Take some of the stress out of your weekly trip to the grocery store with these quick tips from our friends at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. A streamlined approach will help keep your family fed and encourage healthy eating habits for all!
Oh the joys of adulthood, the to-do list never ends! But wait, isn’t a joy getting to decide which foods we buy and ultimately get to eat? Gone are the days of asking or begging someone to buy you a special something—no, you are now in control. With grocery shopping though, comes responsibility. Your decisions ultimately impact everyone sitting at your table. But don’t let this worry you or feel like a burden. Let’s review some tips to keep you on point, keep that basket in tip-top shape and keep your kitchen filled with nutritious foods for you and your family!
GROCERY SHOPPING 101
Don’t shop on an empty stomach. You know how it goes, when you are running on empty, suddenly anything and everything looks good. Save yourself some money and unwanted impulse buys by eating beforehand.
Create a list. This list can be on your phone or written on paper — whatever works for you! Research has shown that by making a list before shopping, we are more likely to stick to it and can even end up spending less money. It can also save you time — by going in prepared, you won’t spend meaningless time wandering the aisles trying to remember what you needed.
Shop the perimeter first. I know, you might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard this.” But truly, our best shopping is done on the perimeter of the store. This is where our fresh meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables are. There are those certain special items that require us to dig into the middle of the store, but try to challenge yourself to stay on the perimeter and then move into the center when you are just about done.
Look for specials. Every store has specials. You can look ahead in the ads or check it out when you get to the store. This tip is especially useful in the produce section. You will be surprised at how much you can get for your dollar when you shop sales! Hint: the “in season” foods are most often going to be your best price.
Shop high and low. There is a method behind the layout of your grocery store that attempts to force you into interacting with the store in a certain way. Case in point, stores keep the most profitable items at eye level—so look high and low on shelves for other options, and maybe the best price.
Make the produce section the bulk of your buys. In the spirit of “Eat Your Vegetables Day,” I would like to reinforce what a treasure vegetables are. They are filled with vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants and water; and they make our plates look so pretty! Why wouldn’t you want to have fun with them? Remember, shop the seasons and sales and you will be surprised how much your dollar will stretch!
Eating healthy should be fun for the whole family. So, include them while grocery shopping! They can help you check off items on your shopping list, pick out a new vegetable or fruit to try or hunt out the sales items. By making grocery shopping a family experience, your kids will be more likely to eat the healthier items, and encourage you do the same!
~Sarah Simental, MS, RD, Clinical Dietitian III
Sarah started her career as an inpatient pediatric dietitian at LA-USC in 2012 before gaining acceptance at CHLA in late 2014. She is thrilled and honored to be a part of the CHLA family as the ambulatory/inpatient pulmonary dietitian specialist. She has a special passion for pediatric clinical nutrition and improving the lives of children through this passion.
This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary/health changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.