Before You Shop


Before you head to the grocery store, make sure you have a plan. Planning can help save you time and money.

Make a Plan

  • Make a shopping list. This helps you stick to your budget.
  • Plan your meals and how you’ll use leftovers.
  • Look for coupons, sales, and store specials. Plan your meals around what is on sale instead of looking for sales on the meals you’ve already planned.
  • Sign up for free store discount cards.

Be Label Wise

Nutrition labels have lots of facts about a food’s calories, fat, sugar, and salt. Learn What to Look For.


Stock Your Pantry

Planning and cooking meals is much easier if your pantry is stocked well. Keep favorite spices, and canned and frozen vegetables handy to help make last minute meals. 

The Basics 

Keep these in your pantry and you can make healthy meals at any time:

  • Brown rice
  • Dried beans and lentils
  • Quick-cooking grits
  • Canned beans (low sodium)
  • Canned tomatoes or tomato sauce (low sodium)
  • Olive oil (extra virgin is best)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Vinegar
  • Low-sodium broth
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Salsa
  • Canned vegetables (no salt, low sodium)
  • Canned fish: salmon, tuna (in water)
  • Canned chicken
  • Dried herbs such as:
    • basil
    • thyme
    • oregano
  • Spices such as:
    • black pepper
    • cayenne pepper
    • chili powder
    • cinnamon
    • ground cloves 
    • cumin
    • curry powder 
    • garlic powder
    • ground ginger
    • nutmeg
    • onion powder
    • tamarind

Plan For the Week

Think about your family’s schedule before you go to the store. If you have a busy night coming up, make a meal ahead of time. This way, you’ll avoid fast food. Learn More About Meal Planning.


Know More, Save More

Tips on how to shop smart and save