Home » Diet and Nutrition News & Advice » 11 Tips to Keep Grocery Shopping Healthy and Economical

11 Tips to Keep Grocery Shopping Healthy and Economical


If you are like most people, the money you spend to feed your family can quickly eat up a good chunk of your monthly income. For those struggling to make ends meet, this can pose an even bigger challenge. To make things even more difficult, a healthy diet in many cases can cost more money. Fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive. So are healthy meats, fish and poultry. Keep in mind that grocery stores are a business and they use well researched tricks to get you to spend and eat more, not less.

There are a few steps you can take to help you choose healthy foods while at the same time protecting your wallet…

1. Plan Ahead

Healthy eating starts with making good choices in the grocery store. Before you even step out the door to go grocery shopping, plan your meals for the week and create your shopping list from this menu. It doesn’t take much time and spares you having to make a quick trip to the store when you run out of an ingredient. To save even more money use coupons, check grocery flier specials and incorporate these items into your weekly menu.

You may also wish to consult Canada’s Food Guide or MyPyramid, a government nutrition website when making your menu for the week. A few minutes spent planning ahead can help save time, money and aggravation as well as make it easier to eat a well-balanced diet.

produce

2. Shop Outside the Aisles First

The outer aisles are where the healthiest foods are located. Fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products as well as meat and fish can normally be found around the perimeter of the store.

The center aisles contain junk and processed foods. Go to the outside aisles first and spend the most time here. Remember to “hug the walls” when you shop.

shopping

3. Choose “Clean” Foods Whenever Possible

Try to choose foods as close to their natural state as possible. This ensures maximum vitamin, mineral and nutrition content. Foods clean from added chemicals or processing.

Try to stick to foods with no more than five ingredients. Avoid anything with artificial chemicals or ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Choose 100 percent fruit juice or 100 percent whole grain products whenever you can.

Meat - Grocery Store

4. Beware of Foods with Cartoons on the Labels

Be careful of products with cartoons on their packaging. These products are marketed to children and usually have a high sugar or salt content and limited national value.

Many breakfast cereals , lunch snacks and canned pastas fall into this category. These foods can be found in the center aisles and usually at eye level.

Artificially Sweetened Cereals

5. Stick to your List

A well thought our list can save you time and a lot of money. Buy only the items on our list. If you’ve done your homework ahead of time you won’t be sidetracked by in store specials. You’ll already have sized up any flier specials and know exactly how many of each item you need.

When grocery stores put a limit on the amount you can buy, for example 6 items per family, they’re actually encouraging you to buy more than you’d originally planned. Limiting the amount you can buy makes the item appear scarce and makes you subconsciously want to stockpile as much as you can. Sticking to your list can avoid this.

Don't Grocery Shop Hungry

6. Look Up and Down

Expensive brand name items tend to be placed at eye level. They also have fancier packaging using more appealing colours. Stores will often place these items on sale. For example, 50 cents off if you buy two or more.

Cross check prices against no-name or store brand items. Often times the brand name items, even when on sale are still more expensive than no-name or store brand.

shopping cart

7. Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk for non-perishables is usually more economical. This applies to toilet paper, paper towel, laundry and dish soap, shampoos and toiletries, etc. However when you buy food in bulk, especially snack foods, you may not realize any savings at all.

This is because the more you have in the house, the more you eat. Portion control can become a problem. When buying cases of canned food, avoid any damaged or dented cans as these may decrease the shelf life of the food within.

canned beans

8. Read the Label

Reading the ingredient list on packaged or processed foods is important to help make healthier choices. Watch the salt (sodium) and sugar content. If these ingredients appear at the top of the list then they are present in large amounts. Choose low salt and sugar foods.

Limiting foods to those containing 5 ingredients or less is also a good idea. Make sure to look at the expiry date. For example, milk and yogurt that expires first is put at the front, so reach for bags at the back for longer shelf life.

label

9. Use an App

A grocery shopping app can easily be downloaded onto your phone to assist you with preparing your meal menus, shopping lists, keeping track of specials and some can be used instead of coupons. Checkout51 and Snapsaves gives you money back, anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars after you buy particular items. You photograph the receipt, send it to them and they add money to your account. Once it reaches $20, they mail you a check.

GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas in your area and enters you in a draw for $100 free gas. RedFlagDeals forums are a great place to browse to see what the hard core deal savers are advising. Flipp organizes mailbox fliers onto an app to make them more easily searchable. PC Plus allows you to earn points and free groceries. Those points can add up quickly. The card is free, you simply present it to the cashier every time you go shopping and watch the points add up.

touch phone

10. No-Name Can be your Friend

No-name or store brand foods can be just as nutritious as Name-brand items. Compare prices. On occasion Name brand items on sale may be cheaper than store brand but the reverse can also be true. Cheaper brands rend to be placed on the top or bottom shelves so be sure to check them first.

You can save a substantial amount of money by purchasing no-name or store brand. If you check the ingredient list you may notice that they are exactly the same, the only difference is the labeling, positioning and price.

Groceries in the Car

11. Invest in a Small Freezer

Purchasing a small freezer will allow you to buy frozen foods, meats, fish and poultry on sale and stockpile these items for later use. This allows you to take advantage of sales and can reduce your overall spending.

For example, turkey is a cheap, nutritious meat but is not available in large quantities all year round. Many people buy extra at holidays, like Christmas and thanksgiving, and freeze for later use.

Grocery Store Butcher

ADVERTISEMENT

More on ActiveBeat
  • 6 Healthy Eating Tips for the Whole Family
    Is eating together at the dinner table as a family a thing of the past? Not if Eat Better, Eat Together Month (in October) has anything to do with it!
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Powerful Reasons Behind 6 Irresistable Food Smells
    I was on a good stretch of going to the gym after work, every weeknight, eating a healthy dinner, no snacks before bed. I even hit a hot yoga class on Sunday morning.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 5 More Effective Eating Tips to Chew On
    How often do you think about, no scrutinize the manner in which you chew? Sure, chewing comes naturally and we often munch away our meals without regard for how our chewing method...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Surprising and Healthy Ways to Use Apples
    Who knew that the old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", was just the tipping point for the many miraculous uses we can apply apples for better health.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 8 Healthy Ways Adults Can Play with Food
    Admit it; kids aren't the only ones who want to play with their food. You should be happy to know playing with your viddles can be fun and embraced by adults too if you know the...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • People Who Eat Whole Grains Live Longer, Study Shows
    Want to live longer? Then try eating more whole grains. That’s the finding of a new study which shows that consuming whole grain foods can help people live longer.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 9 Simple Ways to Reduce Acrylamide Intake
    If you happened to turn on the news yesterday or today, your senses were likely met with news of the FDA warnings concerning foods high in acrylamides, a chemical created during...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 10 Benefits of Taking Probiotics
    The term “probiotic” originates from a Greek term meaning, “For Life.” These friendly bacteria are often associated with healthy digestion and they live naturally in foods...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 8 Pieces of Mindful Eating Wisdom
    Regardless of if you consume too many calories or too few. No matter if you eat 2 big meals a day or 5 small meals a day. No matter if you suffer from acid reflux or indigestion.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 8 Healthy Smoothie Saboteurs
    Not all smoothies are created equal! In fact, many sneak in some pretty high calorie, fat, and sugar-rich ingredients—despite the healthy misnomer.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Healthy and Delicious "Cooking for One" Tips
    If you’re idea of cooking for one is a microwave dinner, frozen pizza, or canned soup—think again! While convenience meals (i.e.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 10 Energizing and Healthy Post-Workout Meals
    Yes, mom you’re totally correct, breakfast is probably the most vital meal of the day. However, if you work out, you can’t overlook the importance of a post-workout snack or...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Surprising and Healthy Foods For Grilling
    Summertime is the prime season for grilling. An outdoor cooking area offers the option for hot food without heating up your kitchen.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The 8 Most Dangerous Foods on Earth
    You have to admit, human beings tempt fate in many ways—from bungee jumping to swimming with sharks.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Healthy Camping Food Tips
    A weekend or week respite away from civilization is good for the body, mind, and soul. All of that swimming, hiking, chopping wood, and fresh air far from urban pollutants can...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice