How to Survive Winter Grocery Shopping

Once winter weather hits, even going outside to rescue the morning paper can feel like a dangerous Arctic expedition. Errands like grocery shopping rise to the top of our "Grown-Up Chores We Wish We Didn’t Have" lists.

These four shopping tips will help minimize your number of grocery trips this winter while maximizing the amount of healthy food you bring home each time.

Plan Meals Weekly
Think of this task as a chore you can conquer in front of a cozy fireplace. Before you suit up and head out to buy groceries, plan out enough meals to feed your household for the entire week. List out every ingredient you’ll need to buy for each meal before you get to the store to avoid having to go back out at the last minute to buy something you forgot. Plan meals in proportions that will allow for at least one additional meal of leftovers.

Go Big on Non-Perishables
If there was ever a time to buy that jumbo-sized bottle of ranch dressing you never thought you’d need, it’s now. While it might be more expensive in the short-term, the more of a product you have on hand when the temperatures dip below zero, the more opportunity you’ll have to get creative with what’s in your pantry without having to go out in the cold for more.

Scope Out the Sales
Winter is not the time to be picky about which brand of cereal you choose. Buying cheaper versions of the same foods will allow you to stretch your grocery budget and buy more to last you longer. Keep your eyes — and your mind — open to clearance grocery items as you search the aisles. A seemingly miscellaneous item might spark an idea for a quick meal you can make on a night when it’s too cold to go out.

Collect Healthy Snacks
Some healthy snack foods do come in boxes. Snacks like trail mix, granola, whole-wheat crackers and some brands of granola bars are perfect snack foods you can store in your pantry for months at a time.

No matter the weather, you can still make the most of every food-purchasing extravaganza. Plan ahead, try new brands and think outside the frozen food section. Don’t forget your coupons!

Meg Dowell on Twitter
Meg Dowell
Meg Dowell is one biochemistry course away from a bachelor's degree in dietetics. She recently graduated with a B.A. in English, blogs for and is the health/fitness/nutrition editor for College Lifestyles magazine. She hopes to begin her master's program at Benedictine University this January, pursuing an MS in nutrition and wellness with a concentration in nutrition entrepreneurship. Follow her on Twitter @MegDowell.