What’s the Best Strategy to Shop Smart at the Grocery Store?


Q.: What’s the best strategy to shop smart at the grocery store?

A.: Planning ahead sounds obvious and something that would be beneficial at any time of year. However, I highly recommend it when you’re trying to make health-smart and budget-friendly decisions.

Make a list of each ingredient needed for meals to feed your family for one to two weeks. This will ensure that you don’t have to make an extra trip out because you forgot that pesky onion. Use your list-making time as a time to relax on the couch with a hot cup of coffee and a warm scented candle before you brave the crowds at the store.

This process will not only benefit your wallet, but your time later in the week when it comes to figuring out what to make for meals. You’ll also avoid over-purchasing staple items and cluttering the cabinet — like purchasing two jars of peanut butter, only to find later that you already have three in the cupboard.

Another thing that greatly helps with grocery shopping and meal prep is to get your entire family involved. Have your children help plan some meals and contribute to the grocery list. Not only does this help bring the family together, but it may help eliminate the chorus of protests when you serve your family these meals later.

— Registered dietitian Jennifer Willoughby, RD