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Today’s supermarkets with thousands of products, promotions, and sales can make grocery shopping feel overwhelming. Making the most of your shopping experience can help you to save time and food dollars. Here are some tips and tricks for smart shopping that I’ve found useful.

  • Make a great list and stick to it! Before you shop, take a look in your refrigerator to see what you already have, what is expiring soon, and what produce needs to be used up. Planning a week of healthy meals and snacks ahead of time can help you to make a complete shopping list, limit your spending and not waste food.
  • Have your child be your shopping helper. Even with a great plan, shopping with kids can slow you down. But having them help can make them healthy eaters. So turn your shopping trip into an educational experience by introducing new foods to your child. Counting and weighing fruits and veggies with your children can help them to focus on healthy foods rather than junk foods. Giving your child small tasks and responsibilities at the grocery store builds confidence and gets them excited about trying healthy foods at home!
  • Save on fruits and veggies. Depending on the season, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables can be less expensive than fresh. They can be just as healthy (choose plain veggies, without any extra sauces or seasonings, and canned fruits packed in water), lower in price, and last longer. Shopping for fresh fruits and veggies in season can cut the cost and taste fresher! Check out the Massachusets-Grown Produce Availability Calendar to see what’s in season throughout the year.
  • Eat less meat. Meat is often the most costly food item we buy at the grocery store. Practicing Meatless Mondays with your family can help your weekly budget. Meals like bean chili, stir fried tofu with brown rice, lentil stew, or whole grain macaroni and cheese with broccoli and tomatoes are some delicious vegetarian alternatives to more expensive meats.
  • Use unit prices to compare costs. The unit price is found on the tag located along the shelf beneath each item. The unit price shows the cost of the item per ounce, pint, pound, etc. Buying items with the lowest unit cost means you get the most value. But make sure that the quantity you’re buying makes sense for you and your family. If something is cheaper by the pound, for example, that’s great as long as you’ll use it all!
  • Shop the store brands. Store brands are often 25-30% cheaper than name brand foods. Sometimes the main difference between the two is the
  • Look for deals. Coupons can be a great way to save as long as they are for items you will use or would shop for anyway. Signing up for a loyalty card at your favorite stores will give you access to special deals and savings only available for card holders.
  • Check out the WIC Shopper App. The WIC Shopper app is available for both IOS and Android users, and provides information about your personal WIC benefits, your benefit account balance each month, WIC-approved products, recipes using WIC foods, and more! Save time by pulling up the app while you shop. Ask your local WIC program for more tips using this great shopping tool.

Happy shopping…and cooking and eating!

Gabrielle Parilla is a dietetic intern with Wellness Workdays.

Written By:


Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

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