Grocery shopping can be stressful. I’ve gone through all the things I regularly work with that make my life easier when it comes to preparing food without breaking the bank and exhausting myself.

Foods I Buy Frozen

Labour Saving Grocery Shopping 1
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower – 2 min to cook in the microwave. I love adding it to meals or topping with cheese as a snack
  • Spinach and kale (chopped) – great to add to tons of recipes
  • Cooked meatballs – great alternative if you don’t like handling raw meat. Easy to throw together a quick meal.
  • Raspberries – I use these to accompany pancakes and to make raspberry scones. Also good for smoothies. Cheaper and less work than fresh berries.
  • Green peas – I add these to tons of recipes, or as a veggie side for dinner
  • Corn – as above
  • Mixed veggies – as above. Get whatever vegetables you like to eat. There are lots of frozen choices
  • Blueberries – my husband’s favourite for pancakes
  • Perogies – a quick and cheap meal. Just boil and serve. I top with plain yogurt and fried onions
  • Pizza – for nights when you just don’t want to put in any effort
  • Salmon – other fish is great too, but salmon is most common for us
  • Sweet potato fries – healthier alternative to regular fries. Easy addition to a meal.
  • Hashbrown patties – we top these with cheese, bacon bits and green onions for a quick meal/snack
  • Cooked chicken bites – easy addition to add protein to a meal

Foods I Buy Fresh

Labour Saving Grocery Shopping 2
  • Eggs – fast and easy protein source
  • Milk – I drink A LOT of milk so this is always in our fridge
  • Peppers – these don’t freeze well so when I need them I always get fresh
  • Soft cheeses – fresh mozza, ricotta, etc. should be eaten fresh. They don’t freeze very well
  • Pre-made mashed potatoes – these easily break down into about six portions for us and we’ll combine with a frozen meat and frozen veggie for a super quick meal
  • Cheese – any hard cheese I buy tends to go right into the freezer
  • Bacon – usually I get this as a bag of real bacon bits. If you buy it all fresh then you can bulk cook it in the oven
  • Most fruits
  • Cucumber – for snacks
  • Tomato – if you like for sandwiches, otherwise canned works for most everything else
  • Onions – pre-chop and freeze to easily add to any recipes.
  • Lettuce – for sandwiches and salads. Pre-chopped works well, but I don’t buy those often
  • Garlic – can also buy minced, paste or frozen cubes
  • Herbs – as above, but these are usually much better fresh
  • Potatoes – yellow and red skinned potatoes don’t need to be peeled, just washed
  • Cabbage – you can also buy bagged coleslaw to use in soup recipes for less effort
  • Deli meats – freeze individually before it expires and you can pull out single slices whenever you need it.
  • Green onions – Use what you need, chop and freeze the rest, then plan the root ends in soil and grow yourself a fresh batch

Foods I Buy Canned

Labour Saving Grocery Shopping 3
  • Chickpeas – add to recipes or make your own hummus.
  • Beans – great for tons of recipes to add protein and fibre
  • Tuna – I make this into sandwiches, salads and dips
  • Salmon – same as above, but I personally prefer tuna
  • Diced Tomato – I add this mostly to soups
  • Baked Beans – beans on toast is delicious and nutritious
  • Pineapple – good for a snack or to make your own Hawaiian pizza. The canned variety has the bromelain (enzyme that breaks down proteins) broken down.
  • Unsweetened Applesauce – I use this mostly in baking recipes as a replacement for sugar

Foods I Buy Dried

Labour Saving Grocery Shopping 4
  • Lentils – I add to soups or use for their own recipes
  • Rice – I bulk cook this in my rice cooker and freeze it so it’s always available for recipes
  • Pasta – whole wheat spaghetti and macaroni are usually in my cupboard. Orzo is also a good, fast cooking option for pasta salads and soups

Other Foods

Labour Saving Grocery Shopping 5
  • Whole Wheat Bread – sandwiches and toast!
  • Whole Wheat Flatbreads – great for wraps and making flatbread pizzas
  • Plain Yogurt – I use in place of sour cream, as well as for smoothies and snacks
  • Rotisserie Chicken – I break down the whole chicken while it’s still warm and freeze the meat to be used in various recipes.
  • Ricotta Cheese – if I can find this on sale, I’ll get it and use it on toast with a little honey and sliced fruit
  • Peanut Butter – I get the natural peanut butter. It has less random ingredients in it, but you do have to mix it because the oil separates out. Store it in the fridge after you’ve blended the oil and you shouldn’t have to do it again. It’ll stay soft for you.
  • Mayo – This is the base for a lot of sauces and tasty on sandwiches
  • Soy Sauce – A delicious flavor addition to tons of recipes
  • Curry Paste – Thai is my favourite. The Indian curry pastes I’ve tried are not as good, but still save on effort

Foods I Don’t Usually Buy, But Are Still Helpful

Labour Saving Grocery Shopping 6
  • Waffles – fast and easy. Also delicious as a replacement for bread with sandwiches
  • Shrimp ring – easily portioned cooked shrimp can add protein to whatever meal you like or as a snack
  • Fish – frozen fish of all varieties tends to come portioned so they’re ideal for single people and couples
  • Assorted Fruit – there are tons of varieties of frozen fruit. Choose whichever flavours you like best
  • Breakfast Sausage – pre-cook it all and grab out a couple whenever you want a more substantial meal
  • Shepherd’s Pie/Lasagna – simple way to bulk feed a family
  • Babybel Cheese – an easy and portable protein snack
  • Hummus – easy way to add protein to a snack. Dip veggies, crackers, etc.
  • Dried grains/legumes – barley, quinoa, split peas, etc. are easy additions to most meals and soups

That’s all I’ve got for you today! I hope some of this is helpful for you ^_^

-Erin