Author Topic: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)  (Read 3497 times)

moneytaichi

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No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« on: December 24, 2019, 11:16:10 PM »
I start reading a bunch of articles and books on reducing our food consumption lately. I decided it's time to do a 5-day no grocery shopping experiment to minimize my food waste. Not only it'll be good for my wallet and health (since I am cooking more at home), but also it'll help the earth. I am on my 3rd of 5-day challenges. I'd like to share some of my tips and experience here:
  • The 1st and 2nd day: it's easy since we have a well-stocked refrigerator and pantries.
  • The 3rd day (today): I am planning to make a lamb dish for Christmas. My husband really wants mint jelly, but we don't have it. I searched online and found a mint recipe and plan to make it using pepermint essential oil (food-grade) and tapioca flour etc.
  • I think I can make it through the 4th and 5th day with no problem. I may extend 2 more days for a total of 7 days.
  • Within the first 3 days, I realized that I buy grocery for habits, social and self-care. I plan to use cooking as the primary way of self-care. If I need social, I can go to public space or events.
  • I have LOTS of food in the refrigerator and shelves. No wonder I can't keep up eating them :)
  • I start looking at my refrigerator daily and plan meals accordingly. I am not a weekly meal planner, but I can deal with daily planning based on ingredients that are in yellow zone.
  • It frees up my time by not going to grocery shopping. It also makes me feel good that I am building a good habit to reduce food waste and eat healthy.

I will post the result of my experiment later. If you have done similar challenges, I'd love to hear your tips and experience.

Peace in holidays!

Serenity

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2019, 02:57:04 AM »
I absolutely agree with the sentiment behind your post and am glad youíve found it of benefit. Whether or not itís something thatís actually challenging depends on your normal shopping pattern.

I live in the UK and have all my groceries delivered in a single delivery once a week. So I already do 6 days no purchase of groceries every week. For me the challenge would be to miss a week, and go an extra week between deliveries. How easy or difficult that may be would depend on how much Iíve had delivered.

So I think the real challenge is really about using up what you already have in, rather than constantly Ďtopping upí supplies. 

Good luck with your experiment and hope youíre enjoying the holidays.

ontheway2

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2019, 08:47:34 AM »
I have to agree with Serenity. I pretty much shop once a week as it is and have gone longer if we have unexpected dinner/leftovers provided during the week. Once you use up more of what you already have, my advice would be to meal plan. Look at sale ads for the loss leaders to set a week's worth of meals up, and ensure you have what you need before you leave the store during your one trip. I know you said you are not a weekly meal planner, but hoping every day that you have everything to make complete meals can get difficult if you are not stocking as much food. I don't necessarily set days with the meals, but I ensure I have coordinating ingredients to make dinners for the week.

Malkynn

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2019, 08:54:49 AM »
I strictly only shop once a week. I don't really shop sales.

I meal plan and batch cook and have had extremely minimal food waste for 3 years.

What is it about meal planning that you find challenging?

mountain mustache

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2019, 09:05:21 AM »
I usually just shop 1x per week. I have friends who shop every other day, because they just buy what they need for each night's meal. That does not work for me because if I'm at the store frequently it is easy to spend more than planned. I plan what I want to make for the week, shop for it all at once, and then don't go back to the store for at least 7 days.

I occasionally do a challenge where I don't shop for 15-20 days. This is hard because of fresh produce, but it helps me to clear out frozen leftovers, random pantry items, etc.

MyAlterEgoIsTaller

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2019, 01:33:39 PM »
I only go to the grocery store about twice a month, with a well-planned list, because I live far from stores and I don't like shopping. I also have a once-monthly farm share at a local farm, and I can stop there anytime for extra eggs and in-season vegetables (or root vegetables and pickled vegetables in winter.) This schedule works for me because I'm very repetitive in my cooking, I don't get bored with eating the same rotation of things week after week, and I keep extras of everything that's not quickly-perishable, so I have virtually no shopping emergencies.

moneytaichi

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2019, 08:53:33 PM »
Thanks for everyone's great "food-for-thought" :) I am on my 6th day of no-grocery shopping so I will make it to 7th day. I typically shop every two or three days... often as for social and self-comfort. We don't have kids or families around, and moved to our town 1.5 years ago. I tend to pick up cheap or on-sale produce/staples. Today I initially wanted to go grocery shopping, but I went to a B&N cafe for instead. It's a better solution to meet my social needs.

