Inspired grocery shopping is key to making meals and snacks that fit your budget, taste good, and help you make better choices the whole family will love. As a partner of the Together Counts™ program, we focus on making better decisions ahead of time to make cooking choices easier when you’re in the heat of the kitchen. Here are three of my favorite shopping tips to help you meet your budget and make your meal prep as efficient as possible.
- Shop in season. Menus are more interesting from day to day, week to week and month to month when flavors are changed up a bit. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use fruits and vegetables that are in season. They are typically tasty, readily available, and budget-friendly. By focusing on these items, meals will reflect the season we are in, and your taste buds will appreciate the flavors and visual appeal that seasonal produce brings to the plate.
- Pick recipes that use some similar ingredients. Make your food dollars work for you by choosing recipes for the week that use some of the same ingredients. From that little bunch of cilantro to that value package of skinless chicken breast, finding recipes that have one or two main ingredients that are the same ensures that you can use up all the ingredients you buy rather than letting food go to waste. And it will also make shopping easier by helping to streamline some of the ingredients needed to make several tasty meals.
- Find your favorite “staples” and stock up. Pay attention to sales on items like spices, flour, vinegar, oil, and canned/frozen goods. If these favorite things can be stored longer, buy them with confidence knowing you will use them. But remember to take the time to organize your pantry and freezer to make room for these extras so you don’t also end up with added clutter. Before you head to the store for a stock up, “shop” your own kitchen to see what you already have so you don’t overbuy in one area and forget to buy another item that you need for the week’s meals.
What are some of your favorite grocery shopping tips?
IGA Health & Wellness Advisor Kim Kirchherr, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, FAND (@KimKirchherr) is a Registered Dietitian and the Vice President of National Dairy Council. Kim completed both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees at Eastern Illinois University, where she was a graduate assistant for the Dining Services Department. For nearly ten years, Kim was the dietitian/nutrition spokesperson for Jewel-Osco (and SuperValu’s Midwest region 2006-2012). Prior to working in the supermarket industry, she worked in hospital-based health and fitness centers and in an outpatient education program, providing one-on-one sessions as well as community outreach.
For more pantry tips, check out one of these reads from Together Counts!