That’s how it would be written on a tabloid magazine cover at the checkout counter, anyway. Truth told, though, there are some common shopping mistakes we all make when we go to the store. Some of them cost a few cents, others a few dollars. Together they add up to a real difference for you and your family. Are you ready for the tawdry tabloid details? Keep reading. As usual, Gildshire Magazines speaks the truth and explodes myths.
Taking the Front Label as Gospel: The front label lies like a politician! Words like, “All Natural,” and “Organic,” could apply to a box of white sugar. If you want to keep a handle on the nutrition always read the back label. Then…
…Know What You’re Reading When You Get There. Almost everyone knows that monosodium glutamate is long-form for MSG. Do you know what makes up MSG? Do you know why it’s bad, or is it bad? Saturated fat versus trans fat. What’s the difference? Education is a marvelous thing. In the case of food labels, it can be the difference between healthy eating and getting the nutritional benefits of year-old Twinkies.
Following the Fads: Half the people on your Facebook friends’ list are “gluten free.” Who knew so many people would be afflicted with Celiac’s Disease all at once? Actually, that narrow range of people are the only ones who should avoid gluten altogether. A gluten-free diet may be street cred in social media, but you could be robbing yourself of fiber, iron, zinc, folate, niacin, and thiamine.
Cutting Corners: In the grocery store, we mean. The perimeter is where fresh and healthy resides, and the interior aisles are for processed and junky. This is true in the Piggly Wiggly and Whole Foods. It’s an equal opportunity truism. Enjoy being edgy when it comes to the geography of the grocery store.
Underestimating Your Own Abilities: You can whip up a homemade meat marinade in less than five minutes, and it will have in it the ingredients you want to include. You may not be field dressing your own venison, but you can make salad dressing. Bought versions are full of thickeners, artificial flavors, and additives.
Shopping Too Infrequently: We understand the plight of the warehouse shopper. Once every 2-4 weeks, she slogs through the aisles, waits 25 minutes at checkout, and lugs 150 pounds of food to the car. At home, she unloads her overburdened car trunk and puts the groceries away. She checks the clock and its bedtime. Who wants to go through the ordeal more often? Unfortunately, folks who go grocery shopping twice a month are probably eating more processed food than they should consume. Why is this the case? Fresh foods will spoil in a fortnight. Try breaking the grocery budget into quarters and shop for fewer items, once a week.
Being Slavishly Habitual: Shopping for the same food, week after week is boring. So too is eating the same food week after week. “I buy what we like?” Of course, you do but there are flavors out there you haven’t yet enjoyed. Try a new cut of meat instead of Old Reliable chuck roast. Also, stay seasonal in the produce aisle. Fresh strawberries are a treat in July. There is something…weird about having them in January.
Make a List That Helps You Avoid Temptation: Being slavishly habitual in the foods you eat is a bad thing. Sticking with the shopping list is something else. That would be smart.
Stores will wink at you with “Buy Two, Get One Free,” and “50% off.” Do you know what you save by NOT buying what you don’t need? Buy none and it is all free!
Occasionally Change Supermarkets: Yes, you get gas points at your store, and you’ll save $1.10 on your next tank of gas. How about saving $3.47 on ground beef at a different store? Triple the savings and experience a new environment in which to shop.
Total grocery (food and whatever else you buy at Ralph’s) takes up over a third of the average budget, and that’s a big bite. If we can help you turn that bite into a smaller nibble we have done our job.