DO IT SMARTER
At the store
USE THE BULK AISLES AND SALAD BAR TO YOUR
ADVANTAGE Be sure to read your recipes before you shop and make a detailed list to remove the guesswork, says Sara Haas, RDN, a culinary dietitian in Chicago. For example, if a stew or soup recipe calls for a small amount of seeds or grains, such as sunflower seeds or barley, use the bulk section to measure out only what’s needed instead of just buying large bags. Or, if you need five olives for a recipe and no one in your household devours them, don’t buy an entire jar! A handful from the salad bar will do the trick, says Amy Gorin, RDN, a dietitian in Jersey City, New Jersey.
SHOP SMALL Try to buy only for the week ahead, says chef Eddie McNamara, which may mean eschewing a larger portion that is on sale. Just because you can get 10 bottles of salad dressing for the price of five doesn’t mean you should. Odds are low that you’ll use it all before the expiration date. BUY PULSES FOR YOUR PANTRY Keep lentils, chickpeas, and dry peas on hand to jazz up your leftovers. And try stashing a jar of minced garlic in the fridge to add flavor to those legumes in a flash (it also cuts down on food waste— how often have you bought a head of garlic and just used one or two cloves?).
GIVE UGLY A CHANCE Sellers typically toss “irregular” produce that’s perfectly fine but doesn’t look ideal, assuming buyers want picture-perfect items. Thankfully, some stores now have a special section for ugly fruits and veggies that taste the same as the pretty stuff and cost less too, says chef Josh Tomson, executive chef at The Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, Pennsylvania.