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I'm bad at groceries

Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
I've always been very bad at stocking up with food. This means I end up having to go to the store every week because I'll literally run out of food. So I was curious what are some suggestions of things I can get (possibly in bulk) so I don't have to visit as often/don't find myself at 4pm with nothing but cheese.

These are the qualities I'm wanting:
Inexpensive/good price to.. performance.. ratio
Long(ER) lasting
Not unhealthy

Also is getting a Costco membership worth it for a single dude in a one bedroom apartment?

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Posts

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Grocery shopping once per week is completely normal. The other side of that pendulum is having to throw shit out constantly because you've bought more produce than you can eat before it goes bad.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    Nuts, eggs, beans, and rice last longer than a week and can be made delicious. Definitely no to Costco

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  • XaviarXaviar Registered User regular
    A: The super expensive costco membership is a big outlay up front, but if you regularly shop there comes with rebates that basically pay for the ongoing subscription. Also you can add another member in your "household" but there isn't a lot of checking on that in my experience. So just grab a buddy and say he is your "roommate"

    B: What has worked for me when I've had this problem isn't to start with the groceries. Start with the meals. Plan out 2 weeks worth of meals (You don't have to say, "Monday is hamburgers" ... just "One day I would like hamburgers" or even "In the next to weeks I'll probably want hamburgers 3 times"). Make an ingredient list from that and go shopping. Don't be afraid of bulk (esp for non-perishables). Then when you make your next meal list, start with "I already have x, y, and z.. I could do a, b, and c, which means I'll just need to pick up j, and k."

    ElvenshaeNightslyrMortious
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited September 2018
    Once a week is pretty typical for groceries, if you want fresh produce, trying to stretch it out for two-three weeks is a bad idea.

    Roots (onions, potatoes, garlic carrots) and many traditionally cured meats will last ya. Look for "pantry" recipes for things to have on stand by when grocery shopping is a limited option. You'll just want to be choosey so that you don't drastically increase your sodium intake. things that can sit in your closet or fridge for four weeks are usually either dried, or salty and preserved.

    You can get pretty far with frozen veggies and frozen chicken breast. Costco sells a generous reem of vacuum sealed breast sectioned into two packs. I stopped getting frozen veggies because I like to bake mine, primarily.

    Beans are great, but look for low sodium if it's going to be your staple and you want the convenience of cans. Rice keeps for ages, but buy airtight storage for it.

    Bread freezes well.

    Iruka on
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  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Frozen veggies, whole grain pasta, pasta sauce, canned low sodium beans, brown rice... all things that are healthy, inexpensive, and keep for a very long time.

    If you're able to make a large batch of soup or something (and then freeze the excess), that can give you an extra few days without having to pick up more groceries.

    PLA
  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    As others have said, once a week is pretty normal. I live about a 60 second walk from an independent grocery store, and I'm there probably 3 times a week. That said, you can still stock up on pantry staples like: dried pasta, dried legumes (lentils, beans), rice, certain canned veggies aren't terrible (like corn, tomatoes for sauces), hard cheeses (like parmesan, pecorino), frozen veggies, peanut butter, potatoes, onions, garlic, eggs, broth/stock. There's probably at least half dozen meals you can make just from those staples alone.

  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    Mm, fair enough. I need to keep a closer eye on sales. I worry about stuff like bread and pasta because I feel they're generally not good for you.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Magus` wrote: »
    Mm, fair enough. I need to keep a closer eye on sales. I worry about stuff like bread and pasta because I feel they're generally not good for you.

    All things in moderation....also, if you check the labels and ingredients, you can find healthier options that way.

    For pasta, I really like Barilla ProteinPlus (comes in a yellow package). It's whole grain, so you get a healthy dose of fiber and protein. For bread, aim for whole grains or whole wheat. Compare a few different breads and pick one that has low sugar and more fiber. In my experience, any bread that is intentionally labelled "high fiber/double fiber" tastes and feels like pure cardboard, but if it's a whole grain bread that doesn't say that, it tends to be the perfect middle ground IMO. :P

    Elvenshae
  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    I miss my younger, dumber days when I'd just get frozen chimichangas and put shredded cheese on them and call it a day. Damn knowledge and caring what my health is.

