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Be a Smart Shopper: Groceries and Meal Planning

Nothing really beats grocery shopping – you’re getting a ton of exercise in while getting to buy foods you’re about to enjoy. However, the one downfall is that all that food you purchased can quickly spoil if you don’t eat all of it in time or use it efficiently. If this consistently happens to you over time, that’s a lot of money and food that went to waste! 

Instead of falling into this pattern, you can stretch your groceries – and your money – further just by adopting some simple shopping and meal planning tricks. Once you get used to the new best practices, you’ll be able to reduce your grocery budget, lower food waste, and find new ways to add a twist to your usual recipes.

What is Being a Smart Shopper?

Being a smart shopper is simple: you’re adopting the best practices you can to get the best deal. In terms of grocery shopping and meal planning, shopping smart is crucial because you don’t want to pay more than you have to for tasty meals that will keep you healthy.

For seniors specifically, being a smart shopper can be the answer to help fight back against things like limited resources, not being able to go anywhere due to mobility issues, and even current inflation rates. By adopting smart shopping habits, seniors will be able to plan meals more accordingly and make better choices at the supermarket without drastically affecting their health needs.

How to Become Smart with Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning

Before heading to the store for your next grocery trip, make sure to check out some of our best kept tips and tricks below to be more efficient with food: 

Check Out Weekly Ads for Deals

A bad choice many people make when grocery shopping is not checking out the weekly deals before they go. If you’re one of these people, you’re missing out on a lot of discounts that can maximize the amount of food you buy.

Before going shopping, you’ll want to look through supermarket advertisements that come in the mail and are online, and take note of the local deals that would work best for your budget and diet requirements. It’s important to remember also that these deals can have expiration dates and may happen only on certain days of the week, so don’t forget to look at the small print.

Create a Weekly Budget

One of the easiest ways to stick to a meal plan and smart shopping is by creating a weekly budget for yourself. To do this, you’ll want to sit down and assess how much you can spend on food per week, and how that amount works with your bills. Don’t forget to take note of any diet-specific items you must have, and how any fun extras fit in if you want to treat yourself.

Creating a doable budget for yourself makes it easy for you to stick to it. You’re not really limiting yourself from anything you love, so you’ll still get to indulge, but without having to feel guilty about it.

Always Keep the Basics in Stock

A major key to effective meal planning is ensuring that you’re always stocked up on the basics. These include things like:

  • Canned or dried beans
  • Packets or cans of fish
  • Cooking oils
  • Cans or boxes of broths
  • Dried spices and herbs
  • Whole grains like brown rice or oats
  • Dairy products like milk and butter

Having basics like these on hand not only make it simple for you to cook and add on to the meals you already had planned, but they also prevent you from going to the grocery store and being tempted by impulse buys. With them, all you have to do is walk over to your cupboard or refrigerator and you’ll have everything you need to make a great meal within reach!

Freeze Foods for Later

There will be days when cooking is the last thing you want to do. For these times, having a freezer full of backup foods and meals is perfect so that you can easily warm up a healthy meal without having to spend extra money at the store or grabbing take-out from a restaurant.

When stocking up your freezer, you’ll not only want to think about your favorite meals you’ll want to keep, but other items that are more sustainable and can last longer. Some ideas for you include:

  • Lasagna or Ziti
  • Soups
  • Chili
  • Pot Pie
  • Enchiladas
  • Biscuits or Rolls
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchinis
  • Cooked Mushrooms
  • Leafy Greens

Learn to Cut Recipes in Half

Many recipes are designed to feed 4-6 people, and sometimes more. That means if you’re using one of these recipes and only you and a few others are enjoying the meals, you’ll have a lot of leftovers that could potentially go to waste.

Learning how to cut recipes in half is the perfect way to solve this issue. You can do this by taking your favorite recipes and rewriting the ingredients to fit every person in your household. By doing this, you’ll not only still have more than enough food to fill up on, but you’ll find other ways to make your meals more exciting by customizing the ingredients!

What to Remember

By adopting these smart shopping and meal planning practices now, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be reducing food waste, making better eating and buying choices, and can save more money overall. So, make sure to keep these tips with you and enjoy the great results! 

Learn more about being a smart shopper with these additional resources: 

Beware of These Grocery Store Tricks

Save More Money While Grocery Shopping

Food Assistance for Older Adults

Healthy Hive

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