Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re wandering the grocery store for over an hour, thinking you should leave but still eyeing items and filling your basket. Your cart is full, maybe too full, and you’re worried you might waste food or that you won’t have enough for the week.
First of all, welcome! You’re not alone in trying to solve this common grocery shopping dilemma. We all struggle to shop in a way that helps us cook meals and prevent waste. Check out the how-tos you need to shop smart and eat healthy:
Tip #1: Make a list
Like any vacation trip, you need a game plan before heading to the grocery store. Otherwise, you might drift aisle to aisle, picking up too much of one thing or too little of another. Going to the grocery store without a list can lead to more impulse spending and purchasing.
Why does list-making work?
- It helps us spend smartly. Thoughtful grocery lists help us meet our goals and stick to our budgets amidst all of the choices in the store. Contrarily, walking into the store without something to check off can lead to unplanned spending.
- It helps us eat healthfully. Making a list not only helps you stay on budget, but also can lead to a healthier kitchen and lifestyle. Consumers who use a list have been shown to have a healthier overall diet.
- It helps us plan meals. Making a list forces us to think ahead to when we’ll be eating at home and what we’ll be eating. It’s a great tool to ensure we only buy what we need for the meals we plan to eat at home.
Tip #2: Personalize your list to your pantry
What meals do you love to cook on repeat? Write down the staple ingredients you need for those meals, and save the list on your phone or in your car so it’s always on hand. If you don’t have the time to make a list but need to grab groceries for the week, you can refer to your list for a quick reminder.
Depending on your home, family, and kitchen, you may have a few staples such as bread, milk, yogurt, or eggs. What do you eat regularly for breakfasts, snacks, and lunches? If you have your core foods listed on hand, you’ll be less likely to run out of the items you need to make meals throughout the week.
Tip #3: Use our ultimate no-hassle grocery list
We love no-hassle meals that emphasize lean proteins, a variety of vegetables, and whole grains. With these food groups on hand, it’s easier to make healthy, tasty meals. Nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit make healthy snacking more manageable, too.
Our ultimate no-hassle grocery list:
Stop 1: Produce Section
- Bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, berries, and anything in season (usually cheaper or on sale!)
- Green vegetables like lettuce, kale, bok choy, and yummy herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro (plan carefully, as these spoil quickly)
- Hardier vegetables like carrots, broccoli, zucchini, squash, and potatoes (these will last longer in the fridge and pantry)
- Staples that go with everything and make seasoning your meals easy, like onion, garlic, shallots, and green onions
Stop 2: Dairy Section
- Eggs, milk or milk alternatives, cheese, and butter
Stop 3: Meats
- Lean proteins like fish, chicken, shrimp, and turkey
Stop 4: Grains and Bulk
- Plant proteins like legumes, beans, or lentils
- Whole grain rice like brown rice or wild rice
- Whole grain bread or bagels
- Popcorn kernels (an easy, inexpensive snack you can make at home!)
Stop 5: Inner Aisles
- Condiments like vinaigrettes, olive oil, salsa, tomato sauce
- Canned items like soups, corn, beans
- Nut butter
- Cooking broths like vegetable broth or chicken broth
Stop 6: Frozen
- Fruit (easy for smoothies!)
- Fish and meats
Personalize your quantity to your household and the number of meals you plan to make for the week. In case you’ve got to make quick swaps, you have a variety of choices. Happy shopping!