Freedomroo – Trainer and mum-of-four Sophie Guidolin reveals her tips and tricks for grocery shopping like a pro

A personal trainer and mum-of-four has shared her grocery shopping secrets, including buying in bulk when things are on special (Sophie Guidolin pictured)

A personal trainer and mum-of-four has shared her grocery shopping secrets, including buying in bulk when things are on special and always using the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Sophie Guidolin, 31, from the Gold Coast, said it can be expensive to shop for a family that’s as big as hers – and with five hungry mouths to feed every day, she knows how difficult it is to make sure the family eat healthily and on budget.

‘You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars each week on groceries to live a healthy balanced life. Whatever your budget is, it’s possible to shop and live healthy,’ Sophie wrote on her website.  

A personal trainer and mum-of-four has shared her grocery shopping secrets, including buying in bulk when things are on special (Sophie Guidolin pictured)

Sophie (pictured), 31, from the Gold Coast, said it is expensive to shop for a family that's as big as hers - and she knows how difficult it is to make sure the family eat healthily and on budget

Sophie (pictured), 31, from the Gold Coast, said it is expensive to shop for a family that’s as big as hers – and she knows how difficult it is to make sure the family eat healthily and on budget

1. Plan every meal

It might sound over the top, but planning every meal and writing down a list of what you have and what you need to buy for meals and snacks will ‘massively reduce’ your overall grocery spend.

‘I like to use a weekly calendar to write down all my meals for the week ahead and then I keep it somewhere I can easily refer back to, like on the fridge,’ Sophie said.

She also said that having a plan means you spend less time in the kitchen wondering about what to cook and faffing over whether you have all the ingredients. 

A weekly calendar means you can pencil in any nights where you might have guests coming over or are going out.

Sophie said she always knows whether she needs to make more or less food.

The mum-of-four (pictured with two of her kids) recommends that you always plan the week of meals and ideally write them down on a calendar on the wall

The mum-of-four (pictured with two of her kids) recommends that you always plan the week of meals and ideally write them down on a calendar on the wall

2. Use leftovers for lunches 

The second tip the PT swears by is using any leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day, whether it’s for herself, her husband or some of their four children.

‘Don’t spend money on pre-made lunches,’ Sophie said.

‘Reuse meals that you are cooking the night before for leftovers the next day while making a base for meals ahead.’

One of Sophie’s favourites is savoury mince, because it works for a number of dishes including tacos, risotto, nachos and spaghetti bolognese.

The 31-year-old said it’s worth thinking about foods that are easy to pack in a school lunchbox the next day when doing this.

3. Substitute with frozen 

A lot of people shy away from frozen fruits and vegetables, because they think they don’t have the same level of nutrients as fresh options.

But Sophie said they are often just as good provided they are ‘snap frozen’ as this means they were frozen while fresh to retain the nutrients – and they are regularly half the price.

The mum-of-four’s favourites include frozen fruit for her morning smoothies and frozen spinach that she can use either in a smoothie or frittata.

Buying frozen also means you’re likely to waste less.

The 31-year-old (pictured) is a big fan of oat milk, so when it's half price, she buys two or three weeks worth to ensure she has backstock

The 31-year-old (pictured) is a big fan of oat milk, so when it’s half price, she buys two or three weeks worth to ensure she has backstock

4. Buy specials in bulk 

Many thrifty mums are fans of bulk buying, and Sophie is no exception to this.

She buys special items in bulk, meaning she never has to pay full price.

‘It takes a bit of organisation, and quite a bit of money upfront, but in the long run, you’ll save time and money by stocking up,’ she said.

She particularly loves oat milk, so when it’s half price, Sophie will buy 2-3 weeks worth until it is next on sale.

She does the same with rice, tinned foods and meat – which can be frozen as soon as it’s brought home.

Pre-made meals may seem convenient and conveniently priced, but Sophie (pictured) said you'll always spend more and end up eating less healthily if you buy pre-made

Pre-made meals may seem convenient and conveniently priced, but Sophie (pictured) said you’ll always spend more and end up eating less healthily if you buy pre-made

5. Avoid pre-made meals and always cook from scratch

Pre-made meals may seem convenient and conveniently priced, but Sophie said you’ll always spend more and end up eating less healthily if you buy packaged food.

‘Use what’s in your cupboards,’ she recommended, adding that you could set yourself a challenge to make something with everything inside them. 

Simple meals using pantry staples like chickpeas, lentils and eggs are all delicious, nutritious and cheap to make.

6. Eat less meat

Another key secret to shopping and eating on a budget is eating less meat.

‘Meat can be a hefty chunk of our grocery budget, so why not try going meat-free once or twice a week,’ Sophie said.

If you’re worried about losing out on protein, the 31-year-old said you can find protein in other things like lentils, chickpeas, tofu, seeds, legumes and grains.

Sophie said her family try to have a couple of meat-free days and enjoy foods such as pasta, frittatas or vegetable curry or stew.

The mum (pictured) recommends you and your family enjoy at least one or two meat-free nights per week to save cash

The mum (pictured) recommends you and your family enjoy at least one or two meat-free nights per week to save cash

7. Waste less

Finally, if you want to seriously cut your bill down, Sophie said you need to work on the idea of wasting less food. 

This means buying less, and making your meals stretch a little more.

‘Freeze food so it doesn’t go off, and use up leftovers,’ she said.

‘Try making soup from leftover veggies or chuck any fruit you have leftover into a blender to make a smoothie.’  

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