5 Smart Grocery Shopping Tips
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Published by TOP4 Team
Making a trip to the grocery store is one task in your adult life that needs to be done over and over again (much like running loads of laundry and cleaning the house).
And while adults (and kids in tow) often find this task to be a bit of a chore, there's no doubting its importance in helping the whole family maintain or improve good health. More than just being an opportunity to bring home food that is delicious and enjoyable to eat, grocery shopping also presents an opportunity to make great, healthful and even sustainable food choices.
The next time you run out for groceries, you don't have to moan about how difficult, time-consuming and tedious it is — not when you observe simple little tricks that can make this errand a lot easier to accomplish, and can help you pick quality food items that will nourish and delight the whole family.
Here are 5 essential tips for smart grocery shopping.
1. Make a weekly or bi-weekly meal plan from which you can create your shopping list. Going up and down the supermarket aisles without a list on hand is a recipe for disaster — you may end up forgetting things you need, buying things that you already have or don't actually need yet, or picking the wrong kinds and amounts.
The best way to make a list is to know beforehand what dishes you'll be making for the week or the next two weeks, so you can list down all the ingredients you need. This can require some time to do, but it is sure to pay off because you'll be buying only what you require for all your meals and saving money because you won't be buying unnecessary stuff.
2. Don't shop on an empty stomach. It may sound like a superstition or personal preference, but many people have shared stories about how they tend to grab items they don't need when they go grocery shopping while they are hungry. It can push people to load their carts with sweet and salty junk foods and sweet beverages, which is what most people crave when the hunger pangs come on — and that can be disastrous for your waistline if you're watching what you eat, and for your wallet, if you're trying to stay on budget.
3. Compare prices from different stores and decide on the best places to get specific items. You may have discovered over time that you can't find everything you need or want in a single store, so take time to check out what other stores have to offer. One may have fresher meats, while another may carry more high quality brands of olive oil and cheeses, and yet another may have the exotic and hard-to-find spices and herbs that the other stores don't have. List down what you plan to buy from each store and plan your trips well so you can maximise your visit.
4. Make an effort to buy whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible (and use reusable bags). It can be hard to avoid convenience foods like chips, frozen dinners, cookies, sugary beverages, and other processed items, but it's worth making the effort to reduce the amount of these items you buy with each trip. Whole, unprocessed foods like lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, and healthy oils are the best choices for cooking, and they can help make everyone in the family healthy and full of vital energy.
And remember to keep reusable canvas bags in the car so that you can minimise the amount of paper and plastic bags used during grocery shopping. That’s a big help to the environment, too.
5. Take the family with you on some shopping trips so they can learn what you do. There will be times when you won't be able to go shopping as usual, so it helps for the other family members to know where you shop and what products you regularly pick up. This way, they can avoid buying products that are too expensive, have allergy-inducing ingredients, or are substandard when you ask them to pick up the grocery shopping task for the week.