In a Pickle Over Grocery Shopping?

7 Tricks of the Trade

madison.JPGAre you concerned about the economy? Do you want to save at the grocery store? Are you looking for ways to buy and store the most healthful foods? A mom on asks for some ‘tricks of the trade’ for grocery shopping, storage, and making the most of her produce. No worries, we’ll discover seven tricks of the trade for healthful AND cost-effective grocery shopping.

#1. Buy produce in season. Not only is “fresh better than frozen; frozen better than canned,” but fresh is usually cheaper, too. For long-lasting produce, store your fruit and veggies in separate bins in your refrigerator. Fruit (produce with seeds) manufacture ethylene gas as they ripen. When fruit are stored with vegetables (produce without seeds), the vegetables loose their green color and spoil more rapidly. You’ll save not only dollars when your veggies and fruit are stored in separate bins, but also flavor, as vegetables stored with fruit will develop a bitter taste.

Even if you love pickles, like Madison,
you don’t have to be in a pickle over grocery shopping.

You can save when you purchase large bags of produce. Bags of bell peppers can be hard to use up before they go bad. I clean, then seed and slice each pepper, place each one in its own baggie in the freezer. That way there’s no waste, just take out a baggie, remove the pepper, and pop it into recipes frozen. It’ll defrost as it cooks. The same can be done with onions. Also, fresh herbs can be frozen.

#2. Purchase frozen orange and apple juice with no added sugars. It’s cheaper than juice from the dairy case or purchased in large containers. Juices found in the dairy case have been pasteurized, destroying nutrients. Also, you are paying more for juice in glass or plastic containers, because you’re paying for the weight of the product.

#3. Never purchase soft, squishy loaves of bread, even though they’re really cheap. These are filled with dough conditioners and chemicals. This is one area where spending more will save in health costs over time. Make sure “whole grain” is the first ingredient and purchase with as few ingredients as possible.

#4. Buy foods with LESS than 5 ingredients. Avoid processed foods which are expensive and contain preservatives, artificial ingredients, altered fats (especially trans fat and interesterified fat), white flour, and sugar. You’ll avoid most processed and junk foods when you shop the outer aisles of the supermarket. Never purchase a food item with a cartoon character. This is almost always a sign of added artificial colors and sugars. Steer clear of the pop, candy, and cereal aisles, which are located in the center of the store. Money spent here is money down the nutritional drain.

#5. Ocean-caught fish is better than farm-raised. Farm-raised fish have more contaminates. The rule of thumb is smaller the fish, the lower the mercury level. Don’t eat the fat. Fat is where fish store contaminates.

#6. Use lean meats, sparingly. This will cut your grocery and doctor bill at the same time. Use recipes that make a little meat go a long way: Casseroles, salads, stews, and stir fries.

#7. Buy in bulk. Big box store prices are hard to beat for purchasing bulk items. Build a pantry of regularly used nutritious staples. Big box stores now carry organic items including raisins, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, applesauce, and canned tuna and chicken. Some produce, like onions, garlic, and potatoes, can be stored for weeks in a cool dark place, like a basement. Warehouse stores also offer frozen organic foods: fruit and vegetables and large packages of organic beef and chicken which can be divided and frozen. If you don’t already have one, purchase a freezer. I have a half-size ice chest in my garage. It holds over 100 pounds of food. It’s not expensive either. You can find them for under $175. (I just saw one yesterday at a garage sale for $75.)

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