Save money, Stay healthy, and Shop simple

These secrets are just a few simple things to keep in mind while you are preparing to go to the store and when you’re actually there. So lets save money, stay healthy, and keep your trips to the store quick and easy.

1. ALWAYS make and follow a grocery list prior to arriving at the store.

Creating a list of items you need before arriving keeps you accountable financially and helps you avoid the temptation of impulse buying. Stick to the necessities, avoid your guilty pleasures. Impulse buys are usually the least nutritious, unhealthy and commonly adds unexpected cost to your final bill.

2. Read labels and pay attention to ingredients.

When looking at packaged foods in the store pay attention to the length of the list of ingredients. If the list is long, put the product back, search for a similar product with a shorter list of ingredients. A general rule to remember is the longer the list of ingredients, the more added chemicals and sugars the product contains. These ingredients add to the look and taste of the product, helping the product manufacturing company not your body.

3. Know what organic really means.

For a product to be labeled organic it must pass a strict set of rules and follow regulations. According to “10 Secrets for Shopping Healthier at the Grocery Store,” for fruits and vegetables labeled “organic”, they must be grown without any genetically modified ingredients, grown without fertilizers made from chemicals or sewer sludge, chemical pesticides or herbicides, and irradiation. For meat products to earn the organic stamp, the animal must be fed only with certified organic feed and no by-products from other animals. The animal can not be given any antibiotics or hormones, must be allowed access to the outdoors and treated humanely. Any company claiming they have an organic product must provide records of proof showing organic standards were followed and met.

4. Stick to the perimeter

The perimeter of a grocery store contains all the fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and milk. Although the perimeter contains these products, grocery stores have started including a additional items such as some bakery items. When doing this you must also be cautious to avoid extra, unnecessary purchases.

5. Frozen is just as good as fresh

When shopping for frozen fruits or vegetables, always pay attention to the ingredients to assure that it’s pure and has no additives. Studies show frozen fruits and vegetables contain just as much nutrition, maybe even more, than fresh. Frozen fruits and vegetables are more cost effective than fresh and last longer. This is an easy way to save money and maintain nutrition.

6. Stick to simple, healthy snacks

When it comes to snacking, try to stay with simple, quick snacks. This means avoiding the chip and cookie aisle in the store. Buy ingredients that can be easily prepared and stored for future snacking wants whether it may be salty or sweet. Some easy ideas are hard boiled eggs, snack bags or raw nuts and dark chocolate, making chia seed pudding, or cutting up veggies with hummus.

7. Be educated

Before even entering the grocery store you must know what you’re looking for and how to be smart when picking products out. Know what foods should be purchased organic and what foods are genetically modified. Be educated with over priced items and search for similar ones that are less expensive and have the same ingredients. Lastly, don’t be tricked by front labels. Always remember to check the back for ingredients and nutritional facts.

-Brittany Magana, Student Dietitian Intern at LSF