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Tshoppinghe holidays are approaching and like many of us, you may be getting ready to hit the grocery store for the various ingredients you will need to create your special holiday meal.  With the aisles crowded with shopping carts, this can be a bit overwhelming – but there are ways to make food shopping this season a little less stressful, and even a little less expensive!

  •  Have a strategy when shopping this will help you stay focused:

-          buy healthy items first-they’re the most important

-          don’t shop while you are hungry (otherwise you will want to buy everything)

-          look up and down on the shelves, since grocery stores put items they want to promote right at eye level and these items usually cost you more 

  • Take a list with you when you go shopping.   That way, you will know exactly what you need to buy and will be less likely to forget anything.   If I go without a list and just grab for things in the store, I’d come home with way more food than I actually need for the amount of company I am having.
  • Plan your menus.  Decide exactly what you will be serving on the holiday. Plan each course, dessert, even beverages and snacks for your company, especially if they will be spending the better part of the day with you. Stop a minute and take a look at your list. Is it well balanced? Do you have too many side dishes and not enough appetizers? Do you need desserts when you know someone else is probably going to bring it?   
  •  Set a budget.  When going to the grocery store, know exactly how much you want to spend – and try to stick within that limit. 
  •  Select healthy foods

-          look for 100% whole grains including:   whole grain cereals, whole grain breads, brown rice, tortillas, whole grain pastas, oatmeal, and popcorn

-          choose low-fat dairy

-          buy 100% fruit juice

-          buy fresh fruits and vegetables in-season.

  • Try the store brands.  Store brands taste just as good as name brands and they’re less expensive. 
  • Look for specials Check to see if your local grocer offers savings cards.  If so, sign up, there is no cost!  You’ll receive weekly card saving specials.  Look out for weekly flyer circulars in your mailbox, or check your grocery store’s web site. Take advantage of any coupons, including those on the Internet!
  • Go when it’s slow.  One of my favorite times to shop is right when the store opens or later at night.  There may be fewer cashiers at the registers, but there’s also fewer carriages in the aisles!

Happy shopping and good luck out there! Do you have any other ideas or suggestions to share? 

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WIC Vendor Specialist

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