Top 6 Grocery Lessons Learned This Summer


There are a few things that I thought I’d never do. But motherhood changed so much. Even shopping. Especially shopping…

Do you religiously read labels and stick to your planned monthly meals ingredient list? Then this post is not for you. No, not at all. You just skip on off to visit your freezer and pull out what’s needing to be defrosted for tomorrow’s dinner.

But if you’re not like that, then keep scrolling.

If you’re thinking that it’s time to decide what to eat tonight and it’s already after lunch and you don’t think they want breakfast for dinner again – and, oh no, you remember that you’re out of milk anyway and dry cereal didn’t cut it the last time you tried that – keep reading. I have a few hints for you. I’ve made these mistakes already so you don’t have to.

1. This is not mayonnaise.

This is not mayonnaise.That’s correct. This is not mayonnaise. While this brand makes that fact perfectly obvious, other brands do not. Beware especially of generic, store-brand jars. They will sneak that salad dressing abomination into your cart if you do not CAREFULLY READ LABELS. And I am here to tell you that once you get it home, there’ll be nothing edible to prepare with that stuff. Especially if you were banking on mayonnaise.

Disclaimer: Evidently there is a debate over salad dressing vs mayo. If this is true and there are a few of you out there who do prefer the aforementioned, then please stop by sometime. I have half a shelf of it that you may have. I only donate the good stuff to the food pantry.   

2. This is not ketchup.

low sodium ketchup

This isn’t either.

This is also NOT ketchup.


And neither is catsup, either. Look, it’s not the spelling and it’s nothing to do with the brand. It’s the salt. There isn’t a salt shaker in the world big enough to fix either of these if you make this mistake. It’s kind of like trying to sugar some cold tea. Does not work.

Disclaimer: Evidently there are a few of you out there who are required to watch your sodium intake. Come on over, I’ve got some donations for you.

3. Forget the “meals” found on this aisle.

freezer mealsNothing on this aisle is going to work for you. You ate from here so often when you were single. Just don’t think those prepackaged family-size meals are going to help you now. I know. You’re calculating the savings when each is on sale for $2.00 off. You’re exhaling when you dream of the time it’ll save you with prep and clean up.

Keep walking. Just do it.

Unless you live alone, there is not one single one of these that will satisfy two or more people. Trust me. We’re not picky eaters here at my house. Each of us has just ONE detestable food. But trust me, any of these will most assuredly have onions, bell peppers, and/or corn in them. You don’t want to appear as if you are playing favorites with the ones who got lucky this time. And no, you cannot “pick out” those detestable ingredients. It may say flash-frozen, but those things have contaminated every single smidgen of space in that plastic bag or box.

Disclaimer: If everyone in your household likes onions, bell peppers, and corn, then, um, go for it (?) – but I am not responsible.

4. This is not ham.

pork shoulderYou think you know this. But it’s only so obvious because of those other ingredients gathered around it in this photograph. Trust me, if you are accustomed to buying a certain cut of meat by a certain brand, then you may find yourself grabbing that brand and thinking it only makes the one thing that you’ve known it for.

Disclaimer: Let me just say right here that the rest of your table may be perfectly happy eating a pork shoulder roast for Easter lunch, but you will not. You, as the grocer/cook who had one thing in mind when preparing the traditional holiday meal, will begrudge every bite of that delicious roast. You will forever remember what a ham really is.

5. This could be a ham.

this could be a hamNo, you think that you know the proper shape of a ham. You think that it’s almost the holidays and the butcher has a nice pork butt on sale. You think that you can make some inexpensive pulled pork without even firing the grill or smoker. It’s so hot outside these days. You think a dash of liquid smoke in that slow cooker will have the family quite impressed with your “bbq.”

Disclaimer: Let me just say this, “Your family may be quite satisfied with their shredded ham, but you will know with every bite. You will know that this is not worthy of that barbeque sauce.” And you will forever remember to read the label.

6. Remember this aisle.

ice cream aisleAlways go down this aisle. Always stop. Always open the door(s) and grab a couple. You think you still have an unfinished half gallon. You think you don’t always need to splurge on sweets. Don’t think. Just do. Ice cream can cover a multitude of grocery errors.

Disclaimer: And on days like these, it can even substitute for dinner.

Have you made any shopping mistakes this summer? We’d love to learn from them!

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Melanie McGehee never knew she wanted to be a mom. Even marriage caught her somewhat by surprise, in spite of the fact that she met husband Andy through a matchmaking service. She thanked eharmony by writing about that experience for an anthology, A Cup of Comfort for Women in Love. Almost two years to the day after marrying him, she stared at two pink lines and wonder aloud, “Is this okay?” His response, “Kind of late to be asking that now.” It was a bit late – in life. But at the advanced maternal age of 35, she delivered by surprise at 35 weeks and an emergency C-section, a healthy bay boy. Ian, an only child like herself, is ten years old and unlike any of the children Melanie has tutored, substitute taught, or led in a variety of church activities. Together with him, Melanie has discovered Thomas, SpongeBob, youtube tech channels, Lemony Snicket, Kate DiCamillo, shirts with no tags, and tooth powder. You can follow Melanie’s personal adventures and her love of children and teaching at beingmissmelanie.


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