Shopping for groceries – 7 tips
Going grocery shopping can be quite an ordeal: yet another chore to complete. For others, weekly shopping or searching for the best deals is almost a hobby. No matter how you feel about grocery shopping, there are a few tips you can use to make your shopping experience even more sustainable, healthy and efficient.
7 tips for your grocery shopping
The following suggestions are intended to make your shopping experience more pleasant overall. Of course, you don't have to implement all of these tips; Just choose what resonates with you and is feasible for you. Of course, you can also modify the recommendations and make them suitable for you.
If you have any other tips and tricks that can make shopping more enjoyable, please share them! 😌
1. Write a shopping list
Let's start with the obvious and banal: the shopping list. Who doesn't know it - at home you still think: “Oh, I only need 5 pieces; I remember that too.” Then suddenly you're standing in the store and have a complete blackout. It's only in the parking lot when you're putting away your groceries that you remember what you actually came for - annoying.
Writing a list in advance will keep you organized and prepared. This makes your entire purchase more efficient. You're also less likely to make impulse purchases and focus more on what you really need.
While we are cooking or eating, we often notice which foods are becoming scarce or need to be purchased. Therefore, it makes sense to create a way in the kitchen to write these things down immediately. For example, you can get a small stack of notes or attach a list and pen to the wall. The latter option is great because other people living in the household can then quickly write something down.
There are now also some great apps in which shopping lists can be created and which can also be shared with other people. If it often happens that you have written your notes but then forget them at home, then this is definitely a good option for you. After all, you are less likely to leave your cell phone at home. 😋
2. Reduce food waste
The biggest help in reducing food waste: Before you go shopping, check what else you have at home. This is sometimes difficult to implement, for example when you go shopping quickly on the way home from work.
Nevertheless, our goal should be to only buy what we can actually use. Unfortunately, far too much food is still thrown away in German households. And that harms our environment.
Fruit and vegetables go bad more quickly and therefore often end up in the trash. Shopping strategically can prevent this: If you know that you probably won't eat the avocado until the weekend, then feel free to choose an avocado that is not yet ripe. The same applies to bananas, pears, and anything else that can still ripen well at home.
Sometimes it's just a matter of having some fruit and vegetables at home because you don't know exactly when you want to eat what. Here it is worth choosing varieties that naturally last longer or are less demanding in storage. These include, for example, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and apples.
If it happens that we have bought fruit or vegetables that we probably won't be able to use in time, then soups, smoothies or sauces are a great way to process and enjoy even larger quantities of these goods in a timely manner. Also remember that these soups and sauces can also be frozen! This means you don't have to throw away food - even if you don't have any use for it at the moment.
3. Take advantage of the architecture of the supermarket
Browsing every aisle in the supermarket can take forever. And even if you already know your way around and know where to find something, you usually still look left and right.
If you want to make your shopping more efficient, healthier and often cheaper, you can still use the division of supermarkets to your own advantage.
In most grocery stores, the produce department and refrigerated shelves are usually found in the outer areas. Therefore, it makes sense to stay here first. Fresh goods such as fruit and vegetables, milk alternatives and other plant-based products end up in the shopping cart first.
The middle aisles mostly contain processed foods, cans, confectionery and packaged goods. Of course there are exceptions, such as canned vegetables.
Personally, I always find it totally satisfying to be able to put a lot of unpackaged, fresh and healthy goods on the conveyor belt at the end. This makes me feel good about my purchase. For this reason, I have gotten into the habit of focusing on the outer shelves and areas of the supermarket first and then moving “inside” if necessary.
4. Look out for offers and discounted items
Admittedly, I'm not one of those people who researches exactly which supermarket has which products on offer before shopping. I'm not foresighted enough for that (not to mention that I wouldn't have the relevant promotional brochures...).
What I like to pay attention to, however, are signs about offers in the supermarket itself. I particularly like corners in vegetable departments where “overripe” goods are offered at a reduced price.
Far too many “unsightly” or supposedly overripe specimens of vegetables and fruit are still thrown away. However, some supermarkets now offer these for a lower price. You should definitely look out for this on your next purchase! Refrigerated goods that no longer have a long shelf life are also often sold at reduced prices. Of course, you should only use goods of this type if you can find a use for them in a timely manner.
Ripe fruit is particularly sweet. For this reason, some recipes even explicitly call for very ripe fruit specimens, such as the bananas that you need for banana bread.
5. Help yourself to frozen and canned foods
Maybe you grew up with the idea that fresh foods are essential and that frozen or bottled alternatives aren't nearly as nutritious as their fresh siblings.
And I don't want to deny that fresh food is important. Nowadays, however, frozen goods in particular (fruit and vegetables) are just as rich as fresh goods. Food that is then frozen is usually harvested at the peak of its ripeness. This preserves nutrients and taste.
This primarily refers to packaged frozen goods in “natural” form, i.e. foods without the addition of flavor enhancers, sugar, spice mixtures or similar.
For some people or households, it is easier to store some foods in the freezer or pantry. Others prefer to have fresh produce at home. No matter what type you are - it's completely fine!
Frozen or bottled foods also have the advantage that they last significantly longer and can be easily portioned. This is simply practical! Especially if you want to prepare a full meal but don't have much fresh produce on hand.
Canned foods are also particularly suitable for a quick meal. These also last for a very long time and are easy to prepare. Many people on a plant-based diet enjoy canned foods rich in protein and iron, such as chickpeas, lentils or beans. If you want, you can make sure when buying canned food that as little salt as possible has been added.
6. Shop seasonally and regionally
Seasonal products have many advantages. For one thing, they are often cheaper, meaning we get more for less money. On the other hand, seasonal products are fresher and tastier because they can be harvested when they are ripe.
If we focus on the seasonality of fresh foods, we also tend to eat a more varied diet. This is a fun way to discover new varieties, dishes and tastes!
Seasonal and regional shopping not only has advantages for us as consumers, but also benefits for the environment. Products that come from the surrounding area and are currently in season have to travel much shorter delivery routes. This can save a lot of harmful environmental gases.
Weekly markets are definitely recommended here. The food sold there almost always comes from the region. Goods purchased on the market are not only significantly cheaper than in the supermarket (especially if you need large quantities). Plus, you can support smaller, local businesses, which is a great thing.
7. Reduce your own plastic consumption
It's time to end our relationship with plastic . Step by step. For the environment. In another article, I talked in more detail about how you can reduce your plastic consumption . So here it is in brief:
Fortunately, using reusable shopping bags is becoming more and more commonplace. Bags made from recycled material or fabric are also usually larger and last significantly longer than simple paper or plastic bags. At the same time, you save a little money every time you bring your own bags.
There are now reusable alternatives for the small, transparent plastic bags for vegetables or fruit. The same goes for the bags at the bakery! I have never met a bakery sales person who wasn't happy to put my baked goods in the bread bag I had brought with me. 😊
If you would like to find out more about healthy eating, mindfulness, sustainability or family and pregnancy, check out more exciting blog articles on these topics here .