    Zilla360Shadowfire
  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    Xaviar wrote: »
    A: The super expensive costco membership is a big outlay up front, but if you regularly shop there comes with rebates that basically pay for the ongoing subscription. Also you can add another member in your "household" but there isn't a lot of checking on that in my experience. So just grab a buddy and say he is your "roommate"

    B: What has worked for me when I've had this problem isn't to start with the groceries. Start with the meals. Plan out 2 weeks worth of meals (You don't have to say, "Monday is hamburgers" ... just "One day I would like hamburgers" or even "In the next to weeks I'll probably want hamburgers 3 times"). Make an ingredient list from that and go shopping. Don't be afraid of bulk (esp for non-perishables). Then when you make your next meal list, start with "I already have x, y, and z.. I could do a, b, and c, which means I'll just need to pick up j, and k."

    To add to this, I'm also bad on deciding what meals I would like! Meal planning is my kryptonite.

  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    If you're going to use Costco gas or their other services along with grocery shopping then I'd say it's worth the investment. Just for food though, not unless you have a big freezer.

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  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    edited September 2018
    What other services do they have?

    Edit: Also it seems a membership is $60 a year. That doesn't seem particularly extravagant?

    Magus` on
  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    https://www.costco.com/services.html

    Quite a few. Also their car washes and food court, since if it's not outside you need a membership to get to it.

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    Skeith
  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Some Costcos can handle glasses and contact lenses, pharmacy stuff, and tires.

    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    For one person, unless you've got a big deep freezer or a fair deal of storage somewhere, I wouldn't think that CostCo is worth the trouble. At least the ones out by me are madhouses pretty much any time I drive by.
    And I never really need to get that much peanut butter at one time.

    Being another single guy living in a one bedroom apartment, weekly grocery shopping is the way I do it. But then, I tend to eat a lot of salad and apples, which you just can't really do those in bulk.

    As for the membership, no, 60 bucks isn't that huge an outlay. The problem comes when you start buying things. Sure, the per unit price is better than you're likely to find at most stores, but if you're required to buy 3 times as much as you would normally get at any given time it can add up quickly.

    On the other hand, if I had an unoccupied basement or a room dedicated to hoarding storage, then sure, I'd get a membership and stock up on shelf stable goods, cans of soup, toilet paper, assorted beverages and the like by the pallet. Maybe invest in a vacuum sealer and stock up on meat that I could break down into one or two meal packages and fill a deep freeze until I needed it. But with my current circumstances, the membership doesn't make sense.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
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  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    I have a walk in closet that I don't use at all.

    I guess it depends on the savings. If we're taking about like 10%+ over unit price, that's good. Less than that I'm not sure. They did just open one 1.5 miles away.. also I drive a Charger and am in KC so gas savings might be worth it?

  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    edited September 2018
    Magus` wrote: »
    I have a walk in closet that I don't use at all.

    I guess it depends on the savings. If we're taking about like 10%+ over unit price, that's good. Less than that I'm not sure. They did just open one 1.5 miles away.. also I drive a Charger and am in KC so gas savings might be worth it?

    I don't know if you drink, but friends in KC always told me of all the great deals on alcohol at the Missouri Costco for wine and liquir deals


    And I knew two or three people that only used them for gas, but they also got membership discounts through their jobs

    Burtletoy on
  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    Magus` wrote: »
    I have a walk in closet that I don't use at all.

    I guess it depends on the savings. If we're taking about like 10%+ over unit price, that's good. Less than that I'm not sure. They did just open one 1.5 miles away.. also I drive a Charger and am in KC so gas savings might be worth it?

    If you're close enough to make it your regular place to buy gas, it's likely to be cost-beneficial on that alone (though I sometimes go elsewhere because they can have a 20 minute line for gas here at peak times). The other place where a Costco is useful is to buy staples in bulk (paper towels, etc) or other things they tend to have cheap (I've bought my last pairs of jeans there for $20, they have rotisserie chickens for $5, etc). As a single person, I wouldn't go towards the 'buy 12 muffins at a time' stuff or it'll just go bad.

