Life Skills Advice: Food Shopping

General Advice and Tips for Food Shopping

  1. Throughout your week, keep monitoring what items are running low and, when relevant, add them to a shopping list you should keep in the kitchen. This helps keep you focused on what you need without forgetting items.
  2. Make sure your shopping list is balanced with suitable healthy food choices from different food groups.  Check out the healthy eating section on this website.  Plan all your meals, knowing what you will eat on each day to ensure to buy the right amount of food you need.  Don't forget sides, like vegetables, potato and rice.  Only buy what you will eat.  Do not forget household items, like toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste) and cleaning products.
  3. Consider using a pre-made grocery list so you remember all the items you need.  This helps you with planning, reduces stress and saves time.  You can find these online.
  4. Set yourself an affordable budget and stick to it.  You can check prices online and look to price match to make your shopping the best possible value and not have to pay more than you need.  Most supermarkets offer price match, meaning you should not pay more if it is cheaper elsewhere.  Check out prices and comparisons before you shop using. .
  5. When shopping, select healthy options, like fresh meat and avoid processed meat.  Look at food labels, looking for green options and also look at calories.  Consider an app, like Change for Life Food Tracker, as this is free and shows you information, like sugar content, fat and calories.  It can give you healthy snack alternatives and you just scan the bar code of the food.  Avoid sweets in supermarkets.
  6. Shop where you know the layout, so you only go where you need, avoiding temptation and saving time.  Plan your shopping list in order of what you see first.
  7. Select own brand and value ranges to save money.  Look at the cost per unit cost to get the best value and if it is non perishable (will not go off) consider buying a little in bulk, for example, toilet paper.
  8. Check vital used-buy dates, as you must not eat later than this date and check you will be able to by not getting too many products with little time left and also check best before dates, as you want your food to taste fresh.  Look at the back of shelves and pick items with the longest time left.
  9. Shop at less busy off peak times if you can.
  10. Look for special offers, like reduced items that you may, for example, find at the end of the day, but only buy what you will eat or use in time.  Consider the order you will eat meals in.
  11. When selecting food, consider how ripe it is as you want to eat food when it is fresh and you want food to last.
  12. Do not shop when really full or hungry.  If hungry, eat a small snack first or you may end up being tempted to buy more food and it will make shopping difficult.
  13. Buy a range of different food - however much you like something you will get bored of it and its not good for your health.
  14. Learn to cook as you will save money and may eat healthier. 
  15. If you have a problem, like you can't find something, ask a member of staff to help you.
  16. Use material shopping bags so you don't get charged (it is also better for the environment).   
  17. Avoid small convenience stores due to higher prices, less choice and the need to shop more.  You should consider markets as well as Supermarkets. 
  18. Get frozen food last, so you have more time to get it home and stored away.
  19. Collect coupons and check the expiry dates so you use them in time.

A few Videos:

How to cut the cost of your supermarket shopping from theMoney Advice Service. 

Eat Well Guide, British Nutrition Association 

Understanding food labels, colour codes and a healthy diet.