Nutrition Education: Six Tips for Shopping on a Budget

November 29, 2016

by Nalleli Martinez, Senior Nutrition Education Coordinator

At the Food Bank, our work doesn’t end once food is delivered to our pantries. Our Nutrition Education Team provides recipients with tips and tools for how to best use Food Bank ingredients to prepare healthy and filling meals. And, we strive to offer information in a culturally relevant way so that participants can find ease and comfort in connecting to the nutrition messages that we share.

In our “Shopping on a Budget” class, one topic that brings a smile to everyone’s face starts with the question, “Who could use a little extra money in their pockets?” The answer is almost always a unanimous chorus of agreement.

For most people, groceries are the second largest monthly expense after housing.
The good news is that people who use a food spending plan and shop carefully can cut their food costs by 20%. Yes, you read that correctly, 20%!

Here are six tips to help you save on groceries:

  1. Set a budget; it can be daily, weekly, or monthly.
  2. Make a shopping list, which will help you stick to purchasing only what you need.
  3. Freeze and store produce as space allows for later use in smoothies, stir-fries, soups, stews and much more.
  4. Don’t shop while hungry!
  5. Shop during sales. Find out when sales happen at your local markets or grocery stores. Typically, sales begin on Wednesdays.
  6. Visit your neighborhood food pantry. We’re here to help! If you are struggling to make ends meet, our food pantries in San Francisco and Marin can provide staple foods and produce to supplement your grocery purchases. Learn more here.

Our goal in Nutrition Education is to provide resources and information that everyone can use to improve their quality of life. In addition to the tips above, our workshops cover the “ins and outs” of navigating grocery stores and markets to facilitate healthy, cost-consciuous choices. What I love about these techniques is that they apply to everyone and anyone who steps into a grocery store, ready to brave the many aisles, shelves, and brands of food.

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