With skyrocketing food costs, it’s hard to think about spending money at the grocery store on expensive “health” foods. Use these few tricks to help you navigate the store without feeling overwhelmed.
The first step in making a grocery list is to look at your family’s weekly schedule of activities. Plan meals ahead of time to avoid the last minute food run for takeout. Remember to check out your pantry, refrigerator and freezer before heading to the store to avoid buying any unnecessary extras. Look through the weekly food ads to see what items are on sale. Lastly, cut coupons only for the items you plan to buy. If you are short on time, check out the Internet for websites that give out master grocery lists. Or, consider creating your own grocery list on the computer. This way, you can just print off a copy each week and half your work is done!
Like any situation where you’re around food, you need a game plan before you head out. Go to the store after a meal or have a balanced snack before you leave. This way, you’ll be less tempted to buy conveniently packaged, highly processed, unhealthy junk foods. Plus, you will have more energy and patience to get through those long checkout lines! When taking your kids with you, also remember to pack snacks for little ones. And, older toddlers and preschoolers love to help, so get them involved in the shopping. A grocery store is a great place to teach colors, shapes and numbers.
Grocery shopping can be daunting. But if you know what you are doing, you will be more effective with both your time and your money! Learn to read food labels. Buy products with the least amount of ingredients. Look for foods that have 100% whole grains. Avoid foods with trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup. Limit your purchase of “diet” foods, as they tend to be expensive and high in sugar and salt. When purchasing fruits and vegetables, think frozen! In off seasons, they are the best “bang for your buck”!
Your family will love having healthy meals and snacks. Becoming a smart, savvy shopper does take a little work, but the health benefits and cost savings are priceless!
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