Smart Grocery Shopping Tips - Promise
Smart Grocery Shopping Tips, powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Smart Grocery Shopping Tips

Save time and money with these helpful grocery shopping tips!

Plan Ahead

Before going to the store, it is helpful to have a plan. This will help reduce the amount of time and money spent at the super market.

Create a menu

  • Write out meal ideas for each day of the week to help with planning and organization. This will help you decide what you need from the store.
  • Consider writing this menu on a calendar or chalkboard.
  • You do not have to create the menu alone! Ask family members to assistance in selecting meals and recipes. This will make everyone happy, as it gives each person the opportunity to suggest some of their favorite items.
  • Having a “meal plan” for the week helps to limit frequency of dining out or ordering in. Cooking at home can be healthier and more cost effective.
  • Plan to have a fruit or vegetable with every meal.
  • Here are some resources for healthy recipes:

Make a list

  • Think of your grocery list as a road map. It will help keep you from getting “lost” or taking unnecessary detours. Sticking to the list can make for a more efficient trip with fewer distractions and temptations.
  • Take inventory before, or while, creating your list to prevent getting too much or not enough of a necessary food/ingredient. This can help limit food waste, and prevent having to make extra trips to the store.
  • Consider leaving a note pad in the kitchen and encourage family members to write down foods they want or need for the week.

Don’t shop hungry

  • This is another way to help limit over-shopping and giving in to temptations or unhealthy convenience items. Everything looks and sounds good when you are hungry.
  • Be sure to go to the store on a full stomach, or pack a healthy, high-protein/high-fiber snack just in case. (i.e., nuts and fruit)

Shop Smart

Shop the perimeter

  • Stick to the outside isles of the store. This is where the produce, dairy and deli sections are located.
  • The middle isles are typically filled with processed foods and sugary beverages that contain fewer nutrients.
  • Keep in mind that items directed towards children, like sugary cereals and other treats, are often placed at their eye level.
  • Do not fall for the tempting treats at the register. These items are strategically placed to add to the final sale while you wait in line, and often include candy bars and other sugary treats.

Pay attention to food labels

  • Compare brands and products by looking at food labels and ingredient lists on packaging.
  • Look for items with more protein and fiber, and less sugar and fat.
  • The fewer ingredients, the better!
  • See our Promise Blog post on food labels for more information.

Shop on a budget

  • Shop in season for better prices on produce. See what is in season now!
  • Keep track of food waste. If you notice certain foods are being thrown away regularly, consider buying less of this particular item.
  • Convenience items tend to be more costly (i.e., pre-cut fruit and single-serving items).
  • Check grocery circulars and newspapers for sales.
  • Keep coupons in an envelope in the car to prevent forgetting them at home.
  • Avoid purchasing items simply because they are on sale. If you do not truly need the item, this additional purchase will only add to the cost of your trip.
Mary-Catherine Perry, RD, LDN

About Mary-Catherine Perry, RD, LDN

Mary-Catherine Perry, RD, LDN, is a Clinical Dietitian in the Weight Management/Bariatric Clinic at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Del.