Supermarket Tips to Protect Your Health, Budget, and Time
We all want to stay healthy but for many of us it can feel like we have to choose between a healthy lifestyle and a healthy budget. Shopping for your family and yourself does not have to be daunting, and you can absolutely be successful no matter where you shop — whether from the local farmers market or the super warehouse shopping center. Here are some of the top nutritionists’ secrets to making your shopping trip efficient, economical, and healthy.
Best Ways To Be Efficient
Often when we head to the grocery store we are in a hurry, just looking to quickly get a few things, but this rush can sometimes cost us. We forget items that we need, and then have to spend more time, money, and gas to go back, or we buy more expensive things to avoid looking for deals. Planning ahead saves this headache. If you meal plan, get your list together before you go shopping. If you aren’t meal planning, you can write down a list of items that you eat regularly such as eggs, milk, cheese, bread, etc. Then when you go to the store you have your list right with you and can check them off as you get them.
Organize by Aisle
No matter the size of the store, you don’t want to find yourself spending unnecessary time running back and forth. When making a list of groceries that you need, try to organize your items by section, or by aisle. Some stores even have phone apps that can help you do this, which will save you time and energy while in the store. This way you can check off all your canned items, then move on to your frozen foods, without having to go back and forth throughout to find each item.
Best Ways to Be Economical
One way to save money is by buying versatile food that can be used in a variety of ways and in multiple meals. For example, you can make a baked chicken dinner one night, then use the leftover chicken in chicken noodle soup the next night. You still have multiple options, your taste buds won’t get bored, and you’ll be getting the most out of the items you buy.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, eating healthier foods can actually save you money. The study found that when families went on a diet, they planned out their meals, which led to a reduction in their food budgets. If you’re planning your meals, you’re not buying extra food or giving in to impulse purchases. Plus, eating healthy usually involves smaller portion sizes. When you buy food specifically for smaller meal portion sizes, you automatically spend less money, or the food you buy lasts longer.
While TV celebrates extreme couponers, there are benefits to using coupons on a smaller scale too. There are tons of options of coupons that can be clipped from weekly newspapers, or online and stored digitally, even for healthier foods and markets. Also sometimes the stores themselves will have coupons at the register for their customers to use. Coupons can provide you with discounts on items that you buy weekly such as milk, eggs, meats, and even personal hygiene and cleaning products as well.
Following the Seasons
Buying food when it is in season can help you save money. You won’t have to throw away food that ripens too quickly, and it is cheaper to buy food when it is in season. This is due to the basic economic rule of supply and demand. If there are only so many blueberries available during a set time of off-season months, the markets will raise the cost. When the berries are more readily available, during their season, the markets can price them more reasonably.
Best Ways to Be Healthy
Plan for Health
Planning for healthy meals helps us to focus on our food as fuel, which leads to healthier eating habits. Knowing what foods are anti-inflammatory and most nutrient dense, and which are not, keeps us from making bad eating choices.
Eat Before You Shop
You might be surprised at how much of a difference this makes in your budget and what you buy. Not only do we buy more when we’re hungry, we also make more bad food choices. Plus, we end up buying food that is fast to prepare rather than healthy and nutritious, so we can get home fast to eat! Eating before we enter the store keeps temptation at bay, while also giving us a clear head to buy just the items on our healthy shopping list.
While creating your own garden can take time, there are enormous benefits to gardening, even if you start on a small scale with just small herbs. Gardening has been proven to heighten self-esteem, relieve stress, promote good sleep, and improve hand health and dexterity. Additionally, you will be in charge of what you are putting into your body. This protects you from the pesticides and other chemicals that slip in foods at the store.
There you have it! No matter how much time you have or the budget you have allotted for your shopping trip, you can find many ways to be efficient, healthy and economical. Just plan ahead with healthy foods and recipes and never shop hungry!