Grocery shopping takes away a big chunk of your paycheck, whether you like it or not. It also takes a big chunk of your time, too. It is quite helpful to know a few secrets that can help you make the most of both your time and money while shopping for groceries.
“Enthusiasm is the baking powder of life. Without it, you’re flat. With it, you rise.“
Grocery shopping can be quite a mundane task. Or it can be quite interesting and something you would look forward to. It all depends on your mindset and your relationship with food. Trying to save money, looking for healthier and less expensive alternatives, reading labels, planning with a list and new exciting recipes are some of the activities that can make grocery shopping sound and feel less like a chore.
Look forward to grocery shopping
Come on, don’t sulk; you’re going to the grocery store, not prison. Cheer up! Think of the delicious dishes you will be cooking with all those you’re going to buy, which would keep your family healthy and happy. A healthy lifestyle starts with smart grocery shopping. Once you start having fun, you will focus more on buying the right things and saving money.
Plan ahead for buying groceries
Prepare a master list using a couple of your previous grocery bills and use it whenever you plan to do grocery shopping. Once you have this list, all you need to do is raid your kitchen and refrigerator and mark whatever you need. This will save you time as well as money since you won’t end up buying unnecessary stuff. Meal prep also becomes easier when you have a grocery list. Once it becomes a habit, you will soon figure out that it takes lesser and lesser time to prepare the shopping list.
Concentrate on the ‘real foods’
Spend maximum time, effort and money at the section which provides you with health and nutrition, such as fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, and meat. Though it is always good to buy them fresh, the marketers of frozen fruits and vegetables claim that they are frozen as soon as they are picked. So there are chances that they may be as fresh as the fresh ones. The rule of thumb is to choose fresh ones of local produce, and frozen ones of those which are imported.
Buying fresh produce
When you buy fresh produce like fruits and vegetables packed in transparent boxes or plastic wraps, always flip and peek at the bottom and the sides to spot any spoilage. If you can see one, chances are there might be many inside. Also, supermarkets always keep the older stock in the front row. So reach out for the back row and spend a few minutes to pick and choose the best ones.
Milk is an essential item in everybody’s grocery list and we can buy them closing our eyes. True? False. Have you checked the ingredients list and found “fresh milk”? Then you are buying the right one. But there is milk that contains “milk solids” which may not be harmful, but why go for it when you have the fresh milk option. When choosing food, the more natural it is, the better.
Pro health tip: Flavoured milk contains added sugar, so when you drink milk, try replacing half cup with low-fat plain milk. Read this for more health tips.
Beware of on-sale food products
If something is on sale, especially food items, it means that the store wants to sell it as soon as possible which translates to “consume as soon as possible”. So exercise caution, or you will be left with stuff you cannot finish before it gets spoilt. And, be determined not to reach out for that value pack of chips. Restrict your value pack options to healthy, non-perishable foods or non-food commodities like toilet rolls and household cleaners.
Get the kids to help buy groceries
Don’t be afraid to bring children to the grocery store. It improves their relationship with food while they also learn a life skill, actually many: smart grocery shopping, knowing real foods, reading and understanding labels and saving money. Ask them to help you choose fresh produce, read ingredients “labels” on packaged foods, spot “on-sale” items, recheck the shopping list, etc.
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