Grocery Haul posts are something I've long-envisioned as a feature on this site, and with the New Year, I've decided to jump right in! You might be asking, "Why do this?" Well, dear readers, I think it's important for a few reasons:
First, all of the recipes I create on this site are almost exclusively formulated using stuff I buy for my own family to eat at the regular grocery store. While I do occasionally use things that need to be ordered or located at a specialty health or supplement store (like konjac/glucomannan, collagen peptides, or Ballistic MCT oil powder), I genuinely try to keep the bulk of my ingredients as easy to locate locally as is possible. Frankly, I am not rolling in the dough and can't be ordering zillions of products off Amazon or scouring the nearest Whole Foods (which is a 50 mile drive for me, BTW), and so I try to be respectful of those who are in the same position.
Second, one of the most frequent complaints we see about the ketogenic protocol is expense. Many of our community experts (and casual members, too) leave the distinct impression that you're somehow not "doing" keto correctly or are harming your body if you aren't torching your wallet at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's buying all organic-this and grassfed-only-that.
I'm here to tell you, as an almost 4-year veteran of ketogenic living, I rarely, if ever, buy grassfed or organic anything, and I'm healthier than I've ever been! Because, as I mentioned, I'm not rolling in the dough, I necessarily shop on a budget. I might be found in The Fresh Market maybe once every couple of months (usually trying to locate Swerve Brown), and I simply can't afford to do those bulk grassfed meat "boxes" you can order online. Friends, I shop at Aldi, Publix, sometimes WalMart, and at a little mom-and-pop down the road that features fresh, local produce. It's kind of like a little farmer's market, but it's in a shopping center right next to the Dollar Store. I use coupons and BOGOs, and am always looking for a deal. I'm even scouting out the local Dollar General in the hopes of creating some extreme budget recipes (for y'all who may need them, but heck you never know! I might need them someday, too, and it never hurts to be armed ahead of time!).
All of that is to say that I understand that it can be a bit of a struggle budget shopping for a crowd on keto. I live that life, and I hope that these posts, and being able to see exactly what it is I'm using to create the keto recipes I'm putting out there, will be helpful to those trying to figure out this keto thing without having to take out a second mortgage.
This week's haul is one I'm hoping to stretch to about a week-and-a-half's worth of meals. I spent about $100 on the nose ($75 at Aldi, and another $25 grabbing some odds and ends at Publix). I generally have a good idea of what I'd like to make on any given week, so I always shop with a list. Also, the meals I'm making will very likely make their way onto the site, so keep your eyes peeled to see some of the recipe creations I manage to make of this haul.
For meats, I have a family pack of chicken drums that I'm planning on combining with that frozen caulirice to make Chicken and Rice. The pork roast is going into the crockpot with some sage and other spices. My kids love hot dogs, so I grabbed some angus beef dogs on a BOGO sale. Zoodles and Rao's will round out the mains for an easy weeknight spaghetti. Broccoli and spinach for broccoli casserole and creamed spinach, respectively. We are big dairy eaters, and go through a lot of both heavy cream (which the kids like to drink straight up) and sour cream, so that will be very frequently seen on these posts. Don't be shocked and all. And, pretty much every week, I grab lots of fresh greens for us to have with some fatty homemade dressings, and to feed our pet bun, Biscuit.
Of course, I'm also utilizing what I already have in my fridge and freezer. I grabbed a bunch of eggs and bacon on sale right after Christmas, so they're hanging out in my cold storage units and will be a breakfast feature for the kids and me on most days. Same goes for spices and such. I keep a pretty well-stocked spice and oil pantry, so I pretty much always have salt, seasonings, and avocado oil on hand for cooking. I also save all my bacon drippings, and have a bunch stored up in between the fridge and freezer, so I'm pretty much never without cooking oil.
As you can see, I have a fair mixture of fresh and frozen foods, with a scattered bit of packaged goods. Most of my shopping is done on the outside edges of the store, and I only go into the "products" areas when I have something specific I need to replenish (usually olives or pickles). I also eat leftovers. Ain't no shame in that, guys! In addition to helping you stretch that budget, utilizing leftovers as lunches or dinners the next evening (the latter of which I employ regularly) keeps me from having to cook every single meal. Mama needs a break from the stove sometimes, and leftovers give me that time back.
That's it for this week's haul. Feel free to drop any questions you have about keto shopping in the comments below, or tag me in a post in our Facebook group. And stay tuned, because I plan on dropping one of these posts at least once every month or so, and I will try to come back and link the recipes I post in the relevant grocery hauls.