Food shopping doesn't have to be a dreaded task. Use the tips below to select healthy and affordable food for an efficient and pleasurable grocery shopping experience.
Stick to the outer perimeter of the store.
This is where the protein-containing foods and fresh, unprocessed food like fruits and vegetables are located. Skip the middle isles as much as possible to avoid putting processed foods in your cart.
Don't shop when you're hungry.
It's totally true: when we're hungry our blood sugar gets low and everything looks great. Not only do you put more food in your cart, but you also end up spending more money. Try and shop soon after a meal whenever possible.
Look carefully at expiration dates.
Hate it when you get home from grocery shopping and find that one of the foods you just bought will expire the next day? When selecting a food product, look for one that has the longest expiration date of all the others on the shelf. This may require a bit of hunting through items but will ensure your food will be freshest the longest.
Make a shopping list with meal plan for at least 3 days.
It's hard to shop without a plan. Before entering the grocery store ask yourself what meals you will be making in the next several days and what ingredients are needed. Write them down along with the food items that you need that week. Go through each meal in your head starting with breakfast items needed, going to lunch, snacks and dinner. Search through your coupons and use the store circular for savings.
Examine the labels.
Before putting food in your cart, carefully read the food label. Watch out for foods high in saturated or trans fat, sodium or sugar. Look for foods where the first ingredient reads whole and contains at least 3 grams or more of fiber per serving. If possible, compare the food item to others in the isle for the healthiest product possible. Click here for a guide to making good food choices.
Buy local whenever possible.
Buying food that didn't have to travel far will often times be fresher and contain more nutrients-and is more environmentally friendly.
Don't shop when the store is most crowded.
You're likely to be more frustrated and rushed to get out of the store. These feelings could result in spontaneous (and expensive) food choices and less time and patience to read food labels and plan meals.
When possible, leave children at home.
One of our clients loves grocery shopping in the evening after her kids are in bed. Not only is the store less crowded, but she has time to herself to shop more easily than if she had her small children in tow. She is less stressed and can devote more time to label reading.