We Became New Parents at the Start of the Pandemic — Here’s How Much We Spend on Groceries
Location: Merrick, NY
Number of people in household: 3 (Morgan; her husband, Troy; and their 8-month old son, Rowen).
Age: 32 and 34
Occupation: Morgan is a Special Education administrator as well as a food blogger/recipe developer. Troy is an accountant.
Grocery shopping for how long? 7 to 10 days
Where did you shop? Whole Foods and Thrive Market
Did you get your groceries delivered or did you go to the store? We have resorted to getting our groceries delivered from Whole Foods due to the pandemic, but also occasionally head out to the stores.
How much did you spend? $166.46
Dietary restrictions? We have no restrictions but we tend to eat mostly fresh produce and keep our meals low-carb or no-carb.
How did you choose where to buy groceries?
I was pregnant at the start of the pandemic and gave birth to my son on St. Patrick’s Day (right at the height of the lockdowns). Trader Joe’s used to be my favorite spot to shop, but due to safety precautions and long lines (plus now the shift in weather), I limit my visits there. I used to be an avid Whole Foods shopper, and learned that Amazon does Whole Foods delivery so I gave it a shot and loved the service.
I’ve been a member of Thrive Market (an online, organic marketplace with discounted products from lots of brands) for a while and frequently buy staple pantry items from there. There’s a yearly membership, but I have saved so much money buying products I already love and trust, plus every membership aids other families in getting food. It’s important to me to pay it forward.
What time did you shop and what was it like?
Due to the pandemic, securing delivery windows is still nearly impossible, but waiting on lines to enter a store was not an option, because I had to be home to feed my son. When I order groceries for delivery through Whole Foods, I usually look to get a delivery window for the morning, as I’ve noticed more items are available then. Then I can put things away while Rowen either naps or hangs in his activity center and watches me unpack the delivery.
Ordering from Thrive Market is amazing! I’ll place an order on Tuesday, it’ll usually ship the next day (sometimes the same night), and will arrive by the weekend. During the height of the pandemic, Thrive Market shipping became delayed by about two weeks, and lacked quite a lot of products that I tend to stock up on. Thankfully it’s way easier to shop and browse now, and I can take my time choosing items for my cart rather than rushing to checkout.
How did you meal plan?
I am a huge type-A person and am happiest when everything is organized, so it’s no surprise that I love to plan out my meals ahead of time. Ever since having Rowen, I rely heavily on my Notes app on my iPhone and the menu board that I purchased at HomeGoods. I also run a food blog, so I am always experimenting with different foods and recipe testing. Sundays are part of my meal prep.
I plan to get the bulk of my groceries delivered on Saturday morning to meal prep and batch cook dinners and lunches on Sunday mornings. I leave one (sometimes two) nights open for ordering in and maybe one lunch on the weekends for takeout. I choose a few easy recipes to make, like chicken cutlets, ground turkey dishes, and chili, and I’ll roast several different vegetables simultaneously. I’ve learned to prep easier things first and make the more complicated dishes afterwards. I also make sure our menu for the week is well-rounded: a few vegetable-based meals, one chicken dish, one beef dish, and one pasta dish.
What did you buy?
- Brussels sprouts
- Broccoli rabe
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
- Red leaf lettuce
- Heavy cream
- Teriyaki sauce
- Organic white bread
- Chicken breasts
- Ground turkey
- Prenatal vitamins (I’m nursing so this is not something I buy regularly, but I am still taking these daily even at 8 months postpartum.)
- Organic cane sugar
- Dry yeast
- Maple syrup
- Avocado oil
How much did you spend?
At Whole Foods I spent $91.25 and at Thrive Market I spent $75.21.
Total Cost: $166.46
What couldn’t you find?
I couldn’t find breadcrumbs and I couldn’t find a particular brand of bread I like at Whole Foods, but it’s not the end of the world so I got another type of loaf. On Thrive Market, I was able to find everything I was looking for, and I know that if I absolutely needed something I missed, I could place an order and get it within a quick turnaround. I am incredibly grateful to be a member of Thrive Market and that I have the opportunity to shop this way.
What do you plan on making?
- Homemade gluten-free chocolate chip muffins
- Almond butter and jelly sandwiches with fresh fruit
- Monday: Baked chicken cutlets with roasted vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, and butternut squash)
- Tuesday: Ground turkey with roasted rosemary sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
- Wednesday: Ratatouille stew with baby potatoes and spinach
- Thursday: We will probably order Mexican food because I am obsessed with quesadillas
- Friday: All the leftover vegetables we did not eat will be turned into veggie medley orzo (no waste)
- Saturday: Slow cooker teriyaki pot roast over rice or bone broth risotto
- Sunday: Leftovers or homemade pizza (we have dough in freezer and will use pantry marinara and whatever mozzarella cheese we already have in the fridge)
How is this different from how you normally shop?
This round of grocery shopping was a bit more expensive than usual. I don’t always order prenatal vitamins, and I don’t always buy this many baking ingredients. Fresh produce is always the majority of my grocery hauls because it’s how we like to eat: mostly plants, high-quality meats, and a few grains. Otherwise, this is pretty much how we shop, and will continue to do so as our son gets older — he’s already loving my roasted veggies!