Doing the weekly shopping is sometimes the most tedious item on our to-do list, but it must be done. So how do we avoid the pitfalls of poor shopping decisions when life moves so fast? With a plan! Keeping a running list of household items as they run out helps save time and energy. Planning out meals ahead of time and jotting down what is eaten most often will also help you stay focused when you’re are inundated with so many choices.
The old adage of not grocery shopping when you’re hungry is still great advice. It’s just too hard not to over buy when everything on the store shelves looks delicious!
Here are a few quick tips and reminders:
- Spend the time to make a complete list of what you need before you venture out to the market and do your best to stick to it.
- Plan out the weekly meals so you have all the ingredients you need written down ahead of time.
- Don’t get sucked into the deals and specials unless it’s really something that you need and will eat.
- Concentrate first on those outside aisles – that’s where the freshest items are! You’ll generally find fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and meat on the outside, while those interior shelves may be full of packaged items, which may be higher in calories.
- Check the expiration dates on perishable items like dairy and meats when you add them to the cart.
- Bring your kids with you so they learn how to shop smart. But don’t let them talk you into filling the cart with deliciously naughty things. They learn good food habits from you and this is the best place to start.
- Pay attention to the ingredients listed in packaged food. Older children can learn about reading the nutrition labels and be active participants in choosing healthy foods! For example, have the kids check the sugar content for each item before it enters the cart. New FDA nutrition label requirements start in 2018 that details how much added sugar is in it vs. what is naturally occurring, as well. This will help train your children to make informed choices.
- Double check your cart against your list before you get in line and see if you have everything you need. Also check if you’ve tossed in a few things that you don’t really
- Don’t forget your reusable bags!
Remember, making smart shopping choices is only the first step. You still need to prepare the food! In the kitchen, trim visible fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry before cooking. Use lower fat cooking techniques such as roasting and steaming, and choose healthy oils like olive oil over butter and margarine where you can.