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Thanks to all those who submitted their “best tip for successful grocery shopping” for our What to Eat book giveaway last Friday. We got some great ideas!

This was out first week of Freebie Friday (our not-so-inventive name for giving loot away every Friday on this blog and via Facebook), and we learned a few things:

  • -A 30 word limit will not suffice. The Cooking Light family has much to say, so we’ll up the word count limit next time.
  • -We were also reminded, yet again, that our readers, website users, and Facebook fans are some of the most interesting out there. So, we’ll be compiling some of your thoughts into online articles and asking for feedback and ideas for stories in the magazine. Check in on Facebook, Twitter, and in the pages of the magazine for calls for your voice to be heard.

Now to the fun part:

Krista was our winner with this clever “shopping list” of tips. She sums up some of the most important tips for navigating a shopping trip, and she manages to do it with a smile and thank you, something we all should remember. After all, all the yoga, organic berries, and spelt on the planet means nothing if we can’t remember to me nice. Congrats to Krista! Check out her blog, Krista’s Krumbs.

1. Make list
2. Clip coupons
3. Eat before
4. Shop perimeter
5. Use list
6. Think
7. Use rewards card
8. Smile
9. Use reusable bags
10. Say ”thanks”

    Check back on Friday for another round of Freebie Friday and remember to “Like” us on Facebook!

    We’ve pulled out some noteworthy entries here, giving them some editors' unofficial awards:

    Best check-out tip: from Meredith

    "Unload "like items with like" onto conveyor belt (i.e. cold stuff together, boxed stuff together, etc). That way it makes it easier not only to bag items but when putting them away at home"

    Best thinking on your toes: from Anita Jackson

    "I have 3 kids under the age of 5 so I try to plan meals ahead, but sometimes I can't before the grocery trip...so my tip is to think of 5 easy, healthy meals while shopping that have very few ingredients (such as spaghetti, salad, and bread or frozen Asian veggies, chicken, and stir fry sauce just to name a few)."

    Best at combining cardio and shopping: from Pam McGowan

    "Make a list of what you need to make all your meals for the week. Then when you get to the grocery store go as quick as you can, gets your heart rate up and makes you avoid grabbing things you do not need!"

    Best over the word limit: from Kim

    "...my biggest tip is to plan grocery menus around things that you already have in the house. Like a steak marinade: I already have red wine vinegar, Worcestershire (can't spell it, let alone say it!), salt and pepper, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, etc. All I need to do is defrost the steak. Planning my menus around items in my cupboards has led me to spending $75-85 a WEEK on groceries for a family of 4, and that's WITH impulse buys and kids in tow!! Also, buying meat in bulk is a huge saver. So I go to the warehouse store to buy meats, and I try to buy from Sam's when they have their e-values on what I need to buy"

    …and then a few minutes later…Kim replied

    "Oops, sorry...didn't notice that 30 words or less part! Looks like nobody else did either, lol!"

    Best eco-minded-“Come-on-get-happy” award: from NedraI

    "Shop on Sunday mornings when it's less crowded. Bring an mp3 player and listen to what makes you happy. Don't forget to bring your own bags."

    Best Foodie Tip: from Nikki

    "Enjoy the experience! Make a game of finding the freshest foods, buying foods from every color of the rainbow, and picking at least one item you've never tried each week."

    Best use of a spouse or partner: From Phyllis Guinn

    "1st plan for next week. 2nd write out the grocery list in the order each item is placed in the store. 3rd Give said list to you husband and send him on his way. While he is gone organize the pantry, fridge and freezer to make room for the groceries."

    RD’s pick: from Laura

    "Never ever go when hungry, always go with a list and always, always read nutrition labels. Stay away from over processed food as much as possible; go with single ingredient purchases for healthier eating."

    Best budget tip: from Cheri

    "Learn what day your store gets their deliveries to ensure you get the freshest food possible. Don't be afraid of the store brands, they can be tastier and are almost always cheaper! Combine sales with coupons to maximize value. Shop bulk and split with a friend or neighbor to get the best price. Plan and use a list!"

    Best use of Cooking Light magazine: from Karen Marks

    "I like to give each family member 4 post-it notes to mark their favorite dish in the current Cooking Light Magazine...then I use these recipes to make my weekly list."

    Best Facebook fan of the week: from Tamara Galbraith

    "They need a LOVE button for CL! I'm a new subscriber and love the info and pics. My grocery tip is to make a shopping list and stick to it."

    Best unexpected parenting tip: from Jennifer

    "I buy healthier when my kids ARE with me. Getting through the produce department without at least 1 of every fruit and vegetable being thrown into theBest shop the perimeter tip: from Carly JeanNeed tomato sauce? Avoid the middle aisle and buy fresh tomatoes, garlic & onion. You probably have all the herbs you need in the spice cabinet. Make extra & freeze leftovers."