3 Strategies for Smarter Grocery Shopping
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Going to the grocery store is something you probably don’t give much thought. But there’s a right approach and a wrong approach. The wrong approach can lead to a few pitfalls, including:
- Spending more than your budget
- Buying things that go bad before you can use them
- Buying things you never needed in the first place
To help you make smarter choices at the grocery store, here are my three strategies for saving money, sticking to your health goals, and making sure you don’t buy things you don’t need.
Keep A List & Make a Plan
When most folks visit the store, they intend to grab just a few things. A gallon of milk, some bread, maybe a box of cereal. As they walk down the aisles, items begin to magically appear in their shopping cart.
Take time to plan your meals for the week. Make sure they all include a protein, whole grain or plant-based carbohydrate, and healthy fats. There’s a lot to be gained by planning your meals. You eat better, healthier food, do more cooking for yourself and put more thought into what you eat, try new recipes, and save at the grocery store at the same time.
Write out all the things you need for the week’s menu, including condiments and spices. Some people like to use an app for this; old-fashioned pen-and-paper works, too. Having a well-planned grocery list gets you in and out of the store quickly and helps you stick to your healthy eating plan.
Skip The Middle, Man
Here’s a shopping strategy most people aren’t aware of.
Avoid the middle. The perimeter of the typical grocery store is where you’ll find fresh produce, meats and seafood, eggs, dairy and more. The aisles in the middle is where unhealthy processed foods like chips, candy, and cookies are shelved.
Because the items in the outside perimeter are fresh, doing your shopping there means you can better control the fat and sodium intake in your diet. Maintaining a healthy diet means watching what is added to foods, and preservatives and other chemicals or additives are more common in the foods in the center aisles.
These unhealthy foods are easier to avoid if you don’t even see them. Go in with a plan and stay on the outskirts and you’ll be fine.
Chill Out In the Freezer Aisle
Americans typically eat only one-third of the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. You probably aren’t surprised to read that.
But this may surprise you: The fruits and veggies that you’ll find in the produce section arent the freshest produce you can get. The freshest is flash-frozen produce in the freezer aisle!
Fruits and vegetables destined to the grocery store typically are picked before they are ripe, which gives them less time to develop a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. While canned vegetables tend to lose a lot of nutrients during the preservation process (notable exceptions include tomatoes and pumpkin), frozen vegetables may be even more healthy than fresh produce.
Why? Because those fruits and vegetables are frozen at the peak of their ripeness, preserving their taste in your freezer for months. Compare that to the bananas decomposing on your countertop—which do you think is more economical and a better strategy in terms of health?
The takeaway? Here are the three things to remember to come back from your shopping trip with more money in your pocket and smarter choices for your kitchen:
- Stay on the outer parts of the store
- Get frozen produce
- Go in with a list
Got another shopping strategy? We’d love to hear about it. Call at (954) 314-3214 and we’ll connect you with an expert in the Fort Lauderdale area who can answer your questions.