try – like artichokes, and switching up my fruit options πŸ™‚

  • Rajul January 29, 2014, 1:34 pm

    I love spaghetti squash but find that sometimes it gets hard if I have it too long and then seems impossible if not dangerous to cut into! Would you recommend starting to roast the whole thing until it softens up? Does that ever happened to you?

  • Linda January 29, 2014, 2:08 pm

    Your shopping cart looks like my shopping cart! πŸ™‚ TJ’s is where I do the majority of my shopping. A little at Earthfare or Whole Foods and HT for fish specials. That said, I have cut back my frequent WF shopping in the New Year. I think I was spending a lot of “extra” money on things I didn’t really need. I do go to WH/EF for speciality items and many of their 365 brand are priced great.

  • Erin January 29, 2014, 2:20 pm

    It’s funny because I just went to Trader Joe’s about an hour ago and so your haul looks very familiar πŸ™‚ I got the toscano cheese as well… very excited to try that one!

  • laura January 29, 2014, 2:21 pm

    I do a big grocery shopping trip on Mondays at WholeFoods and I’ll typically buy food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 3-4 days. Then I will make 2-3 small trips to WholeFoods throughout the week for the rest of the weeks meals. I have to do it this way because I tote my two little girls along with me and there’s just no room to put all of the groceries.
    To feed our family of 4 three healthy home cooked meals a day, we go through a TON of food!

  • Amelia January 29, 2014, 3:12 pm

    Our TJ’s and Whole Foods are right next door to each other, so I usually split the list and get the cheaper items at one and everything else at the other, depending on what we need. Plus Whole Foods typically has the fresher produce (whole leaves of chard/ kale/ etc.)

    Your grocery haul is great! Very similar to what I purchase on a weekly basis, except I purchase about double of select items since there are two of us here. We eat every meal at home and pack our lunches, dining out probably 1 time per month for dinner. So much cheaper to purchase fish/meat at the store and make at home than to have it out….except for sushi because frankly that’s too time consuming to make. πŸ™‚
    I bet you are ready for farmers market season to start! We usually sign up for a local organic CSA. Have you ever tried that before or do you prefer the ritual of going to the market and picking out your own produce? We tend to like the challenge and surprise of each weeks box.

  • karla @ finding my fit January 29, 2014, 3:14 pm

    I always love seeing the goodies people buy at my fav store; TJs! I need to head there soon come to think of it…

    I look forward to a post about freezer staples. I need to clean mine out and restock.

    I have been trying to not laugh at the southern states reaction to the ‘snow storm’. I do pray for safety but as a born and raised Wisconsinite it seems so crazy how easily a city shuts down..but that will hapeen when ill-equipped. stay safe & warm!

  • Stacey January 29, 2014, 4:30 pm

    I am so curious to hear how TJ’s soyaki sauce is! I have almost bought it a few times but didn’t want it to be too sticky and sweet. Have you tried it yet?

  • Emily January 30, 2014, 7:18 am

    Those traffic jams are crazy. A few years back the snow was so bad here that people were stuck on commuter trains over night too. Not fun at all.
    Thanks for sharing your groceries! I shop around for the best prices (I go on my daily walks) and I just pick up what I feel like for the next day or so. I live in London so tend not to get much in bulk as I walk/tube/bus everywhere.

  • Tamara January 30, 2014, 11:09 am

    I feel for everyone dealing with those conditions. How awful! We are in a deep freeze in Michigan and getting a lot of snow, too, like the rest of the midwest and northeast (and Canada), but I certainly know it can be worse in different ways, and I really try not to judge. I know that every region has its own things to cope with when it comes to weather, especially unusual types. Those commute times and situations sound so awful!! I am really working on my judging in general, too. This post is really timely and helpful: http://zenhabits.net/judgy/

    Thanks for sharing the shopping loot!

  • tara January 30, 2014, 1:11 pm

    i dont have a trader joes or WF anywhere near me. hopefully soon. we do have a local organic style market and i think that’s why TF and WF haven’t moved in but the place is tremendously overpriced. i always do a meal list with all my meals (lunch and dinner) written out for the week, then from it i create my store list and always do 1 big shop for the week. i never want to stop at the store during the week because its such a waste of time. i find if i stop even just for 1 item i always by other crap and somehow it still takes 30 mins to get in and out of the store with standing in line, finding the item, parking, and detouring off my drive. i used to be really bad aobut this until i really looked at how long it took to make all the stops vs. 1 big shop. i am similar to you in that i buy a lot of the same things and try to have lots of pantry staples so i’m not finding myself out of something basic like canned tomatoes or ketchup. thanks for sharing !

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