New Videos that Help you Shop for Fruits and Vegetables

pile of veggiesWhen you’re planning your meals and writing your grocery list, do you ever wonder how many fruits and vegetables to buy or how to get the best deals on them? If so, check out our new series of 2-3 minute ‘how to’ videos. Some of the topics for the videos include:

A few of the tips shared in the videos that I find helpful include:

-Check your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezers to see what you already have.

-Check the grocery ads for what is on sale.

-Buy a variety of fruits and vegetables including fresh, canned, frozen, and dried.

-Use unit pricing to help you decide what is the best deal for you.

Before heading to the grocery store or Farmer’s Market, take a few minutes to watch these videos to learn some new tips to help you when buying fruits and vegetables.

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Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Grocery Shopping with Kids

Shopping with my 3 year-old son, Parker, is always an adventure. One of the stores I shop at has carts that have steering wheels where he sits and another has a ‘car’ attached to the front of the cart that he can sit in. Both of these keep him entertained because he pretends like he is driving. This is nice because it cuts down on the whining and wanting to buy everything. The downside to these carts is that they are big and take up more space going thru the aisles. Sometimes it is worth it though!

In addition to the ‘car’ carts, one of the stores also has little carts that the kids can push. I’m not so sure about this idea as a parent. Let’s just say I’ve held my breath a few times hoping that all of the cans he ran into would not fall. Only a few cans have fallen so far! I’ve also had a few bruises on the back of my legs where he ran into me. I’m usually frantically trying to make sure he doesn’t hit anyone else. Thankfully he hasn’t run into anyone else yet! And lastly, when he is pushing his own cart, and not confined to the child seat in the larger cart, he can grab lots of stuff off the shelves! Funny thing was the other day Parker informed me, “Dad doesn’t let me drive the little cart when I go shopping with him.” Imagine that!

Sometimes I do make it to the store without taking Parker, but that isn’t always possible. And he needs to learn how to act while in a store. In addition, grocery stores can be great places to teach kids. They are a place to learn about good nutrition but kids can also learn about numbers, colors, and shapes.  The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has a great publication on shopping with children. Here are some of the tips they share.

  1. Plan to go to the store with your child when you have plenty of time and the store is not crowded.
  2. Plan shopping trips when your child is not tired or hungry. Or bring a nutritious snack for him to eat during the shopping trip.
  3. Discuss your rules before you enter a store. Remind your child to stay close to you. Also, set ground rules about what is acceptable to put in the cart. Discussing acceptable behavior before going into the store can save a lot of headache later on.
  4. Give your child a job. For example, ask her to help pick out five oranges or three tomatoes. Or let her choose if you get apples or pears. Kids who help pick out fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat them. Older children may like to hold onto the grocery list and cross off the items as you put them in the cart.
  5. Set positive limits. When your child does something you do not want him to do, instead of reacting with a negative limit, such as “don’t throw the oranges on the floor,” tell your child what is expected in a positive way, such as “Keep the oranges in the bin.”
  6. Make the shopping trip a learning experience. Keep kids entertained by asking them questions and having them searching for items. Teach toddlers about touch by asking how different items feel, like the skin of an apple or if the milk is warm or cold.  Teach preschoolers about colors by asking them to point out items of different colors like the green peas or the cereal in the yellow box. Have school-age children look at the labels and compare items based on nutrition.

 

What tips do you have for making grocery shopping trips enjoyable for both kids and parents?


Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Have you Fired your Grocery Store?

Consumer Reports says that one-third of their readers have switched grocery stores in the past year.  The main reason was to get better prices, but their readers also switched in search of better selection, shorter lines, or more courteous staff.

In an eight page report in the May issue, 52 grocery stores were ranked by Consumer Reports readers on service (which combines customer satisfaction with employee courtesy and checkout speed), perishables (quality of meat and produce), price and cleanliness. Of the stores operating in Iowa, Fareway ranked highest at #4, Costco at #5, and Hy-Vee at #9.  Aldi and Target were 20 and 22. Can you guess which store came in lowest?  Walmart Superstores ranked at the bottom (51 out of 52)

Fareway received the highest rating in all the categories.  Costco was rated lower in service,  HyVee was knocked  because of high prices.  Aldi got good ratings for price and Target rated high in cleanliness.  Walmart was rated low in service and cleanliness  but got a favorable rating in price.

Money Saving ideas mentioned in the article include:

  • Using store brands.  Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said they used store brands and 89% of those said store brands were as good as national brands.
  • Unit pricing.  It would be wonderful if more states required this, but only 9 states do and there is no standard formatting so it can be hard to compare.
  • Paying attention to the sale flyers.  Some items are priced below cost to get you to the store.  However not everything in the sale flyer costs less than the regular price.  (it’s the same as specials in a restaurant—specials are not necessarily cheaper or even something that is not on the menu all the time—they are just a shout out to a “special” meal.
  • Coupons.  The report mentions that more coupons now require you to buy multiples and the coupons expire quicker than they used to.
  • Loyalty cards or senior citizen savings.  I have used these in other parts of the county, but they are not being used much in Iowa.

If you would like more tips to reduce your spending on groceries check out our shopping tips at SpendSmart.Eat Smart.

Can I Go Too?

As I was reading the blog Peggy wrote about tracking expenses last week, one line stood out to me more than any other, “I really need to follow my own advice.”  After my most recent trip to the grocery store, I was thinking the same thing.

Usually, my son and I go to the grocery store every Friday morning.  I like to shop at that time because it is quiet and I can get in and out quickly.  I do not have to worry about taking my son to the grocery store; he just sits back and enjoys the ride in the cart.

The problem came this past Friday when my husband had the day off of work.  Even though I knew better, I invited him to join us for our weekly shopping trip.  Many people have trouble with their children asking for treats or sneaking extra food into the cart.  Not me.  My husband is the one who does that.  I spent $15 more than usual!

If I spent an extra $15 each week at the grocery store, that would be $780 per year.  What could your family do with an extra $780 per year?  I can think of a few things that we could do.  So, I have learned my lesson this time, I need to follow my own advice and let my husband sleep in on his day off while my son and I go to the grocery store.

 

 

 

For other tips while at the grocery store, check out:
10 Tips for Saving at the Grocery Store

Justine Hoover, MS, RD, LD

Spending Less and Eating Healthier: Part 3 of 3

Shopping

Almost every day I notice an article about how to save at the grocery store.  We have many of those tips summarized on the SpendSmart.EatSmart website.

Compare unit prices for best buy explains unit pricing and how it can save you money.  A free step by step lesson will make you a whiz at finding the best buy.

Aisle by aisle tips tells the best buys in each food group, how much you need for good health, and how to store food so it will not spoil.  You can also get a concise buying guide from our PDFs called Spend Smart basics on the lower right of each of the aisles pages.

 

 

 

Tips for meal planning

Planning meals is important if you want to save money at the grocery store, but most people admit they don’t do it.

I know people who have 10-20 meals that they know their family likes and they just rotate them throughout the month, adding in seasonal foods and specials. Others just buy food when it is on sale and then plan meals based on what they have that needs to be used up or how much time they have. I am in that last bunch. I grocery shop about once a week rotating between two stores that I think have the best prices. When there is a good sale, I stock up. When planning meals, I include at least one food from each food group and sometimes more than one vegetable.

The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. web site has a whole section on planning meals. You can find a 5-day menu planner, and sample meal planning calendars.

-pointers by Peggy

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