shopping bag full of healthy food on blue background

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Easier grocery shopping

shopping bag full of healthy food on blue background

I would always suggest that people plan menus ahead of time, checking sales to make your weekly plan. This works well to stop overbuying and keeps store visits quick. But in this busy world there is often not enough time to plan before shopping. You can follow the 6-1 principle to make it easier and more efficient.

Choose six vegetables. You can pick a staple like potatoes, such as Yukon gold, which are versatile and can be used in many recipes. Broccoli and zucchini also work well in many dishes. Romaine hearts are great in salad and can also be used for wraps. Mini cucumbers are good for salads and snacking. Tomatoes can be used in many ways, like raw on sandwiches and salads or made into salsa or bruschetta. Fresh corn is also wonderful in salsa too or cooked in a savory corn chowder. 

Choose five fruits. Bananas are good for smoothies, breakfast and school lunches. Berries are also for smoothies and can also be great with ice cream or pound cake for dessert. Small tangerines work well for lunches and snacking. Mango is wonderful too, maybe in salsa, a smoothie, or cooked in syrup for topping. Apples can be eaten out of hand or quickly baked in a crumble. 

Choose four proteins. Now think beyond meat. Of course, get some chicken. Buy a whole bird and cut it yourself. If you haven’t done it before, check a video online. It is the best value, and you will get the most out of the chicken. Chicken backs and wings make great stock. You can make chicken fajitas with some of the vegetables you purchased earlier. Ground beef can be used in so many ways too. Pork tenderloin is relatively inexpensive and easy to prepare. Eggs aren’t only for breakfast. A quick omelet or focaccia is great for a light dinner or lunch. For vegetarians, tofu has many applications. It’s wonderful fried with a savory sauce. Don’t forget cheese! A few hard cheeses like cheddar and mozzarella. Add some cream cheese or ricotta to a baked pasta dish. 

Choose three starches. Tortillas are great for your fajitas or breakfast burritos. Rice for a side dish or a savory casserole. Pasta in all its various forms is so versatile. Spaghetti, noodles, and all other kinds of pasta can be used in so many ways. From simple buttered noodles to baked ziti, the possibilities are endless. Bread and rolls are always convenient to keep in the freezer. Bread thaws quickly for anything from sandwiches to grilled cheese or garlic bread. 

Choose two sauces or spreads. Spaghetti sauce has so many uses, too many to mention here. Use it to make a quick spaghetti meal or a baked pasta like lasagna or ziti. It can accompany meatballs for a hearty sub. Alfredo sauce makes a great main pasta dish with some cooked chicken. Various pesto types are wonderful on pasta or spread on toasted French bread. 

Choose one extra fun food your family really likes. Perhaps some tater tots, these are also great in casseroles. Maybe some frozen pizza for a quick weekday meal. There are many great frozen pizzas now in stores. You can let the kids choose something special for their lunches or perhaps a meal they can help cook!

Keeping the 6-1 rule in mind when shopping can help streamline shopping and get you out of there in record time. We also have the vast internet to help with any recipes. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago