Monday, April 13, 2015

Guest Post: Grocery Staples

Today we have a guest post! It's so easy to order take out when you're feeling lazy, but Molly has some great staples to pick up the next time you're out shopping to curb the habit of ordering food. 




You’re busy. Always busy. There never seems to be enough time in the day to finish all your work, see friends, clean, catch up on the news/your favorite TV shows, workout, or eat. Looking at that list, the only essential is eating. We’re fortunate to live in a world with fast food and food delivery apps that ensure we’ll always have a meal at the tip of our fingers. But eating out adds up VERY QUICKLY. Here’s a list of 10 grocery items you should always have on stock to whip up a quick meal that your stomach and bank account with enjoy.

Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables can be pricey, especially when you don’t use them in time - it feels like you’re literally throwing money away. That’s why I buy frozen fruit because essentially there’s no expiration date. I can eat them on their own as a snack or add them to complete a meal like blending them in a smoothie or topping off my oatmeal. As for my vegetables, I’ll occasionally freeze them, but I find that carrots last a while. I always have a bag of baby carrots in my fridge that help curb my appetite while I take the time to make dinner.

Carbs
With recent diet trends, carbs have gotten a bad rep, but the truth is they’re filling, easy, and cheap. I admit that I don’t eat a ton of carbs, but I always have a loaf of whole grain bread in my freezer. It only takes a few minutes to defrost and you don’t have to worry about the bread going bad, I’ve kept loaves in my fridge for months and they still taste great. Speaking of dieting, did you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Don’t miss it! I usually start my morning with microwaveable oatmeal. It takes about 90 seconds and the store brand costs me less than $3 for 12 packs.

Dairy
Sometimes I am reluctant to buy dairy because it often expires before I can finish it. However, I found that yogurt and cheese typically have a long shelf life. I’ll eat yogurt with berries as part of a meal or add it to a smoothie. I use cheese to make pizza with the frozen loaf of bread so I can get my ‘take-out’ fix in a cost effective way.

Protein
Protein is extremely important because it helps you avoid ordering out by keeping you full. I often buy a family size portion of chicken breasts because it’s cost effective. If I can’t cook it right away I just stick it in the freezer for a later date. My other go-to protein is peanut butter, which I also buy the family size of. It’s my life saver and I add it to lots of recipes that turn a snack into a filling meal. My favorite is adding it to a smoothie with yogurt and frozen banana.

Other
I often find that my recipes need a little more kick to them. That’s why I always have a bottle of juice and a can of marinara sauce on hand. I use the juice to complete my smoothies (can you see a trend? I love smoothies! Check out the Food Network [http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-smoothies.html] for easy recipes). My favorite is cranberry because I feel it compliments most fruits nicely. I use the marinara sauce for my sliced bread pizza as well as a marinade for my chicken.  I found that having the above staples on hand at all times has greatly reduced my dining out spending. I just find it hard to justify going out and spending $10 on a pizza when I can make a quick, healthier version for a fraction of the cost.



About Molly:
Like many college seniors Molly Murphy feared the 'real world.' She didn't want the good times with friends to end. She also refused to believe that the best time of my life was over. So after her graduation from Bentley in 2012, Molly set out to make her early twenties amazing. She focused on saving money, her health, building lasting relationships and her career. Molly's social life might not be as packed as her college years, but she gained a new perspective on life that even though priorities change, your first years as a 'real adult' can be just as amazing and memorable as college.


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