Food shopping

Before you start buying food, write down a list of everything you need, always checking what you already have in the fridge or in the pantry. By the way, remember to always carefully check leftovers, both expiry dates and product appearances. If you’ve got tinned food, check the can’s integrity, and avoid using squashed, rusty or bloated cans. If you have open containers inside your fridge, and you’re not sure about when they’ve been opened, do not hesitate to throw them away at once. Always check carefully both pasta and rice supplies, especially if you forgot to seal the container with a peg. Otherwise, you could find uninvited guests inside the soup or pasta you just prepared!
But let’s get back to our shopping list! It might seem stupid, but writing down a shopping list could surely be useful to those who tend to get carried away make unnecessary purchases, harming both your finances and your diet resolutions. As it often happens, families don’t eat lunch at home, and if this is also your case, avoid having a full fridge, but buy instead only what you need at the moment. It’s anyway good to always have at home some food that can be defined as un-perishable, like: vinegar, oil, pasta, rice, flour, salt and sugar.

Something else that’s important to consider before you go food shopping, is knowing the amounts/portions/weight we have to buy. In other words, how much pasta, meat or fish do I have to buy for each meal.
On a food-package label, you can find very important information. It’s not always easy to understand it, but an attentive analysis of what’s written on the label can make your food-shopping more aware. First of all it has to be very clear that inside the package, information that you can get from the commercial description which should not be lacking in detail. For example, it could happen that you buy a food package on which there is an image of a custard tart but when you get home you find it contains many ingredients except the custard that you required. Moreover, it’s very likely that you are buying a mixture for the tart which contains millions of preservatives and colouring. That is why it is obligatory that all the ingredients have to be shown on the label in a clearly visible way, except from food made up of one single element. In this case the trade name is enough. All ingredients have to be listed in a descending order based on the amount. This rule allows us to understand what’s the quality of a product, evaluating also its cost-effectiveness compare to a different product with a similar price. Doing so, looking at the order in which the most valuable ingredients appear, as for example eggs and butter in snacks, or checking if a product is in extra-vergin or oilseed, or if a mayonnaise has been prepared with fresh eggs or dried or frozen eggs, you can have an idea of which one is better. On the label you find also the weight, the place where the product has been produced and the name of the company which produced it, and, when necessary, also the suggested modality of preservation and preparation.
Expiry date. To make a safe purchase, you always have to focus on the expiry date and durability. The first one, indicated by the phrase: “Use before...”, must be strictly respected; while the latter, “Best before...” simply states an advice and doesn’t imply that the product will go off after that date. Clearly, all these instructions are to be considered valid only if the product has been stored in an un-opened package and following the preservation conditions written on the label.
On the label, you can also find: 1. The Nutritional chart, where energy values, the amount of calories in 100 grams of product, and the amounts of the main nutrients are specified; 2. The organic indication, if it’s a product coming from organic farming methods, you can read “made thorugh organic farming. EEC control”.
After food-shopping, put frozen food into the freezer as soon as possible (it would be even better buying cool-bags, made for carrying frozen food), and by the way, remember to always buy frozen food last, before you leave the supermarket. When you store food in the fridge or freezer, make sure you put what you just bought behind what was already there. This way, you’ll use the “old” food first, to avoid them going off without you realizing it. Put first the food which needs to go in the fridge and then what is stored in the cupboard. Store them in an orderly fashion: pasta with pasta, tinned food with tinned food, etc. and more importantly, safer.