@Malkynn, you asked a very good question what challenges I face on weekly planning. Perhaps because I have never tried it before and always view it as too restricting (it's only an excuse because I can eat anything when I am hungry). Also, DH and I don't like eating the same dish too many times in a row (max. 3 times). Your question has challenged my habit so I looked up a few books related to vegan meal planning at B&N. I will order a couple of them through the local library. It'll be an interesting experiment to do a 5-day meal planning to start with. Even a 3-day planning is better than no planning at all.

Malkynn

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2019, 06:24:52 AM »
I don't like the same meal too many times in a row, but I don't mind cycling through just a few dishes in one week.

I'll make 3-4 different meals and DH and I will cycle through them, so we're never eating the same dish two meals in a row.

I have over 100 vegetarian recipes that I cycle through, so I might have one dish a few times in a week, but I'll probably only cook it a few times a year.

I didn't just decide to cook this way, it's just how it ended up working out to fit our lifestyle best. Don't worry too much about coming up with a preset plan, focus more on figuring out what you want to improve on and customize your own routine from there.

My best advice is to either cook or buy some easily heated meals that can be kept in the freezer. This can really help when building a new meal planning strategy.

It should be noted though that the frequency of your shopping doesn't actually have anything to do with food waste. If you start planning properly, then you could shop every single day and still waste virtually nothing.

If you think this is the best way to approach the challenge, then great, but I see you tackling two separate issues at once, and I personally tend to find that sets me up quite a bit more for failure.

You have the issue of over buying and under planning your cooking, but then you also have the habit of shopping as a therapeutic measure.

Personally, I would put my energy more into the meal planning side and not worry so much about the limiting shopping trips side, because that's the more complex issue.

If your ideal meal plan has you shopping for fresh produce twice a week, then that's perfectly reasonable. Also, if you are meal planning effectively, that will basically eliminate grocery shopping as a self soothing option, because other than on planned shopping trips, you won't have any need to go to the store, so you will still have to come up with better options for getting out of the house.

Two birds with one stone sounds good in theory, but what you have are two separate issues that are probably best tackled through two separate approaches where if one fails at any moment, it doesn't take down the other.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2019, 08:25:07 AM »
I start reading a bunch of articles and books on reducing our food consumption lately. I decided it's time to do a 5-day no grocery shopping experiment to minimize my food waste. Not only it'll be good for my wallet and health (since I am cooking more at home), but also it'll help the earth. I am on my 3rd of 5-day challenges. I'd like to share some of my tips and experience here:
  • The 1st and 2nd day: it's easy since we have a well-stocked refrigerator and pantries.
  • The 3rd day (today): I am planning to make a lamb dish for Christmas. My husband really wants mint jelly, but we don't have it. I searched online and found a mint recipe and plan to make it using pepermint essential oil (food-grade) and tapioca flour etc.
  • I think I can make it through the 4th and 5th day with no problem. I may extend 2 more days for a total of 7 days.
  • Within the first 3 days, I realized that I buy grocery for habits, social and self-care. I plan to use cooking as the primary way of self-care. If I need social, I can go to public space or events.
  • I have LOTS of food in the refrigerator and shelves. No wonder I can't keep up eating them :)
  • I start looking at my refrigerator daily and plan meals accordingly. I am not a weekly meal planner, but I can deal with daily planning based on ingredients that are in yellow zone.
  • It frees up my time by not going to grocery shopping. It also makes me feel good that I am building a good habit to reduce food waste and eat healthy.

I will post the result of my experiment later. If you have done similar challenges, I'd love to hear your tips and experience.

Peace in holidays!


I've been curious as to how low a food budget could be for 1 adult for 1 month.

I wanted to know if I could eat 3 meals per day for <$1 per day w/o feeling hungry.

I was by myself for about 6 weeks so I had the opportunity to find out.

