Grocery Diaries

How I Shop and Meal Plan for 2 Weeks’ Worth of Groceries

updated May 15, 2020
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Grocery haul from Whole Foods
Credit: Ariel Knutson

Name: Arie
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Number of people in household: 2 (myself and my boyfriend, James).
Age: We’re both 32.
Occupation: Editor/Writer and Director/Writer.
Grocery shopping for how long? 2+ Weeks
Where did you shop? Whole Foods 365 and local restaurants.
Did you get your groceries delivered or did you go to the store? Went to the store.
How much did you spend? $255

We’re changing up our Grocery Diaries column to reflect what grocery shopping looks like during the coronavirus outbreak. Want to share your story? See how here.

How did you choose where to buy groceries?

Grocery shopping is very tricky right now. There’s no perfect way to shop. I ultimately decided to go to Whole Foods 365 because it’s the grocery store I know best. I wanted to get in and out of the store as fast as I could. Also, the first time I went grocery shopping during the pandemic, I went to a different store in my neighborhood that was very picked over, so we ended up having to go to Whole Foods anyway (which was well-stocked). I wanted to cut out that extra stop.

Anything I wasn’t able to find at Whole Foods 365, I looked for at the local restaurants who were selling groceries (more on that later).

Credit: Ariel Knutson

What time did you shop, and what was it like?

I went to the grocery store at 10 a.m. When we got to Whole Foods 365, there was a short line out the door, and the line was marked by tape that was spread out six-feet apart to help with social distancing. They only allowed a certain number of people in the store at a time. Once inside, I found that the grocery store was well-stocked (besides for a few essentials) and there weren’t too many people.

A few other things I noticed: All of the shopping carts are wiped down between use, reusable bags were not allowed, and they didn’t allow returns.

Credit: Ariel Knutson

How did you meal plan?

We planned all our meals for two weeks before we went grocery shopping. The New York Times says stockpiling more than two to three weeks’ worth of food isn’t necessary, and can actually hurt people who don’t have the ability to spend a lot at once.

I tried to organize the two weeks so that we used up most of our produce the first week, and then rely on pantry staples in the second week. Because we’re going to be cooking a lot, we decided to go with easy/fast recipes so we don’t burn out.

Credit: Ariel Knutson

What did you buy?

Produce: 2 heads of garlic, clementines, 3 bags of arugula, 2 white onions, 2 bags of rainbow carrots, 4 lemons, 4 limes, 5 shallots, 1 red bell pepper, 2 tomatoes, 1 jalapeño, 2 avocados, 2 bunches of parsley, lots of ginger, 2 bunches of cilantro, 3 Persian cucumbers, 8 bananas, head of lettuce, box of cherry tomatoes.

Pantry staples: Rice vinegar, 3 cans of black beans, 1 can of great northern beans, extra-virgin olive oil, 1 can of diced green chilis, 2 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 can diced tomatoes, quinoa, ramen noodles (they didn’t have soba noodles), 2 boxes of granola, loaf of bread.

Dairy: Almond milk, 2 large tubs of plain yogurt, package of sliced hickory-smoked cheddar (they didn’t have plain cheddar), bag of mild cheddar cheese (didn’t have normal sharp cheddar), bag of Mexican blend cheese, 2-dozen eggs, whole milk, 1 large tub of feta, heavy whipping cream.

Meat: 2 large salmon fillets, whole chicken, sliced roast turkey, 3-pack of chicken breast (we only needed one, but it was cheaper in the long run to by the 3-pack).

Total spend at Whole Foods: $215.29

What couldn’t you find?

  • Parmesan
  • Tofu (we’re going to use chicken instead)
  • Flour
  • Kalamata olives
  • Flour tortilla
  • Fusilli pasta
  • Frozen broccoli (we’re going to use carrots instead and leftover frozen spinach)

Restaurants have had to either get creative or close during the coronavirus outbreak, and a few of my favorite places in Los Angeles have turned into mini grocery stores. We went to two local restaurants and were able to find flour (5 pounds), tortillas (a dozen, we splurged here), Parmesan (we splurged here too), Kalamata olives, and fresh fusilli pasta.

Total spend at local restaurant bodegas: $40

Credit: Ariel Knutson

What do you plan on making?


  • Breakfast tacos
  • Yogurt/Granola

Lunch and Dinner

Baking Projects

Credit: Ariel Knutson

How is this different from how you normally shop?

Normally we cook most of our meals at home, and maybe eat out once a week. So I’m used to planning and grocery shopping like this — just not for two weeks at a time. We also had to be way more diligent about exactly what we wanted to eat, versus just choosing a few recipes and winging the rest. We can’t make small trips to the store to just pick up one or two things now.

At Kitchn we believe setting a food budget for you and your family is an essential part in getting your financial life in order. Don’t know where to start? We have a guide for that. Want to share your Grocery Diary with Kitchn? See how here.