Going to the grocery store can either be a fun time well spent or a dreadful chore. For me, it depends on the day. Most of the time, I find myself picking up things I don’t need, or forgetting an ingredient for a recipe. It is also important to plan ahead if you are aiming for a healthier lifestyle change. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

Buy Local Foods: Local newspapers usually announce what food items are in season and what the best buys are, offering coupons for local stores. This is a great way to support your local farms. Always check to see what is local and what is being shipped or flown in.

Shop From a List: Sticking to your list helps avoid buying unnecessary items; it is always a good idea to keep a master list of things you keep in the kitchen. Usually, when you stray from the list, you’re buying on impulse, and that’s how shopping trips get out of control.

Read the Ingredient List: Packaged foods will list the ingredients and nutritional facts on the box itself. It is a good idea to compare when trying to get items that are a little lower in fat, carbohydrates or sodium. It is also a good way to compare prices. You may find that the generic brands are similar if not exactly the same as the premier brands.

Do NOT Shop While Hungry: This is a mistake I make far too often. It makes sense to go to the grocery store when you run out of your food items. But avoid doing this on an empty stomach. Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and this can result in wasteful buys.

Shop the Perimeter of the Store: Usually upon entering the store you are greeted with the fresh and seasonal produce or best deals in the store. Health-conscious shoppers know that the perimeter of the store is where the good stuff is. The processed foods can be found up and down the aisles. Stocking up on the fresh food first will prevent any impulse buys upon entering the more tempting items.  

Any of these tips can help keep you on track and may perhaps leave you with some extra cash. Either way, it is always less stressful to go into the grocery store with a plan. You may find that your experience is a lot more effective and monetarily efficient.

Rosie Acosta is a sunny California native of Mexican heritage, she writes about her passion for Yoga and Mexican Food. She transforms her grandmother's hearty recipes into organic healthy alternatives for a healthier lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter: @RosieAcosta FB: facebook.com/organicmexicangirl and visit her website organicmexicangirl.com

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