By Elizabeth Carrillo, MPH, Program Manager, Institute for Hispanic Health, UnidosUS
With the holidays fast approaching, grocery shopping is likely to become one of the many tasks on our to-do lists this season. If the prospect of going into a grocery store in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday you celebrate gives you a bit of stress, don’t worry!
We’ve got simple tips for you from our Comprando Rico y Sano program that you can follow to make the experience a pleasant one, or at least a stress-free one.
Because let’s face it—we can all benefit from setting some health goals and establishing healthy eating habits during the holiday season. You can follow these five tips to keep yourself organized, and save money and time while grocery shopping.
- Make a list. Make a list. Seriously, make a list. And stick to it. A grocery list is key to keeping yourself organized and saving time, but also to keeping yourself from purchasing food that does not align with your health goals and a well-balanced nutrition.
- Don’t grocery shop while on an empty stomach. If you shop for food when you’re hungry you are more likely to buy things on impulse and give in to some not so healthy temptations. Make sure to grocery shop when you’re full or at least not hungry. This will better help you stay within your grocery list and your budget.
- Look at the Nutrition Facts labels. Reading the Nutrition Facts is a great way to make sure you get the best nutrition for your food dollar. By looking at this label, you can monitor your intake of fat, sugar, and sodium, and compare amounts of nutrients like fiber, iron and calcium. Essentially, you can better stick to your health goals.
- Compare unit prices for the best buy. The “unit price” tells you the cost per pound, quart, or other unit of weight or volume. It’s usually posted on the shelf below the food. The shelf tag shows the total price (item price) and price per unit (unit price) for the food item. Paying attention to unit prices and comparing these can help you better stretch your food dollars.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in season. Buying fruits and vegetables in season gives you better flavors and quality due to fresher produce. It also gives you the best value budget-wise since produce tends to be the least expensive when in season.
Plus, it helps us enjoy the many fruits and vegetables that many of us associate with the holidays—pumpkins, apples, squash, and sweet potatoes—and pies are not the only way these can be enjoyed. Check out these simple healthy recipes that highlight sweet potatoes and yams, for example.
Lastly, consider ordering your groceries online and picking them up or having them delivered at home if this is an option where you live.
Many local and large grocery retailers, like Walmart, are now offering these services in some areas. This can help you stay on track with your health goals and budget, and further save time—time that can be better spent enjoying the holidays with your loved ones.
The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. And there’s nothing wrong indulging a little bit! At the end of the day it all comes down to moderation and portion control.
This blog post is part of Comprando Rico y Sano, a program supported by the Walmart Foundation.