1. Never shop hungry.
This was the number one piece of advice that readers and staffers received from their moms—and science backs them up. According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, hungry shoppers chose more high-calorie foods relative to healthier options.
2. Stick to the perimeter.
Speaking of calorie bombs, the inner aisles are full of snacks, sweets, and processed foods. Start with the outer aisles for protein, produce, and dairy.
3. Make your grocery list based on your store’s layout.
If you shop at the same place on the regular, organize your list following the path you normally take. No more laps around the store!
4. Use your school smarts.
Do research on pricing. When you have an idea of what something should cost, you’re less likely to overpay. And if you’re deciding between two items, always check the unit price. You might think you’re saving money on those crushed tomatoes, but really you’re just getting less of them.
5. Get to know the meat department.
If you’re lucky, they’ll split up the giant family-size cuts of meat into smaller portions. If you’re luckier, they’ll clue you in to what’s freshest.
6. Buy one new thing on each trip.
It’s a simple way to expand your culinary horizons—and, who knows, you may find yourself a new pantry staple.