Shopping for One

If you think cooking for one is hard, try shopping for one! While shopping you run the risk of overspending, over buying and just wasting money and potentially food. I think that’s why a lot of us just opt walking straight to the frozen food section for single meals.

But if you like to cook but just hate shopping because you don’t know how to cook for one—I can help. There are several steps to take when shopping for groceries that will help you save time, save money and have a week full of meals.

See my process for shopping below.

Step 1) What are you hungry for?

This probably sounds easier said than done. I know it’ll be Sunday night and I’m still trying to figure out what I want to eat for the week. But figuring out what you’re hungry for will be the base on your pyramid of grocery buying.

Example: I’m hungry for chicken tacos and I’d like that for dinner this week.

Now that I’ve picked my main meal its time to see what’s in the fridge.

Step 2) What’s in the fridge?

Now that you have discovered your main meal for the week, look up/find/or know your recipe/ingredients that you need to make this meal. Take inventory in your fridge and cupboards to see how much of the ingredients you already have.

Taking inventory of your pantry will help you from 1) Standing in the aisle of the cream of chicken soups asking yourself…do I have a can of this at home? 2)Buying something you already have, hence wasting money 3)Making sure you don’t forget to buy an ingredient!

What I have…. What I need to buy….
1 large Onion Head of Lettuce
1 can of Tomatoes Chicken breasts
Red/ Yellow Pepper black beans
1 can of green chilies Cheese
2 Fresh tomatoes Taco Seasoning
Taco sauce Taco shells

Okay so now you have your main meal, you know what you need to buy at the store for said meal….now…comes the true puzzle!

Step 3) What else is on the menu?

If you’re like me, I can’t eat the same thing for like 5 days. I have to have different things throughout the week, at least for dinner, cause I get burnt out easily. So now is like the ultimate math problem–you need to figure out if you:

  • Will you have left over ingredients?
  • Can freeze or save ingredients?
  • Can your ingredients work for something else?

So looking at my list that I have and knowing my recipe for my chicken tacos, I know that I will only need 2 out of the 4 chicken breasts that usually come in the packet. So I can either freeze those or use them for something else this week. I know that I will only use a quarter of my onion because I want it for garnish and I know that even though I have red/yellow peppers I probably wont use them for these tacos.

Thinking through my stuff that way I thought of my recipes and also looked up some trying to figure out what I would do. I decided with the leftover chicken, peppers and onion I would make my chicken curry recipe! Now that I have a new meal the process starts all over again —whats in the fridge and what do I need to get ?!

So far I have chicken tacos, chicken curry and looking at my list I know I’ll have left over lettuce for a salad for lunch.

What I have What I need
1 large Onion Head of Lettuce
1 can of Tomatoes Chicken breasts
Red/ Yellow Pepper black beans
1 can of green chilies Cheese
2 Fresh tomatoes Taco Seasoning
Taco sauce Taco shells
Coconut milk Heavy cream
Jasmine rice cucumbers
Salad dressing


I go through this process till I have completed my list and picked out my menu for the week. Sure I add in snacks and maybe some breakfast stuff..etc but planning your meals ahead will help with you save money and stop food waste.


Step 4) Go Shop!

I hope that this process helps you in your shopping and helps better prepare you for your meals ahead!

Some helpful hints when picking your recipes for the week:

  • Does it store well? Meaning will it be good to eat for a few days?
  • Can it be frozen? Maybe you made some chili that you know you’ll only eat for a few days but freezing it will allow you to not have to throw it out.
  • Make sure you have all the ingredients, if you decide to go rogue and make up for something missing it could ruin the whole dish. That means you just wasted a meal and money.

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