6 tips to buying groceries more efficiently

Keeping a kitchen well-stocked with fresh, nutritious food requires a good amount of planning. Follow these simple tricks to shop for groceries more efficiently.

6 tips to buying groceries more efficiently

1. Buy in season

  • Of course, it's tempting to buy strawberries in December, and once in a while that's fine.
  • But fresh fruit and vegetables are definitely best when purchased in season, meaning they've come from relatively close to home.
  • They often cost less and are tastier. Ask around at the farmers' market to find out what's best when.

2. Consider buying organic

  • Some studies suggest that organic produce contains higher levels of cancer-fighting nutrients.
  • While others find no difference, organic is undoubtedly better for the environment and doesn't contain the pesticide residues sometimes present in non-organic produce.
  • But it is generally more expensive so, when choosing what to buy, consider which non-organic foods have the worst residues.
  • That being stated, do not let the price factor dissuade you from eating ample portions of fruits and vegetables, all of which are good for the body and mind.

3. Buy frozen

  • Frozen fruit and vegetables are often flash frozen at source, locking in more nutrients than some fresh or canned foods contain.
  • So stock your freezer with bags of frozen vegetables and fruits.
  • You can add the veggies to soups and stews, microwave them for a side dish with dinners or thaw them at room temperature and dip them into low-fat salad dressing for snacks.
  • Use the fruits for desserts and smoothies, and as ice cream and yogurt toppings.

4. Stock up on canned tomato products

  • Here's one major exception to the "fresher is better" rule.
  • Studies find that tomato sauces and crushed and stewed tomatoes have higher amounts of the antioxidant lycopene than fresh, because they're concentrated.
  • Canned tomatoes are a godsend when it comes to rustling up a quick dinner.
  • Warm up a can with some crushed garlic for a chunky pasta sauce; pour a can over chicken breasts and simmer; add to stews and sauces to provide flavour and extra nutrients.

5. Don't forget canned beans

  • They may have a bit more salt than you'd choose, but it's easy enough to rinse it off.
  • Beans can be mixed with brown rice, added to soups and stews, puréed with onions and garlic to make a dip, or served over pasta for a traditional pasta e fagioli (fagioli means "beans" in Italian).
  • You may have heard that pasta raises blood sugar. But the soluble fibre in the beans lowers the overall glycemic index of the meal, reducing both the steepness of the rise in blood sugar during digestion and the surge in insulin secretion that follows.
  • So a dish of pasta and beans is as healthy as it is delicious.

6. Reject food and drinks made with corn syrup

  • Corn syrup is a calorie-dense, nutritionally empty sweetener perhaps even worse for us than refined sugar.
  • A number of foods and drinks contain it, including apparently healthy foods such as fruit juices, pre-made spaghetti sauces and even bread.
  • If corn syrup is listed as one of the four main ingredients (usually near the top), for your good health's sake, avoid it.

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