Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shop and Save -- Your Money AND Health!

Let your little ones help so they'll want to eat what you guys buy!

Grocery Shopping Tips

Keep a running list of things you need to buy, so you don’t have to think of it all at once. Plan some meals or even just meal options, depending on what is on sale. For example, this week I will make Easy Eggplant Parmesan OR Vegetable Lasagna (recipe from the Engine 2 Diet), depending on what produce is on sale, or looks better. Be FLEXIBLE!

Surprise! Avoid COUPONS! Are coupons saving you money? Often, we buy coupon items we wouldn’t normally, never have before, or don’t actually need or want! Of course, use them if it’s something you DO normally eat, want, or need!

Shop on Wednesday nights to save the most! According to www.lifehacker.com many stores start sales on Wednesday, and still honor previous week’s sales. Stores often restock early in the week, so shelves are PLUMP on Wednesdays. EVENINGS offer less crowded aisles, shorter lines, and potential markdowns to get rid of excess! Ask your store about previous week’s sales, stocking days, rain checks, and other store rules (BOGO, etc).

Avoid packaged, prepared items. While they save valuable time, they often have a nutritional cost: added sugars, salts, and unhealthy fats, and reduced nutrients. Recently, I saw this product: hummus, crackers, dark chocolate, and dried fruit, all in one box. The price wasn’t even displayed! I bet it was at least four dollars!  You could certainly make it at home for under a dollar!

Check dates on perishables. If food goes rotten it’s worth $0, or worse if it makes you sick! Frozen fruits and veggies are awesome since they are frozen at peak ripeness, and won’t go bad (easily). Just cook what you’ll eat during a given meal to retain maximal nutrients (repeated heating and cooling promotes bacterial growth). Check out We Gotta Chill! and Some Like it Hot!

BONUS: Look at items that are high and low, since the biggest companies can afford (yes, manufacturers actually buy space on grocery shelves!) to buy the eye level shelf space!  In the cereal and snack aisles, the most sought after level is kid-eye level. Sneaky companies!

More from me here: Sassy Shopping Tips!

Check out Darya Rose's How to Get Started Eating Healthy: Seasonal Shopping and The 7 Essential Steps to Get Healthy and Lose Weight (a download at the bottom of the link).

The awesome blog called 100 Days of Real Food completed 100 Days on a Budget and here are Lisa's picks "best of" posts during that time. There are lots of super ideas and tips there!

Sally, another dietitian, writes the helpful and fun Real Mom Nutrition blog! She is changing the world of soccer snacks; I'll post about that some day! Check out her post Coupon Queen :)

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