Sunday, July 12, 2015

Vegan Grocery Haul: Summer 2015

After posting my "Vegan What I Ate Today" post last month I had a lot of requests to do a "grocery haul" type video, so after doing my grocery shopping last week I took some pictures to share with you greenies.

Personally I've loved grocery shopping since I was a kid back when I would go every week with my Dad from the time I was a toddler until I moved out and got married. From there I've continued to do the grocery shopping, and I love it. Especially given my passion for healthy food and cooking, grocery shopping combines the two and I see it as a time to seek out new products, challenge myself to stick to a budget and find good deals, while also finding food that will help my family feel healthy and happy.

How I do it...
Right now my grocery shopping consists of two stores, which you'll see below, on a weekly basis. On Saturday I go to one store and on Sunday, I go to another. A few years ago I used to do them all in one day, but now that I've got two kids, I like to divide and conquer them one day at a time. Then as the week goes on, we eat the food and when we weekend comes I repeat the stores once again.

How I budget...
Personally I budget about $280 a week for groceries. This may seem high or low to you, but for me it's just right. We only eat out about once every 2 weeks, so the food I get has to get us through every meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) as well as snacks for everyone. In case you're wondering, we usually have leftovers for lunches to save money as well.

As you'll see from my store totals below, I have some weeks that are higher than my budget (like this week I spent $300 total) and others where I spend less than $280, like the week coming up. I've noticed this "ebb and flow" with my groceries where it seems as though I have higher weeks where I stock up on things, usually followed by lower weeks where I don't need as much. I've found this usually averages out to about $280 a week. I'd love to do a video soon about how I meal plan and make my grocery list too if anyone's interested!

On top of this, no one in my family is on any type of prescription medication,  I see the food I buy as my pharmacy (thanks to my idol Kris Carr for sharing that nugget of wisdom). When I buy healthy, organic foods that I can cook with, juice with, and eat to give me energy not a headache, I feel great and so do my kids. So although it's a higher price to eat this way, I don't have to spend money on co-pays, over the counter, or even prescription medication, so I'll take that.

Last husband.
As you'll see below on the Trader Joe's grocery haul, my husband is vegetarian, while the girls and I are vegan, and he is not as hardcore into the whole no-sugar, no-food colorings, no-GMO thing. So the way we've worked it out is that I get him most of the basics of what he needs that happen to be at my health food stores, and if he wants his "other food" then he has a small weekly budget that he pays for to buy that additional food (such as Pop Tarts, sugary cereal, and ice cream...not the vegan kind). Personally I had a hard time spending my money to buy these things for him, so we worked out a happy medium where he buys it, eats it, and does his thing and I don't have to be involved with it. So if it seems like I'm missing snacks for him that's why.  ( :

So let's get started with my grocery shopping for one week for my family of four...

No time for the video? Here's a picture breakdown...
Store #1:
First up I go to Terra: Health & Wellness Market in Independence, Missouri. This my favorite local health food store, they're a small business that combines healthy and organic food with a fun shopping experience. This is where I go to stock up on my favorite gluten-free and vegan products that I can't find at other traditional grocery stores. Even better they have free membership cards that allow you to earn 5% daily, and 10% on Super Days (once a month), back as points that you can use to earn money on future purchases. On top of this they have a beautiful and unique looking store with excellent customer service that really makes you feel comfortable when you shop there, not like just one more customer walking around at Whole Foods.

Avery is my shopping assistant as you can see below. She's been to the store with me since she was born and she although there were times when she wasn't the most helpful shopper (cue the toddler meltdown phase), she's grown up a lot lately and has really taken to going to the grocery store. It's kind of fun that we get to have "Mom and Avery Time" together each week and to do my favorite shopping. I think she also loves it because she can her own little shopping cart (that Terra got at her request!) and because she gets to pick out her favorite snacks and treats along the way.

You name it, she'll get it for you!

"Can we get these please?"

My Terra food for the week.

From left to right:

Starting with the chips at the top:

Starting with the cans in the back:

Total Cost at Terra: around $170. 