Over a period of 30 consecutive days I ate homemade lentil soup, bean soup, pea soup w/carrots, fried potatoes w/fried onions, and oat meal. I drank nothing but water. Though I never felt hungry I did tire of my low-cost diet's sameness. I don't know if it met all the requirements  of a healthful diet.


lentils

peas

beans

onions

potatoes

oatmeal

carrots

raisins

sugar

 salt

 cinnamon

canola oil

water

^

The total cost of these ingredients was <$30.

I had all of these ingredients on day 1 so for the next 29 days there was no need to go to the grocery store for their replenishment.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2019, 08:37:02 AM »
I strictly only shop once a week. I don't really shop sales.

I meal plan and batch cook and have had extremely minimal food waste for 3 years.



I shop 1X/week too.

I batch cook then  freeze.

My food waste is ~1%.

Bananas get too soft after 7 days so I buy them in a quantity that I'll finish eating in 4 days.

flower

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2019, 01:51:59 PM »
There was a long and pretty interesting thread on a similar topic years ago on egullet. Here's the link for inspiration. https://forums.egullet.org/topic/122070-klatsch-a-week-without-shopping/

HenryDavid

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2020, 10:35:36 AM »
Getting a grip on meal planning and food shopping is crucial. Most folks here have figured this out.
But in case of perplexityó try just typing all the ingredients in hand into that little search window on a computer. Presto! Millions of recipes for peanut butter, kale and tangerines.

Weeks like this, when itís -35 (-26 in olde Fahrenheit) in western Canada, we donít shop, or really go out at all. Time to catch up on reading!

ProxyRetired

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2020, 05:52:53 PM »
We bought an Instant Pot. It's helped considerably staying home to eat; doesn't make cooking much easier, but the kids haven't complained yet. And I can make a meal similar to a restaurant for a third of what it would cost to take the family out.

Garrett B.

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2020, 04:13:50 PM »
I only grocery shop once every 2 weeks. Keeps our grocery bills to around $300-400 per month.

moneytaichi

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2020, 09:57:37 PM »
Thanks for everyone's great input! I want to report my current progress.

Thanks to @Malkynn, I realized that I am changing multiple habits: 1. Frequent shopping with little food planning; 2. shopping for social reasons. Adding on top of it, I am also switching to a whole-food based vegan diet at the same time (I had some vegan period in the past). Sounds ambitious, but I'd say that I have met my minimal food waste challenge in the last couple of months, while improving above habits. I actually get really interested in vegan cooking and food prep now that I have to stop myself from watching too many cook shows and trying too many new ingredients and dishes :-)

How did I do that:
  • I borrowed a few vegan cookbooks from the library, including instant pots cookbooks. They have helped me a lot on expand the horizon and become more organized.
  • Before going to the bed, I inventory left-over and fresh produce, and then plan the next day's meals. Sometimes I will soak the beans and gather materials on the counter (part of food prep). Sometimes I freeze left-over, thus, the minimal food waste.
  • I like to batch-cook legume and grains, not so much veggies because I don't like twice-cooked veggies and would like to remain flexible with the dishes. I do clean up and chop veggies, onions, spring onions etc in batch more often now.
  • With everything planned and prepared, it's super ease and fun to cook dishes that fit in my mood or in plan.
  • Baking cookies is still a big challenge, but I decided to let go because most cookies need to add lots of oil/butter/sugar for them tasting good.

Overall, I found a way to shop, plan, and prepare food that work for me. I am very happy about the progress. Thanks everyone!

ohsnap

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Re: No grocery shopping for 5 days (or 7 days)
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2020, 04:24:32 PM »
...
  • Before going to the bed, I inventory left-over and fresh produce, and then plan the next day's meals. Sometimes I will soak the beans and gather materials on the counter (part of food prep). Sometimes I freeze left-over, thus, the minimal food waste.
...
Overall, I found a way to shop, plan, and prepare food that work for me. I am very happy about the progress. Thanks everyone!

I'm glad you came back with an update and that you are working a plan that works for you.

The part I bolded above is super-important to avoid waste!  My family has heard me say for years, "We need to eat the (whatever); it's not getting any fresher."  On Sunday, my husband pulled some leftovers out of the fridge and said, "We need to eat these, they aren't getting any fresher."  It was such a proud moment for me :D