I am not super big on freezing stuff, I prefer to buy fresh. I generally do a weekly shop on a Sunday or Monday. I use this time at the start of the week to prep a week’s worth of meals to set myself up for success.
I want you to be mindful of what is in season. If you buy peaches in the wintertime, they will have been frozen, so they will have no taste. You will have to add a lot of sugar to make them taste sweet. When I am in Italy in the winter, they only have apples, pears, bananas, and oranges. They do not have tropical fruit. This past year they had a one-week fig season.
But today grocery stores import genetically engineered produce that is frozen and treated with pesticides your body cannot digest. Use the list below to do your weekly shop but be guided by the season. In winter and fall buy squashes and in the summer stock up on stone fruits like plums, peaches and nectarines.
I generally stick to the perimeter of the grocery store when I shop. You will find all the fresh produce, proteins, dairy, eggs and bakery items on the outside. Try avoiding the aisles unless you need cleaning supplies or pharmacy and beauty items. Nothing good is in the inner rows of the store.
It is critical to ensure that over 70% of the foods you eat every day are alive. And by that I mean fruits and veggies. I like to walk around and grab a great selection of fruits and vegetables. The more variety the better. I aim to buy all the rainbow colors.
People eat with their eyes first. So a colorful vibrant dish is more appealing. And each colored food has its own nutrients and vitamins. Multicolored food will also trick your body into feeling full. So, I buy a multitude of rainbow-colored vegetables and fruits. And I always leave dishes of fresh cut fruits and vegetables at the front of my fridge so they are the first thing I grab when I want a quick snack.
When buying fruits and produce, you are looking for ripe and ready so it is packed with flavor. Italian cooking highlights great-quality produce which becomes the star of the dish. If you use ingredients at their peak, you won’t need to do much to create a mind-blowing dish. Less is more. Just a little bit of salt, pepper, and good oil and you are golden. Bravo!
Each week I buy meat, fish and poultry options as well as eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese. Here is a list of the proteins you can chose from. It will allow you to take advantage of in-store specials and to mix it up, so you are not making the same dishes every week.
I generally use the fish first. I always check with my fishmonger that it is not farm-raised on hormones and antibiotics, and that it isn’t smelly. And the same applies for the meat, chicken, eggs and dairy. I want items that have been uncaged and grass-fed without GMOs and added hormones.
If you are single or a college student, you probably want to keep it simpler. So, you could just buy 2 proteins for the week and marinade them differently on prep day. If you are feeding a family, you would obviously buy enough to feed four or six people. You can also scale up the recipes so that you have leftovers for lunch the next day.
I hope these tips help you create a weeks’ worth of delicious meals.