supermarket smarts

The Major Differences Between Amazon Fresh, Peapod, FreshDirect and Instacart

The benefit of ordering your groceries: no lines, no heavy bags and no danger of bumping into someone you know without your mascara on. But do these services, well, deliver? We took them for a test drive to find out!

For our sample cart, we comparison-priced this list with four popular services: gallon of milk, dozen eggs, pound of chicken breasts, container of Greek yogurt, head of romaine, pint of blueberries, box of Kashi cereal, two rolls of paper towels, pound of sirloin steaks, block of cheddar, loaf of sandwich bread, jar of peanut butter, bag of coffee beans, carton of orange juice, pound of spaghetti and a pint of ice cream.

Amazon Fresh: Available in many cities nationwide and parts of California

How does it work? Amazon fans will recognize the site’s familiar interface and annual subscription model ($299 a year gets you unlimited grocery deliveries over $40 and Prime membership). It also allows you to order artisanal products from nearby shops.

What’s the ETA? Same day if you order by 10 A.M.

Our bill: $70.02

Is it for me? You can buy your groceries, local chocolates, and, heck, a new TV from the same site ( a great night, huh?). The food arrived in good shape, but $300 is steep unless you use it a lot.

FreshDirect: Available in the NYC metropolitan area, plus parts of the mid-Atlantic

How does it work? Surfing FreshDirect’s site feels a little like strolling through a high-end market—you’ll find most of the basics, plus some things you didn’t know you needed. Depending on your location, the minimum order is $30 to $99, plus a $5.99 to $15.99 fee.

What’s the ETA? Next day

Our bill:

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How to Upgrade Your Office Lunch

Now that Labor Day Weekend’s over and everyone’s snapping out of lazy vacation mode, you might find yourself spending more time at the office to play catch-up. If you’re eating lunch at your desk more often than not these days, you’re not alone: sixty-two percent of office workers report that they 
typically eat lunch at their desks. But not every desk lunch has to be a #saddesklunch! Here’s how to give your midday meal a well-deserved promotion.

Fork it over — Give your meal 
a boost with silverware and a proper plate and bowl. In one study, people ate the same yogurt with 
a plastic spoon and 
a metal one, and rated it 15 percent tastier when eating with real flatware.

Play dress up — According to 
a survey by 
Bon Appétit Management (which operates cafés at companies and universities), 94 percent of millennials think customizing their meals is important. Make it easy to tweak your lunch with a stash of 
flavored olive oils and vinegars, 
or your favorite hot sauce.

Call a friend — Grab lunch with your coworkers—it might make you even better at your job. One recent study found that firefighters who ate together performed better than those who dined apart, 
an effect that also applies to those who wield Excel files instead of fire hoses, according to Kevin Kniffin, the study’s author. Eating with friends is more fun, too!

 

 

Ready for your lunch break? Try these cool recipes made from brand new supermarket products. The best part? You can whip ‘em up right in your breakroom!

Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Noodle Soup — Break 1 oz. thin rice noodles in half; place in 2-cup jar with a lid. Fill jar with boiling water; close lid. Let sit 20 minutes; drain. Add 1 1⁄2 cups Nona Lim’s Vietnamese Pho Broth ($6.99). Microwave, uncovered, until noodles are tender, about 2 minutes. Top with bean sprouts, halved 
sugar snap peas, shredded chicken, cilantro, mint and sriracha.

Sausage & Egg Toast – Microwave 2 Johnsonville Fully Cooked Breakfast Patties ($3.99) until hot, about 40 seconds. Crack an egg into a water-filled bowl. Microwave 1 minute, then cook in 15-second bursts until white is opaque, about 30 seconds more. Place egg and sausage on a toasted slice of Pepperidge Farm 3 Cheese Italian Bread ($3.99); season. Top with halved cherry tomatoes. 

Bacon 
Caesar Salad – Microwave 2 slices Al Fresco Uncured Chicken Bacon ($4.49) until crispy on the edges, about 1 1⁄2 minutes. 
Slice and toss with Elevate Sunny Caesar Salad ($4.49).

 

– By Cecily McAndrews and Grace Rasmus; Photography by Aaron Dyer

The Great Supermarket Grill-Off!

We like to consider ourselves the recipe experts, but we also give props where they’re due, and man, have supermarkets been upping their recipe game lately. For our Grocery Store Grill-Off story in the July/August 2016 issue, we scoped out the sites of several well-known grocery chains, and what we found surprised us—positively!—in scale (Whole Foods has almost 4,000 dishes!), quality (still talking about the Aldi burger we tried…), and creativity (I ended up watching Stop & Shop’s videos for fun).

In order to pick our favorite, though, it all came down to the food. To have a fair test, we picked a Greek burger from each.

Here are the contestants:

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DIY Mother’s Day spa treatments

Pamper Mom (especially if that’s you!) with spa treatments from your kitchen. They’re even better than breakfast in bed for giving her an ahhh-some Mother’s Day!

 

Chocolate & Strawberry Scrub

Berries and cocoa are high in skin-protecting antioxidants, and coarse sugar gently exfoliates, says Philip Berkovitz, food beauty guru and founder of Philip B Botanical Products.

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4 Cool Ways to Use Leftover Beans

Left with a pantry full of canned black beans after Cinco de Mayo? Dinner–or dessert!–is only a few ingredients away.

 

Black Bean Salad Bites

Toss 1 can (15 oz.) drained, rinsed black beans with sliced scallions, a diced bell pepper, a handful of chopped cilantro, a pinch of cumin, 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice and EVOO. Season. Serve in scoop-shaped tortilla chips topped with sour cream.

 
 

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3 Cool Ways to Use Matcha Powder

Starbucks is sprinkling it into lattes and grocery stores are stocking it on shelves: But what is this curious green powder called matcha, anyway? Whole-leaf green tea that’s been finely ground, matcha has a deeper flavor than brewed tea and more of the antioxidants believed to ward off cancer, lower blood pressure and boost brain power. Stir it into hot water or add it to sweet and savory foods for a fresh, grassy flavor. Get your green on for St. Patrick’s Day with these quick ideas!

 

Matcha Bundt Cake

Add 1 tbsp. matcha powder to a boxed yellow or white cake mix, pour into well-greased Bundt pan and bake according to package directions.

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Butter is Back!

Butter’s popularity is spreading! A potential explanation: “Studies show that a diet rich in fats and low in carbs is more effective than low-fat diets for weight loss, possibly in part because of fat’s satiating effects,” says Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise. Learn which kind of butter is best for every kitchen task.

 

 

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The Best Frozen Appetizers for Your Holiday Party

Freezer aisle finger foods are the key to no-sweat holiday parties. With these quick, from-scratch upgrades, no one will guess you’re serving store-bought!

 

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5 New Veggies Worthy of Your Thanksgiving Table

There’s a whole new crop of vegetables at the supermarket–invite these five to your Thanksgiving dinner.

 

 

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3 Cool Ways to Use Your Favorite Cereals

Think outside the box–It’s not just for breakfast anymore! Sprinkle these morning treats into other meals for a sweet surprise.

 

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