    In terms of shopping - unless you have some specific health issue, the key thing really is moderation. Pasta in it of itself isn't terrible if you eat a normal serving size along with vegetables and a protein, it's bad if you're making a restaurant-sized portion every night and pretending that tomato sauce is a vegetable. As said above, once per week is perfectly normal if you're buying fresh produce and meats; it gets pretty iffy beyond a week. Yeah, you can get frozen vegetables and then push it a bit more (and if you're often finding you're down to just cheese, then it's not the worst thing to have some frozen stuff as backups), but the other option is to just figure out what keeps a bit better (for example, a bag of spinach is more likely to be kind of meh after a week, whereas zucchinis or broccoli probably can go longer before they'd go bad in the refrigerator.

  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    some items at costco don't make sense for a single person. Others do, like clothes, paper products, etc. Non perishable food also works well, like pasta, sauces, frozen veggies, etc. I also sometimes get the variety packs of yogurt, frozen chicken portions, rotisserie chicken. For me, even the bigger sizes of milk, eggs, and some fresh fruits/veggies also make sense. Also, picking up lunch at the food court is always the cheapest lunch available when out.

    I also sometimes get electronics there if their prices are competitive. The warranty with the costco credit card is years longer than at other stores at no extra cost.

    SkeithTofystedeth
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Some of the savings at Costco are in quality of goods. The Kirkland paper towels, toilet paper and trash bags aren't much cheaper than the cheap stuff at a normal grocery store, but they're of the same quality as a middle-high end product that costs a lot more.

    I basically shop at Costco just enough to make it worthwhile, but that's in large part because it's close to me. If I had to drive 30+ minutes to get there, my time would be more valuable than any savings. You do save a hell of a lot of money on toothpaste, dental floss, contact lens cleaner, supplements, underwear and socks. Also depending on your food storage capacity frozen chicken breast, deli turkey, cheese, butter and tortillas can all be frozen for a good long while -- which means you might be able to find a friend and go with once every 3 months and not worry about having your own membership.

    Skeith
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Very few fresh fruit and vegetables will be good after more than a week, so if you want to shop less often than that, buy frozen.

    dispatch.o
  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    edited September 2018
    Yeah, it's only five minutes away so.. I'll do some research. I planned to get frozen and canned stuff. I'm very reserved on produce so I don't waste it.

    Magus` on
  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    I freeze some breads. Not refrigerate. It's different.

    Pailryder
  • BursarBursar Hee Noooo! Registered User regular
    Costco has bulk frozen foods that can be meals with minimal prep. I'd buy packs of frozen salmon patties and hamburger buns, and grill them up in my toaster oven to eat fish sandwiches for a while. With a variety of sauces you can keep the taste from getting too repetitive day after day.

    (It helps that I really like seafood. Your mileage may vary.)

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  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    Things which will last a long time, is rather inexpensive (in terms of how rich it is in nutrients) and healthy:

    Frozen chopped spinach
    Advantages: It's a lot more efficient than regular spinach, because fresh spinach is very bulky (a pack of spinach is mostly water and air) and as such expensive to transport (which means a high retail price). Frozen and chopped spinach is compact, dense, will not shrink as much and retains almost all of the nutrients of fresh spinach.
    Drawbacks: It's basicly tasty nutrientgoo when you heat it limits what you can make with it, but it's perfect in a soup, pot or as filling for an omelet or pie.

    Dried Beans/Chickpeas/Lentils
    Advantages: Some of the cheapest and healthiest sources of protein and calories that you can get your hands on and they last for a very long time.
    Drawbacks: They need to be soaked. That takes time. Preferably they should soak overnight, but you can speed up that process by putting them in water, bringing it to a boil and then waiting for two hours. Then rinse them.

    Eggs:
    Advantages: Eggs are cheap, nutritious, last for quite a while (up to a month past best before date. To test eggs, put them into water. If they sink and lay on their side, they're fresh. If they stand on the tip they're still good, if they float throw them away) and you can do so many things with eggs. Omelets (and omelet variants), pies, bread etc etc.
    Disadvantages: The risk of Salmonella is a problem. For your own safety, unless you have a very high confidence in your supplier your eggs should be cooked in a way that eliminates the risk fo salmonella. Both the yolk and whites should be firm when served. Also eggs are kinda fragile.

