How often do you go to the grocery store?
A week or so ago, in a Facebook group I’m part of, someone asked for help. She’s trying to get more organized in meal planning and meal prep but it seems like she’s just wasting food and money. It isn’t working for her and she finds herself still going to the store daily.
Most of the suggestions were about getting more organized, more disciplined. There were links to shopping list and menu notebooks. Any other week I probably would have been thinking along those same lines. Except that very same week a friend had been visiting her extended family in India and was sharing all of their culinary adventures online.
Along with all of the mouthwatering pictures and descriptions my friend had commented that most families go to the market daily. They plan their meals and shop for just what is needed for that day. Now, I know that this is how it is done throughout most of the world as well. Heck, this is how it has been done for most of human civilization. Prior to modern refrigeration one would never purchase food in bulk. Never mind “meal prep” and make meals for days in advance packed in tupperware!
My father has often shopped this way. His work often depended on the weather. A stormy day meant a day at home so a day to cook a more involved, time intensive, hearty meal. Since the New England weather is only predictable to an extent he would do a big weekly grocery shop for nonperishables but still go a few times for particular meals.
I have traditionally planned out my menu for the week using the weather forecast and our family’s schedule as a guide but I got more flexible once I started working from home. I meal prepped my lunches and breakfasts out of necessity when I had a long commute but again it was necessity. If I’m being truly honest with myself, I prefer to plan out about 3 days in advance and grocery shop accordingly. I could see myself embracing a daily market though, if we weren’t in a supermarket culture.
So, back to that Facebook post. My suggestion was to consider whether she thought she really wanted to shop weekly. To decide if that would actually work for her or to consider if maybe she likes planning meals every day and shopping for them. If not, then use those other suggestions. But if she does, if some part of her enjoys the daily process, then embrace it.
What do you think? Are you a weekly meal planner and preparer or would you rather go daily? Is that impeded by your job or your schedule in some way? Is there a way you can more fully embrace whichever you prefer?