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Monday, November 8, 2010
We all know that feeling when we open up the fridge at the end of the week and stand with the door open, staring aimlessly into the vast, empty appliance we depend on to supply us with food. Yes, it is that time of the week again; time to go grocery shopping. Most of us dread stepping foot into the crowded grocery store that may seem more like a maze as you squeeze down isles looking for the slew of items you want to add to your jumbled cart. Upon arriving in line to ring out, you search for the emptiest line but somehow still have to wait longer than you wanted, and as the cashier rings up your items you start doing math in you heard, frightened at how much you might be spending. The whole thing is enough to make many people steer clear of any grocery store and head towards the closest fast food place for a quick drive thru meal. Grocery shopping however doesn’t have to be a hassle, you can save money and improve your health by picking out the foods you eat and preparing nutritious and low cost meals.
While watching the Today Show I saw a segment about how to shop economically and nutritiously and learned some great tips. First off, don’t go grocery shopping without making a list first. Sit down and plan out your meals for the next week or two, flip through the sale pages at what the best deals are and mark down what items you need and how much. This will help prevent any impulse buying that may lead to unnecessary purchases. Planning your meals also allows you to take advantage of eating healthy. Instead of buying a sub and fries at the local sub shop, take 20-30 minutes to cook up a nutritious and delicious meal that can even be eaten the rest of the week as leftovers. Another tip is to buy the store brands, they often are just as nutritious and cost much less. Shop around the outside of the store for the healthiest finds such as fresh produce, lean meats, and low fat dairy. Avoid the inside isles where you find the majority of processed foods. Surprisingly to me, I found out that the majority of people spend their money buying beverages. Ditch the soda, juices and endless water bottles and invest in a Brita and drink tap water. Don’t spend money buying expensive fruits and vegetables that are out of season, frozen is often cheaper and has just as much nutritional value. Finally, while buying individual servings and precut foods may be easier, it is a lot more expensive. Take the few extra minutes to slice up your veggies and sort snacks into individual sandwich bags without watching your wallet shrink.
Hopefully these tips can help ease your fear of grocery shopping and perhaps you may even begin to love it once you see how much money and how many calories you can save by ditching the drive thru and strolling the isles. Foods like rice, pasta, chicken breast and ground meat that can be frozen are all great staple foods that can last you a while and be used for many different meals. Check out Eating Well’s Magazine article about Healthy-Budget Friendly Recipes that are under $3 per serving for some extra ideas! Good luck!
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