The cost of food continues to rise across the country, and almost half of Canadians are prioritizing the cost of their groceries instead of nutrition. But it doesn’t have to be that way — saving money at the grocery store without sacrificing your nutrition is what I aim to help people understand.

The average Canadian household throws out 175 pounds of food every year due to issues like improper storage, overbuying, inefficiently used ingredients going bad, and poor planning. If you want to spend less, stop throwing your food into the garbage.

Next, one of the best things we can do for our overall health and wellness is reduce our meat consumption. With rising prices year after year, this can be a big money saver at the till. Replacing the protein with other more affordable protein options is key. Beans, legumes, fish, quinoa, nuts and seeds are all excellent sources of omega and plant-based proteins.

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Having a grocery list and sticking to it is key for saving money at the grocery store. Impulse purchases at the grocery store will increase your bill, and can potentially lead to throwing more food out that you do not need. In fact, impulse purchases account for up to 62% of supermarket sales and can drive up to 80% of sales in specific product categories.

Buying bulk where you can will also save you money, and help save our environment from plastic waste and packaging. Spices, pasta, baking needs, nuts and more are great options to purchase bulk.

Shop the perimeter of the store. Load up on fruits and vegetables (those in season tend to come at a lower cost) first, then head to the fish and seafood, eggs, dairy and dairy alternatives. The aisles tend to be full of overly processed foods that can be hard on our health and hard on our wallets. With the exception of beans, legumes, brown rice and the odd other item, staying clear of inner aisles is not only great for your health, but great for your wallet too. This may have you making more homemade meals and snacks, but the savings to your health is outweighed exponentially with time.

When it comes to organic produce or not, this one can be tricky. In Canada, especially at certain times of the year, organic produce can be hard to find. Price compare and do what works for your budget. It is more important to get the fruits and vegetables into your diet than it is to stress about their organic content. Quick tip? A simple tap water rise and dry, along with pealing your fruits or veggies will remove up to 90% of the pesticides on the food. Alternatively, you can try to stick to the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list that comes out every year to help you decide what to buy organic and what you can skip.

Lastly, shop the sales and collect points. There are certain items I will only buy when on sale, and will purchase more than one should I need it. And whether you are collecting airmiles, grocery store points or something else, collecting is a no-brainer. It not only gives you better deals in the store, but you also then can use your points for products online or at the till for money off your total bill.

With all of that said, for many, visiting a large supermarket can be an incredibly overwhelming experience. Around every corner, there are thousands of products perfectly packaged to lure you in, despite your healthiest intentions. As you shop for groceries, really investigate what your store has to offer and always check out the ingredients in the products you’re buying. But do you really know what to look out for? How much sugar is too much? Should I be choosing whole grain or multi-grain bread? What milk substitute is best? And what about eggs — are they really okay and if so, which ones should I be buying?

If this has you flustered, I would encourage you to check out our Personalized Grocery Store Tour option to help you navigate it all. Our nutrition really starts at the grocery store — if you aren’t putting healthy options into the cart, you aren’t putting them into your body.