The food system is crazy confusing. It is half the reason we went back to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. We were so confused about what we were “supposed” to be eating and while we thought we were buying healthier food based on what the box said, we were not.
To help people take the overwhelm out of grocery shopping, we offer Grocery Store Tours. This is one our of favorite services we offer. We take people around the grocery store and show them foods to add into their diet, labeling reading, products we love like coconut oil, and quick and easy meals and snacks.
With the great responsibility of trying to feed yourself and your family better, you also may find your grocery bill going up. Here are 5 tips we tell people on our tours to help with the grocery bill and your health.
1.Do not buy the prepackaged, precut fruits and vegetables at the front of the store. While it is a tempting time saver, they are very expensive and half the time you open them and the fruits and vegetables have gone bad (or do in a day). Do buy from your local farmers market. And, if some fruits and vegetables are out of season, do not hesitate to buy frozen organic fruits and vegetables that are not in season. They are inexpensive and frozen at peek freshness so you can expect the fruits and vegetables to be bright and colorful when you cook them. This is the best way to have easy meals on hand to prepare as well.
2.You do not always have to buy organic. If you are trying to reign in the grocery store bill, check out this list from the Environmental working group. The Clean 15 and Dirty 12 list includes produce you should always buy organic and things you can buy conventional. Again, the farmers market is the best place to save money on seasonal fruits and vegetables – you can ask the farmer yourself how much they spray.
3. Do buy your non-perishable foods from online markets like Thrive Market* and Amazon. You will save a ton of money from things like Chia Seeds and Hemps Seeds for your smoothies. And, for just 2 more days, you can get a FREE coconut oil with your Thrive order. The same coconut oil cost $20 at Whole Foods.
4. Do buy nuts, seeds and grains from the bulk section. If you are trying a new grain recipes, you don’t have to get a whole pound of it, you can just buy a cup and see if you like it. Also, keep your nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresher longer. Their natural oils will cause them to go rancid.
5. Do not buy bagged pre-shredded cheese. Do buy cheese in the block (organic, grass fed, raw) or from a local cheese shop like Orrman’s Cheese Shop in Charlotte. We suggest skipping the bagged cheese for 3 main reasons and now there is one more. First, you use less when you have to shred it yourself. Second, most of the time there is cornstarch, cellulose (wood pulp), and other additives to keep the cheese separated. Third, and maybe most importantly, quality. When it comes to dairy products, it is important to know how the cows have been treated, what they have been eating, and when that milk actually came from the cow. Now a 4th, know what is in your cheese. The FDA just released a study showing several parmesan cheese manufactures claiming, “100% parmesan cheese” on their label to be false. One cheese they tested did not contain parmesan cheese at all! Sound familiar? Yes, we recently wrote about this with oil olive.
Save your grocery receipts! If you do not like something, if something has spoiled, or you find a better price – take it back. I do this often. From lettuce to Brussels sprouts that went bad in a day or a product I just didn’t like, I’ve gotten my money back or money on a gift card. No questions asked.
*Shipping from Thrive Market can be a little slow because it comes from California. If you plan ahead, and order what you need a week in advance you can save a bundle on your grocery store bill.