For many people, grocery shopping is not something that they look forward to each week. It takes time and cost money to not only go to the store, but then to prepare the food once you get it back home, too. Here are 7 tips for getting the most out of your groceries while saving time and money.
Shop what’s on sale
Not only does shopping what is on sale impact your wallet, but it has other benefits, too. First, it keeps variety high. Sales usually change each week based on what is in-season and what is in stock. Think of the sales flyer as your personal Chopped basket each week. Chopped is a cooking contest show in which the contestants are given a basket of food items and then are challenged to come up with a tasty meal. Challenge yourself to incorporate unfamiliar ingredients. This will keep variety in your diet, and make eating healthier more appealing (and tastier!).
Buy what’s in season
Buying what’s on sale will also mean you are buying the freshest produce. Often, the produce that is on sale is often what is in season. In season produce is the freshest option because it doesn’t have far to travel before it hits the grocery store shelves.
Check your local farmers markets which always have freshly picked vegetables and fruit. In fact, some farms even permit consumers to pick their own items. That’s a neat way to experience a farm and farming.
Once produce is picked, it starts losing nutrients, particularly the water-soluble vitamins B and C. With less distance to travel, those in season produce items have the most nutrition left in them.
Stock up on your favorites
Stocking up on your favorites is in line with sales, but a bit different. If there are staples on your menu, why not take advantage of a price drop? Stock up on proteins and keep them in the freezer for weeks when you can’t make it to the grocery store or run out of food before the week is over.
Buy in bulk
Buying grains, nuts, seeds, and beans in bulk is a great way to ensure that you always have foods available.
These diet staples don’t expire quickly and can be used on your menu for weeks. Whole grains are a key component of healthy diets, especially for endurance athletes that require carbs to perform at their top potential. Each week, prepare a grain in bulk and use it to add healthy carbs to your meals.
Keep frozen fruits and vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables won’t go bad after a week in the crisper drawer. There’s no pressure to use them up each week and they are always available to “veggie-up” a meal.
Fun fact: frozen produce likely has a higher nutrient level than fresh produce. Similar to the logic behind shopping in season, frozen produce has even less travel time. It’s usually frozen immediately after it’s picked, which locks in the nutrients.
Throwing together a quick stir-fry is a breeze with frozen vegetables. Or better yet, mix your favorite frozen fruit with one of the many options of Cocoa Elite’s proteins and you’ll have yourself a great-tasting and nourishing smoothie.
Include vegetarian proteins
In order to stretch your grocery budget a bit further, consider including vegetarian protein sources in your meals. Meats are often the biggest ticket items on the receipt. Swapping in vegetarian proteins like beans, hemp seeds, soba noodles, eggs, dairy, and soy are not only cheaper, but are beneficial to the environment and your health.
Shop with a plan
Lastly, head into the grocery store with a plan to make your groceries work for you. Grabbing random items from the shelves is a good way to have a lot of rotten vegetables at the end of the week. Have a plan for everything that goes into your cart to ensure that you have the ingredients you need for recipes and won’t have a lot of waste at the end of the week.
With these tips in mind, you’ll leave the grocery store feeling like a champ!
Ashley Reaver is the founder of Ashley Reaver Nutrition, a private practice that offers nutritional services. She created My Weekly Eats, a health/wellness blog-social media brand that focuses on easy, make-ahead recipes, and meal plans.
Ashley’s knowledge areas and counseling specialties include sports nutrition, weight loss, cooking classes, meal planning, and intuitive eating principles. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science from Cornell University. In addition, she completed her dietetic internship at California Polytechnic University. Afterwards, she earned her Master of Science in Nutrition Science and Policy from Tufts University.
Ashley is also a Certified Sports Specialist Dietitian.
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