Food shopping is a little bit of a chore. Recently in one of the Facebook groups I belong to, a member asked if others thought they’d be able to survive going food shopping less. For example, if we could go grocery shopping once every 2 weeks, instead of every week. Especially in the current climate, it would lessen the time we spend around other people. I only go food shopping every 2 and a half weeks and have done for the last 4 years. To me it’s no different!
How To Make A Food Shop Last Two Weeks
When you live in rural Iowa and the nearest Walmart or large shop is 19 miles away (around a 20 minute drive), an hour long food shop, then takes up 2 hours of your time. So because of that, you try and make as few trips as possible! I don’t even really bulk buy any items, you just have to be a little clever with the way you use things!
First things first. Yes, I do eat meat. I’m also very fussy when it comes to WHAT is made. I like there to be some sort of meat/protein, a carbohydrate (whether that’s some sort of potato, pasta or rice) and then either salad or vegetables. I like my meals to be balanced!
I also eat breakfast, lunch and then a dinner. There are 2 of us in the house but dinners are the only time we eat the same thing. Sometimes I might have a snack but I try not to be a pig because otherwise I’d just get in the habit of eating everything in sight.
I do buy fresh foods, but then I also buy frozen food or foods with a long shelf life. I’ll try and give some examples of how I work it all out and the types of things I eat.
For my breakfasts on a work day, I tend to have a Go-Gurt (yoghurt in a tube….Frubes for those in the UK) or a normal yoghurt. Probably not the best additive wise, but you can get some that last for around a month (hunt for the box with the longest shelf life!). A box of 16 will last me for 4 weeks (working 4 days a week).
On my days off, I have oatmeal/porridge. I buy the individual sachets that come in either a box of 10 or a box or 20. I just boil water from a kettle and then let it stand for a while until the oats get softer. I have 3 non work days so a 10 packet box will last me just over 3 weeks.
My dad used to call my lunch boxes a ‘rat box’, because in his eyes there isn’t enough food in them to feed a rat. Agreed, my lunches are kinda small but I don’t really get THAT hungry.
I’m also a bit fussy when it comes to lunches that are sat in a box for half of the day. The fridge at work is often jam packed so I try to take food that can sit out in rooms temperatures all day. Soggy sandwiches are also not appetising so I tend not to have sandwiches either.
I’ll usually take a tub of dried cereal. Again, maybe it’s the whole soggy thing, I don’t like it when cereal goes soggy so I much prefer it dry! I try to get something like Chex (USA) or Frosted Wheats…something with a bit of flavour. Depending on the size of the box, one box will usually last for 2 weeks. If I don’t take boxed cereal, Nutrigrain bars work well too and again, have a pretty long shelf life. Sometimes I might even take both! I also take Fruit Snacks (sugar in a bag) because I have a sweet tooth. (I don’t eat chips/crisps because I don’t like them).
On my days off, it varies. I tend to have a pot of Apple Sauce. I might have some crackers or pretzels. Maybe cereal still. Fruit if we have any or sometimes I treat myself to an avocado.
(My other half tends to buy bread and lunch meat to make sandwiches. When the stores ran out of bread, he used wraps. He’ll also take fruit, chips/crisps, dinner leftovers etc.
I have small breakfasts and lunches but then I do often have a large dinner. This is how I try to work them out so we can get food that’ll last us for the 2 weeks. I’ll list some of the items we tend to buy first and the best way to organise it.
Fresh vegetables/salad (Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green beans, snap peas, radishes, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, brussel sprouts, potatoes).
Tortilla wraps, taco shells, taco seasoning (the family sized pot rather than the packets), tin of crushed and diced tomatoes x2, tin of chilli beans x2, bacon, brats/sausages (fresh), ham steak x2 (fresh), box of rice, boxes of pasta x2, flavoured noodle packs x3 (usually $1 per pack), frozen chicken strips, frozen fish fillets such as cod, frozen small beef and potato pies (x2 – 1 each), 3 frozen pizzas (not for me), frozen vegetables (corn on the cob, peas, stir fry mix, broccoli and cauliflower mix), ice cream, 12 eggs, butter, burger buns (pack of 8).
We probably also use around 3lb of hamburger per week. For a while we’ve had a stash of beef we were given and so it gets frozen in a chest freezer. If you buy it in the shop, divide up larger packages and freeze it so you only have to defrost what you want to use.
For the first week after we go shopping, we tend to use all the fresh food. So week 1 meals would look something like this, in no particular order:
- Tacos (I have the wraps, he has the shells, a pack of each will last us for 2 dinners), with 1lb of hamburger, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese.
- Bacon stir fry – using half of the bacon, sprouts, peppers, mushrooms, fresh potatoes.
- Hamburgers – using 1lb of the beef, an egg each, a bun each, sometimes fried mushrooms, salad and then maybe the flavoured noodles or frozen chips/fries
- Breakfast for dinner – bacon, eggs, hash browns… I like my egg and bacon in a burger bun, or I’ll make toast to go with it.
- Chicken wraps – with frozen chicken strips, salad, tortilla wraps, packet of flavoured noodles.
- Ham steak with potatoes or flavoured noodles and some sort of veg
- Fish and chips/fries with something like peas.
For the second week, leading up to when it’s ALMOST time to go shopping, use the foods that have been frozen or have a long shelf life.
- Tacos – if we have it close to the start of the 2nd week, the tomatoes and lettuce are usually still good to eat
- Chilli (tins of tomatoes, beans, 1lb of hamburger)
- Goulash (usually instead of chilli, tomatoes and hamburger but with noodles/pasta in it rather than the beans)
- Frozen stir fry mix with rice or pasta
- Chicken strips, fries, frozen veg (One bag of chicken strips will last for around 2 meals with 2 of us eating)
- Frozen pies. They are big enough just to only need 1 and they already have potatoes and veg in them.
- The 2nd ham steak that’s been frozen, with potatoes or fries/hash browns.
That gives you an idea of 14 different dinners we’ll make from only shopping once every 2 weeks. Sometimes the meals are kinda repeated but it works for us and we don’t mind eating the same things more than once. If it gets us out of shopping, it’s a win!
I haven’t included drinks. We tend to only buy water, sparking water and tea bags. We don’t really drink milk, I have my tea black. Cow’s milk can be frozen, or in some places (like the UK) you can buy UHT milk or long life milk. Otherwise as an alternative, I have bought powdered milk before…obviously not great if you want it on cereal but it works in coffee etc.
Usually a loaf of bread will last the 2 weeks as it’s only one person eating it. With the burger buns (and bread too), you can freeze them and then just get them out as and when you need it, so it lasts for a little longer!
With most packs of things we buy, 1 pack will be enough to feed 2 people for 2 dinners. So 2 boxes of the pasta we buy will last for 4 dinners (8 servings).
Hopefully that all makes sense! If you have any other questions, feel free to drop a comment and I’ll try and answer it! I also understand that I am in a position where I’m able to buy that amount of shopping in one go. Not everyone may be able to afford to do that.
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