Be a Smarter Grocery Shopper
15 Ways to Shop Smarter
Before you grab a cart and hit the aisles, read our expert tips on how to make better choices at the grocery store. These strategies will help you save money, eat healthier, and live better.
1. Divvy Up Your Cart
Your shopping cart contents should match the proportions of the ideal dinner plate (as shown to the left).
2. Make a Shopping List
Organize your list by sections of the grocery (produce, meat/fish, frozen items, dairy, and so on). Bonus points: List sections in the order you travel in your market.
3. Read The Labels
Watch out for unreasonably high serving numbers—they strategically lower the calorie, fat, and sodium counts per serving.
4. Reach for the Top
5. Keep Food Fresher Longer
6. Use Your Freezer
Always keep frozen produce (without seasoning or sauce) on hand. It’s just as healthy as fresh, and handy when certain fresh produce is out of season.
See More: How to Freeze Vegetables
7. Pick A Healthy Grain for Your Morning Routine
Go for cereals with at least 5g fiber, 5g protein, and less than 10g sugar per serving. A whole grain should be the first ingredient on the box’s list.
8. Go Easy on Fatty Chips
Look for reduced-fat options; there are many good ones out there. Cape Cod Chips makes a great 40% reduced-fat potato chip—just don’t eat 40% more.
9. Shop The Edges
Find fresh whole foods—dairy, protein, produce—around the market perimeter.
10. Snack Smarter
Take advantage of the growing array of lower-sodium popcorn, whole-grain pretzels, and high-fiber bean chips. Hit the frozen aisle for high-protein items like edamame.
11. Choose Safe, Sustainable Seafood
Ask your fishmonger or consult the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to find sustainable choices.
12. Know Your Labels
Look for meat that hasn’t been injected with saline solution or preservatives. Sometimes those are labeled “marinated.”
13. Only Settle for the Real Deal
Less scrupulous olive oil producers try to pass off lower grades of oil as the good stuff. We like California Olive Ranch, which is certified extra-virgin.
Also, beware! Big bottles of cooking oil are cheaper on a cost per unit basis, but you may not finish them before they go rancid. Stick with smaller bottles.
14. Cut The Price of Poultry
Slash poultry costs with your own knife. Cuts like breast tenders or cutlets cost more per pound than whole breasts. Slice and pound whole breasts at home. Cheaper yet: Buy a whole bird and try our Foolproof Roast Chicken.
15. Maximize the Nutritional Value of Your Fruits and Vegetables
Precut produce is convenient, but it perishes and loses nutrients and flavor faster than whole fruits and veggies.