This Recipe Developer and Cookbook Author Grocery Shops for Nutritious Lunches and Toddler-Friendly Dinners
Name: Alex Joy
Location: Taunton, MA
Number of people in household: 4
Occupation: Mom, Recipe Developer, and Cookbook Author
Where you shopped: Shaw’s®
Grocery hauls aren’t just what you fill your cart with: They’re also the possibilities that spring from a single trip to the store. Inside all those shopping bags are potlucks with friends, family game nights, comfort meals when we need them most, and nutritious starts to the school day. So we don’t only want to know what ingredients folks are buying — we also want to know what moments they’re making with them.
For Alex Joy, a lot of those moments include making meals that appeal to everyone from her husband to her toddler. And they all begin at Shaw’s®. That’s where Alex knows she can find high-quality ingredients for all the meals her family loves without breaking her budget.
“I love the produce section at my local store. They have a great variety of fresh ingredients and lots of seasonal choices,” she says. “My family eats a LOT of produce, so the majority of my cart every week is made up of fruits and vegetables.” And she turns that produce into delicious meals for her family. Here’s how she does it.
What’s your grocery strategy?
Alex has her time-saving skills down pat — and it starts before she even steps foot in the store. “I write my grocery list in the order of the layout of the store so that I can walk through and check things off from top to bottom. It saves so much time and mental effort,” she says. Sometimes, Alex takes advantage of curbside pickup at Shaw’s®, which allows her to pre-order her groceries online. “Every parent knows the struggle that is getting a toddler and an infant all packed up and ready to shop, and then realizing you have no room for actual food in the cart once you get into the store — because, well, kids!” she says. “So when I can order ahead of time online and take advantage of that curbside pickup, I’m a happy shopper.”
How do you meal plan?
It’s not exactly meal planning, but it is planning ahead. “I usually think about meals the day of. I don’t like prepping too much in advance because I don’t want to eat the same things over and over again,” she says. “But I will batch cook staples like rice, lentils, sweet potatoes, and chia pudding so that I can quickly grab things that will help build meals and make it easy for me.”
Romaine and Chickpea Salad: Lunch Treat When There’s Time to Spare
With a toddler, a six-month-old, and a husband, Alex is always preparing food for someone else. When she has a moment to spare in the afternoon, she treats herself to a Romaine and Chickpea Salad. “This is my ‘busy mom lunch’ when I actually have time to make something for myself and not just snack while making meals for everyone else,” she says. “It’s so filling and flavorful. The chickpeas are my favorite part.”
Salmon with Asparagus and Potatoes: Dinner When Parents Are Visiting
Alex has perfected the art of making meals that are packed with nutrition, look beautiful, and come together quickly. As a recipe developer and cookbook author, preparing food is one of her passions — but so is spending time with her family. Alex’s parents live a few hours away, so when they visit, she relies on her go-to fast, easy, and delicious recipes. A family favorite is Salmon with Asparagus and Potatoes: “It’s another weeknight meal that’s quick, and that everyone will eat at least one part of!”
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos: Breakfast for the Whole Family
When you find something that both your toddler and your spouse will eat, hold on tight and don’t let that ingredient go! For Alex, that magical food is sweet potatoes. “They’re a favorite food for us adults and for our toddler,” she says. “Everyone eats them, and they can be customizable for all ages.” Right now, her family enjoys them in breakfast tacos with black beans. Any moment when everyone is eating the same thing is a win!
Pork Tenderloin with Zucchini and Jasmine Rice: Date Night In Dinner
It isn’t all fast dinners all the time at Alex’s house. On the weekends, when likes to spend more time marinating a more involved meal for her and her husband, like this Pork Tenderloin with Zucchini and Jasmine Rice. “This is a delicious weekend meal that’s great for a date night at home,” she says. “You’re not just sprinkling seasoning and throwing something in the air fryer. It feels more special.”
Shrimp and Veggies Over Brown Rice: Easy Crowd-Pleasing Dinner
Alex’s husband is a line worker for a utility company, and his schedule can be unpredictable — especially during New England winters. When he’s having one of those days where he realizes it’ll be a late night, Alex switches into “just get something on the table that everyone will eat, and fast” mode. Right now, that’s Shrimp and Veggies Over Brown Rice. Her secret? Frozen shrimp, veggies, and brown rice. “Using frozen foods saves me time and energy,” she says. “My toddler is picky, but I know he’ll eat shrimp. He’ll eat half the bag of shrimp!”