Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am...Three bags full
Everyone, gather around!
We’re supposed to be regularly hunting & gathering — not just regularly eating! So, rather than doing big weekly or fortnightly grocery ‘shops’, I encourage my clients to do small tri-weekly ones instead!
Ideally I like my clients to shop three times weekly for their fruit + vege + herbs + fish + meat + chicken + dairy + eggs + nuts + bread + inspiration.
Note: Obviously you should stock up on staple non-perishables like oils, flours, and ‘cans of stuff’ in one hit.
I know that it may sound like a big pain-in-the-bum to spread out your ‘shop’. But this way, you’re more likely to get the things you need from different specialty stores rather than just load up at one supermarket.
While supermarkets are convenient they’re pretty soulless places. And, going shopping there can become a mundane experience, and lead you to make the same programmed purchases week after week. Besides this, you can’t expect one store to do everything well. To this end:
I buy my fresh fish from Marsic Bros LTD
(Glen Innes, Auckland).
I buy my fresh produce + specialty health FOODS from Huckleberry Farms
(Glen Innes, Auckland).
I buy my bread from Connon’s bakery — and freeze it after I enjoy it fresh
I buy pretty much everything else from the supermarket — for CONVENIENCE + cost effectiveness.
I like to go out and hunt down my fresh food — not just gather it up from the supermarket!
Why? Eat healthy.
Here’s the blog-post I wrote on the ‘why’ of eating healthy.
When I go through the diets of my clients — to find out what they are eating — I ask them why they have chosen to eat a particular food or meal. To this question, I get many different answers. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the answer is not: “for my health”. I get answers like: ‘I thought I should use it up (as I’d already bought it)’, OR Because it was about to ‘go off’, OR ‘it was what the rest of the household was eating’.
You cannot expect to be healthy, if in most cases, ‘health’ is not your top priority when eating.
Keep things fresh in your diet
Going grocery shopping more often needn’t mean you have to do more. It doesn’t take much time to whip into a wee food store to grab a few simple ingredients. And if you have partners, husbands, wives, older children, or flatmates, then you can easily divvy the duties out between them. Task them with a particular food-group to be in charge of (put one on meat, another on fruit + vege and you get the staple non-perishables and be in charge of back-up grocery runs yourself).
I promote this increased frequency of grocery shopping for a number of reasons:
01—SO YOU DON'T EAT THE SAME TYPES OF FOODS ALL OF THE TIME
Shopping small makes you more aware of what you’re actually consuming! When you only buy a few ingredients at a time, you’ll naturally start rotating ingredients in your diet — so that you’re not having the same type of foods over-and-over-again.
This helps to minimise food intolerance and to ensure a varied diet for your general good health.
Note: I have written a number of blog-posts on the topic of food intolerance. Here’s the first one I wrote for LISA SAID SO.
02—SO YOU EAT WHAT YOU ACTUALLY FEEL LIKE AT THE TIME
It’s impossible to predict — on shopping day — what you’ll feel like consuming in five days time. When you shop in ‘real time’, you are more likely to listen to what your body wants rather than what the refrigerator dictates.
Note: Shopping small also means there is less food waste, and thus more money saved.
03—So YOU Keep things SIMPLE + focused
Contrary to what most people think (and what the T.V tells us!), you don’t have to ‘chef it up’ for every meal of the week. (Especially if you’re already a busy mum!)
All you have to do to ensure good health is that you create a complete meal. There should be protein, carbs (‘carbs’ includes veggies + fruit), and fat on the plate or in the bowl!
Note: I’m a big advocate for keeping things simple. I’m also a fan of keeping things plain, traditional, relevant, and cost-effective! I think there are a number of novelty ingredients that people are being lead to believe are necessary for your good health – well, they’re not. Here’s an example of this in another blog-post I wrote: half-baked-baking-notions
04—SO YOU KEEP THINGS FRESH
Eating fresh goes without saying, right? (Fresh is one of the most important parts of our diet — it means maximum nutrition.)
However, what I really mean here, is that I have many clients who say they get bored with their meals. And, I recommend that instead of fulfilling some random recipe (that is primarily designed to taste good) that they focus on the ‘thrill of the chase’. What’s more creative then grabbing some random ingredients and constructing them into a meal — sans a recipe? Think of it as one of the challenges on Masterchef ;-]
Just get one brown paper bag's worth of freshness at a time.
It ain't fancy but it's tasty and it's healthy.
One of my favourite summer dishes to eat — and also to prepare — is Cerviche with a plonk of mashed kumara on the side.
The fish is marinated in lemon juice + unrefined salt, then has (deseeded) tomatoes, spring onion, capers, parsley and coconut milk added. I also use a dash of the coconut milk to wet + whip the mash!
I ensure we have enough ingredients to ‘cover’ dinner for two nights in a row.
Note: I spend more time hunting for my food then I do preparing it.
Buy less stuff, but buy better stuff. (Organic if possible!)
Yes, it might seem like a logistical nightmare if you're a parent of tiny tots... but it might also be an important activity to do with the kids?
I don’t have kids. But I used to be one.
I really enjoyed going on outings to different food stores as a kid. Mum would get our meat from the butchery; our bread from the bakery; our fruit + veggies from K Market (or the orchard on the weekend); and specialty items — for our small takeaway business — from Gilmores (a trade store.)
I used to love when my mother put me in charge of not only getting a certain quantity of produce, but also with selecting the best ones! And I adored being ferried around by her in the huge aisles of Gilmores (I would sit on the bottom level of a two levelled trolley — it was wicked fun!)
When I got older (and cooler — too cool to hang out with Mum), she would create a small shopping list for me, accompanied by the cash to pay for it, and I would make my own way to the store. It made me feel trusted, and I enjoyed the responsibility. I was dubbed her ‘best little shopper’! It was a great way to build my confidence, because believe it or not, I was a super-shy sprog…
Thinking about it, going grocery shopping as a kid, also brings back wonderful memories of the different smells + vibes of the different types of food stores. You just don’t get that experience in a supermarket. (In fact, I generally find supermarket shopping an unpleasant experience).
Today, I enjoy tasking myself with picking the best of everything (which can mean different things at different times), and I still love the smell + vibe of the various specialty stores. So much so, that if I don’t like the smell of a store, then I’ll walk right out again — especially if it’s a fish shop!
And more than this, now that I’m older and have to pay for ‘stuff’ myself, I’m also interested in who I give my money to — and therefore who I support. I like to reward small business operations — who are doing a great job — in my community. Grocery shopping also reminds me to be grateful. I am so very grateful that I don’t have to go fishing, collect my own eggs, pick my own fruit, dig my own veggies, or bake my own bread. I’m also super grateful that in New Zealand, there is more than enough food to go around.
All of this helps keep things in perspective when I’m muttering to myself, ‘why the heck am I traipsing all over the jolly show, when I could have just gone to the SUPERmarket up the blimin’ road!’ ;-]