10 Ways to Shop Healthier and Save Money on Groceries

woman grocery shopping with mobile phone

Looking to become a more savvy grocery shopper? Save money and eat healthier with these 10 easy tips!

Before Shopping

1. Look for deals. Sign up for your local grocer's emails or peruse their weekly circular for specials and coupons before shopping.

2. Make a shopping list. Take into account the food you’ll need for the next week, including those needed for recipes as well as convenient, healthy snacks and quick meals. Lists promote mindfulness around grocery planning and shopping and ensure you don’t forget any important items. Use Zipongo’s mobile grocery list or jot down one of your own.

3. Add these healthy, budget-friendly foods to your list. The foods below are affordable, minimally processed and lower in calories, fat and added sugar, while being high in important nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein.

  • Eggs
  • Canned or dried beans
  • Dried lentils
  • Canned tuna and salmon
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Other in-season produce on sale
  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Peanut butter
  • Frozen fruits (without added sugar)
  • Frozen vegetables (without sauces)
  • Yogurt (32 ounces or larger)

4. Check your kitchen. Cross-check what you think you need with what you already have and what you don’t.

5. Have a nutritious meal or snack. In other words, don’t shop on an empty stomach.

While You Shop

6. Stick to your list. Being disciplined about sticking to your list will avoid costly, impulsive purchases that are often unhealthy — usually high in calories, fat and sugar and low in fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein.

7. Look for the lowest unit price. Unit prices can vary greatly, particularly between name and store brands. In cases where name brands don’t really matter, compare unit prices and go with the lowest to save money.

8. Buy in bulk, or look for family packs. This strategy is particularly useful for foods with a longer shelf life, such as yogurt, cheese and canned foods. Just reference the unit price to be sure it’s really a better deal.

9. Steer clear of samples. Feel free to snag an orange sample while you peruse the produce section, but try to avoid samples of packaged convenience foods, particularly if they look rich or high in calories, as these will only tempt you to go off-list and make an unhealthy and potentially costly purchase.

10. Shop the back of the aisle or cooler. Grocers place older foods towards the front so that shoppers buy up the foods closer to their expiration date first. To reduce wasting perishable foods like bread, milk, cream, eggs, bagged salads, berries and precut fruits and veggies, look behind the frontrunners for packages with later expiration dates. This will often buy you a few extra days, or sometimes weeks, to eat these foods before they go bad.

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