Shop Smarter: How to shop quick, nutrition and on-budget

Author: Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD

You’ve been grocery shopping for so long, you could practically do it in your sleep, right? A lot of people shift to autopilot in the store, tossing the usual staples into the cart each week. But there’s actually a way to be strategic with your shopping—so you can spend less time in the aisles, have more money left in your wallet and even simplify healthy eating. Here’s how:

Step 1: Map out a meal plan.

  • Develop a week’s plan before you step into the store to eliminate repeat trips back to the store.
  • To really save big, nab the store circular (or view it online) and plan your meals around the stand-out specials for the week.
         - For example, if ground beef is a steal, plan for lasagna or a taco night. 
  • Consider your schedule when planning out meals too, like having a slow cooker dish on deck for busy evenings of sports practices or music lessons. Plan to double one recipe so there are leftovers for lunches or dinner the next night.

Step 2: Upgrade your grocery list.

  • Take it up a notch by organizing your list by shopping area—such as dairy, produce and meats—and you’ll save serious time: No more zigzagging through the store to grab forgotten items. Download an app organized this way or find a template online to print.

Step 3: Stock up on basics.

  • Pick up foods like canned beans, dry pasta, frozen vegetables, whole grain wraps and some jarred sauces to stash away. That means you’ll always have ingredients to put together a healthy meal when all else fails.

More about the author:

Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD:

An educator and author of the “Real Mom Nutrition” blog and works to encourage families to be active and eat healthier through whole, fresh foods and home-cooked meals.