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Get Supermarket Savvy

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Healthy eating starts with your shopping cart. Learn which foods to toss in (and which to toss out) in order to stay fit, save money, and spend less time at the grocery store.
Shopping Tips for the Multitasking Mom

If you're convinced that eating right is time-consuming and expensive, we've got news for you: Buying colorful produce, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean protein actually costs way less, and these foods are a whole lot quicker to prepare than you think. To prove it, FITNESS recently stopped four women in the aisles of the Super Stop & Shop in Ossining, New York, and gave their grocery carts a makeover.

The Multitasking Mom

Michele Madiou, 47, Cortland Manor, New York

Michele and her three kids, ages 16, 15, and 5, are vegetarians (they eat dairy, but no eggs, poultry, meat, or fish), so they go through a lot of fruits and vegetables in a week. Her husband and her mom, who lives with them, eat meat, so Michele has to find options that work for them, too. And she's always trying to save money. Between feeding six people and buying loads of produce, her grocery bill can typically run more than $175 a week.

Her Go-To Groceries

Spinach, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, red and green peppers, organic apples, pita chips, organic tortilla chips, sugar-sweetened cereal, whole-grain cereal, whole wheat cinnamon-swirl bread, whole wheat naan, pasta, low-fat frozen dinners, deli turkey

Better Grocery Buys

Simplify Your Shopping List
Instead of prepping two meals each night, Michele can buy ingredients for one dinner that everyone will love. A pasta dish, such as baked ziti, is vegetarian yet hearty enough for meat eaters. Or she can whip up a quick stir-fry: While the vegetables are cooking in one pan, she can saute diced chicken or shrimp in another to add to her mother's and husband's portions.

Pump Up the Protein
Vegetarians often have a tough time getting enough protein, which is especially important for growing kids. Michele needs to make sure hers consume two to three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese each day, and she herself should aim for three servings. Choosing foods that are high in vegetable protein, such as beans, tofu, and peanut butter, will also help them meet their quota.

Snack Smarter
Her kids love to munch on chips, but we convinced Michele to put back one of her two bags in favor of some in-season fruits. Our top pick: blackberries for only 99 cents and watermelon on sale for 79 cents per pound. If she offers fruit along with chips at snacktime, her children are likely to eat it.

Sneak In the Good Stuff
Michele loves whole-grain cereal, but her children are still hooked on the sweetened kind. To wean them off it, she can serve them their favorite but mix in a little of hers. Each week, she'll increase the amount to transition them without a struggle.

Total savings: about $17*

*All prices are as of 5/7/09.

What do you think of this story?  Leave a Comment.

What do you think? Review this story!
christina.burt wrote:

Part2 to my message...I recently had a full body analysis regarding cholesterol, LDL, HDL Tryglycerides etc. and everything is in perfect health. So I really wish articles would STOP spouting off about vegetarians & vegan and not getting enough protein...PLEASE do more research. Thank you.

2/29/2012 12:38:17 PM Report Abuse
christina.burt wrote:

The article is not that bad, however, I am so tired of hearing that vegetarians and vegans have a hard time getting enough protein...this is so not true!! I have been vegan for over 6 yrs and I have no problems getting my protein and all the other nutrients I need.

2/29/2012 12:37:47 PM Report Abuse
anonymous wrote:

I didn't learn ANYTHING. Actually I learned daddy eats meat. Why deprive the kids? Buy free range & reap the benefits. Buy anything that doesn't come in a box. Raw forms, like spinach. OMG so lame.

1/8/2011 11:38:59 AM Report Abuse
anais_perfectio wrote:

really handy and smart!

4/8/2010 02:48:05 PM Report Abuse

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