Tips & tricks to find the best deals & nutritious foods, while making your grocery store trip a breeze.
You’ve heard it before – only shop the perimeters of the grocery store, come with a list, don’t shop when you’re hungry. That’s all well & good, but life happens. We’re real people, shopping for real food that we will actually eat, on a real budget, on a real time crunch.
So I wanted to share some of the tips I’ve learned from giving grocery store tours that will actually help you! I also created a handy, FREE printable for you to take on your next shopping trip.
Enjoy produce in all their forms.
There’s a common misconception that fresh fruits & veggies are the only way to go & the most nutritious. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Frozen & canned produce has been preserved at its peak freshness. This means all those nutrients are locked into the produce, so these preserved versions of fruits or veggies may actually be better choices at times.
If you’re cooking for one or two every night, fresh produce can become wasteful due to its shorter shelf life. Also, take into consideration what you’re going to be making. If you’re making a stew or cooked fruit item, choosing the cheaper option (often times canned or frozen) would be the way to go since the texture doesn’t need to be as crisp & fresh.
Purchase fruits & veggies that are in season.
Not only is this going to get you the best deal due to simple economics – when there’s more of an item available, the price drops – it’s going to give you the best flavor & nutrients. No one wants the tomato coming from thousands of miles away, losing nutrients & flavor in the dead of winter. This would be a time where reaching for the canned tomatoes might be the better option.
Another great option is to buy produce when its in season & freeze or can it yourself so you can enjoy your favorite fruits & veggies all year long!
Compare unit prices.
This is my favorite tip because its something I never noticed until last year when I started leading grocery store tours. If you look closely at the price tag on the shelf, you’ll notice there’s two prices listed. One being the unit price, or price of the item per pound, ounce, or other measurement. The other is the price you actually pay. So the next time you’re trying to decide if you should get the bigger box of cereal or the whole carrots vs. the baby carrots, take a look. Compare that unit price. As long as the unit measurements are the same, it is an equal comparison. So choosing the item with the lower unit price = the better deal.
This is great for comparing different sized containers, the same foods in different forms, foods in similar categories or food groups, & different brands of the same food.
This handy little trick can end up saving you big time!
Be a whole grain detective.
When choosing whole grain products, it can be tricky. The front of package labeling can be pretty liberal & confuse us. The best way to know you are truly buying a whole grain product is seeing whole grain as the 1st ingredient on the list. Some common names for whole grains are: whole [name of grain, like wheat, rye, or oats], buckwheat, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa.
Don’t be fooled by bread that is brown in color. Manufacturers can add coloring or molasses to breads, which makes them look like wheat, but they really aren’t. Don’t get tripped up with fancy names like, multigrain, 100% wheat, 7-grain, stone-ground, etc. A lot of times these products aren’t whole grain, so just be sure to check the ingredient list.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, I’m going to give you my free shopping list printable. I like to fill out the bottom portion first, which is the meal planning section. This way you can get an idea of the meals you want to make for the week really quickly. Then, fill in items you need into the appropriate category to make shopping a breeze. You’ll be in & out in no time since your list is nicely organized & your weekly menu is right there in case you forget anything.
Hey everyone! I'm Emily - a Registered Dietitian & food lover! I love sharing simple, tasty recipes & mindful nutrition tips here on my blog. You can browse my site for other services I offer & learn how to work with me.