Bag your old grocery shopping habits with these fresh tips.
Nicole Pierson wanted to flip the narrative when it came to meal planning and grocery shopping, so the former educator launched an Instagram microblog to offer readers and followers tips to make life healthier, easier and more cost effective.
“I have heard so many of my friends and acquaintances say that they can never have a clean house, save money, live debt free or cook homemade meals for their family,” Pierson says. “It has almost become the norm for moms with young families to be constantly frazzled. I deeply believe that life, even with a young busy family, does not have to be so chaotic.”
This Twin Cities wife and mother of two has put her words into action with her version of Full Fridge Friday, which includes menu planning, grocery shopping and meal prepping for the week ahead—all on Thursday and Friday. “I was finding myself spending hours on Sunday [doing all those tasks],” she says. “I wanted my weekends back for family time and knew there had to be a better way. On a whim, I decided to move my whole process to Thursday and Friday for the week ahead, and it was a great success. I have received great feedback that this is working for others, as well.”
Eliminating excessive food waste is also an important benefit. “Our food waste is nearly zero at this point,” Pierson says. “If I do have any remaining produce from the previous week, I make sure to incorporate it into my meals for the upcoming week.”
Pierson’s Pro Tips
- Use What you Have: “Before meal planning, I look in the refrigerator and pantry with the goal of letting nothing go to waste. I use the remaining ingredients in our fridge and pantry as a base for our meal plan the following week. This is the reason we achieve zero food waste nearly every week. It’s also budget friendly to use up what you have on hand first.”
- Check the Calendar: “If you have an activity night, plan for a quick and easy meal. Check on days that you may already know you’ll be eating out. That way you won’t be buying food that won’t get eaten.”
- Don’t Assign Meals: “I write out five meals that I will make throughout the week. [Each day], I decide what to make based on our schedule. That way, I don’t feel tied down to making a more labor-intensive meal when we get home 15 minutes before dinnertime, and I have two needy children calling my name.”
- Focus on One Dish: “I typically focus on planning the main dish for dinner. I’m not too picky about side dishes—we always have fruit and vegetables to use as sides.”