How to make the most of your grocery visit, and two recipes to try




There are a lot of ways to save money at the grocery store. Do not shop when you are hungry, stick to the items on your list, and take the extra time to find, organize and use coupons. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind during your weekly grocery trip:

Fruits and Vegetables:  Find fruits and veggies in the produce section, frozen foods and in the canned and pantry food aisles. Compare prices to find the best buys.

  • Buy “in season” produce. They are usually less expensive and are at their peak flavor. Buy only what you can use before it spoils. If you think something is going to spoil — freeze it.
  • Try buying canned. Choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label. These products are just as nutritious as fresh, and often cost less. You can always rinse your canned vegetables to eliminate sodium too.
  • If you have the freezer space, buy frozen vegetables without added sauces or butter. They are as good for you as fresh and may cost less.
  • Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables last much longer than fresh and it’s a quick way to add fruits and vegetables to your meal.

Dairy: Find dairy foods in the refrigerated and pantry aisles.

  • Choose low-fat or fat-free milk. They provide just as much calcium, but fewer calories than whole and 2% milk.
  • Buy the larger size of low-fat plain yogurt instead of individual flavored yogurt. Then add your own flavors by mixing in fruits.
  • When it comes to cheese, look for “reduced fat,” or “low-fat” on the label.
  • Always check the sell by date to make sure you’re buying the freshest dairy products.

Protein Foods:  Find these foods throughout the entire store. They can be found in the fresh meat case, frozen foods section, dairy case, and canned and pantry food aisles.

  • Some great low-cost choices include beans and peas, such as kidney beans, split peas, and lentils. Use these good sources of protein for main or side dishes. Bean and peas cost far less than a similar amount of other protein foods.
  • To lower meat costs, buy the family-sized or value pack and freeze what you don’t use. Choose lean meats like chicken or turkey. When choosing ground beef, make sure it’s lean ground beef.
  • Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive. Try buying canned tuna, salmon, or sardines — they store well and are a low-cost option.
  • Don’t forget about eggs. They’re a great low-cost option that’s easy to prepare.

Grains: You can find these in many areas of the store, including the bread, cereal, snack, and pastry and rice aisles.

  • Make half your grains whole grains. Throughout the store, check ingredient lists and pick the items that have a whole grain listed first.
  • Whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, oatmeal, whole grain, cornmeal, whole oats, and whole rye.
  • Rice and pasta are budget friendly grain options.
  • Choose hot cereals like plain oatmeal or whole grain dry cereal.
  • Try new whole grain snack ideas, like switching to whole-wheat flours or popping your own popcorn.

Other Ideas:

  • Drink water instead of buying soft drinks or other sugary drinks. Tap water is easy on your wallet and has zero calories. A reusable water bottle is a great way to have water with on the go. Try infusing fresh fruit in water like strawberries, oranges, and pineapple.
  • Save time, money, and calories by skipping the chip and cookie aisles.
  • Choose the checkout line without the candy, especially if you have kids with you.

Spicy Cauliflower Rice Skillet Dinner

Makes 6 Servings

352 Calories per Serving


1 lb. ground beef

¼ medium onion, diced

½ red pepper, diced

3 tablespoon low-sodium taco seasoning

1 cup diced tomatoes.

12 ounces cauliflower rice (fresh or frozen)

½ cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese.


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until almost cooked through (just a little pink). Add the onion and pepper to continue to cook until no longer pink. Stir in the taco seasoning.
  • Add the tomatoes and cauliflower rice and stir to combine. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat medium low and cook until the cauliflower rice begins to soften (8 to 10 minutes for frozen).
  • Sprinkle the skillet with the cheese and cover. Let cook until cheese is melted, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat and top with your favorite toppings like sour cream, avocado, and chopped cilantro.

No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 10-12 Cookies


3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter

3 tablespoons honey

¾ cup “quick” or “1-minute” oats

¼ cup shredded dried coconut

Pinch of salt


  • Put the nut butter and honey in the bowl and put it in the microwave. Cook until the nut butter is melted, and honey is liquid-y, 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on your microwave.
  • Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. Add the oats and coconut and stir well. Add the salt, if using.
  • Form the mixture into balls and put them on the baking sheet. Use the spatula or the bottom of a glass to press down gently until they form “cookies.”
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Interested in free nutrition education classes from OSU Extension EFNEP? Contact Nancy Lyons at 937-224-9654 or

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