In a perfect world, we’d all go to the local supermarket to get fresh fruits and vegetables from regional farmers, dairy from neighboring dairy farmers, and meat from the stand-alone butcher shop. There’s incontrovertible evidence that local and small-scale food producers make products far tastier and healthier than those made mass-producing corporations. Unfortunately it’s not quite practical to buy the entirety of your groceries from local farmers or markets for a few reasons aside from their typically higher prices. For one, it’s rare that you can find the majority of your food and household products in local markets; the majority of farmers markets present a series of niche products good for accenting your pantry supply, but not wholly stocking it. Secondly, locally sourced (and organic) foods tend to expire quickly without the aid of chemicals and preservatives, and sometimes families need long shelf lives in their products to keep costs low.
So when you do go to the supermarket for your groceries, you should arm yourself against the myriad temptations designed to extract as much money from you as possible. If you fall prey to the supermarket’s many traps, it will be at the expense of your wallet and your overall health. To save yourself, consider these survival tips on your next trip to the supermarket.
Don’t Stray From Your Grocery List
The cardinal rule of grocery shopping is to make an itemized grocery list before attempting a visit to the supermarket. The corollary to that rule is to stick to your grocery list no matter what. As you’ve heard before, supermarkets are cleverly laid out to cater to the shopper’s impulse; necessary items like milk, fruit, and bread are usually spread out across an entire store so as to make shoppers walk through as many aisles as possible. As you scout around the supermarket for your goods, do yourself a favor and keep your head down and your eyes focused on your list to save yourself from superfluous spending.
Eliminate As Many Prepackaged Foods As Possible
This point will divide many shoppers with loyalties to old food brands, but it’s a good exercise for people who want to make a concerted effort at eating healthier foods. While it might be tempting to purchase your favorite bag of cookies or frozen dinner, a quick look at the item’s ingredients list and nutrition facts might change your mind. I’m personally suspicious of items that list twenty or more ingredients when under normal circumstances I could make them myself with less than ten. Of course the mysterious preservative and synthetic materials in the majority of process and prepackaged foods don’t have any immediate effect on the body. But for a person adhering to a healthy diet, they’re almost never the right choice.
Skip Most of The Drinks
Supermarkets have two main drink sections, those in the refrigerated aisle and those available at room temperature. The drinks in the refrigerated aisle are mostly “fruit juices” from concentrate whose alluring labels are covered with promises of high vitamin and calcium levels. What these bottles don’t explicitly advertise is the levels of sugar that they contain. You might be surprised to learn that many popular fruit juices have just as much sugar per serving as a regular can of soda—not exactly something to guzzle down daily. The room temperature drink section houses the usual culprits—sodas and fizzy fruit drinks who make no excuses for their sweet tastes. These drinks are fine in small, infrequent doses, but they’re not really something to fret over buying on a routine grocery trip.
This tip will seem counter-intuitive to thrifty shoppers, but they’re precisely the ones who I’m addressing with this advice. Supermarkets always advertise some sale to entice the shopper trying to save a little money. But the deals that they thrust upon shoppers are not often for products that they need nor would they particularly want under normal circumstances. Indeed, supermarkets will arbitrarily post sales for items that they have overstocked, or those that have been selling poorly previously. Unless the item for sale happens to be on your grocery list, you’ll only be helping the supermarket when you purchase it.
About The Author
Jemima Lopez is a freelance blogger and writer who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and online degrees. She welcomes your comments at her email: email@example.com.
Photo courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Infrogmation