4 Ways to Save on Your Online Grocery Shopping

Shopping for groceries online is an easy way to save time and money. But are you getting the best deals out there?
Stock the pantry! Photo Credit: morgueFile

Here are four simple tips for saving some dough next time you're restocking the pantry.

1. Don't pay for shipping
. More online retailers are offering free shipping as an incentive to shop on their site.

One easy way to qualify is to sign up for the site's newsletter before making your purchase. Often you'll receive a welcome message that offers a free shipping code, coupons and a current sale flyer.

But don't stop there: Plan future online grocery shopping around free-shipping promotions, which pop up often on the site's banner ads. Free-shipping usually occurs every few weeks, just before month-end to increase sales or when a minimum purchase amount has been satisfied.

2. Browse clearance sections. Just like brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers have clearance sections. They're the perfect place to stock up on long-lasting staples like whole grain pasta, canned food and sesonal baking mixes.

Online retailers need to clear out their warehouses to make way for new seasonal items, so take advantage of end-of-season deals. Champagne prices drop during December so consumers can stock up for New Year's Eve celebrations, according to Fox Business News.

Just after the holidays get baking supplies for a fraction of the cost. Or, stock up on discount candy at the end of February -- after the Valentine's Day rush. Expect deep discounts of up to 80 percent off food in seasonal packaging.

3. Check your e-mail. It's easy to simply log on to your favorite online grocer and start shopping. Instead, take an extra minute to check your e-mail first. Retailers will send out last-minute daily specials or weekend promotions to move excess inventory. Sometimes buyers overestimate the popularity of an item: Instead of getting stuck with perishables, they pass the savings on to you.

If your online grocer isn't on top of daily discounts, try clicking on the "live chat" feature on the retailer's website and asking for a discount. Since every penny counts, start small and ask for 10 percent off your order, or to match a sale at the company's brick-and-mortar store. If the associate doesn't offer a deal, mention you'll wait and place your order when those items do go on sale. Since no business wants to lose a sale, the associate will probably counter offer with a discount to keep you online and ordering.

To get even more bang for your buck follow your favorite online grocer on Twitter or be a Facebook fan. Many offer exclusive coupon codes and one-day sale promotions to their loyal followers. Shouldn't that be you?

4. Use saved grocery lists. Time is money. Some online shopping sites offer to remember your past orders. If you routinely buy the same products, this feature saves time, advises online magazine Everyday with Rachel Ray. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can be on your way to restocking the pantry without scouring several sections of the website.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Note: I wrote this article a few years ago. It was originally published on Yahoo! Voices on February 17, 2012. 

Goodnight, Garden. Hello, Winter!

My Iowa garden during winter.
Last week I put the garden to bed for the winter.

I removed the withered foliage and piled the stepping stones in the corner. Now the soil will rest and enjoy natural mulch from decomposing fall leaves and a long winter drink from the upcoming snowfall.

Next spring the garden will get rewarded with a fresh till and new seedlings to nourish.

I'm going to miss my summer garden. So, I've been brainstorming ways to maintain my healthy whole foods living lifestyle when fresh, locally grown produce is at a minimum in Iowa.

3 Ways to Eat Healthy During Winter

  1. Enjoy garden goodies from the freezer. I have several containers of homemade applesauce and bags of frozen tomatoes ready to go.
  2. Buy more fresh frozen fruits and vegetables than canned varieties to avoid added sugar and salt.
  3. Shop at the local meat market which offers some locally grown greenhouse produce and fresh cheese during winter.
How do you make healthy eating decisions during the frozen winter months? Tell me in the comments below!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Which Color of Onion is Healthiest?

Photo Credit: morgueFile
I've always read that colorful food is more nutrient dense than its pale white counterparts.

So when it comes to white, yellow and red onions, does it really matter which lands in your grocery cart?

Let's turn to The National Onion Association for a little lesson.

Approximately 87 percent of onions grown in the United States are yellow. Just 8 percent are red and 5 percent are white.

The spicy vegetable is grown year-round in 20 states from coast to coast, with Washington producing the most. In a year, the United States grows 6.2 billion pounds of onions!

OK, so back to the nutrition of onions. I reached out to the Onionista at The National Onion Association and here's what she had to say:

Source: Twitter
So, they're all good for you! Pick your favorite color and enjoy!

Photo Credit: morgueFile
Onions are a healthy whole food that are easy to add to any meal.
  • Breakfast: Add onions to omelets, fritatas, homemade sausage, vegetable hash and quiche.
  • Lunch: Top a sandwich, pizza, salad or bowl of chili with fresh onions.
  • Dinner: Try grilling or roasting onion halves and stuffing them as a side dish. Or, serve pearl onions in a cream sauce.
Onions are high in vitamin C, manganese, foliate and fiber. If you're trying to reduce fat and salt, but want extra flavor in your meal, try onions!

I put together a public Pinterest board called "I Love onions!" to give you a little inspiration. It's a collection of recipes, tips for growing onions and even how to use them to make a cough syrup!

So, how do you like to eat or use onions? Tell me in the comments below!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Eating Bugs: The Secret Behind the Red Food Coloring Carmine

Do you secretly enjoy nibbling on red-colored candy? Licorice. Taffy. Suckers.

You may want to stop daydreaming about those indulgence to digest this bit of news: Some FDA approved red dyes originate from insects.
Photo Credit: Flickr

Yes. Bugs.

Now it's time to scour the pantry. Take a peek at that box of red candy, strawberry cake mix or bottle of red wine vinegar. If you notice the ingredients cochineal extract, carminic acid or carmine -- all common red dyes -- on the label, the foods contain dried bugs.

Red Bugs in My Food
Red dye made from carminic acid is derived from the female Dactylopius coccus costa, or cochineal insect. Although the Food and Drug Administration requires the bug-derivative to be pasteurized or treated with a similar process to eliminate Salmonella microorganisms, the thought of eating foods tinted red with insect innards may make your stomach turn -- or worse, cause an allergic reaction.

Red Dye Can be Dangerous
After accepting the bug-component of cochineal extract, carminic acid or carmine, take heed if you experience allergic reactions to food additives. In a 1997 study by the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Allergy at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor researchers confirmed an allergic reaction to a carmine-dyed frozen treat. Within three hours of eating a frozen treat dyed with carmine, a 27-year-old subject reported anaphylaxis, nausea and hypotension with tachycardia.

Not a New Concept
Native Americans and Mexicans have been using the natural red bug dye for centuries. When carminic acid is mixed with natural dyes from other sources, fade resistant red, purple and blue dyes are created and used to color fibers for cloth making, according to the University of California at Los Angeles' The Midred E. Mathias Botanical Garden. Today, Peru and the Canary Islands are top producers of carminic acid.

Cochineal extract, carminic acid or carmine also add color to non-food items. Before picking up a tube of lipstick, compact of eyeshadow or bottle of shampoo peek at the ingredient list. You might be surprised to find bugs in your favorite products.

Sources and Suggested Further Reading:

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Note: This article was originally published on Yahoo! Voices on February 4, 2011.