1. Shop the perimeter of the store –> Have you ever noticed that most of the healthier foods are around the perimeter of the store? The produce, meat and dairy sections are almost always located around the border of the store…(of course there are things on the outside that are not healthy…like donuts from the bakery, but you get the idea 🙂 ).
2. Always check the labels… “nutrition facts” –> Some people don’t care how many calories, fat, protein or carbs are in what they eat…but it is a good idea to know and of course I think everyone should care. I will not go into detail about what you “should” look for but a very basic thing is to look at the serving size! Companies have to specify a serving size (like 1/2 Cup) so you know what the facts are referring to. They will try to make their product look good on the label but if you look at the amount of food they are talking about you may be surprised!
3. Check the ingredients –> Are you getting what you think you are? One thing I like to use for an example is juice… how about “Pomegranate juice” … if you look at the ingredient list, what does it say? many times you will see apple, pear, and other flavors before you get to see pomegranate! Many foods are filled with cheap fillers but companies can get away with a lot in this area. Another example is “guacamole”…many times you will see this word but look closer because you may get “guacamole flavored dip”… which will have maybe 2% or less actual avocado! I could go on forever in this category, but read and see what you are actually buying and compare it to what you actually want!
4. Plan a menu and make a list –> Going in with a list will help you spend money on what you need, rather than many other exciting things that catch your eye! I try and at least have our dinner meals planned out. If I have time, I look at the food that we have on hand and then find recipes or create something in my head they could go towards…then create my list based on what I need to complete those meals.
5. Creat a grocery list with categories –> to help you organize your trip! Consider: The store you shop at and the direction you shop it! For example, I like to go to “Publix” grocery stores where we live now, and I go in and shop beginning on the right side of the store (but on a real hot day or when I need a lot I will start with the non-perishables). So I would create a template for myself that has categories (with space to write my items) in the order I will go through them at the store) For example: deli…produce…meat…dairy…grocery…
6. Check the dates –> make sure you can use it in the life it has left! Sometimes things are on sale for a reason… they will expire soon! This is what I have found with meats and daily items…. not just brown bananas!
7. Is it really a deal? –> No, if you don’t need it and extra YES, if you do! I have learned that you can acquire too many boxes of cereal and pasta source because they are always on sale! If bread is on sale and I buy 2, the extra one may go bad… so it is only a deal if you are going to be using it before it expires! It is easy to buy more non-perishables than I need, but have found that it is worth something to me to be able to put away the things I need because I don’t have much cabinet or storage space! The store can store it for me and I will pick it up when I need it!
8. Don’t shop hungry! –> This is a pretty big one because it is hard to stay on task or budget when you shop hungry…everything looks so good!
Well, those are some that popped into my head today and hopefully there was something helpful in there for you!
Happy shopping and I will be back another day!