Hungry Heart

Adventures in healthy living

Groceries 101


Yesterday, I broke one of my cardinal rules of healthy eating.

Never go to the grocery store without a plan.

Bad things happen when I wander around tossing things into my cart on a whim.
So I try to keep a few things in mind when at the grocery store.  

Here are a few of my shopping tips:

  1. When I grocery shop I like to have at least 3-4 meals planned out. This leaves room for dinner out one night, dinner at my parents or in-laws, and a night of leftovers. If I try to plan more than 4 or 5 meals, I usually end up throwing away food. I’m thinking of last week’s beautiful escarole that went in the trash. Oops.
  2. Set yourself a food budget. This is not a hard and fast rule, but I aim to spend $75/week on groceries. It’s almost like a challenge when I’m at the store. Can I afford imported cheese this week? Maybe next time.
  3. I stick to my list. It helps me save money on groceries, and I tend to buy fewer unhealthy foods. I am more likely to add tomatoes and milk to the list than I am Doritos.
  4. Let the produce department do all the work. If for some reason I don’t have a plan, I check out to see which veggies look good that day. I can always work in a protein or starch somehow, but if I start with a vegetable that looks particularly delicious, I am off to a good start on a healthy meal.

All this being said, I really enjoy grocery shopping.
So when I ventured out to the store yesterday without any idea of what to make for dinner this week, I remembered tip #4. I stocked up on vegetables and felt well on my way to cooking dinner for the week.

Last night we made killer salads with my large haul of vegetables.

I marinated some tofu in Parmesan garlic buffalo sauce, and broiled it to go on top of the salads. I even managed to get Jerry to try it! He said it wasn’t his favorite, but he didn’t hate it.
I on the other hand, was in love and could have eaten the entire block of tofu.  The sauce was from Harry and David, but it reminded me of the Spicy Garlic sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings. Love it!

I splurged and drizzled a serving of Marzetti Simply Dressed Blue Cheese Dressing on my heaping pile of vegetables. It was perfect with the buffalo tofu.
I added some homemade garlic croutons after I snapped these photos. Jerry and I are obsessed and pretty much never eat a salad without them.

In case I haven’t mentioned how to make them:

Homemade Garlic Croutons

  • Drizzle olive oil on crusty bread (we use Heidelberg French Peasant)
  • Toast bread
  • Rub a clove of peeled garlic on bread immediately after removing from toaster. The heat from the toast will slightly cook the garlic, making it a little more mellow.
  • Sprinkle on salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, or any other flavoring you like.
  • Cut into cubes
  • Devour a salad big enough for a family of 4

Grocery shopping, love it or hate it?
I love it, and can wander around a grocery store for hours. My dream is that someday Utica will get a Wegman’s.  Sigh, someday…..


  1. We share a love of grocery shopping! In college I wrote a paper about my favorite place and it was about Wegmans!

  2. I love that french peasant bread. I like to get some when I am in town :-) the bread in New Hampshire shouldnt even be called bread…. so sad.

  3. OK, I can’t let it go- anything that isn’t Frank’s Red Hot + Butter and maybe Vinegar cannot be called “Buffalo” sauce. It would be like calling cooked spinach with hardboiled eggs “Utica Greens”. Sure, Spinach is greens but, that’s not Utica Greens. I am willing to forgive this infraction this time since you don’t have a Wegman’s.

  4. I usually spend at least $140 every time I go to the grocery store. I never make a list or plan out meals, and the food is slightly more expensive down here. (Sabra hummus is usually $3.99 at Publix). Erin, do you have a good beef stew recipe? Like pot roast in a bowl? :)Something to make on Sunday and have a couple of days?

  5. Will it make you feel better to know that we do always use Franks and butter when we make wings?
    But for the purpose of the blog it would be confusing to use a name other than the one listed on the bottle of sauce that I used.

  6. Agree, you didn’t claim the tofu to be buffalo wings! I also l live the BWW spicy garlic sauce on things other than wings.

  7. In college, we used to go to Wegman’s on a friday night, like as our night out. I live for wegman’s

  8. Sorry, wasn’t trying to be a jerk and I figured it was the Harry & David’s name for the sauce and not yours so it was more of a general “oooooo I hate when it’s called that” and not directed at you.

  9. ok I love grocery shopping and where did you get your discipline!? I wandered walmart today and though it wasnt all food..I left $182.poorer. eeks! My dream is for Wegmans to come here but really really I want a Trader Joes…

  10. Maria: I do have a beef stew recipe I love, but it feeds an army.
    Do you have a food processor? Mom and Lauren both make excellent homemade hummus.

    Ridic: I understood your general frustration with the use of “Buffalo sauce”. Bottled sauces should be required to use the quotes and call it “Buffalo sauce”

    Den: I really really love Wegmans.
    One time someone took Maria on a date there. Like, for dinner.

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