Grocery Tips | US News

The supermarket was my home away from home. Until now.

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As a mother of three boys and as a person who enjoys cooking and baking, it seemed like I walked in and out of stores every day. I’m one of those people who really appreciates shopping for food. I like to compare similar products side by side. I love discovering new foods that I can write about and while I don’t admit it to everyone, I even love to hum to the beat of the music playing throughout the store. In fact, my customers used to say, “I wish I could take you food shopping with me”, and that’s what inspired me to write an entire book on how to navigate the supermarket. without being fooled by delicate food labels.

But things are different now. My kids have grown up and they are out of the house doing their own grocery shopping. They occasionally call me from the store to help them with their most asked question: “What’s better… this or that?” And I’m proud to say that after being pushed into my basket for years, they’ve learned to supply their kitchen with exactly what they need.

Recently, with the change of my household, my house itself has changed. A few months ago, we moved from the suburban house we have lived in for 28 years to an apartment in the city. That meant I also went from two fridges and freezers and an entire room as a pantry to a city-sized kitchen. Unlike my kids, I could use an Over-Shoppers Anonymous membership (if there was such a thing), since I’m an over-shopper.

A downsized transition has become a work in progress for me, forcing me to learn new ways of shopping, prioritizing not only foods that we will need, but also foods that could fit in. more limited space in my kitchen. So, if you are in a similar situation, the following tips can be helpful, while saving you time and money.

Food Buying Tips

To take a picture.
Take a photo of your fridge, freezer, and pantry before you go out. This way you can assess, in real time, what foods you really need instead of relying on your memory (which isn’t a reliable source, in my case).

Create a great shopping list.
Make a shopping list that mimics the layout of the store you visit most often. Save it to your computer or phone and print it out before you go to the store so you can circle what you need. Food shopping will be a cinch as you walk the aisles without having to back up.

Cook with fewer ingredients.
If there’s one lesson I learned during the pandemic, it’s that I don’t have to make a salad with 10 ingredients. Simple, less elaborate dishes could taste just as tasty without having to overdo the components inside. For example, a salad on a bed of arugula, spinach or kale is perfectly acceptable without having to include all three leafy greens for a meal.

Don’t shop when you’re hungry.
While I’m not the type to bet, let’s just say there’s a good chance you’ll be making more impulse purchases (which you might never eat) when shopping on an empty stomach.

Plan with your partner.
Whether you’re shopping for your spouse, friend, kid, or roommate, meal planning can help you decide what foods you’ll need for the week. Be sure to factor in the days you will be dining out, ordering, dining alone, or cooking for company.

Buy online.
I love to look, smell and pick my own products, so shopping online has never appealed to me. But now there are apps and sites that bring food and supplies to your door in minutes without needing to go out.

Online shopping became especially appealing during the pandemic, when we tried to stay away from stores while wanting to keep our fridges full. E-shopping can also save you money by limiting the temptation to buy spontaneously while browsing the store.

My biggest gripe about shopping online (besides not being able to handle everything in my cart) is that while most of us don’t read food labels when we are. in the store… what is the probability that we will read them once we have received food at home?

Although pictures of products along with their Nutrition Facts panels and ingredient lists are available online, I’m not sure people take the time to get these facts unless they’re suffering from a allergy or a specific food need. I guess in most cases we will receive, unpack and store our groceries without returning the packages to find out what’s really inside each bag or box.

I’d be curious how many of us take the time to read the foods we buy before hitting the “send” button. Share your comments with us [email protected]