Grocery shopping 101: Tips & tricks

After Andy’s Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, meal planning and (subsequently) grocery shopping were integral to getting us both back on the road to recovery and health. Nothing set us back faster than being really hungry with nothing planned and no food in the cupboard. Pizza Hut was just a phone call away!

I’ve already shared my process for attacking the grocery store and the importance of a grocery budget, but I wanted to end this mini-series with a few more tips and tricks I’ve picked up that will make your entire grocery experience that much easier.

• Make a plan/list. Nothing will frustrate you more than milling around a busy grocery store trying to figure out what you want to eat. You’ll find yourself randomly throwing things into the cart that you’ll kick yourself for later. I’m looking at you S’mores PopTarts!

• Set a budget. I know I’ve already covered this in a blog post, but I really can’t stress enough the importance of a grocery budget. Keeping track of where and how you spend your money is good for your health and your bank account.

• Go shopping consistently. Whether you go once a week, once a month, or every Wednesday and Saturday, make sure that your house has the healthy food you need when a case of the munchies hits.

• Go early/late in the day. Mid-day at a grocery store is my personal definition of hell. So many people with baskets going every which way. If you can get there early, you’ll have your pick of the best produce and won’t have to reach around 10 people to get it.

• Be nice. Nobody likes grocery shopping. Everyone wants to be done. Pushing your way past people isn’t nice. Be as courteous as you can to fellow shoppers and staff (especially the staff!) and if you have to, sing a happy song in your head. I promise it helps!

• Make friends with the staff. The staff knows their product and they can help you find exactly what you want. If I ever have a question about how to cook a certain cut of meat the guys behind the counter are a great resource.

• Try something new. Don’t be afraid to try that strange looking vegetable or a new cut of meat. You may find a new favorite to add to your meal cycle.

If you have any tried and true grocery shopping tips, I’d love to hear them!

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