Skip to Content Instagram Twitter YouTube Email Link SMS X Search Clock Right Arrow Arrow Down Hamburger Menu Caret down Caret up Caret left Caret right Thumbs up Speech Audio on Replay Plus Minus

A Pro Chef Is Sharing Grocery Store Tips And Tricks Everyone Should Know

Save this for your next supermarket trip.

You ever find yourself in the supermarket — wandering up and down the aisles while listening to what can only be described as grocery store music — and realize you don't really know what to buy?

Amazon Studios / Via

Or maybe you *do* know what to buy, but you haven't really put much thought into it.

Well, you're in luck! Redditor u/aichliss, a professional chef, recently shared the tricks that they believe anyone should know when they buy food — especially if you're trying to keep things affordable and good for you.

Fox / One Potato Two Potato / Endemol Shine North America / Via



Below you'll find several useful tips and takeaways — plus more info on how to actually start incorporating them into your shopping and cooking routines.

1. Legumes — like beans, lentils, and chickpeas — are seriously underrated. (And always worth buying!)

The Washington Post / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Legumes are so versatile: They're cheap, readily available, and pretty much imperishable. They're also nutrient dense and a solid source of plant-based protein — which is extra useful if you're trying to eat healthily and affordably.

Buy them dried, then soak the legumes and leave them in your fridge overnight so they're not "grainy" tasting and they cook quicker. Assuming that you don’t throw them out and you keep them properly stored, buying legumes is a 100% return on your investment.

Check out: 38 Easy Recipes You Can Make With a Can of Beans and 21 Easy Can-to-Pan Dinners That All Start With Beans



2. When buying canned tomatoes, get them with as little added salt and sugar as possible.

Annick Vanderschelden Photograph / Getty Images

Not all canned tomatoes are created equal — and it's worth double-checking the label to make sure you're getting the pure stuff, as opposed to tomatoes with added sugar, salt, or other ingredients.

To that point, try canned tomatoes whenever you're making something that calls for cooked tomatoes. Use raw tomatoes, obviously, for fresh salads and the like. But many argue that when you're cooking tomatoes, canned tomatoes taste better!

Check out: 20 Meals You'll Actually Want to Eat That Begin With a Can of Diced Tomatoes, 27 Delicious Ways to Use Tomatoes, and I Tried the Tomato Sauce Recipe That People Really, Really Love

3. When it comes to the best-bang-for-your-buck "fill me up" food, it's hard to beat rice.

Nongmin / Getty Images

Grab some huge sacks of rice when they go on sale. They'll last you a long time, and rice easily fills you up. (Just remember that rice is a pure carb, so you'll want to pair it with other nutrient-dense foods for a balanced diet.)

If you're looking for a side dish or base for fried rice, get long-grain rice. In terms of cooking, cooling, and reheating, it's often more forgiving than short-grain rice.

Check out: 12 Ways to Make Rice That's So Good, You'll Want to Eat It Cold, 10 Rice Recipes Perfect for Dinner, and How to Cook Perfect Rice Every Time



4. Barley — which is high in protein and iron — is a great way to quickly improve your nutrient intake for very little cost.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Barley has a chewy texture and expands around 3.5 times when you cook it, so it's sure to go a long way.

Check out: 3 Exciting Ways to Add Whole Grains to Your Breakfast

5. Remember that "superfoods" often have a (super) high price tag — and you can usually re-create the nutrition in other ways for less money.

Warner Bros. Television Distribution / Via

According to Business Wire, the global superfood industry is expected to reach $209.1 billion by 2026 — and "superfood" is an umbrella term that refers to food with high nutritional benefits. Likewise, Harvard's School of Public Health concludes that "superfoods," while nutritious, are more of a sales tactic than an optimal, nutritional recommendation (similar to buzzwords like "fresh" or "new").

That's all to say that you'll save some money if you learn about nutrition yourself and then focus on building healthy meals accordingly.



6. Store potatoes in dry and enclosed spaces.

Frank Van Beloois / Getty Images

While a lot of people do store potatoes in the fridge, the lower temperatures cause the starch to turn into sugar. Oh, and treat potatoes like a starch, similar to grains and cereals.

Check out: The 34 Most Delicious Things You Can Do to Potatoes, 29 Amazing Potato Recipes That Will Keep You Cozy, and 21 Potato Recipes That Will Ruin You for Anything Else

7. And do the same with fresh onions.

Anfisa Kameneva / Getty Images

They're nutritious, and you can use them in almost any dish — but it's important to keep them away from moisture when you're storing them.

Check out: Lentils and Rice With Caramelized Onions, Chopped Mediterranean Salad, Here's a Recipe for a Really Tasty Deep-Fried Blooming Onion, and French Onion Soup



8. Flour is an essential staple (unless you have dietary restrictions), so always keep a bag of the all-purpose kind on hand.

CBS Television Distribution / Via

All-purpose flour has a gluten content between low-gluten pastry flour and high-gluten bread flour. That means you can use it to make everything from bread to binders for sauces!

