Before you go grocery shopping, make a weekly menu plan and write down a list of the ingredients you need for each meal.At the store, stick to your list to keep from running up your grocery bill and adding extra weight to carry home. If possible, avoid the busier shopping times, usually between 4-6 p.m. and weekend mornings.
If you don’t have access to a car, grocery shopping can require a fair amount of planning ahead. Here are some tips to simplify and lighten your load:
Foods That Go FarGet the most meals out of one package of food so you have less to carry home. Here are some ideas:
- A package of dry beans stretches into more meals than canned beans – and they weigh less.
- A smaller bottle of canola or olive oil is a great staple to have on hand for a variety of uses, including making your own salad dressings at home instead of buying several bottles of dressing. (It’s less expensive and healthier, too!)
- Instead of buying heavy jarred sauce, pick up a small can of no added salt tomato paste; at home just add water, dried oregano and garlic powder for ‘homemade’ sauce.
Lighten the LoadLook for lighter options of the same type of food. Examples include:
- Frozen fruits (no added sugars/syrups) or vegetables (no added salt and no added sauces) instead of canned.
- Pack them next to any refrigerator items like milk or yogurt to keep them cool on the way home.
- Instead of plastic or paper grocery bags from the store, bring a backpack, duffle bag and/or tote bag, which are easier to carry.
Eat Stem to RootWhen you buy fresh fruits and veggies that are on sale, don’t throw away parts of the produce.
- Sauté leafy green beet tops, carrot tops and turnip tops in oil; add a little water, garlic, ground red pepper and a splash of vinegar for a serving of cooked greens.
- Shred broccoli stalks and make into coleslaw using low-fat mayo.
- Toss the leaves from cauliflower, celery or broccoli into salads; or save them for making soup
Grow Your OwnInstead of buying fresh vegetables and herbs, consider growing some of your own food that is easy to maintain. If you don’t have a backyard, set out containers (like recycled plastic tubs) by your front door, apartment balcony or fire escape. Certain plants do very well in pots like tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce. Also herbs like oregano, mint and thyme grow well in pots or recycled cans on your window sill.
Article copyright © 2014 American Heart Association. This recipe is brought to you by the American Heart Association's Simple Cooking with Heart © Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit heart.org/simplecooking.