Shopping and meal planning

Food shopping is key to healthy eating. If we don’t buy it, it won’t be there to be eaten." Dr Ciodhna Foley-Nolan

We all lead busy lives and finding the time to eat healthily as a family can be a challenge. With some simple planning when shopping, you can really help with healthy eating and save some money too.

Make a list and stick to it

Write a list of what you and your family plan to eat in the coming week and stick to this while shopping. This will help you spend less on impulse buys and you’re not as likely to get distracted and pick up less healthy foods or things you don’t need.

Avoid shopping when hungry, rushed or stressed

Have a snack before you go food shopping and make sure you have plenty of time to make sensible and practical decisions.

When shopping with children

talk to them in advance about what they’ll be allowed to have so they know what to expect – bring some chopped fruit or popcorn with you for the journey.

Beware of special offers

Buying "special offers" can be very useful from an economic point of view but it can also end up with us buying what we don’t want, so beware.

Get to know your food labels

Food labels can be a bit confusing but comparing like-for-like products when shopping can allow you to choose a healthier option rather than making up your mind based on just one food item alone.

Be careful with treats

Try to reduce the number of fatty and sugary treats in your shopping trolley. Choosing a few mini or snack-sized versions of favourite treats can have a real impact on a family’s health. We’re often tempted to stock up on tasty treats "just in case" we might have visitors. It is unreasonable to expect the family or any of us to just pass by and leave them uneaten. Buying stocks of treats just doesn’t work!