Home Editor's Choice The 6-to-1 Grocery Approach: A Simplified Guide to Supermarket Shopping
Editor's Choice

The 6-to-1 Grocery Approach: A Simplified Guide to Supermarket Shopping

Consider your most recent supermarket visit. Did you have a shopping plan? Did you pick up items you didn’t need? Did you overspend? These common issues can make grocery shopping a stressful experience. The 2023 Food & Health Survey by the International Food Information Council found that 76% of Americans find price influential in their food purchasing decisions, and 91% have noticed an increase in food costs. While cost is a significant factor, taste remains the top priority for most, and healthfulness is a concern for 62% of Americans.

To simplify the grocery shopping experience, Chef Will Coleman, TV personality and author of the e-book “One Stop Shop: 6 to 1 shopping and meal guide,” has developed a method that’s gaining popularity on social media. Frustrated with the time spent in stores, food waste, and budget overruns, Coleman created the 6-to-1 grocery shopping method to streamline the process.

Understanding the 6-to-1 Method

The 6-to-1 method involves visiting the supermarket once a week (or twice for larger families) and buying all your groceries without a shopping list. Instead of selecting ingredients for specific recipes, you choose based on what you want to eat. This approach avoids the need to calculate quantities for recipes and reduces food waste and impulsive purchases. It also emphasizes whole foods and limits processed foods.

To implement the 6-to-1 method, you purchase six vegetables, five fruits, four proteins, three starches, two sauces or spreads, and one treat. This method aims to make grocery shopping quick and efficient.

Coleman suggests drawing recipe inspiration from online sources and bookmarking those you’d like to try. His own recipes are influenced by his travels and kitchen experiments, which contribute to his creative process.


How 16 Fruits Boost Your Health.

Saving Money

Coleman argues that whole foods like vegetables are cheaper than processed foods. He advocates for canned and frozen fruits and vegetables if they fit your budget. Proteins, especially animal-based ones, can be costly. Limiting protein purchases to four (or five on some weeks) can help reduce food expenses and prevent overbuying.


Ways to Eat Well and Save Money at Home

Implementing the 6 to 1 Method

Your shopping cart might include:

6 vegetables

Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower.

5 fruits

Frozen berries, pears, pineapple, and mandarins.

4 proteins

Chicken breast, Greek yogurt, tofu, and salmon.

3 starches

Quinoa, Jasmine rice, and whole-wheat pasta.

2 sauces/spreads

Sweet chili marinade and pesto sauce.

1 fun treat

A bar of dark chocolate.

With these ingredients, you could create simple meals like:

  • A smoothie with frozen berries and Greek yogurt.
  • A stir-fry with sweet chili marinade, chicken, broccoli, and bell peppers served over rice.
  • A salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and peppers, and stir-fried tofu, broccoli, and cauliflower served over quinoa.
  • A salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and peppers, baked salmon, quinoa, and roasted broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Whole-wheat pasta with steamed broccoli and bell peppers.
  • Dessert: 1 ounce of dark chocolate.
  • Snacks: pears, pineapple, or mandarins.

Advantages of the 6 to 1 Method

Registered dietitian and cookbook author Dana Angelo White supports this method, saying, “If it makes grocery shopping and healthy meal preparation easier, I’m all for it.” White notes that the 6-to-1 method can help shoppers avoid impulse buys and focus their shopping.

To make the most of this method, White encourages trying new fruits and vegetables and setting a goal to try a few new items each shopping trip. She also emphasizes the importance of including treats in a healthy diet, which the 6-to-1 method allows for, promoting moderation and sustainable healthy habits.


Healthy Meals You Can Make in 10 Minutes.

Limitations of the 6 to 1 Method

As a registered dietitian, I see this method as a good starting point for those looking to shop healthier. It’s simple and promotes fruit and vegetable consumption, but it lacks detail for a well-rounded diet. Specific guidance is needed to create a balanced diet, as buying food is only part of the process.

This method may not cater to individuals with specific health conditions or food allergies. Some people prefer to plan their meals for the week, which may work better for them. The 6-to-1 method, while flexible, might be challenging for beginners or those unfamiliar with cooking, who may not know how to use the items they’ve purchased without recipes or instructions.

Moreover, foods like tofu and cereal are classified as highly processed according to the NOVA Food Classification System. However, tofu is a valuable plant-based protein and can add calcium to the diet. Cereal, despite being high in added sugar, can be a cost-effective and nutrient-dense choice when consumed with milk and fruit, like a banana, providing a balanced meal. The key is understanding how processed and whole foods can complement each other in a balanced diet.

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