    Root veggies (carrots, onions, rutabagas, celeriac, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, beets etc)
    Advantages: When in season root veggies are extremely cheap, and very versatile (roasted, steamed, sauteed, boiled etc). You can make many things with root veggies and they're very healthy (with the exception of potatoes. Potatoes are very high in starch and that should not be a staple of your diet. But it's perfectly fine if you substitute half or more of the potatoes with something else, like carrots or other root veggies).
    Disadvantages: With some exceptions (notably potatoes and onions) root veggies are very seasonal. What is a cheap staple at one time of the year is extremely expensive or not available at another. The price also depends on what the staple crops are near you.

    Brown Rice.
    Advantages: Healther than white rice, useful for quite a few things. Lasts forever basicly.
    Disadvantages: if there is any disadvantage with rice it's that you can't live on rice alone. Well, it's sort of lacking in taste too.

    Combine these with a selection of frozen/dried/canned spices/garnishes and other durable goods, various types of meat when at reasonable prices etc and you have a very wide variety of healthy meals.
    Definitely enough to last a week. two weeks if you pick up bread/dairy/fresh veggies more often or limit these foodstuffs to a bi-weekly basis

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  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    Figgy wrote: »
    Grocery shopping once per week is completely normal. The other side of that pendulum is having to throw shit out constantly because you've bought more produce than you can eat before it goes bad.

    My presentation on dating apps starts with "Looking for someone to help me finish these salad bags before they go bad".

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Disadvantages: The risk of Salmonella is a problem. For your own safety, unless you have a very high confidence in your supplier your eggs should be cooked in a way that eliminates the risk fo salmonella. Both the yolk and whites should be firm when served. Also eggs are kinda fragile.

    That's overly cautious. I was a breakfast cook for 6 years and huge fan of over easy eggs for myself and anyone I've ever cooked them for, I've never heard of anyone actually getting salmonella.

    I know it's technically possible, but if you're cooking your eggs overhard because of a minuscule risk, you're missing out. The chance of an egg being contaminated is incredibly low.

    I mean, you're telling people to keep their eggs a month past expiry in the very same post. If your eggs are past expiry, spend $2 on some more.

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  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    Expiry-dates are intentionally overly cautious. If you find that eggs you buy frequently go bad, you're probably leaving them out in the sun, or something.

  • DidgeridooDidgeridoo Registered User regular

    To add to this, I'm also bad on deciding what meals I would like! Meal planning is my kryptonite.

    Hey, I get it. Meal planning is a chore, and it can be hard to drum up the motivation to map out healthy meals for a week or two and do the requisite shopping.

    But it's what you have to do! It seems like all the dithering about costco membership benefits is a distraction from the chore that you already know is necessary.

    Once you've gotten into a groove and have started building up a stable of tasty recipes, it becomes much easier to plan. I keep a binder in the kitchen of good ones, and flip through that when making my grocery list.

    Even with a Costco membership, if you don't meal plan you're going to end up on the same place-- in between shopping trips with no food in the house and takeout meals only a few mouse clicks away.

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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    PLA wrote: »
    Expiry-dates are intentionally overly cautious. If you find that eggs you buy frequently go bad, you're probably leaving them out in the sun, or something.

    Yes, but an extra month is a bit much. And egg expiries are already so lengthy.. this should be a moot point.

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Generally, it's cheapest to buy exactly what you need every week, if you are a single person. If you have three huge teenage sons who play sports, it's best to buy in bulk at Costco. But for a single person, it's much more common to be throwing things out because it's hard for one person to eat two heads of lettuce in a week (which is the smallest amount of romaine you can buy at my local supermarket.)

    When I was last living alone I went to the supermarket twice a week and bought what I could carry home in my hands, and spent almost nothing on groceries because I didn't waste anything.

    OrcaLovely
  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    Figgy wrote: »
    PLA wrote: »
    Expiry-dates are intentionally overly cautious. If you find that eggs you buy frequently go bad, you're probably leaving them out in the sun, or something.

