SALT LAKE CITY — In recent weeks, our day-to-day lives have been flipped upside down. We are quarantining, social distancing and limiting the amount of time we spend in public places. For many, this means changing how they do their grocery shopping.
It can be overwhelming to try and plan out three meals and snacks for your family for an extended period of time. Here are a few tips to help make the transition from shopping whenever we want to grocery shopping on a two-week basis.
Start with dinner
When trying to plan a grocery list for two weeks at a time, it's best to start by planning out dinners for the weeks ahead. When thinking about what meals to make for dinner, try to think of dinners that use the same ingredients. For example, you could have a blackened chicken and caesar salad one night and tacos another night. Toppings from the salad and leftover lettuce can be used as toppings for the tacos. This helps keep the cost of food down and ensures food is not being wasted.
To help you get started, try this weekly dinner menu.
Keep lunches simple
There's no need to have extravagant lunches every day. It's nice to provide options, but these don’t need to be over the top. Eating leftovers is always a great lunch idea to reduce food waste and save money. Besides leftovers, consider other simple options like sandwiches, salad kits and freezer meals. If you have kids at home, try to choose at least one option you know they will like and then something else for them to try. This way you know there is food for lunch that they will eat.
In my home, for my young kids I usually have three options: a sandwich (PB&J or deli), leftovers or quesadillas. It isn’t fancy, but it works. I try to pair whatever my daughter chooses with a fruit or vegetable for a more balanced meal.
Plan snacks ahead
Planning snacks for two weeks may seem overwhelming and expensive, but start by seeing if any of the foods being used for meals can also be a snack item. For example, cheese is often used in many meals but is also a great snack item. Include fruits and vegetables on the snack list that can also double as elements for your dinners.
If money is tight right now, you can also consider "rationing" any pre-packaged snacks you purchase. These foods can sometimes be expensive and kids love to eat them. You don’t need to be constantly monitoring the intake of these foods, just simply set out an allotment for the week and set the rest aside (either in a storage room or a high shelf). Provide your family with a few options so they can eat intuitively but without breaking the bank.
As always, make sure to write down a list of things you need and take it with you to the store. This will ensure you get everything you need in one trip so you don't have to run back to the store at a later date.
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