EAT RIGHT: Is your family supermarket savvy?
Using coupons can help you save money when grocery shopping. But there are deals and ways to save money and time to be had in every section of the supermarket — as long as you know where to look.
Produce: Look for seasonal fruits and vegetables. These will usually be displayed front and center.
For example, in late spring and early summer, look for berries. During summer, look for watermelon, tomatoes and peaches. In the fall, apples and winter squash are plentiful. And in the winter, it’s cabbage and citrus fruits. When possible, buy your fruits and vegetables in bulk bags — such as 3- or 5-pound bags.
The produce may be a bit smaller, but you are saving per pound.
Deli: If you only need a small amount of a fresh vegetable or a fruit for a salad, try the salad bar available in most grocery stores. Instead of hitting a drive-thru for lunch, get a sandwich or salad and save money and calories.
Bakery: If you don’t have time to bake a cake or cookies, check out your store’s bakery. Looking for whole wheat or whole grain breads? You can find local artisan breads as well as traditional store breads in all shapes and sizes.
Meat: When possible, buy meat in family packs. Buy a whole chicken and roast it on Sunday. Use leftovers for sandwiches, salads and quesadillas the rest of the week. Look for turkey breast and roasts that are less expensive per pound and that work well in a slow cooker for cook once-eat twice meals.
Grocery: Always check unit pricing on shelf tags. Don’t be fooled by the box, bag, can or carton. Make sure to compare prices on items that are the top and bottom shelves with those that are at eye level. Compare store-brand items such as Laura Lynn with brand-name items.
You could save a lot of money without sacrificing taste.
Dairy: Buy plain yogurt and add flavor with fresh or frozen fruits, low-sugar jams, or honey. This helps control added sugars. Buy plain milk and flavor it yourself with chocolate syrup or powders. Eggs are one of the least-expensive sources of protein; hard boil some to use for egg salad or to add protein to a tossed salad.
Frozen foods: Keep frozen fruits and vegetables in your freezer and use small amounts at a time as you need them. A frozen cheese pizza can easily be topped with more vegetables such as mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes or broccoli to make it a healthy meal option. Frozen whole-wheat waffles can speed up breakfast preparation.
The bottom line
The bottom line for parents: Smart shoppers shop the whole supermarket to save!
Talk to Leah
Leah McGrath is the corporate dietitian for Ingles Markets. Follow her @InglesDietitian. Contact her at Lmcgrath@ingles-markets.com, 800-334-4936 or at www.ingles-markets.com/ask_leah.