Grocery shopping hacks to try

Follow the advice in this section to ensure you not only have a well-stocked kitchen for healthy eating, but are buying the right products at the right time in the right way.

Grocery shopping hacks to try

The typical Canadian does a main grocery shop roughly once a week, and many of us do some last-minute shopping too; the average family of four now spends a good chunk of its income on food. So, why oh why does it often feel as if there's nothing to eat at home? Maybe you're not approaching the grocery shopping with the right attitude — or list.

Buy fresh food

  • There is no simpler, no easier, nor plainer measure of the healthiness of your food than whether it comes to you in boxes and cans or is fresh from the farm or fields.
  • If more than half of your shopping comprises prepared foods, then you need to take your eating habits back to the healthy side by opting for more fresh vegetables, fruit, seafood and dairy products.

Shop with a list

  • Organize your shopping list based on the tip above – that is, order it by the individual sections of the store.
  • This will get you out of the supermarket at the speed of light.
  • If you're a woman, consider asking your husband or son to do the food shopping.
  • Research shows that, compared to women, men are more likely to buy only what's on the list. But shopping with a list has benefits beyond speed and spending.
  • By sticking rigidly to a well-planned shopping list, you can resist the seductive call of aisle upon aisle of junk food, thereby saving your family and yourself from an overload of empty calories.

Food-shop on a full stomach

  • You've no doubt heard it before, but it's worth repeating. Walking through a supermarket with your tummy rumbling can make you vulnerable to buying anything that isn't moving.
  • If you can't arrange to shop shortly after a meal, be sure to eat an apple and drink a large glass of water before heading into the store.

Purchase a few days before food is fully ripe

  • There's no point in trying to buy fresh vegetables and fruit for your family if the bananas turn brown and the peaches go mushy two days after you get them home.
  • Buy fruit that's still a day or two behind ripeness.
  • It will still be hard to the touch; bananas will be green. Feel carefully for bruises on apples, check best before dates on bagged produce and stay away from potatoes or onions that have started to sprout.
  • If the fresh produce on the shelves looks a bit beyond its peak, don't walk away; ask to speak to the manager. Chances are, there's a fresh shipment in the back just waiting to be put out on the shelves.
  • For a really tasty treat, if you're going to eat them within the next couple of days, buy a bunch of vine-ripened tomatoes. There's just no comparison.

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