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A shopper grapples with products and technology in a grocery store [CREDIT: pxhere.com, Viki Mohamad]

Grocery Shopping for Your Health: Shopping “green” is more than just saving money

In our last post in the “Grocery Shopping for Your Health” series, we looked at food safety, starting at the store. Today, in our final (planned) post in the series, we discuss shopping “green.”

For our purposes, shopping “green” carries dual (though not dueling) definitions: 1) saving some money at the grocery store, and 2) shopping with an eye to sustainability. Both will help maximize your food dollar.

Grocery Shopping for Your Health iconGrocery shopping to save money doesn’t mean compromising on nutrition, flavor, quality or more. Rather, it means doing your homework and making smart food choices.

It starts by creating a shopping list. Plan out your week of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, along with a selection of healthy snacks. Create a meal plan that includes four or five meals that can be used for lunch the next day or served as a “planned-over” for dinner. Planning this way will help avoid unnecessary trips to the store.

Here are my top 10 tips:

  • 10 Try visiting the store at off-hours, if you find grocery shopping to be stressful or unpleasant, try shopping early morning, early evening or midweek, you might find the store less crowded.
  • 9 Check your pantry and refrigerator before shopping to see what you already have. You don’t want to overbuy perishables that you wind up throwing out.
  • 8 Create a food budget. Know where you spend most of your money by analyzing your receipt.
  • 7 Organize your shopping list by the store layout, to cut down on time spent in the store. As part of this, try to make your last store stops any temperature-sensitive areas, like frozen foods, fresh meat counters, dairy aisles, etc.
  • 6 Take advantage of grocery specials, but only if they are items and foods you use and enjoy regularly. Plan your menus for the week around the specials.
  • 5 Be flexible. Take advantage of what fresh fruits and vegetables are in season. Not only will they be cheaper, but because they are in season, they will be more flavorful.
  • 4 Try to shop alone, if possible. Having others join you while you shop can lead you to add items into your cart that aren’t on your shopping list.
  • A user holds a smartphone with a faux "Grocery Online" shopping list app. [CREDIT: pixabay.com, Ilan Shatz]

    A user holds a smartphone with a faux “Grocery Online” shopping list app. [CREDIT: pixabay.com, Ilan Shatz]

    3 Don’t impulse buy. Impulse buying, or falling for marketing ploys, encourages you to spend more money at the store. Watch at check-out that you don’t place those extra, last-minute items into your cart.
  • 2 Don’t go to the store hungry! This can lead to impulse buying.
  • 1 Always have a shopping list! You might like a paper version, but using a smartphone app will help you keep your list current and accessible. Using a grocery list will not only reduce the amount of time you spend in the store, but it will also avoid the extra trips to the store.

So, how else can you maximize your food dollar? By shopping more sustainably. Here are some easy tips to follow:

  • Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags! Keep them in your car for handy use. And, wash them frequently.
  • Purchase products with less packaging. Try to buy the larger or even bulk-size container, and then portion the items into single-serving sizes using smaller, reusable containers.
  • Recycle paper and plastic grocery bags. Some stores offer a recycling program.
  • If a store doesn’t participate in a recycling program, consider reusing the plastic bags in your home. You might use them as your trash bags or to pick up after your pets.
  • Plan ahead to limit your trips to the store, which saves money on gas.
  • Buy only what you need, especially when it comes to fresh produce. If you have purchased too much, consider composting. Our office offers classes on how to get started. Visit ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com listing for more information.

Saving money at the store is really all about staying organized and focusing on what you need to purchase. Our office offers a variety of classes that will help you shop wisely, be more sustainable and eating with nutrition in mind but we have a multitude of classes that will enrich your life and those around you. Visit ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com to find our latest classes.


This brings us to the end of our “Grocery Shopping for Your Health” tour. I hope you found the series to be beneficial and useful. Don’t hesitate to reach out for more grocery shopping blog topics. Happy shopping!

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