Here we have it! A shopping list with everything you need to eat proper, nutritious meals without having to cook for yourself. Because fuck cooking when you’re depressed.
Everything here is inexpensive and easy to find, you should be able to carry it all home if you don’t have a car, and bonus, there’s minimal waste, because most of the recipes you’ll find here use a combination of these “Master” ingredients. It’s amazing how much you can do with so little. (Please note, this shopping list is for one person’s food for the week.)
At the bottom you’ll find a “Master Salad Mix”, “Master Condiments List” (including my family’s cheat version of thousand island sauce), and “Master Tools and Appliances List”, which covers the bare fucking minimum you’ll need to prepare the food here.
The Master Shopping List
Staples (The “buy once” list)
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Honey (go with a squeeze bottle for convenience)
- Dried mint leaves (from the spices section)
- 8-12 tortillas/wraps
- A box of breakfast cereal OR a loaf of bread*
Meats and Dairy
- 10 small cans of tuna/salmon in whatever flavours sound good
- A cooked chicken from the deli
- Some ham/salami/turkey/sliced sandwich meat of your preference (3-5 sandwiches worth)
- A litre of milk (choose two if you bought cereal, choose long-life if you barely drink milk)
- A 300g-500g tub of natural/vanilla yoghurt
- A small block of feta cheese
- A small block of tasty cheese OR tasty cheese slices
Fruit and Veg
- A cos/iceberg lettuce
- 200g Spinach
- 200g Arugula (and/or beetroot leaves, if you find arugula too tangy)
- 300g green beans
- Two carrots
- A red onion
- A capsicum
- 2-3 large, red tomatoes
- Bean shoots/alfalfa
- An avocado (optional)
- Two lemons
- Four apples (Granny Smith is always good)
- A packet of frozen, mixed berries (no strawberries, they turn to mush)
The Master Salad Mix
You will need:
- Leafy greens (chopped lettuce, spinach, aragula, beetroot leaves)
- A carrot, grated
- Half a capsicum, sliced thinly
- Half a red onion, sliced thinly (only if you like it)
- OPTIONAL: A handful (100g) of green beans, ends removed, chopped in half
- Literally just mix it all together. Boom. Salad mix that you can hide in everything and barely taste. Put that baby in the fridge.
Now you have a basic salad that can be hidden in pretty much every meal. Now, the basic, uncut leaves and veg should keep for the week in the fridge. Undressed salad will only keep 3-5 days in the fridge, so I would recommend making the salad mix twice a week. Pick two days, say Monday and Thursday, and spend three minutes making your salad for the days in between. Otherwise you’ll be making salad for every meal.
Don’t freak out if it’s looking slightly wilted day 3-4, but if it goes slimy, throw it out and check that your fridge isn’t too warm. There should be a dial in the back somewhere you can turn to adjust the temperature.
The Master Condiments List
So, this is where all the weight is. So if you’re carrying your groceries home, and you don’t already have the basics, then only get what you’ll put on a sandwich. There’s no reason you can’t have the same three condiments every day for the first week, and then add a little variety week by week. Better than putting your back out and breaking the bank week one.
Everything here is all buy-once-and-forget though so once you’ve bought it, you don’t really need to budget for it.
- Tomato sauce
- Barbecue sauce
- A chilli sauce of some sort (sriracha, tabasco, peri peri, basic hot sauce, whatever sounds good)
- Balsamic vinegar
The extras (buy it if you like it):
- Cream cheese spread*
- Caesar salad sauce*
- Salad dressing
- Hoi sin sauce*
- Thick soy sauce OR kecap manis
*These are NOT healthy and should be eaten in moderation. Salad dressings vary in calories but you never need much of them, so I don’t think they’re worth stressing over.
Cheat’s ‘Sort of Thousand Island’ Sauce (it’s really good, trust me)
- One heaped tablespoon of mayonnaise
- One heaped tablespoon of tomato sauce
- Lemon juice until you like the tang
- Salt and pepper to taste
If you accidentally overdo the lemon juice and it’s too tangy, just add mayonnaise to compensate. At worst you end up with too much thousand island sauce and have to eat a couple of meals that use it. It’s whatever. Have a stupid stock photo of what your response shouldn’t be when you end up with half a bowl of this stupid sauce, and pretend the author isn’t some dumb fuck laughing at the google search results for “free stock photo angry cooking”.
The Master Tools and Appliances
Okay, so, this is the bare minimum of stuff you’ll need to prepare and store the food.
- A fridge (even just a bar fridge, that’s what I have)
- A plate
- A bowl
- A chef’s knife
- A cutting board
- A cheese grater
- Some cheap plastic containers (every supermarket will sell stacks of 4-8 for like, $5)
Additionally: If you need any tools, ingredients, or condiments not in these lists, it will always be clearly noted in the recipe. I’m gonna make sure you’re never half-way through making something, only to realise you don’t have what you need, because nobody can be fucked going to the supermarket for one thing.
If you do go, you’ll get snacks while you’re there, and then it’s crisps for dinner. And this entire blog is about avoiding that extra effort, and avoiding snacks for dinner. So yeah. I’ll do the keeping track of what you’ve got, you’ve just gotta throw it all together. Between you and me, we’ve got this.