Tuesday, July 19, 2011

10 Reasons and Strategies to Avoid Grocery Shopping At the Beach

We are heading to the beach next week for our annual extended family vacation! I am trying to get some things ready in advance so that I can avoid going to the grocery store the entire 8 days that we are there, yet still enjoy lots of delicious food! Here's why:

1. My kids are particular. I've learned that my kids are happy to eat nutritious foods so long as we stick with certain brands they like. My son is especially sensitive and notices when the bread or yogurt is different from the brand he prefers. Rather than take the risk of the beach grocery stores not carrying his favorites, I'll just bring along what I know he likes.

2. The stores at the beach are expensive! I don't even need to explain this.

3. Grocery shopping takes time away from vacation. At our family beach, the grocery store is always crowded, day and night. On top of that, the beach house we rented last year was over 20 minutes away from the nearest grocery store. Just needing a few items meant at least an hour trip. I would rather be relaxing!

4. You often end up buying more than you need. I prefer to avoid wasting food, even condiments and/or bread, and it seems that we always have so much stuff left over at the end of a week at the beach house. I really hate to see it thrown away and wasted! By bringing just what we need from home, I'm hoping to eliminate at least some of the excess stuff left over at the end of the week.

5. You'll end up cooking less at the beach by using food from your freezer cooking stash rather than groceries from the store. I'm going to bring a variety of items from my freezer cooking stash, including Marinated Salmon to serve for dinner one night, banana bread for breakfast, and a few other items, possibly even ingredients for cocktails. My mom is bringing a lasagna and a ham. (I hope she'll give me the hambone to bring home and make into soup!)

Here are my strategies for staying away from the grocery store next week:

6. Make a Meal Plan. By the end of this week, I'll have a clear idea of what we're planning to eat and on which day, therefore I'll have a clear picture (and a list) of what foods to bring, and how much to bring.

7. Pack a cooler and some grocery bags with your favorite foods and ingredients. After making a list, you'll know what you would like to bring.

8. Bring Open Condiments. There's no rule that you need to bring a brand new bottle of ketchup to the beach house each year. Try bringing the open bottle from your fridge/pantry. If you time it just right, you can use it up at the beach house and avoid the need to bring it back home!

9. Shop at the local produce and seafood stands. Not only will you find the freshest ingredients for your seafood meals and your fruit and vegetable salads, you will also support local small businesses in your beach community. I'm hoping we find some fresh okra to fry up, and also some nice ripe juicy peaches.

10. Take it all back home with you. By bringing a cooler, you'll also have a place to stow left over perishables on the way home. Cleaning out the fridge on the last day will be easy!

The Exception: I (or somebody) will need to make an ice-cream/popsicle run late at night one night. Those items don't travel well in the cooler.

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday!

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