Tips to Shop Smart & Fill Your Cart

The USDA website has great tips for “Healthy Eating on a Budget,” including tips for every aisle. Below are their recommendations for how to fill your cart with budget-friendly and healthy options from the fruit and vegetable food group:


  • Buy “in season” produce. They are usually less expensive and are at their peak flavor. Buy only what you can use before it spoils. For more info check out “What’s in Season this Season?” from SNAP-Ed Connection.
    • The best place to buy “in season” produce is at your local farmers’ markets. Check out our comprehensive list of times and locations for the farmers’ markets and farm stands in Long Beach, as well as our our neighborhood food guides for a list of the EBT/WIC accepting markets in your area.
  • Canned/frozen fruits and vegetables last much longer than fresh and it’s a quick way to add fruits/vegetables to your meal.
  • For a great resource on selecting healthy and affordable produce, take a look at Smart Shopping for Veggies and Fruits (English, Español). To summarize:
    • Buy produce that is in season
    • Look for sales, coupons, and specials
    • Stick to your grocery list
    • Try canned – Choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low-sodium” or “no salt added” on the label. These products are just as nutritious as fresh, and often cost less.
    • Try frozen  – If you have the freezer space, buy frozen vegetables without added sauces or butter. They are as good for you as fresh and may cost less.
    • Buy small amounts of fresh produce frequently
    • Buy in bulk when items are on sale
    • Store brands = savings
    • Buy produce in its simplest form. Pre-cut and washed is more convenient, but oftentimes more expensive
    • Plant your own
    • Plan and cook smart