By Courtney Eby, RDN, LD
Everyone is looking for ways to shop smarter and save money at the grocery store. Here are a few suggestions to help you eat well and get more "bang for your buck":
Plan your meals in advance. The best way to save at the super market is to plan out your meals for the week. Spend a few minutes and take inventory of your fridge, freezer and pantry so you don't end up buying things you already have. Make a list and stick to it!
Compare prices. Check the unit price on items. Bigger is not always cheaper. Also check the prices of national brands, store brands and generic items. Most of the time, these items are of similar quality but have a big price difference.
Use leftovers. Place the leftovers in airtight containers at eye-level in the refrigerator and use them within a few days. Take leftovers for lunch the next day or plan a "leftovers" night, where everyone in the family enjoys their favorite foods from the week. Get creative!
Be careful with coupons. Do not buy something just because your have a coupon. Ask yourself if you would want it without the coupon. If the answer is no, skip it.
Buy fewer convenience foods. Individually wrapped snacks and drinks are usually more expensive per unit than larger containers. Often the extra cost is in the packaging, so purchase a box of crackers or chips instead of individual bags.
Swap out "empty-calorie" foods for healthier alternatives. You will shrink your grocery bill as well as your waistline . For example, a gallon of milk costs less than a 12-pack of soda. A large bag of chips costs about the same or more than a large bag of baby carrots.
Shop in season. Use the guide below to choose in-season fresh fruits and vegetables:
|Cabbage||Broccoli||Bell peppers||Brussel sprouts||Celery|
|Onions||Peas||Corn||Green beans||Sweet potatoes|
|Pears||Pineapple||Green beans||Lettuce||Winter squash|
|Sweet potatoes||Lima beans||Peas|
|Summer squash||Sweet potatoes|
To learn more about healthy eating and weight management through Northfield Hospital and Clinics’ ReShape U! program, visit northfieldhospital.org/nutrition-dietetics.