One of the purposes of The Bachelor’s Kitchen is to help singles eat better. We do this not only by providing information about food and cooking, but by exploring strategies to make your cooking experience better. With most of us having such busy lives, having a plan and some tips can save you a lot of time and a lot of frustration.
My first rule is to know what you need. That means keeping a list in the kitchen of what things you are out or nearly out of. Combine that with a ready eating plan and making a grocery list is a snap.
Next, I like to review the grocery store’s weekly circular of what’s on sale. Buying and building your menus around what’s selling at a reduced price can make shopping easier and save a lot of money. If you’re a coupon clipper, that will improve your savings even more. But don’t be too committed to the list and nothing but the list. Many stores have unadvertised specials. Also, sometimes you can find better deals from other brands that aren’t on sale. Always take a good look around the shelves and review all your options.
Always keep your pantry well stocked. If you have plenty of basic ingredients, you can whip something together at any time. This is especially important during times of emergency or unexpected guests.
Do make a list, even if you’re just picking up a few things. Not only are you less likely to impulse buy, but you’re less likely to forget something you need. When looking at recipes, always note on your grocery list what that dish requires.
Read the labels! This may seem like no-brainer, but most people don’t look beyond the brand name and picture on the front of the package. I’ve seen shoppers get that glassy-eyed look the minute they get hold of a shopping cart. Look at amounts as well as price. Review the ingredients. Take a gander at the nutrition information. These labels are there for a reason, so take advantage of the information.
Don’t just consider price. Quality makes a difference, too. Any mother will tell you there’s no use buying something cheap if no one will eat it.
If one’s available, buy from the local farmers market. True, the price advantage isn’t always there. And you have to keep an eye out for quality. But it’s usually a good deal with greater variety, better prices and better quality.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. As Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern says, “if it looks good, eat it.” You might make a great discovery.
Stay away from your bottled salad dressings aisle. Making your own is so easy and tastes better.
Another advantage of the farmers market is access to people who know about the food they’re selling. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the professionals.
You can probably come up with some more supermarket shopping tips. Please leave us a comment if you can add to this list.