September 27, 2011

Fall Grocery Store Shopping with Kids {Naptime Simple Tips}

Apples

It is local apples season at our grocery store!

A few weeks ago I got a great comment asking me to share how I grocery shop with my daughter during the week. I know I am always chatting about my trips to the farmer’s market and gourmet shop, but I do hit our neighborhood grocery store on a regular basis as well. Not surprisingly, when I posted about how much I love to grocery shop by myself at night while my husband stays home with our sleeping daughter I got a resounding response. Casually strolling the grocery aisles sans children is a luxury you all love too! Of course, the reason we consider it a luxury is because it very rarely happens. Usually my daughter is in the cart begging for various treats while I politely ignore her and speed around checking things off my list, trying to steer clear of grumpy people and children waving candy bars (which inevitably leads to my child wanting one, too). The grocery store can be a minefield with kids, but it still necessitates frequent visits. Here is how I do it:

Make a List & Bring a Pen: I am definitely a type-A grocery shopper. If I go without a list I am like a ship without a sail, wandering all over the store picking up this and that whilst cursing myself for not making a list. A list is a good way to organize your wants versus needs and keep you focused. Bring a pen so you can cross of things as you go. This way your eye doesn’t skip anything while your reading/walking/negotiating-with-your-kids your way through the store!

Embrace Your Shopping Philosophy: I tend to look at my local grocery shop as a place to buy basics that are not any cheaper or better quality when bought somewhere else. My favorite organic milk, for example, is carried at both the high-end (Whole Foods, Balducci’s) and regular (Stop & Shop, Big Y) grocery stores in our area so I buy it at a regular store. It is especially cheap with the coupons! I also find our grocery store to be a good source for bulk purchases (big bags of chips for parties), cleaning supplies (they have a HUGE organic cleaning section), and all those silly little things like my husband’s favorite brand of coffee filters. I tend to leave my more gourmet purchases (fresh fish, fine cheeses) for places like Baluducci’s and my daughter likes all of the good (cheap!) snacks at Trader Joe’s.

Coupons: I am definitely not into extreme-couponing, but I do a pretty normal amount. We get monthly fliers from our store and I always cut them up and file them in my wallet. I get a kick out of seeing the money saved line at the bottom of my receipt. I have to be careful though, I don’t agree with the “spend to save” philosophy, so I don’t pick up things we don’t normally eat just because I will save a few bucks. Sometimes coupons inspire me to pick up something I haven’t used in a while. For example, I had a coupon for Hearts of Palm recently and decided to buy a jar. I am glad I did, we’d forgotten how much we like them!

Distractions: My daughter has recently decided she prefers sitting in the deep basket in the front of the cart instead of the child seat. It is a HUGE pain, but I don’t pick a fight with her. It is not worth it. I just pile the groceries around her and she doesn’t seem to care. Sometimes she pushes the child-size grocery carts the stores leave out for kids. This inevitably adds an extra 30 minutes to our shopping and tears up my ankles (ouch!), but she loves it. I try to leave time for this when I can since it is fun to see her “shop” by herself and help me with my grocery list. I usually end up handing back a whole bunch of stuff we don’t need at the cash register (4 net bags of colorfully wrapped Babybell cheese, stuff like that) that she grabs along the way when I am not watching. Sneaky little devil!

Bagging: Before we got to the grocery store I always negotiate one treat with my daughter. It is my way of stopping a problem before it starts. The treat is usually some crafty thing like a new marker or Halloween stickers for our windows, but sometimes it is a box of animal crackers or a particular kind of granola bar she wants for a snack. I do my absolute best to keep it healthy. Of course, when we check out that treat must always have it’s own bag! I bring my reusable grocery totes to the store about 80% of the time. The rest of the time I usually forget and request plastic bags since I reuse them at home as garbage bags and the like.

Sample Fall Grocery Shopping List: Here is sample grocery list from a recent trip this week. I write store brand where I actually buy generic because I don’t think it makes a lick of difference. I also made notes on some of the things I made for some fall cooking inspiration. Enjoy!

Produce Area: I buy the produce at the farmer’s market for as long as possible, but still use the produce area at the grocery store for a few key things.

Organic Carrots {which we chop into carrot sticks for snacks}

Store Brand container of freshly grated Parmesan at the cheese counter {for over pasta}

Log of goat cheese {for Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken}

Package of turkey bacon {for Bacon & Egg Breakfast Sandwich}

Local Apples: this time of year my grocery store stocks big bags of apples from local orchards. I am happy to support their efforts to carry locally grown organic produce so I always buy a bag or two because we eat them like crazy!

Dry Foods/Goods: We buy a lot in bulk at BJ’s, but sometimes the prices are better at the grocery store!

Coffee Filters

Box of Constant Comment Tea (one of my faves!)

Store Brand quick-cooking oats {for my breakfast}

King Arthur Flour (All-Purpose and Whole Wheat)

Store brand baking powder

Tin of Powdered Buttermilk

Ground Ginger

Ground Cinnamon

Chocolate Wafers

2 cans organic pumpkin {for Perfect Pumpkin Bread}

Boxes of Pomi Tomatoes with Juices {for Tomato Soup Florentine}

2 boxes whole wheat spaghetti (got coupons – time to stock up!)

Roll of plastic wrap

All-natural shower cleaner

Gigantic pack of garbage bags

Perishables: The butcher at the store is very responsible so I know his organic chicken is truly organic. It is pricier than the factory raised, but worth it!

Loaf of whole wheat bread

Organic Split Chicken Breasts (bone-in)

Organic Chicken Thighs {for Soyaki Baked Chicken Thighs}

Dairy & Frozen Foods: We go through a lot of dairy each week and always keep our freezer well-stocked!

Haagen Daz 5-ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream

1 bag frozen artichoke hearts {for Artichoke Lasagna}

Organic 2% milk

2 blocks unsalted butter

1 container low-fat cottage cheese

2 dozen organic eggs {for breakfast and baking}

1 bag organic shredded mozzarella {for Homemade Pizza}