Meet resolutions by eating better and spending less money

The start of a new year means new resolutions. According to data collected by the online polling firm YouGov, the top three New Year’s resolutions for 2018 are eating better, spending less money and exercising more. Formulating a plan to navigate the grocery store can help you to knock out two of the three. Here are tips to spend less money in the grocery store and eat better this year:

  • Make a shopping list, and stick to it. Plan your meals for the week and make a list of everything you’ll need. Stick to your list to limit impulse purchases (especially in the checkout line), saving you calories and money.
  • Clip coupons for the products you use-not for the ones you don’t. Clipping coupons from weekly flyers is a great way to save money at the store. However, avoid buying items simply because they are on sale, which can increase food waste and your grocery bill.
  • Shop the perimeter of the store. Start in the produce section, work around through the proteins and dairy, and then make your way into select center aisles to pick up nutritious staples including canned produce, beans, and whole grains. Avoid the maze of aisles full of colorfully packaged and expertly marketed processed foods.
  • Use unit pricing to find the best deal. Have trouble deciding between the 12 ounce or 32 ounce package? Let the unit price by your guide. Check the orange square on the price tag to find how much the product costs per ounce, allowing you to easily compare across brands and quantities.
  • Don’t pay for processing. Shredded cheese and precut vegetables may save time, but they don’t save money. Prepped ingredients typically cost more per ounce than their whole counterparts. Buy products in their whole form to decrease your total at the register.
  • Buy fresh produce in season. When it comes to fresh produce, fruits and vegetables that are in season are most reasonably priced. Winter squash, onions, and both white and sweet potatoes are readily available this time of year. Canned and frozen produce are great alternatives to fresh produce during the cold winter months. Make sure to select no salt added or low sodium canned vegetables and canned fruits packed in water, 100 percent juice, or lite syrup.

By, Danielle Esenler is a registered dietitian at Northwestern Medical Center