food

What's in my trolley: A 'flexitarian' couple share their $200 grocery shop.

What's in my trolley is Mamamia's look into the weekly grocery shop of Australian women. From food to everyday essentials, here's a peek at what different people are putting in their trolleys. This week, Sydneysider Lily shares her week in meals and snacks.

I’m not going to lie, I love grocery shopping.

Not when I’m rushed, or have a million chores to do, but if I have time and an organised list, browsing the aisles of the supermarket is actually fun for me... there’s so many potential new things to discover and find! Does this make me old? I think so.

The one thing I dislike about grocery shopping is the crowds of people. Our closest supermarket is in Sydney's Westfield Bondi Junction, so it’s bedlam. Like, all the time.

A friend of mine recently told me she does grocery shopping on a Monday or Tuesday evening, as that’s when you get all the new specials. It’s also when there’s almost no one around. And that my friends, is my secret.

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My partner and I plan our meals each week and write a list - so we are armed with what we need to get when we hit the supermarket. I find this way easier than just wandering and buying lots of pointless things (although I still tend to do that... oops). 

We budget for $100 each for groceries each week ($200 total) and put this money in a separate account at the start of each month. We rarely use the full $200, it ranges from about $120-$180 depending on the week. Any excess we save and use on Uber Eats or something when we want to treat ourselves.

I should also note that we eat mostly vegetarian - I think the cool kids call it ‘flexitarian’. Basically, we try and eat plant-based foods as much as possible, but we both find we need a bit of meat for energy and to keep our vitamin levels up. So we often eat a little chicken and fish.

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We are lucky in that we have a Harris Farm and a Coles right next to each other. We like to shop at Harris Farm for all our fresh food, then we head to Coles after that to fill in any of the gaps and to buy the staple items that are cheaper there (things like tinned food, pasta, rice, ice cream, snacks).

This is what our shop looked like (note: we both have a major sweet tooth, so we always end up buying ice cream and chocolate... it’s our guilty pleasure).

It’s hard to get it all in one shot… but here it is! Image: Supplied.

The meals I planned from our haul this week were the following:

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry

We already had a curry paste and rice for this so I bought the following:

  • Chicken
  • Asparagus & broccoli
  • Greek yoghurt to have on the side.

Sundried Tomato and Pesto Pasta

  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Penne pasta
  • Pesto
  • Lactose-free cream
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Parmesan cheese

This pasta is my go-to easy weeknight dinner. I buy a good quality pesto from Harris Farm for $8, and though it seems expensive a little goes a long way. It also lasts for AGES in the fridge so you can add to any other dishes in future weeks.

My other splurge is on a good quality Parmesan cheese. I got this block for a little over $12, which again seems like a lot but it lasts forever, and we use it for almost everything we cook. There is literally nothing better than good quality cheese. Trust me.

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THE BEST CHEESE EVER. Image: Supplied.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

As soon as the weather gets a bit cooler, this is my go-to meal. It’s the ultimate comfort food, and it’s SO yum, arguably (and my boyfriend agrees) better than the original meat Shepherd's Pie. I use this recipe and often use a mix of frozen and leftover vegetables in it. I had a lot of the ingredients already so I just purchased:

  • Potatoes (for the mash on top)
  • Mushrooms
  • Stock cubes

Minestrone Soup

Another favourite. We love to cook soups as they are super easy, cost-effective and so yum. This week I wanted to try a minestrone. I found this recipe and bought the following ingredients:

  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Assorted vegetables (potato, pumpkin, zucchini, spinach, carrot, celery)
  • Onion
  • Cannelloni beans
  • Macaroni pasta

Salmon Fish Tacos

Mexican is another one of our go-tos and we will have some form of it every week. This week I decided on fish tacos, a classic favourite. We often have an assortment of salsa and chilli sauces at home, so that’s covered. I love to make corn on the side with a dipping sauce of Sriracha mixed with mayonnaise and some grated parmesan. It’s amazing.

Other ingredients I bought were:

  • Crumbed salmon from Harris Farm (with lime and chilli, they do this fresh and it’s so good)
  • Corn
  • Avocado
  • Capsicum
  • Spinach
  • Tortillas (these are the best tortillas I have ever eaten, and as a Mexican food lover I will settle for no less. Yes, they cost $8, and yes it’s worth EVERY PENNY. They honestly make the dish so much better, they’re so soft and delicious and fresh).

These are incredible. Trust me. Image: Supplied.

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Other than that, I had to grab an assortment of things for the kitchen, bathroom and a few snacks. Here are some of my staples:

Sukin Natural Balance Scalp Scrub

I never knew scalp scrubs were a thing until 2020... and all of sudden everyone I knew was using them. I decided to give this one a shot a few months ago and I love it so much this is my second time buying it. It has a nice fresh peppermint smell and really helps to cleanse my scalp/hair. I always feel like my hair is so much cleaner after using it.

Hello clean, fresh hair. Image: Supplied.

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Spicy Avocado Dip

Random I know, but I saw this at coles and bought it on impulse. Can confirm it’s DELICIOUS. Probably my new favourite snack. We always try to keep a dip in the fridge and some crackers for when any afternoon hunger strikes.

Image: Supplied.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are the best. There’s nothing more to it. I add them to almost any breakfast food, and when I’m baking too. My recent favourite is adding them to a morning smoothie, so I get the most out of it and it fills me up for the day.

Tiny seeds of goodness. Image: Supplied.

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In total, we spent $86 at Harris farm and $96 at Coles, which is a big week for us. We had to get some extra kitchen and bathroom things we were out of which made the cost higher, but still in budget. 

And that’s it!

If you've got any tips on how to make meal prepping and grocery shopping easier, share them below - and if you’d like to share your grocery shop, send us an email at [email protected] and put ‘What’s in my trolley’ in the subject line.

Read previous what's in my trolley articles here:

Feature image: Supplied.

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