|My local grocery store - Acme Fresh Market
[image via WikiMedia]
Looking to eat healthier and save money at the same time? Shop around the edge of the grocery store. All the good stuff is around the edge - fruit and vegetables, dairy and bakery, meat and fish. The middle aisles? The middle aisles are full of processed junk that I really shouldn't buy.
There are a few middle aisles that are necessary - the baking and spice aisle, the canned vegetable aisle, and the international aisle. I try to stick to canned tomatoes, dried pasta, beans, and vegetable oil.
Beyond that is a wasteland of prepared foods and snack items. (All of which the kids are begging me to buy.) It's also where all the expensive stuff is. Sure, beef tenderloin costs $15.99 a pound. But have you seen the price of potato chips?
*I had to buy cans of soup for a canned food drive, so I ventured into the soup aisle. I was horrified. Give me my pressure cooker, a leftover chicken carcass, Italian sausage, and some dried pasta and I can do better than everything they had for sale - and that's on a weeknight, when I don't have time to really cook.
It's even better to buy the "edge of the store" items at my local butcher, farmers market, or ethnic market. I try to stock up at those places. But I'm feeding a family of five, with three busy kids; The convenience of one stop shopping is impossible to pass up. Every Saturday I sit down with the flyer from my grocery store and make a meal plan for the week based on what's on sale.
What do you think? Any special tricks you use in the grocery store? Leave them in the comments section below.
Mike V @ DadCooksDinner says
Wow - good for you! I'd love to get everything through local markets, butchers, and farmers.
Mike V @ DadCooksDinner says
Thank you for the tip - I'll keep that in mind next time.
I completely agree with the premise of the article, and will go one step further. I have relationships with local farmers at the farmer's market such that I almost never buy grocery store meat. I purchased a chest freezer last year, and in it I keep meat that I buy when it is available. For example, you have published a great recipe for tri-tip. It's a cut that isn't always available from my rancher, so when he has it, I buy as much as I think I'll use in the next couple of months. I get a chicken each week from my chicken farmer, and then "milk the chicken" by boning it after dinner, and freezing the bones for stock and the meat for quick soups or enchiladas. (I can throw together a chicken curry in record time by adding already cooked chicken as soon as the veggies are cooked.) So, my planning starts with what I collect in the course of my weekly trip to the farmer's market. My only other observation would be that if you have a grocery co-op, like Wheatsville here in Austin, that stores like that both tend to support local agriculture and tend to carry less junk. Thanks for consistently turning out great food-related articles each week. You are my first "go to" source for recipes and techniques. I just purchased the Kindle version of your cookbook, and am looking forward to firing up the grill and trying out some new recipes.
Deanne Upchurch says
No tricks for the grocery store, but a trick for canned food drives: canned tuna, salmon and peanut butter. Maybe even Spam. Food pantries are notorious for being "low" on protein items.