Check out: PSA: You Can Make Flour Tortillas at Home in Just 30 Minutes and 15 Tasty Bread Recipes to Try While You're at Home in Quarantine

9. Buy fruit and vegetables seasonally for the best value, and preserve them in bulk if you have the time.


They're full of nutrients, and they're a lot cheaper to buy when they're in season.

Check out: A Comprehensive Guide to Freezing Your Groceries so They Last Longer and These Miracle Plastic Containers Keep Berries Day One Fresh for Almost 2 Weeks



10. When purchasing produce, browse your supermarket's discount rack first, the sales rack second, and then everything else after.

Viacom Media Networks / Via

According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), small mold spots can be cut off of firm fruits and vegetables (like cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, etc.) with low moisture content because it's difficult for mold to penetrate dense foods. Conversely, discard any soft fruits and vegetables (like cucumbers, peaches, tomatoes, etc.) with mold.

11. Always look for the bin of underappreciated and oversupplied produce — whether they're "ugly" produce, forgotten produce, or oversupplied produce from a good harvest.

BuzzFeed Video

Oftentimes, these can include rutabagas, turnips, apples, corn, and cabbage (especially in the fall!). Just learn some good recipes for them, and you'll be eating well and saving money.

Check out: We Tried Eating "Ugly" Produce and It Tasted Exactly the Same As Other Produce



12. Pick the least-processed meat cuts available. If you get the raw product and freeze it yourself, you may also save some money.

Elena Yeryomenko / Getty Images

If you're not sure how long you can keep meats (and other food) in the fridge or freezer, here's a handy storage chart from the FDA, and here are some freezing and food safety guidelines from the FSIS.

13. Get the whole chicken and meats that are still on the bone. Then learn how to break down your proteins to be more economical.

King World / CBS Television Distribution / Via

For example, chicken is more than eight portions of meat. You can use the bones and carcass for stock or soup, render out the fat to use as cooking oil, and cook the skin for little chips. This goes for other meats, too.

Check out: 14 Chicken Hacks That'll Make You Say "Whoa, That's Smart"



14. Be conscious when buying seafood, and buy fresh fish when you can.

Caselles Luis Miguel / Getty Images

While seafood is a solid protein choice, it's good to be mindful about whether the seafood you buy has been properly handled and stored. Make sure you're buying from a reputable brand.

A sushi chef (u/desumery) chimed in to add that if you do need frozen fish, get salmon because it retains its taste and texture through freezing better than other common types of fish.

To make sure you're supporting sustainable seafood, see Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch's recommendations. And see Seafood Health Facts for a guide on how to select seafood.

15. If you have the time and resources, don't rely on premade foods — like salad dressings or TV dinners. Try making them yourself.

Grand Royal / Capitol Records / Via

It can be time-consuming, but it's definitely a skill worth learning. (And one that will pay you back over time!) You can batch-cook food and freeze the leftovers for future meals, so long as you have some freezer space, using plastic containers or even ziplock bags.

Check out: 24 Meal-Prep Recipes You Can Make on Sunday for the Whole Week and You Never Have to Buy Salad Dressing Again



16. Make your own coffee! If you don't want to be bothered in the mornings, make some cold brew the night before.

Zoraya Smalley / BuzzFeed

Yes, you can find your fancy, coffee shop recipes online and re-create them at home — usually for a small fraction of the price. Keep the beverage warm in a thermos, or prep a big batch of iced coffee or cold brew the night before.

Check out: 15 Imitation Starbucks Drinks You Can Easily Make at Home, 29 DIY Starbucks Recipes That Will Save You Tons of Cash, and 16 Starbucks Copycat Recipes That Are Easier to Make at Home Than You Think

17. And lastly, to make the most of all of these tips, learn how to store your food and stretch your groceries.

Warner Bros. Television Distribution / Via

You'll be able to make the most of what you have if you can properly store (and therefore max out!) your groceries. Doing so can save you cash, time, effort, and a trip to the store.

Check out: 21 Tiny Habits That'll Make Everything You Cook Taste Better, 12 Practical Cooking Tips for Relying Less on Recipes, and 11 Meals I Make on Repeat When I'm Not in the Mood to Cook

What tips do you always follow when you're buying food? Share below!



Trending Recipes



Latest Tasty Guides

27 Dishes That Every Single Home Cook Should Make From Scratch At Least Once
Here's How They Make Babka At Breads Bakery
I Cook Almost Every Single Day, And These Little Tips Actually Add Up To Make A Huge Difference For Me



21 Delicious Ways To Eat Avocado For Breakfast
"Gordon Ramsay's Method Is Just Old, Inaccurate Folklore": People Are Sharing The Cooking Advice They Ignore At All Costs
21 Easy Appetizers With Three Ingredients Or Less



Want To Help Out With A Tasty Research Study? We'd Love To Hear From You
28 Dinners You Only Need 3 Ingredients To Make
I Finally Tried The Viral "Green Goddess Salad," And It Has Officially Raised My Salad Standards





Share on Pinterest Share on Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Share on Email Share on Email More More