Grocery shopping tips to avoid overspending and overeating

July 24, 2012 

Save money and avoid unhealthy impulse purchases by following the advice in this Reader's Digest article: 15 foods you should never buy again.

I, of course, have caved to cute packaging and promises of speedy preparation and purchased all 15 items on the list.

Here are my top two tips for grocery shopping:

Don't shop when you're hungry: Swinging by the grocery store on my way home from work is almost a guarantee that potato chips are going to be purchased. By the time I arrive home, several handfuls of chips will be missing. The after-work shopping trip always leads me to purchase the easiest and fastest-to-make prepared meal plus a snack to curb my hunger while I'm making, ahem reheating, that meal. To avoid this, have a few ready-to-heat items in your freezer. For me, Amy's frozen pizzas are winners and my go-to snack is pita chips and hummus.

I always have ingredients on hand for my favorite weekday meal: Pasta with squash and zucchini. Boil the pasta while you saute sliced squash and zucchini in 2 tablespoons olive oil. When pasta is cooked, add it and a 1/4 cup pasta water to the saute pan with the vegetables. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and squeeze a lemon over the pasta. If you have fresh herbs such as basil, dill, oregano or parsley, add them. If not, some crushed red pepper flakes will add flavor. Add salt and pepper, to taste. If you have capers in the fridge, add a few and serve. Slices of pre-cooked chicken sausage and leftover grilled meat or rotisserie chicken can also be added to this easy pasta dish.

Shop with a list and allow yourself to buy just one thing that's not listed. Your organization deserves a treat, so buy yourself one thing that's not on your list. A magazine, a pack of gum or that pinot noir with the cool label are good treats. This system keeps you from dreading the grocery store because you won't feel deprived. Plus, it keeps your spontaneous spark alive!

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