Healthy, budget-friendly grocery shopping tips

Healthy, budget-friendly grocery shopping tips

Navigating the grocery store for healthy food can already be a challenge for some. Now, inflation is adding to the stress by increasing the amount of money you spend each trip.

While you can’t control how much food costs at the grocery store, there are ways to save money and eat healthy by modifying some of your shopping habits:

Take inventory

Go through what you have at home before heading to the store. Use up what you have on hand to build healthy meals, supplementing with store-bought healthy foods, such as vegetables and fruit. Once you’ve checked out your home supply, scan the grocery store ads and plan your meals and snacks around what’s on sale for the week.

Make a list

Lists may seem like a lot of work, but they save time and money and limit impulse buys. For extra effectiveness, write the list according to your travel path in the store and stick to it. Around 82% of purchasing decisions are made in the store aisle while looking at the product, so bring your list, and get in and out. Some people find that grocery shopping through store pickup and delivery also helps reduce impulse buying. Avoid shopping when you’re hungry — extra items will sneak into your shopping cart and you’ll be tempted to buy something to eat for the drive home.

Be a supermarket sleuth

Compare unit prices and choose the product with the lowest cost per unit. Be careful of sneaky supermarket traps, such as products on the ends of aisles and easy-to-grab treats in the checkout lane. Also, look down. Stores place the most expensive items and brand names at eye level and less expensive items on the lowest shelves. Stick to what you really need and avoid buying something just because it’s on sale. Limit treats, such as chips, cookies, frozen desserts and sugary beverages — these items drive up the grocery bill.

Sign up

Rewards and loyalty cards at various stores can save you hundreds of dollars a year. Register online and check out the store’s digital coupons, which often are linked to the rewards card.

Stock up

The following foods are loaded with nutrients and either last a long time before spoiling or offer quantity for the money.

  • Fruit: apples, avocados, bananas, honeydew, oranges, papaya, pears and watermelon
  • Vegetables: bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, greens, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, winter squash and frozen vegetables
  • Grains/starches: brown rice, oats (in a large canister), quinoa and whole grain pasta
  • Protein: beans (dried or canned), lentils, canned tuna, ground turkey and peanut butter
  • Dairy: milk, plain yogurt (in a large container) and cottage cheese

These tips will save you money without sacrificing nutrition. If you need help with an individualized eating plan, consult with a registered dietitian.

Are you trying to watch your weight? Take a free online quiz to learn about your healthy weight range.

Heather Klug is a registered dietitian at Aurora Health Care.

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One Comment

  1. Very helpfull information

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About the Author

Heather Klug
Heather Klug

Heather Klug, MEd RD is a registered dietitian and cardiac educator at the Karen Yontz Women's Cardiac Awareness Center inside Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI.