Living Well

Ways to Shop Smarter at the Grocery Store

Sarah Newton, MS, RD, LDN and Ulrika Midner, RDN, LDN, CNSC
Ways to Shop Smarter at the Grocery Store

As we begin National Nutrition Month, we want you to make the most of your food choices through shopping smart at the grocery store. Grocery shopping is step one to fueling a healthy lifestyle. Choosing foods that are both nutritious and easy on the wallet are key components of making the most out of the grocery experience. Knowing how to shop smarter and how to store nutritious foods is essential.

Tips for shopping smarter, plan ahead by making a list, choose foods that will stretch your dollar, and shop seasonal for fresh fruits and vegetables. Begin your grocery experience by planning a menu for the upcoming week and creating a list of food items needed from that menu. One great tip is to plan meal ideas around food items that are currently in the pantry.

Making a list helps save money and time by focusing on the items in need and avoiding impulse purchases. Select food items that will stretch your dollar by buying in bulk, buying on sale and utilizing coupons. Buying in bulk helps stretch the dollar by preparing large batches of meals and utilizing freezer space. When shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables, shop seasonal for maximum freshness and quality.

Family of four at the grocery store reviewing the grocery store list

To receive the maximum benefit of fresh produce and to extend the shelf life, you must understand proper storing techniques. Knowing how to store fresh fruits and vegetables right is the key to not waste food and money.

Inside the fridge: Apples, berries, and cherries, Grapes, kiwi, lemons, and oranges. Melons, nectarines, apricots, peaches, and plums (after ripening at room temperature). Avocados, pears, tomatoes (after ripening at room temperature). Almost all vegetables and herbs can be stored inside the fridge.

Outside the fridge: Bananas, mangos, papayas, and pineapples: store in a cool place.  Potatoes / onions: store in a cool, dark place. Basil and winter squashes: store at room temperature— once cut, store squashes in fridge.

To keep celery crisp, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil, so the ethylene gas it produces can escape, then refrigerate, re-wrap tightly after each use. Store asparagus like a bouquet of flowers, trim a half-inch off the end of the stalks and then stand them up in a small amount of water (covered loosely with a plastic bag) in the refrigerator. They can last for four days this way.

Smiling girl looking in a refrigerator filled with fruits and vegetables

Do you know how to use the humidity drawers in the fridge? If you set the humidity setting to low, the window in the drawer is completely open and if you set it to high, the window is completely closed.

In the low humidity drawer:
Store produce that are not sensitive to moisture loss and that are high-ethylene gas producers.

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Cantaloupes
  • Figs
  • Honeydew melons
  • Kiwis
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Pears
  • Plantains
  • Stone fruits (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums)

In the high humidity drawer:
Store produce sensitive to moisture loss and that are sensitive to ethylene gas.

  • Belgian endive
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Herbs (cilantro, dill, parsley, thyme)
  • Leafy greens (kale, lettuces, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress)
  • Okra
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Summer squash
  • Watermelon

Click here for more grocery shopping tips.

Click here for more information about Touro Infirmary’s Clinical Nutrition Services.

Ulrika Midner, RDN, LDN, CNSC is a clinical dietitian and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician providing medical nutrition therapy for both inpatients and outpatients at Touro. She graduated from Nicholls State University and completed her internship at Tulane University. Ulrika is also the President-Elect for the New Orleans Dietetic Association.

Sarah Newton, MS, RD, LDN is a clinical dietitian with an advanced degree in nutrition providing medical nutrition therapy for both inpatients and outpatients at Touro. She graduated from Louisiana State University and furthered her education with a Master’s of Science and internship from University of Southern Mississippi.