Keeping a hungry family full and fueled isn’t always an easy task. Add to that a grocery budget, a busy schedule, and a desire to serve something nutritious…and the thought of food shopping and meal prep can seem downright daunting. That’s why we asked six real-life parents and veteran home cooks to share some wisdom on getting the most from their trips to the grocery store.
Want to save money? Cook more nutritious meals? Or just make life a little easier? Check out these smart, mom-tested tips.
Skip individually pre-packaged snacks and portion your own instead.
“I love the convenience of snack packs, like crackers or trail mix,” said Lori R., mom of three (ages 14, 11, and 9). “But I started to notice those little packages add up to being much more expensive than one family-sized container. Now I buy the largest quantity I can find – which is typically the cheapest per ounce – and fill my own resealable snack bags. It’s definitely a significant savings.”
Try our Throw-Together Trail Mix, which might just be the perfect recipe for resealable snack bags.
Pick one day per week when the slow cooker or Instant Pot® is in charge of dinner.
“My husband and I have instated Slow Cooker Saturdays, and it’s the greatest thing ever,” raves Tamra G., mom of one (age 3). “It not only feels like a night off from cooking, it’s such an inexpensive way to eat. I’ll usually make a big batch of something that calls for an affordable cut of meat, like pork shoulder or beef chuck, or something with dried beans. It ends up tasting absolutely delicious, and we can have it for lunch and/or dinner all week.”
Our irresistible Instant Pot® Cashew Curry Beef with Rice Noodles with be an instant classic that the whole family can enjoy.
Shop in-season for money-saving meal inspiration
“I’ve always stuck to a list, but now I include ‘produce TBD’ as part of my weekly shopping,” explains Sonya R., mom of two (ages 8 and 6). “When I get to the store, I pick one in-season fruit or vegetable that looks good – bonus points if it’s on sale, or it’s something I don’t often cook – and plan at least one meal around that. The produce tastes better, I’m cooking something relatively healthy, and it forces me to get a little creative, which I like.”
Keep an inventory of what’s in the freezer and pantry
Linda J, mom of four (10, 8, 6, and 5) shares: “Spare time is precious, so I try to do the least amount of grocery shopping to get the greatest number of meals. If I know I need an ingredient for a recipe, I’ll usually buy two or three to keep as backup. It’s nice to know I can make several different dinners without a trip to the store.”
Stock up on freezer-friendly proteins when they’re on sale
“When the boys started inviting their friends over for dinner all the time, I realized there is no downside to having a freezer full of chicken and ground beef,” explains Sandra J., mom of two, ages 15 and 13. “Once I started going out of my way to buy value-packs on sale, I couldn’t believe how much I was saving! I portion and freeze some items in family-sized quantities, and some items, like burgers, individually. It’s easy to grab and thaw just what I need, whenever I need it.”
Want more meals you can make with freezer friendly proteins?
Save time by ordering groceries online for pickup or delivery
“Five words: Order online, pickup in store,” says Claudia J., mom of one (age 6), of her favorite time-saving tip. “I keep my online cart going all week on my phone, so I can add items as I think of them. Then I make one quick stop on my way home from work, and shopping for the entire week is done.”
Savory Online is your oyster. Click on any of our recipes online, easily add the ingredient list to your cart, and have groceries ordered for pickup or delivered straight to your door.