groceries and meal prep

Q: Where and how often do you go grocery shopping? Bi-weekly? Weekly? As needed?

A: I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s and Costco mainly because we prefer quality over quantity. I go to Trader Joe’s once a week and Costco every 1.5 weeks-2 weeks. I like fresh meats, veggies, and fruits over frozen stuff so I guess that’s why I go so often. However, there are a few products I order on Amazon, pick up at Target, or at Sprouts the few times I go during the month. I am also starting to dabble with Instacart. Haven’t decided if it’s worth it for me yet.

Q: When do you go?

A: I go to Costco on a Friday night if I don’t have anything planned or on Sunday when the family is napping midday. I go to Trader Joe’s on a Saturday or Sunday about 30 minutes before they close. This gives me just enough time to get everything off my list  while it forcing me to hurry so I don’t buy things I don’t need.

Q: Do you always go by yourself?

A: Heck yes. It’s why I go at night and without my husband or my kids. I avoid the crowds, the sun, parking nightmares, sick people and crying children. Someone told me I am probably a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). I don’t like when too much is going on around me all at once. It really throws me off and I can’t think. I deal with it if I have to but I do my best to avoid having to shop with my family for those reasons. I also find that I stick to my list much better which saves me time and money. Btw, everyone is usually restocking late at night so I get first dibs on things they are putting out for the mornings which means I get to pick the biggest bananas, freshest cauliflower, and less beaten up apples that way.

Q: Do you stick to a budget?

A: Yes. I don’t spend more than $120 bucks at Trader Joe’s every week. Although at Costco, I include more than just food items in my car. I feel that reflects poorly on the “grocery” budget at the end of the month but I’m not going to separate household items from food items.  For some people this may sound like a lot but we like to “splurge” on ourselves this way. We love to eat real food and I also know it’s preventative care. I probably won’t regret spending that much money on groceries as I know it’s a long term investment for our health.

Q: How often do your kids snack?

A: My kids snack two times during the day. We eat breakfast around 8:30/9 am and so our first snack is around 11:30/12 pm. I always make sure the snack is never calorie dense meaning that it’s just enough to hold them over for lunch but not enough to sabotage hunger for REAL food for lunch time..So today for example, I gave them this:

  • 1 juice box
  • handful of baked cheese crunchies
  • 1/2 bar of this Lebanese treat my husband’s client gave us

Both of them take a nap around 3ish and wake up from nap around 4:30. This is when they get their seconds “snack” which is usually some kind of green smoothie or a banana/nut combo.  Again, it’s usually a combination of fat and carbs to hold them over for dinner time but not enough to sabotage their real meal. We eat dinner anywhere between 6:30-7:15 anywhere were at. Our kids go to bed at 8:30/9ish so before bedtime my 2 year old gets milk and I offer my daughter walnuts/almonds with a banana before bedtime too.

Q: Do you meal prep?

A: Yes. Well, kind of. I’m somewhere in the middle if I’m being really transparent. Haven’t fully committed to the idea of meal prepping for the whole week but I have found something that works for us right now.

When I go to the grocery store I always pick out bananas, fresh fruit, and frozen fruit so I have a variety of fruits to choose from. I wash, cut and put all the ripe fruit in containers. If they still need to mature, I leave them out until they’re ready. I also pick up a few bags of leafy greens for smoothies or to add to breakfast burritos. I also choose a few carbs  I can cook ahead of time to reheat when I’m ready. I always have some kind of carb that’s readily available and doesn’t require cooking. These are things like bread, tortillas, or crackers. Then I also batch cook rice and pasta to freeze for later use. I try to find creative ways that don’t require cooking but they have to pass my quality taste test to become a staple in my home.

  • For breakfast I rotate 4-5 breakfast options and change up the fruit to keep it interesting.
  • I do the same for lunch.
  • So really, the only meal I “plan” for is dinner. And usually I base that decision around the meat I end up buying that week on the day of. I like to ask myself what kind of protein I feel like eating based on cravings. I like to think that my body is smarter than I am and so if I’m craving something, like a  tuna sandwich for example, I will bust open a can of tuna instead of forcing myself to eat chicken all week.
  • So basically, I prep/cook all my food as “basic” and add then flavor it up and/or decide how to eat it later in the week. This is the method I plan to teach in the recipe book I’ve been working on. Like, I never stress about what were going to eat. It’s all in the fridge ready to go even though it’s NOT perfectly prepared and pre-portioned in it’s own little meal prep container.

Q: How often do you go out to eat?

A:  Every Saturday after church we go out to eat MOD pizza as a family. I also tend to pick up something to eat Thursdays’ before Emma’s school time. Sundays I’m also open to eat out. I guess it depends on what we end up doing that day because it’s really our only day “off” together as a family. Were not super strict about eating out but I have found that over the years I’ve lost interest unless I know it’s something I can’t make at home. So when we go out my personal rule is “Don’t order it if you can make it at home or if it uses a ridiculous amount of ingredients that would be just as expensive/time consuming to replicate.”

Q: What do you do when your schedule is really busy?

A: So when we go out, I try to eat before (even though I’m not hungry) or bring along a peanut butter and jelly for the kids made out of brioche bread, reduced fat raspberry preserves, and almond butter to give us “time” to calmly find a place to eat where the kids can just “top off”. I really do my best to not overcomplicate it.

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DeeDee Ballesteros

DeeDee Ballesteros

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About Me

Hi! I'm DeeDee

stronger u coach

I thought I knew what it meant to “be healthy” and then life happened. I got married, had kids, and spent months running and working out only to make ZERO PROGRESS. So I dug a little deeper, and I found the system with the flexibility AND the results I needed to look and feel better in my own skin. Now I love the ability to help others get those same results.

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