Everybody needs to eat. We all know that, yet food shopping is often likened to a chore rather than a pleasure.
But do you ever remember going food shopping with your parents when you were young? How exciting it was to sit in the trolley and pretend you were driving a car through the aisles? How you loved to grab stuff and throw it into the basket, and how much you annoyed your parents by pointing at sweets and toys? I do.
Of course since then food shopping has changed. First of all, it’s all more expensive than it used to be, and now I have to do my own. But exactly that has made things more interesting. When you call the shots on what’s going to end up in your fridge, what will you do with that power?
Abuse it and buy expensive ready-meals, ice cream, crisps, coke and a giant pack of Maltesers? Or maybe pretend to be a health freak and cram your trolley full of fruit, vegetables, salads, fish and hummus, then end up not eating any of it?
What about bringing back the fun into shopping? Before you go out, make a list. You don’t have to write it down, it can all be in your head. Think of the things you need (milk, orange juice, bread etc.), then add the things you want (pasta, a steak, cheese and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s) and finally leave room for the unexpected. Many people say that shopping without a list os bad, as you’ll follow every impulse. But a little impulse is good! Say, if you only followed your list, you might never go in the baking aisle and remember that you haven’t had pancakes for some time or that you miss baking chocolate cakes!
Personally I rarely buy only what’s on the list. First of all I’m forgetful so I often forget to write something down that I need, or I suddenly remember while standing in the shop that for a recipe I need something in particular. Plus it’s more fun if you wander round aimlessly and pick up things as you go along. And it doesn’t have to be expensive at all! Always look out for own brand, offers and clearance items.
Remember though, that you don’t have to shop cheap at all costs. Yes, Lidl meat is cheaper than Sainsbury’s or Waitrose’s, but it’s often pieces with more veins and makes for a tougher cut and chew. Plus, most brands are on a price check with their competitors, so if you buy known brands they’ll tend to be the same everywhere. And what you save on your favourite cereals and juices you might as well spend on better tomatoes or chicken thighs.