Nothing looks more exciting than the sight of your parents coming back from the supermarket, carrying grocery bags stacked with your favorite goodies. But it’s all rainbows and unicorns until YOU are the adult, standing alone in the kitchen, realizing you spent a fortune on expiring or useless products.
If grocery shopping makes your head spin and you never really know what to buy on your weekly or monthly spree, we got you covered. Whether you’re a newly-wed, alone studying abroad, or recently moved out of your parents’ house, here are some dos and don’ts that can help you elevate your grocery shopping game and stay focused on the essentials that matter.
1. Don’t: Buy essentials in small quantities
If you’re new to grocery shopping, it probably means you fell into the trap of buying too little products in small sizes. Having a well-planned grocery shopping list helps you understand the essential foods or products you consume on a weekly basis so that you can buy them in bulk, avoid overspending on small sizes that cost more, and save yourself the trouble of doing multiple online or instore purchases. A grocery shopping list helps you get the right amount of grocery essentials, know what to buy in bulk, and save money on products you won’t need.
2. Do: Buy fruits and vegetables in season
Nothing is more wholesome than eating food in their proper season. Think a pumpkin soup during Fall, apricots and cherries during springtime, or a plump and juicy mango during summer. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are tastier, more nutritious, and packed with more flavor than when consumed out of season.
A good way to know what fruits or vegetables are in season is to keep a list of seasonal fresh produce and stick it to your fridge. If certain fruits and vegetables are only available in one season, consider storing them in your freezer so you can enjoy them throughout the year.
3. Don’t: Buy perishables in large quantities
How many times did all the groceries we bought end up tossed in the garbage? Watching food turning stale or developing mold on the surface is not a pleasant sight. When shopping for groceries, always buy fresh produce and perishables in small quantities or in the quantity you know you will eat within a week. If you are not sure how much fresh produce you eat on a weekly basis, keep a log of how much fresh food you eat and start building the habit of wasting less food. Another way to avoid having perishables like bread, vegetables, or herbs from expiring too quickly is to freeze them immediately, or integrate them into your everyday meals. That way you can prevent waste and enable a more sustainable eating habit in your household.
4. Do: Get your meat in bulk
If you think you only need to buy one item of protein and save the rest for another day, think again. Buying your meat and chicken cutlets in bulk allows you to enjoy discounts offered on large kilos of meat, avoid multiple grocery store visits, and always stay covered with protein in the house whenever a craving strikes or whenever you’d like to cook and store some pre-made meals.
5. Don’t: Stack up on unhealthy pantry products
A kitchen pantry is a cooking life saver, especially when stacked with ingredients that we use on a regular basis like oil, vinegar, spices, nuts, seeds, or canned vegetables that we can quickly toss in a soup, salad, or pasta and rice dishes. When shopping for your pantry, avoid products that contain high levels of salt and sodium, like instant noodles, ready-made soups, fruit compotes packed in sugar, and opt for healthier options like nuts and seeds, nut butters, healthy grains like oats and granola, canned vegetables without added salt, and tuna packed in healthy oils.
6. Do: Cut down on processed foods
Processed food makes our lives easier, but sometimes, processed food equals large amounts of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar which can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and heart diseases. When shopping for groceries, choose natural produce like fruits, whole grain products with as little preservatives as possible, and cut down on processed food that contain a high percentage of sodium and fats like bacon, sausages, flavored luncheon or smoked meat. Not all processed food is bad for you, though. Foods like oatmeal, bran, granola, and dried lentils are processed but they have antioxidant properties and promote a healthy digestive system.
7. Don’t: Be fooled by labels
We’ve all bought into the low-cal or sugar free label and ended up finding out that what we ate was extremely high in calories. Just because something says it’s gluten-free, fat-free, or sugar free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.
Reading food labels helps you make informed decisions about your nutrition, manage your calorie intake, and be mindful of the health-sensitive ingredients you might want to avoid. Before you decide to buy a new product with a catchy label, read labels, and educate yourself on the ingredients you’re consuming.
It might feel like there’s a lot to learn before mastering your grocery shopping, but these tips can help you make the most of your grocery shopping visit and end up with better choices, more nutritious food, and less stress. If you’re looking for a smooth, and convenient way to shop for groceries online, use Breadfast app and get all your essentials right to your doorstep in as little as 20 minutes.