Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping Made Easy with These Simple Steps | Tuesday’s Tip of the Day!
Before you drown a double espresso and brave the grocery story, consider these simple steps to make your trip as smooth – and quick – as possible! A true winning combination come Thanksgiving!
Creating the Space:
- The week leading to Thanksgiving, try to eat through your fridge as best as you can! With all the veggies – and that hefty bird – you need all the real-estate you can get!
Have a Plan:
- Write a Shopping List: Don’t even think about going to the grocery store without a thorough shopping list! Check your cabinets – as well as expiration dates on those herbs – and account for items you already have replenishing with those that you don’t. Having a plan keeps you focused and on a mission at the store. It also keeps impulse purchases at bay while ensuring all ingredients are accounted for.
Often Forgotten Items:
- Don’t forget cleaning supplies, including sponges and scrubbers as well as detergent for your dishwasher, garbage bags, ziplock bags, to-go containers for leftovers, foil, plastic wrap and of course, cooking twine, meat thermometers, coffee pods for your nespresso including cream and sugar, oil, butter and jam for those steaming rolls, salt and pepper! They often don’t make our shopping list because we are so focused on the food, but boy are they important for the overall success!
Account for the Space:
- Make sure you account for where everything is going to go once home, including that 12 + pound turkey, veggies, wine, dairy, pumpkin pie, whipping cream, etc. Once you arrive home with your groceries, you should know exactly where the turkey is going and that it is stored safely in consideration of your produce and anything else that has the potential of coming in contact with it.
Write a SMART shopping list:
- Tour Your Store Before Shopping: We all know our grocery stores, and if you don’t already have a relationship with one, I definitely recommend paying your local store a visit before you shop. This way, you can get the lay of the land and build your shopping list according to how the store “bundles” items starting with dry first and perishables last to keep them at their prime. This also gives you a nice foundation as you know exactly where the produce section is, that the wine is in the back left corner, adjacent to the baking aisle and dairy section, for example.
- Categorize: Write your list according to the order in which you will shop (dry first, perishables and ice cream last), and in bundles. I create an excel sheet with categories: Protein, Dairy, Baking, Dry, Alcohol, Produce, and Home-Goods (Ziplock, foil, soap, etc.). This way, I can shop for everything in that category at one time.
- How to Shop: Shop for dry non-perishable items first and work your way toward produce, dairy, flowers and other “fragile” items last. Also make sure your flour, sugar and other dry items don’t get wet from those leafy greens and make sure you keep the eggs on top. And the Turkey…that should go under the cart on the “rack” or “shelf” all by itself so that it doesn’t have the potential of cross-contaminating with your produce.
Bring a Pen & Highlighter:
- Essential!!! Cross off your list as you go and highlight those items you may need to come back for or shop elsewhere for. I find that I shop a few stores around the holidays because I like the stock at Trader Joes, the rolls and cinnamon rolls at Blue Chair Bakery – which travel with me from Balboa Island to Seattle – and proteins and veggies at QFC.
Bring Shopping Bags:
- Cross-body bags are the best because you can carry more and it doesn’t hurt your hands. Even if you have a few cross-body bags, it frees up your hands for a few more bags, or a double shot espresso!
- Comfy shoes, sweater if your store is as cold as mine, and a purse that you can wear cross-body so you don’t have to worry about leaving your cart unattended.
Be Patient! Don’t go shopping if you’re on a tight timetable!
- Rushing through your shopping only causes panic and anxiety which is the key ingredient for purchasing the wrong item or forgetting it all together. Unless you are interested in making a few additional – and unnecessary, should I add – trips to the store, carve away a chunk of time where your shopping list has your full attention.
After Shopping, Head Straight Home:
- Don’t let your greens wilt and turkey defrost in your car! Plan on grocery shopping after all your other errands so you can quickly put things away when home.
Now that you are fully equipped to take on your Thanksgiving shopping, I encourage you to start writing your list today! It’s never too early to plan your Thanksgiving feast!
For other terrific tips and hundreds of recipes, including several classic Thanksgiving recipes like my Ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey, Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust, Cranberry Relish as well as Cranberry Sauce, and Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows and Pecans, visit my website (thetabletogether.com). While there, consider “subscribing” and I will send a new tip or blog post directly to your inbox every Tuesday and Wednesday morning!
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Cheers to starting a new tradition around The Table Together!
Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!