Not that there’s a right or wrong way to grocery shop, but I’ve found a few tricks to help my grocery trip be the most successful over the years.

These tips help me to shop smart, get the healthiest foods available, and save money while doing so. Sure, your shopping routines and personal preferences might avoid overly processed offerings or altering recipes to include what’s in season, but there are a few more things you might consider when you’re filling up your grocery cart.

These tips will help you tighten up your healthy eating track.

Buy Local

When you shop at your local supermarket, you might think that you’re getting foods from your local area. That’s not always the case, though, so check where things are packaged. You might live in Florida and find your strawberries or lettuce have been shipped all the way from California. To ensure you get the freshest produce, find your local farmer’s market or sign up for a CSA. You’ll also be supporting local farmers and your community while eating the tastiest produce available.

Don’t Buy Washed Greens

It might look more appealing in the packaging, but those bags of lettuce and spinach leave room for error. In fact, they’re the most common victims of listeria and E. coli outbreaks. Instead, buy a head of lettuce and wash it yourself.

Choose wild-caught, pasture-fed, and free-range whenever possible

If you’re a meat-eater, it’s important to buy the healthiest version possible. Reach for organic options that are free of hormones and antibiotics.

Stock up on frozen items

You may think that frozen vegetables may not be as healthy as fresh vegetables, but this isn’t true. They’re often flash-frozen at the peak of freshness, and can still pack a nutritional punch into any meal you have on your menu for the week. These are great to have stashed away for the busy nights when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner. I love to stock up on these when there are Buy One Get One Free sales. These sales show up quite often, so be sure to keep an eye out the next time you shop.

Avoid Long Ingredient Lists

As much as possible, avoid items with a long ingredient list. I try to stick to 7 or fewer ingredients and look for alternatives for any products that have a long ingredient label.

Make a Plan Ahead of Time 

This might sound obvious, but don’t go shopping without a grocery list. It can sometimes be the most time-consuming part of the grocery shopping experience, but having a plan sets you up for the most successful grocery store run you can have.  This cuts down on excess items and extra spending, making sure you have the precise amount you’ll need for the week without having to run out and grab one more ingredient to prepare your dinner.

With these tips, you’ll be buying the best foods for you and your family in the smartest way possible. What is your typical grocery store experience like? Do you plan ahead, or wing it? Comment below and let me know!