Whether you're 22 years old and living alone, or if you're feeding a family of four, grocery shopping can be incredibly expensive — particularly when you're looking to eat a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. That's why we welcome any grocery shopping tips with open arms, especially from celebrity chef Nik Fields. She sent Green Matters six exclusive tips on saving at the grocery store, regardless of your financial situation, and needless to say, they're bound to come in handy.
1. Ditch the cart and grab a basket.
Nutritionists always claim those who use smaller plates tend to eat less — and Fields effectively recommends doing the same while you're shopping, by opting for opting for shopping with baskets over carts, in the name of portion control.
"Do not feel the need to fill your shopping cart," she explains. "Shopping carts are getting larger because testing reveals that they encourage customers to buy more. Opt to get a basket instead."
2. Bump some tunes.
Grocery stores trick you into taking your time when you shop, by playing slow music to make you walk slower. By bumping some brisk tunes, though, you'll pick up the pace and buy less.
"Wear headphones and listen to upbeat music," she says. "Stores intentionally play music with a slower beat to encourage shoppers to move more slowly through the aisles and buy more. Put on some Beyoncé, move briskly while shopping, and burn some calories while protecting your pocketbook."
3. Plan ahead.
We love lists, so we were happy to hear Fields does, too. By planning what you want to buy beforehand, you won't end up with extra items in your cart.
"Make a shopping list and put it to work! Do not fall into the habit of 'running into the grocery store to grab a few items,'" Fields explains.
4. Never shop hungry.
It's true — shopping hungry makes you buy more. Therefore, Fields recommends eating ahead of time.
"Eat, Eat, Eat!! The WORST decision to make is to go to the supermarket on an empty stomach. When you’re hungry, EVERYTHING looks good. Don’t spend extra money on food that you have no intentions of eating/cooking because you are eye-hungry."
5. Shop locally.
For lower transmissions, less waste, and lower prices, Fields can't stress enough the importance of shopping from local farmers.
"Two words: farmers market!" she exclaims. "The farmers market is your best friend. Prices are lower than the typical store, and the fruits and veggies are organic. Most importantly you’re keeping the money in your community to ensure the prices are lower when you shop."
6. Purchase storage bins for your groceries.
In our guide to kitchen items every vegan needs, we stress the need for vegetable crisping bins to extend the life of your produce. These types of storage bins are essential, per Fields, because your grocery purchases will ultimately last longer.
"Your proper home storage will aid in your masterplan to protect your pocketbook," she says. "Invest in freezer bags and storage containers. Having the proper storage containers will extend the life of your prepared food which will save you time and money."