Grocery stores are offering more choice than ever and are increasingly competing for your business with variations in package size, product bundling and offers. With so many options and specials, you may find that you’re making less than optimal choices for your wallet and your health.

Here are some tips that can help you be more efficient, save money and make healthier choices when you’re shopping.

Plan meals and snacks
By choosing the meals and snacks you’ll have throughout the week, you’ll know exactly what groceries you need to buy. This can stop you spending money on groceries you don’t need and reduce food waste. A meal plan can also remove the temptation to buy convenient but less healthier options such as takeaway or snack food.

Write a shopping list
Writing out the items you need to buy can make your grocery trip more efficient – you won’t waste time walking around the supermarket thinking about what you need to buy and you’re less likely to forget things. It can also stop you from impulse buying, maybe even buying something you already have.

Choose a variety of fruit and vegetables
Aim to get fruits and vegetables of different colours to mix up your meals and snacks and to ensure you’re getting a good range of vitamins and nutrients. You can save money by buying produce that’s in season.

Read food labels
If you are buying processed foods such as cereals, it’s important to read the label to help you pick healthier options. Generally, look for foods that are higher in fibre and lower in salt, sugar and saturated fats. Be cautious of statements on food packaging such as ‘no added sugar’ and ‘gluten-free’. They may mislead you into thinking something is healthier than it is, so make sure you check the food label.

Make your own
You may be tempted to buy premade sauces, packet soups or ready-made meals, but they can have high levels of sugar and salt. Instead, try buying fresh ingredients and make a simple sauce, soup, rice or pasta meal. By making it yourself, you can control how much sugar and salt you add and adapt the recipe to suit your own taste, such as adding chilli, ginger and fresh herbs to give it some natural spice. It’s healthier and will have more flavour!

By being organised and conscious about your shopping, you’ll be better able to make smarter and healthier choices.

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