    Yes, but an extra month is a bit much. And egg expiries are already so lengthy.. this should be a moot point.

    I'm definitely not exaggerating. Eggs have a crazy long durability, and the expiration date is very conservative. Test them before you crack 'em open (which so far hasn't failed me a single time), then smell and look before you taste. And cook them well.
    Even with fresh eggs, in the US 0.5% of eggs (on average) test positive for salmonella.

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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I dont think that this needs to devolve into an argument about egg yolks. If the OP has an autoimmune disorder or generally wants to look into the personal risk hes taking when eating raw eggs, seems like something they can specify.

    dispatch.o
  • PailryderPailryder Registered User regular
    Just a few suggestions on meals
    1. Potatoes - bake a bunch in foil and store them in the fridge. you can mash them up, twice bake them, potato with cheese and broccoli, potato with butter and salt, slice them up and fry them, lots of options and they are cheap and last forever
    2. rice - get yourself a good rice cooker, pressure cooker, or even just cook on the stove. lots of types of rice but cheap white rice is fine for combining with so many veggies and meats.
    3. chicken - if you don't have one and have room for it, get yourself a freezer and buy those 50 lb boxes of chicken from major grocery store chains when they go on sale. there are a million things you can do with chicken meat (especially if you aren't picky about dark/light). you can freeze chicken, just put it into ziplock bags and write on them with a permanent marker. i think 6 months to a year is probably as long as you'd want to go

    TOGSolidPLA
  • Yes, and...Yes, and... Registered User regular
    Very few fresh fruit and vegetables will be good after more than a week, so if you want to shop less often than that, buy frozen.

    Plenty of fruits and vegetables will keep for more than a week (not always a lot more, but enough) if they're stored properly. Various root vegetables as mentioned above can be kept for a while, and lots of varieties of squash (pumpkin, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, etc.) will keep for a month or more. Bell peppers and hot peppers start to wither after about a week and aren't great to eat raw by then, but are still fine when cooked. In terms of fruit, good-quality apples (mostly unblemished, with firm and tart flesh) can last weeks in the fridge, and fruit that will ripen even after its been picked like pears can be purchased underripe so that it's only really ready to eat after about a week. Pomegranates and kiwis also have good shelf lives, as does uncut watermelon.

    Pailryder
  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    Oatmeal is my standard daily breakfast. Get the tub of rolled oats and follow the microwave instructions for a quick and easy breakfast. I add a bit of honey and peanut butter for taste and all of it will keep for years in your pantry, plus it's dirt cheap.

    PailryderPLA
  • OnTheLastCastleOnTheLastCastle let's keep it haimish for the peripatetic Registered User regular
    You can make a lot of very good meals (IMO) with chicken thighs (cheaper than breasts, more tasty by far), rice/potatoes and spices. If you have an instant pot you can make some really amazing stuff.

    I'm a published writer and have a very unique and interesting writing style. I'm also sharp and witty. My profile is well-written and hilarious. My messages are likewise brilliant. And I've been doing this stuff for...four or five years. I know what "works" in terms of good internet dating writing. "Works" in the sense of leading to a "date" with a human female.

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  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    Yeah, I just made tacos using chicken thighs in the slow cooker yesterday. Throw in about six boneless skinless chicken thighs, add a chopped onion, a few sliced cloves of garlic, some salsa, chili powder, salt, pepper, and canned chipotle peppers. Mix them up a bit, then put it on low for about 8 hours. Shred the thighs with forks when finished, serve on taco shells/tortillas with toppings of your choice. It also freezes quite well.

    NaphtaliPailryder
  • OnTheLastCastleOnTheLastCastle let's keep it haimish for the peripatetic Registered User regular
    You can even just go chicken, taco seasoning, 1 cup salsa and put the instant pot on poultry. It'll be delicious.

    I'm a published writer and have a very unique and interesting writing style. I'm also sharp and witty. My profile is well-written and hilarious. My messages are likewise brilliant. And I've been doing this stuff for...four or five years. I know what "works" in terms of good internet dating writing. "Works" in the sense of leading to a "date" with a human female.

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  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    (taco seasoning packs are just salt and cumin)

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