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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Practice Smart, Savvy Grocery Shopping

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Practice Smart, Savvy Grocery Shopping

Here are some simple tips to help you shop smart and eat healthy, all while saving money!

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.

Grocery Lists 101

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!

Don’t Go to the Store Hungry!

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.

Practice, Practice, Practice

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!

Test Your Knowledge

  1. What is the first step in making a grocery list?
    Answer: Look ahead at your weekly schedule
  2. What can I do to prevent buying food items I don’t need?
    Answer: Eat a snack before going to the grocery store
  3. What foods are the best “bang for your buck”?
    Answer: Frozen fruits and vegetables because they are more cost-effective when out of season.

Learn more by visiting Feed Your Family Right and Feed Your Family for Less!


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About the Author

Picture of Heather Stefan, RD

Heather Stefan, RD

Heather is a registered dietitian, health educator, and mother to her two beautiful daughters. She specializes in using a non-diet approach for weight management through an online weight loss program called Real Living Nutrition.

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