- Food and Cooking
Revamp Your Strategy for Supermarket Shopping
The Grocery List
Make the Grocery List in Advance
A mental list is okay aisle by aisle if you have the memory of Kreskin but a physical list works better and more efficiently when you write down the items as you run low or completely out of them.
Make certain you have an ample amount of cash in addition to your credit card. Sometimes technology is not friendly at the checkout and cash is the savior.
Never Shop on an Empty Stomach
When you are h u n g r y everything looks good and you end up purchasing items you do not need or want; this is a waste and burdens the budget as well. The best time to shop is after breakfast, after lunch or after dinner; otherwise, carry a snack with you (i.e. banana, granola bar or crackers to hold you).
Cooking for the Week
Planning and Cooking in Advance
The working professional or homemaker plans, cooks and freezes the week’s meals in advance. There should be at least 3 or 4 menus so that variations of these menus may be created as an alternative. This strategy is a lifesaver after a long day at work or taking care of the house and kids.
Stay on Budget
Food shopping is basically about replacing items and occasionally trying something new.
Look for sales that make senses. I personally do not live for coupons but when I find one that applies to my daily use, I’ll take it! Beware of coupons where you must purchase $$ worth of another product in order to purchase the one intended. Unless the other product is something you already use, consider this coupon a waste of time and money.
Most supermarkets have the digital coupon system for which you can register online. You check out the brands and click on those you use. This is automatically transferred to your club card which is presented at the checkout before ringing up the items.
Selecting Meats and Poultry
Meats and poultry are presumably fresh; however, if there is blood running from the package, put it back; chances are it’s been sitting there for a while and unfit for consumption.
Always reach to the back of the display case for a fresh package. Two other options are: (a) wait for the fresh packages to come out from the butcher section and placed on the shelves or, (b) ask the butcher to make up a special package for you. The supermarket butchers are usually very accommodating and your special thank you goes a long way.
Of course having your own private butcher is a luxury. They are a bit pricey but the quality is worth it.
One other thing to remember when leftovers are removed from the freezer, they must be eaten that same day/evening. It does unhealthy to re-freeze leftovers a second time since bacteria has already settled in, creating contamination.
What The Supermarket Does Not Want You To Know
What the supermarket does not tell you is that the packaged meat or poultry that is placed in the shopper’s cart is sometimes discarded at checkout because the customer changed their mind about the purchase or was over-budget. The package is put aside by the cashier; then at the end of the day or shift, all the discards are placed in a shopping cart and returned to the freezer or refrigerated section of the supermarket for another week - this is now old meat and unhealthy, despite the new date stamp placed over the old one. Another thing the supermarket does not tell you is that empl;oyees are ordered to place new date-stamps over the old ones. If employees refuse to do this, they could be out of a job.
Selecting Dairy Products
In addition to reaching to the back of the shelf in the refrigerated area and checking the date stamp, always check the milk container for the slide tab that seals the cap.
For the cream container or Half and Half, uncap the container and look for the inner seal with a loop. If the seal is there and intact, the cream is okay for purchase. If there is no inner seal, chances are it was tampered with (i.e. someone might have sipped from the container) and put it back on the shelf. Better safe than sorry.
Milk with the Slide Tab
Half and Half with Inner Seal
Sorry but this is a no-no. Supermarkets are known to tamper with baked goods. If the cakes aren’t purchased that week, they stay there and a new date sticker is placed over the old one for another week. Subsequently, if and when it is purchased and taken home, it not only looks bad but tastes bad.
Private bakeries are best and recommended since everything is guaranteed fresh.
Frozen Dessert Section
Same rules apply. The front containers of frozen cake or ice cream may feel a bit soft. Chances are they made to the checkout, only to be discarded. Again, reach to the back and pick a container that feels frozen solid.
Shopping done - Now to Checkout
Revamping your strategy also includes being well-organized and packing categorically. All frozen goes together, followed by refrigerated, then by produce, prepared foods and canned goods. Also do your own packing if possible, it makes unpacking and putting away items at home much easier.