How many of you out there have had the issue where you go into the supermarket for one thing and you leave with several others? I’m pretty sure there’s two types of shoppers with this issue: Ones that have done that, and ones that are lying that they’ve not done this. What about choosing the right cut of meat only to then have it drip onto your produce? This post will have some tips to help you get the best groceries you can.
- Make a list and stick to it: Making a list and generally knowing where things are at in the store makes it easier to not overspend on foods you don’t need. Only in the store for some laundry detergent? Instead of looking all over the store, you can go straight to where they keep the soap. Spending time trying to remember what the last thing you needed was? A list can help you remember so you can stop passing by the bakery debating about if you should buy that box of donuts (you don’t).
- Shop the perimeter: This can be a double-edged sword. The perimeter is generally where things like the fruits, vegetables, milk/dairy alternatives, meats/meat alternatives, and other better-for-you foods are. Just note: sometimes within these sections they hide foods you probably don’t need, such as fruit juices (some of them can have as much sugar as a soda without having as much benefit as eating the whole fruit), ice cream, and other junk foods (such as donuts, pastries, pies, beer and wine, etc.) depending on the section. This is one way in which the list can help. While the interior of the store might have other items you need (such as coffee or tea, cleaning supplies, baby supplies), they also have more tempting foods there, like candy, chips, sodas etc.
- Grab the temperature sensitive items last: It’s a well known food safety tip that anything left in “the danger zone” of temperatures (40-140 degrees F) has a good chance of growing all sorts of nasty shit in them, which can make anyone who eats it sick. A quick trip to the store will not leave foods in these temperatures for a long time, but things such as travel and check out time can impact how long the food gets to storage. Buying temperature sensitive items, like meat, cheese, or some fruits and vegetables keeps them at a safer temperature for longer, which can help keep your food safe.
- Read the dates on things you grab: In a perfect world, the employees would follow the first in, first out rule of stock management: older stock is to the front, and newer is in the back. Some customers are privy to this. However, sometimes people get in a rush and just cram stuff in, which means newer stuff can be in the middle. Older stock can also get caught on things, which means the stuff in the back may be older than the stuff in the front. So when grabbing anything that has a printed date on it, be sure to read it and know what it means. Other times, the label might not be so clear. Some packaged produce has a “harvested on” date too, which indicates freshness. But this can be confusing as many know dates on foods to mean when it goes bad.
Shopping can be time consuming and expensive. However, if you go in with a plan, then you can reduce how much time (and possibly money) you are spending in the store.
Have any more tips you have for shoppers? Feel free to leave a comment!