Store #2:
Next up I go to Trader Joe's. What takes me to Trader Joe's is their prices on organic produce. Once I discovered GMOs a few years back I switched so many products over to organic, and it really hit my budget hard. But when I started shopping at Trader Joe's my budget went back down to it's normal level...thank goodness! Trader Joe's also has a fun atmosphere, and my husband's favorite products are their new or seasonal products that you can't find at any other store. The one downside of Trader Joe's for me is their small selection of gluten-free and vegan foods. Yes they have gluten-free and yes they have vegan, but getting the two together is not always easy. So that's why I continue to go to both Terra and Trader Joe's.

As with Terra, Avery joined me again to do my grocery shopping. Here she is with her little shopping cart at her favorite section...the fruit section. Where we have to get at least 2-3 packages of fruit weekly, so of which she will devour in 20 minutes flat. The best part is that she's learned to look for organic food, so she'll pick out a fruit and if she can't find the organic sticker she'll say, "Oh man, I can't get it, it's not organic!" That's my girl.

"Apricots anyone?"

My Trader Joe's food for the week.

From left to right at the top then below:
      • 2 bags of organic spinach for smoothies and green juice
      • 4 bunches of bananas these are mainly for freezing for smoothies and also for morning snacks (when we have our daily fruit bowl)
      • 2 pkgs. of Baby Bella Mushrooms for a roasted veggie side and a lentil soup
      • 2 bags of lemons for green juice, lemon water every morning (click here to learn how and why I have that), and cooking
      • 1 pkg. of 2 organic zucchini
      • 1 bag of organic kale for green juice
      • 1 bag of organic broccoli for a stir-fry meal
      • 1 bag of clementines, the girls love these for snacks
      • 1 pkg. organic garlic
      • 1 pkg. ginger for green juice and stir-fry sauce
      • a flower? This is what happens when Avery goes shopping with me! She has an eye for little treats and gifts along the way, this $1.99 flower was today's special purchase. ( :
      • Salt & Pepper Pistachios- These are for Brandon, he loves these for a snack.
      • 2 bags of cauliflower florets for roasting and my new favorite snack: "Buffalo Cauliflower Wings"!
      • Apple Strawberry Crushers- I like these to give the girls for when we're on the go! Yes, I could probably make my own, but it's nice to have some healthy, pre-packaged snacks from time to time. 

I covered a lot in the first picture, let's start this round at
the bottom in the middle with fruit wraps:
      • 4 Organic Fruit Wraps- another "on the go" snack for the girls
      • 3 Frozen Organic Strawberries- for smoothies, love the cost of these $2.49 at Trader Joe's as opposed to $4-5 sometimes at other health food stores.
      • 1 pkg. organic celery for green juice and soup
      • 1 bag of organic sweet potatoes for a creamy sweet potato pasta dish
      • 1 bag of organic yellow onions
      • 1 pkg. organic strawberries (hard to see, under the rice bag) for snacks
      • 1 pkg. Sprouted Organic California Rice Medley, a new one I've been trying.
      • 4 small containers of Organic Rice Drink (rice milk) that we use in place of dairy. Usually I get larger containers, but this is all they had this week.
      • Food for Life Gluten-Free Brown Rice Bread- this is the bread my girls use

Starting at the top by the watermelon:
      • 2 Organic Vegetable Broth- for a lentil soup
      • 1 watermelon, our favorite summertime fruit snack, and for making watermelon smoothies (click here for the recipe)
      • 1 bag of organic Gala apples for snacks and green juice
      • 1 bag organic gold potatoes for making "potato rounds" for us to have when we have veggie burgers 
      • 2 frozen dinners...for Brandon! Mac & Cheese and Stuffed Shells aren't exactly gluten-free or vegan, but these are for Brandon who doesn't have as strict a diet as I do. He likes these for his lunches, since the girls and I sometimes take the leftovers from dinner the night before, leaving him with nothing. 
Total Cost at Trader Joe's: around $130. Total Grocery Cost: $300. Usually I budget $290 a week, this was a higher week for me, other weeks are lower. It all usually balances out. ( :

So there you have one week of grocery food for me and my little green family. If you liked this post, stay tuned, I'm going to try and do one each season (4 a year) to keep you updated on my favorite new products as well as my favorite that continue to get week after week.

Did you see anything that you also get or that you want to try? Share it below! Happy Shopping.

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