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Nutrition for Older Adults: Shopping Tips

Reduced Income

Many older adults have reduced income which can lower diet quality. Reduced income may result in:

  • Less money for food.
  • Less money for transportation to shop.
  • Moving into housing with poorer facilities for storing and preparing foods.

Grocery Shopping Tips: 

 

Plan

  • Plan meals in advance.
  • Plan meals to use foods before they spoil.
  • Check food ads for weekly specials when you plan meals.

Check

  • Keep a list in the kitchen to write down food items as supplies run low.
  • Check food supplies for what you need and don’t need before you shop.
  • Check coupons for items you normally use.

Write

  • Write a grocery list.
  • Organize your grocery list with the store layout.

Get Ready

  • Pick grocery stores with the best prices and services.
  • Avoid shopping when tired, hungry or rushed.
  • Avoid crowds by going shopping early in the day and early in the week.

At the store

  • Stick to your grocery list.
  • Compare prices – unit pricing can help you know which brand or package size costs less. However, only buy the amount you can use and store safely.
  • Generic or store brands are usually less expensive.
  • Sale items may not be less expensive than generic or store brands.
  • Purchase only the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables you will use before they go bad.
  • Try buying larger amounts of produce with family or friends and splitting the cost and produce.
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season.
  • Buying frozen vegetables in bags allows you to use small amounts at a time.
  • If meat or produce are too large, ask to have them repacked.
  • Check “sell by” and “use by” dates.
  • Resist impulse purchases.

At home

  • Handle and store food properly to reduce waste.
  • Larger packages of meat can be divided into smaller portions and frozen.

Community Resources 

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help income eligible people buy groceries.
  • Senior meal sites provide meals with no income eligibility. Many programs provide transportation and other services.
  • Many community centers and churches also provide meals or food banks.

Janice Hermann, 

Extension Nutrition Specialist

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