Food & Drink

How the 6-to-1 Method Can Save You Time and Money at the Grocery Store Every Week

written by LAUREN BLUE
Source: @trulyjamie
Source: @trulyjamie

Fine, I’ll admit it—I’m in a toxic relationship with grocery shopping. It’s a constant cycle of love bombing (going to the store hungry with big dreams of elaborate home-cooked meals, then proceeding to buy enough groceries to feed a family of five), finally cutting things off (purging the fridge of all the things I accidentally let expire), and swearing I’ll never go back to my old ways (inevitably repeating the same pattern on the next trip to the store). In my defense, buying groceries can be a lot more difficult than it seems. You have to find time to squeeze a grocery trip into your already busy schedule, somehow predict what future you will be craving for dinner, and strike the perfect balance of not buying too much or too little food. Not to mention navigate the jam-packed aisles of Trader Joe’s.

Luckily, I may have just found the version of couples therapy my relationship needs. A TikTok video recently went viral introducing the 6-to-1 method, a new way to grocery shop that promises to save time and money. Read on to learn all about the 6-to-1 method and how to try it on your next trip to the grocery store.

What Is the 6-to-1 Method?

The 6-to-1 method is simple. You buy six veggies, five fruits, four proteins, three starches, two sauces or spreads, and—good news for those who live for the little treats in life—one fun thing. “This makes grocery shopping way easier, way cheaper, and you get in and out,” said chef Will Coleman, creator of the 6-to-1 method.


My 6 to 1 grocery method makes shopping cheaper and easier! Let me know how you like this grocery shopping method. #6to1method

♬ original sound – Chef Will Coleman

This strategy takes the guesswork out of grocery shopping while still allowing you the freedom to buy what you actually want to eat and the flexibility to not stick to a predetermined list of recipes for the whole week. No more blocking the store aisle as you do mental math to figure out how many vegetables you need and what you’ll make with them. It also helps you avoid overspending on food that will just go to waste or last-minute takeout orders because you don’t have enough food to cook at home.

Beyond saving money, the 6-to-1 method can also help you grocery shop more effectively in less time. If you’re juggling an overfilled schedule, you might consider just showing up to the grocery store, throwing a bunch of random things in the cart, and dealing with the consequences later. But with Coleman’s method, you can go into the store with a solid formula for what to buy, without having to do any planning ahead of time. This method decreases the time spent in the store and on planning your grocery list while increasing the amount you can do with what’s in your cart.

How to Use the 6-to-1 Method While Grocery Shopping

One of the best things about the 6-to-1 method is that it’s customizable for what you like to eat. If you’re like me and pasta occupies the majority of your diet, then six vegetables may seem like a lot. However, the vegetable category is broader than you might think. Beyond your typical veggies like carrots or cauliflower, it can include leafy greens, onions or garlic, fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley, premade salad kits, frozen veggies, and more. The same goes for fruits. You can get frozen fruits for smoothies, dried fruits to snack on, citrus fruits for dressing up other dishes, avocados that double as a protein source, as well as your favorite fruits to eat alone. As for the protein category, yogurt, nuts, eggs, or meat alternatives like tofu are all fair game, in addition to classic meats like chicken breasts or ground beef.

Now that you know what it entails, let’s make a practice grocery list to see what meals you can make using this method.

  • Vegetables: asparagus, chickpeas, cilantro, mushrooms, spinach, and zucchini
  • Fruits: bananas, blueberries, cucumbers, frozen strawberries, lemons
  • Proteins: eggs, Greek yogurt, ground beef, salmon
  • Starches: pasta, rice, tortillas
  • Sauces: premade pasta sauce, salsa
  • One fun thing: a bottle of wine

With this list, you could start your days with breakfast tacos, a strawberry-banana smoothie, a veggie scramble, or a yogurt bowl with fresh fruit. For lunches throughout the week, meal prep some Mediterranean rice bowls with tzatziki sauce or baked salmon with lemon and asparagus. Then for dinner, whip up some pasta with grilled veggies, beef tacos, or fried rice—all enjoyed with a nice glass of wine. Depending on what you buy, your meal options are endless, and you can easily switch up the menu throughout the week to keep things fresh.