Articles, Food Ed Resources

How to be a smart shopper?

OpenWe spend lots of time providing people with information about what is ‘healthy’, what we should eat less and ways to improve diet. All of this information is great but if we don’t know how to put it into practice, then it becomes a bit pointless. Below is information about shopping smarter that includes great tips and tricks to make healthier choices easier.

What to do before shopping

Before you even get to the supermarket, there are lots of tips so you don’t overspend and buy foods you don’t need.

What you already have

Make a note of all of the foods you have in your fridge, freezer and cupboards. Rotate them every now and then and make a note of everything before you go.

Make a weekly food planner

Scour the internet, dust off the old recipe books and talk to others about some meals you can make. Check your schedule for days that you might be out and about and don’t need to cook. You might only need a few ingredients to make up lots of different meals.

Whip up a list

Now you know which foods you need to make your meals, create an easy shopping list. You might want to be very precise with foods that link to your recipe, for example, 200g of mushrooms or 4 sausages and always add versatile foods on the list when low, like frozen veggies or tinned tomatoes.

What to do when shopping

Never shop while hungry! Shopping whilst peckish increases the chances of buying convenient foods. These will be more than likely be higher in salt, fat and/or sugar so head out on a full stomach.

Stick to your list

When going into the shop you have a clear list of foods that you need to buy. This will save you lots of time and money. You might even want to buy two or three times the amounts of ingredients to batch cook. Don’t go rogue and deviate from the list by the BOGOF deals or end of isle chocolate bar.

Compare similar foods

If you do fancy buying something off of the list like a bag of crisps, make sure to compare the different brands. Lots of the same foods will be different in terms of nutritional content. Carry a Food Shopping Card with you to make the comparison easy. Always choose foods that have more greens than reds or choose lower numbers if they are the same colour. Comparing traffic lights on the front of packaging is also a good idea as this shows nutritional information per portion. For more information about using a Food Shopping Card can be found here.

Look up and down

We know that supermarkets have lots of ways to ‘nudge’ us into buying certain foods. These include promotional items at the end of isles, items near the tills or putting the foods/drinks with higher profit margins at eye level. If you are keen on buying some olives, look at the top and bottom of where the olives are, you might find better value ones there. Also check the prices per 100g or 100ml. All of the foods will come in different sizes so using this will give you the best price.

What to do after shopping

This is where you can be creative. Open yourself up to new experiences, harness culinary skills with new recipes and learn new skills things, getting food organised and creating new recipes.

Batch cook meals

If you buy more than you need, cook it all. You can always portion the meal out and freeze it for times when you unexpectedly need to eat. Putting a homemade meal in the oven is always going to be healthier for you than a pre-packaged one. It’s helpful in these situations to keep any take away containers or empty jars. This will not only save you money but will enhance your green credentials.

Have a go and making your own

Why buy pickled cabbage or coleslaw when you have all of the ingredients at home? Undoubtedly, you will all have items like vinegars, oils, spices and herbs in the cupboards, so put them to good use. Browse the internet for easy ways to make these foods and if they didn’t hit the spot on the first attempt, tweak it for the second and third. Remember practice makes perfect!

Waste is useful

Don’t throw away your fruit and veggie scraps or that flavoured oil in the jar of piquante peppers, use them to make meals and spice up dishes. Some examples include using the vegetable scraps in stocks or grating the lemon/orange/lime peel before juicing it for future meals. If you can’t make a use for it, compost it!

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