Food & Nutrition

Supermarket savvy: How to shop once and eat for two weeks

During flu season, it pays to stock up on groceries in case you catch a bug and can’t go out. Here’s how to minimise food waste—and simplify meal prep—with versatile items that won’t spoil quickly.
Published 9 June 2020

How do you grocery shop to cover a couple of weeks without all that food going bad—or your meals becoming boring? It’s a handy skill no matter what’s keeping you home, whether you’re dodging a virus, recovering from ankle surgery, or simply want to avoid going to the supermarket every three days.

The secret to a two-week supermarket shop is to buy items that have a long shelf life and are versatile, says Leslie Fink, MS, RD, a nutritionist and recipe editor at WeightWatchers®. “Think about foods that serve multiple purposes.” For example, plain Greek yoghurt—generally good for at least 14 days from purchase—is useful in sweet and savoury dishes alike, while canned diced tomatoes are a base ingredient across cuisines, including Italian, Mexican, Greek, and Spanish.

Once you tick those boxes, opt for items you already know and like. Make friends with your freezer. Frozen, pre-cut fruits and veggies are generally as nutritious as fresh, so grab a few bags of your favourites. You can freeze most refrigerated items nearing expiration—from sliced bread to fresh chicken—for later use without undermining quality.

If you do end up stuck at home, don’t pressure yourself to prep fussy recipes. (Chances are, you’ll have enough to worry about.) The following shopping list is made for mixing and matching, so let yourself improvise with combos.

Long-lasting groceries to add to your trolley

1. Fresh produce

  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons
  • Crunchy apple varieties such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Fuji and Royal Gala
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Uncooked beetroots
  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic

2. Meat and dairy

  • Firm or semi-firm cheese, such as cheddar, Parmesan and mozzarella
  • 99% fat-free plain Greek yoghurt
  • Uncooked skinless chicken breast
  • Uncooked lean red meat
  • Eggs

3. Frozen items

  • Capsicum strips
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Broccoli florets
  • Edamame
  • Fish and seafood
  • Veggie burgers
  • Berries

Canned and jarred items

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Pasta sauce
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Beans, lentils and legumes
  • Corn
  • Fruit, such as pineapple, in juice
  • Salmon and/or tuna
  • Salsa
  • Prepared soup

Grains and other pantry items

  • Dried pasta
  • Long life milk
  • Dried, uncooked grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and barley
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Oats
  • Unsalted nuts, such as sliced almonds
  • Nut butter
  • Dried fruit, such as cranberries or apricots
  • Crackers or rice cakes
  • Tortilla chips
  • Stir-fry sauce
  • Bread

Simple meals to make from foods in your pantry