To put out healthy wholesome meals at home for your family, we need to have our preparation done. Right from planning menus for the meals, to having all the ingredients in place, a lot of coordination is required for this. Above all, grocery shopping needs to be done from time to time, of fresh produce and dry ingredients required to put out a meal.
As much as we all live in a world of online shopping, where everything is literally a click away, there's really nothing like the whole experience of physically picking up stuff from a supermarket, as the touch and feel is entirely different.
Here are a few grocery shopping habits, one must inculcate to shop wisely and mindfully.
1. Always have a list
The first step to head out shopping, is to make a list. Take a look at your pantry to see the ingredients required for the upcoming week, essentials that are missing from the pantry, all of these shall be added to the list. Your list should have exactly what you need to buy, the specific ingredient, variety and quantity you are looking to buy.
Be organised in a way that your list is made according to categories like that of flours, spices, dals, ghee/oils, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat etc. making it easier to tick things off the list, as you complete that section in the supermarket and do not miss out on any ingredient.
Try hard to keep to the list and buy exactly that and be less tempted to buy ingredients that yo don't require, or might not be very useful in your kitchen.
2. Shop seasonal
It's always a good idea, to plan your menu and eat seasonal fruits and vegetables. Just because your grocery store or supermarket is well stocked, doesn't mean that all of that fresh produce is in season. As produce changes from season to season, like the fresh produce displayed in summer might be way different from that in winter or monsoon, the supermarket will ensure everything is available.
Let's keep in mind that fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits are healthier and are more cost effective, whereas non seasonal ingredients that are put out for display are far more expensive adding up to your heavy grocery bill that you can really do without.
3. Shop according to your menu plan
Always ensure, you have planned your meals, well in advance. Have a notepad to plan and list out all the meals for each day of the week and the corresponding ingredients required. This way you wouldn't have missed out any ingredients and a consolidated list should be able to help you shop exactly according to your meal plan.
The tendency is to buy all that looks good out there, fresh vegetables that might not even be required for the meal plan you have made, resulting in wastage of not just the produce but money as well.
4. Choose your shopping day/time wisely
It is important to plan which day of the week you would be going shopping. Needless to say that weekends at supermarkets are super crowded, besides if you can squeeze in your visit to the grocery store during the weekdays is nothing like it. Less crowded, better organised shelves, shorter billing queues and more patient staff, who are willing to help you out.
However if weekends is the only time you can go, make sure you choose a time, like early morning or noonish, where the crowd is less, making it easier for you to navigate through the supermarket.
5. Check supermarket offers
Almost all supermarkets, have some kind of offers running throughout the year. Be a percentage of discounts on specific categories, or some buy one get one sort of offers, or some goodies free on specific products.
Supermarkets and grocery stores find endless ways to attract customers, and keep their existing customers in hand. A specific bill value too will many times fetch you a free product or two or offer you free home delivery.
6. Go shopping when you've got your tummy full
As funny as it may sound, but it's true. When you go shopping, and are hungry at the same time, you have the tendency to shop a lot more, way beyond your list. Many a times, ending up with unwanted junk food, that you will later regret.
Hence make sure, when you head out, you've had your fill for the day, in a good frame of mind, buying just as much you need for your household, as planned earlier. You don't want to found in a pool of unwanted grocery when you get home, just because you were hungry while shopping. Psychology you see.
7. Manage your time well at the supermarket
Make sure you visit each of the sections, and pick up exactly what you need. We do have the tendency to read and study other ingredients available in the stores, which might be of little or no use to us. As much as it is good to know stuff, it will eat up a lot of your time. If you have left home with a well planned schedule for the day, stick to it, making it a productive day overall.
This also helps you to cut back on impulsive buying, wasting time on debating in your mind on whether or not you should invest in an ingredients that you might or might not use.
So there you go, do share with us, how better we can do our grocery shopping.