Be a Smart Shopper with These 8 Tips
If you’re anything like me, the idea of going to the market is as bad as having to sit in traffic for an hour. I have the pleasure of living in an average size community, but the market closest to my house is the smallest one in Roanoke. For a creative soul like me, that drives me insane.
When you have put some thought and time into creating a plan for meals and for shopping, there is no comparison! I have used these eight tips for years as I shop, and the weeks I allow something to get in the way of this process, I find shopping to be ten times the chore.
Take time each weekend to consider what you already have in your fridge and pantry so you can use up those items. Consider the vegetables you want to enjoy eating, THEN consider what protein you may want to combine with the vegetable. This creates a mindset around nutrient-rich, colorful foods first, then build your meals around that.
2. Make a list.
Organize your list into categories similar to the isles in the market to save time scanning the list and aisles. Stick to your list to curb impulse purchases so you will make healthier decisions and remain on a budget. You’ll spend less time hunting things down.
3. Stick to in-season produce.
Your meal planning should be created around the vegetables (preferably organics) that are in season and hopefully local. Fresh produce costs less when in season, and they taste better (organic produce usually tastes even better). When buying vegetables/fruits out of season, they are usually lower in quality and higher in price. If you have a smart phone, consider jotting down price comparisons for yourself.
4. Eat BEFORE you shop.
The worst thing you can do is peruse the food isles when you’re hungry! Learn to consume a large glass of water and some protein before you head to the market. You won’t have the urge to shop impulsively and feed any sugar, salt or carbohydrate cravings.
5. Shop the perimeter.
Stick to the outermost aisles of the store for your “real food” options. These options include your produce, meat and seafood, and the refrigerated dairy aisle. Your healthier options are your fresh options. The precessed, ready-to-eat items are usually found in the center aisles of the store. Also notice how the worst foods are displayed right at chest level and the “less popular” options are closer to the floor.
6. Read all nutritional labels.
Realize that food company’s use the front of the packaging to lure you in with buzzwords–such as “Healthy” or “All-Natural” and even “Natural Grain” which may sound good, but they are not healthy. Look at nutritional labels, especially the ingredients list, to determine what you’re buying so you can truly understand what you and your family are going to be eating. If you’re a health-minded shopper, then be sure to take note of the saturated fat, sodium and sugar content in each serving. Many pre-packaged foods look like they are a single serving, when they’re not.
7. Look at dates.
When stocking food, markets generally arrange older items toward the front of the shelf. Take a few extra seconds to dig to the back of the shelf for fresher options when it comes to foods like meats, dairy, and any packaged refrigerated items. These items are marked with sell-by dates (or noted as “expiration dates”), and are added to the back of the shelves or displays.
8. Be coupon-cautious and deal-cautious.
Have you noticed lately how coupons want you to purchase 2, 4, or 6 of something to get your fantastic coupon savings? This how they entice you to purchase more than you need. Also markets use strategic working to fool shoppers into believing they’re scoring a great deal — “Five for $5,” “Limit 6 per customer” or “Special Offer” may imply the item is on sale when it’s really the same everyday price.
Tell us how your shopping experience is now and how it is after you put these 8 tricks into place. We’d love to hear from you because we know it will change your shopping experience for the good!
Would you like more helpful ideas like this? Well trust me, I am always on the lookout for ways to make my life simpler. We add things like this to our newsletters and workshops. You can sign up for newsletters above.
If you continue to have difficulty with obtaining the weight you desire, don’t pay lots of money for those fad diets you see on TV and in magazines! Contact us so we can assess your individual needs. Not everyone is the same and one diet that works for one person and be very dangerous for another.