Hungry Haley

it's more than food

My Grocery List - What I Buy, Why I Buy It, & How I Cook It

Haley HansenComment

Anybody else find grocery shopping to be relaxing? Something about strolling through the fully-stocked aisles, gazing at all they have to offer, while mentally exploring the endless possibilities of recipes I can try is somehow kind of therapeutic. I mean, come on, after a rough day at work/an overwhelming day of classes/whatever the stress-inducer may be, who doesn't want to fill their brain with thoughts of mouth-watering meals? 

If you haven't caught on yet, I'm basically a professional grocery shopper. I do it at least once a week, which I think has skilled me in several different areas and therefore constitutes a spot on my resume. Just sayin'. However, if you find yourself lost when it comes to finding/buying the right foods, and can't think of ways to use them, keep reading. I've been there, and I know how to help!

My Grocery-List "Regulars"

  • Bananas - ALWAYS. You know how you have those super short trips to the store just for one thing? Like, you need heart whole-grain bread for avocado toast, or you just really neeeeeeed that Ben & Jerry's. I make those trips all the time, and I never leave without a few bananas. 
    • Why? 
      • complex carbohydrates for fuel
      • can be used in several different types of recipes (see below)
      • inexpensive 
      • lots of potassium (maintains body's fluid balance) and vitamin B-6
      • delicious, duh
      • ever heard of a prebiotic?
    • How I use them:
      • Frozen for protein shakes/nice cream, OBVI. 
      • Sliced up for PB & B toast. 
      • Extra ripe for baking (my favorite). 
  • Fresh fruit - grapes are my favorite, but I will eat ANY fruit in front of me 
    • Why?
      • um, because why not? 
      • tons of vitamins and minerals 
      • easy to pack for meals/snacks 
      • can be found locally grown at farmers markets - the best!
      • help satisfy a sweet tooth :)
  • Protein powder (plant-based) - protein shakes are some of the easiest (and healthiest) on-the-go breakfasts. Or, replace some of the flour with protein powder when baking for extra-filling boost. 
    • Why? 
      • inexpensive (buy in bulk on amazon) 
      • quick/easy to use 
      • versatile 
      • loaded with protein for energy 
    • How I use it:
      • 95% of the time - protein shakes 
      • remaining 5% - baking breakfast goods
  • Nut-butter - does this one even need explanation? Y'all know I go crazy for a jar of peanut, almond, walnut, whatever other kind of nut-butter you give me. 
    • Why? 
      • inexpensive (buy a big jar - it lasts longer than you think) 
      • versatile (sandwiches, baking, protein shakes)
      • healthy fats, protein, and fiber
      • because why wouldn't you always buy your favorite food? 
    • How I use it: 
      • sandwiches - perfect for packing lunches 
      • toast for breakfast 
      • baking - can be substituted for butter 
  • Spinach - I'm like Popeye when it comes to spinach, I just don't look like him. Check my fridge and you'll always see a huge bag or two of spinach somewhere inside. Kind of like bananas, spinach is one of those items I buy every single time I go to the store. 
    • Why? 
      • multiple uses - salads, stir-fry's, protein shakes, scrambles, etc.
      • inexpensive
      • loaded with vitamins - A, K, folate, vitamin C - and minerals 
    • How I use it:
      • protein shakes/smoothies - throw a handful in and you won't even know it's there! 
      • stir-fry's/scrambles - toss a bunch in with veggies and eggs for added texture and more nutrients that are unlocked when spinach is heated 
      • sandwiches and salads - there's always room for spinach! 
  • Beans - soybeans (edamame), black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans - I use and love them all! Fun fact: I used to hate them. Boy, how time has changed! 
    • Why?
      • inexpensive (notice a pattern here?) 
      • long-lasting 
      • versatile 
      • fiber and plant-based protein - woo hoo! 
    • How I use them: 
      • salads - combine with veggies and quinoa, brown rice, or whole-grain pasta for a week's worth of packable lunches
      • hummus - dip, baby dip (your vegetables), or spread it on whole-grain bread for a nut-butter alternative. Here's my quick version with avocado!
      • baking - say whaaaaat? yeah, dude. BLACK BEAN BROWNIES. 
      • burritos and tacos - taco-tuesday and burrito-everyday! who's in? 
  • Almond Milk - a protein shake's creamy necessity, a plate of freshly baked vegan cookies' best friend, or just in a glass by itself - I LOVE ALMOND MILK. I used to buy the sweetened vanilla version, but now I like the unsweetened much better because I usually end up pairing it with something super sweet anyway. 
    • Why? 
      • easier on the digestive system (no lactose, soy, or gluten)
      • more calcium than milk! 
      • can be made at home (do you have a cow to milk?)
      • same benefits as almonds
      • inexpensive 
    • How I use it: 
      • protein shakes and smoothies 
      • for dipping (burnt) PB sammies and cookies - comforts the homesick college student :) 
      • in any recipe that calls for milk
  • Tofu and/or tempeh - tempeh (the fermented soybean patty) is my favorite of the two, but it isn't always available. Tofu (blended soybeans pressed into a cube) is available almost everywhere. 
    • Why? 
      • vegan protein source - three cheers for beans! 
      • long-lasting 
      • because I don't want to eat eggs every night for dinner 
      • tempeh - fermented, which promotes gut-health 
      • both high in protein and low in cholesterol and fat
    • How I use it: 
      • stir-fry's 
      • baked
      • sauteed or seared
  • Whole-grains - I've learned to LOVE carbs, especially in the form of whole grains. Brown rice, quinoa, Ezekiel bread/tortillas/english muffins, oats, and some "fancy" pastas are my favorites. As a vegetarian, I need these grains for some of my protein, but they also provide plenty of other necessary nutrients - vegetarian or not. 
    • Why? 
      • provides protein, fiber, and complex carbs
      • inexpensive (buy in bulk)
      • long-lasting
      • versatile
    • How I use them: 
      • stir-fry's 
      • salads (pasta salad, anyone?)
      • sandwiches, burritos, tacos
      • oatmeal 
      • homemade oat flour 

Again, these are just the items that end up in my cart almost every grocery-store trip - I buy other foods, not just these. I hope you noticed the pattern - most of them are pretty inexpensive and can be found at just about any grocery store, and there's no meat on the list. I'm a vegetarian, if you're new to Hungry Haley (Hi there! :) Nice to meet you), and I've found this lifestyle to be just as easy, if not easier and healthier (as well as less expensive and time-consuming) than a non-vegetarian diet. 

With all the madness of shopping for school supplies like books, pens, paper, etc., don't forget about food! Without a fridge full of nutritious grub, we wouldn't be able to survive college. At least, I know I wouldn't...

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for the next post, leave them below or email me. You can also tag me and #hungryhaley on Instagram and I'll be more than happy to help! I hope you all had a magnificent summer and are excited to start another year of school. I can't wait to be back with my Mustangs!