5 tips for conquering grocery shopping

5 tips for conquering grocery shopping

Editor’s Note: This story was written and provided by Dean Clinic and St. Mary’s Hospital.

With the start of a new year, we’re all trying to eat healthier. But sometimes that sounds a lot easier than it feels in reality. If your family is having trouble breaking out of a food rut, sometimes it takes shaking up your shopping list to form new, healthier habits.

We all know that grocery shopping is a big part of the monthly budget, so St. Mary’s registered dietitian Marianne Merrick has a few suggestions for shopping smart for delicious, nutritious meals.

1. Have a pantry party

No RSVP’s required. When creating a grocery list, start with your pantry.

“Most of the time you have items that need to be used before they go bad,” said Merrick. “Begin by brainstorming what meals can be created with what you have. Once you’ve taken stock of your pantry, then you can begin planning ahead and creating a list of what you really need.”

Before you head to the market, plan your meals for the week ahead. Also, with a grocery list in hand, you’re less likely to wander those junk food aisles and make impulse purchases. Repeat this: “That’s my grocery list and I’m sticking to it!”

2. Don’t go hungry

We’ve all been there before. Grocery shopping while your stomach growls and begs for those potato chips can make you vulnerable to buying more than you planned. If you can’t shop soon after you eat, grab a piece of fruit and drink a large glass of water before heading to the store.

3. Eggcellent!

Eggs are loaded with protein and they are also good for your diet, so make sure these little buddies are on your list. Even better, they’re notoriously inexpensive. However, some brands and types like organic or cage-free definitely cost more, so make sure you comparison shop.

4. Beans in bulk

Make sure to buy beans dry and in bulk. Not only are the options limitless – black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans and more – they are also very economical.

“You can add beans to soup, salad or chili for a great source of tasty protein,” said Merrick.

5. Mama always said to eat your fruits and veggies

And of course she’s right. Packed with much-needed vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, they should always be on your list. Since pre-cut vegetables and fruits are more expensive, buy whole items and slice them yourself.

“Make sure you also buy in season, when quality is up and prices are down,” says Merrick. “We Wisconsinites are lucky since there’s tons of local produce available at reasonable prices.”

Make a trip to your local Farmer’s Market, too – the values can be substantial, especially as the market’s closing time nears.