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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Filtering by Tag: grocery shopping

Shopping Matters teaches participants how to read food labels, use unit pricing

dorothy hernandez

Mary Bailey, Cooking Matters for Adults participant at Mercy Primary Care, has her shopping routine down. She always has a list and makes sure to eat something before going to the store so she doesn’t shop hungry.

But even the savvy shopper picked up a few new tips and tricks after taking the grocery store tour with fellow Cooking Matters classmates as well as Shopping Matters participants on July 10 at Walmart in Sterling Heights.

“I was not really savvy with unit prices before,” she says.

While shopping, she said she compared the unit prices of the Great Value cooking spray vs. Crisco and realized Great Value was the better deal.

As a participant in the class, she also learned how to cook healthier. “I learned how to cook without a lot of salt and oils. Now I make my own seasonings.”

Her cart was full of whole foods, such as cantaloupe, cottage cheese, lemon and limes, squash and onions, brown rice and salmon in her cart. Using some of the planning skills taught in the previous lesson, she swapped out the broccoli and spinach that was on her list for the available and more budget-friendly squash.

Another skill the tour aims to teach participants is reading labels. For Shopping Matters participant Jennifer Morris, the Detroiter learned to pay more attention to the products. She primarily eats a vegetarian diet and had her cart full of dried beans and veggies to make a meatless chili, she said. The idea to make chili came to her after walking around with her group. She also said the tour helped her make more informed choices about which foods to get.

Angela Davenport, who was in the Shopping Matters group, said the tour helped her make better choices.

“Before I was just grabbing what I saw … (the tour) was very good,” she said.

These ladies, along with about 10 other participants, were able to apply their newfound budgeting skills, thanks to a donation of $150 gift cards by the store.

“As a company, we’ve always had good relationships with Gleaners” and other community organizations, said store manager Rob Aquilina. He said each store works with specific agencies in their areas to give back to the community.

When asked if Walmart would do more tours with Shopping Matters, he said, “I’d love to be more involved and see what we can do.” He added Walmart is committed to the food bank, which aligns with one of the company's three main values: fighting hunger, education and work force development.

$10 Challenge: 5 ingredients, 2 different meals

dorothy hernandez

Tomorrow I'm going with a Cooking Matters for Adults class to Aldi for the grocery store trip and $10 challenge. The $10 Challenge is a fun way to put participants' newfound cooking and budgeting knowledge to the test: Shoppers have a $10 budget to buy one healthy ingredient from each food group. I went to the store today to give myself the $10 challenge and found some great stuff. I already had an idea to make Asian lettuce wraps because I have leaf lettuce and cilantro at home as well as the seasonings (soy sauce, ginger, etc). I wasn't sure what how to fulfill the other parts of the challenge, though, so I came in with a working list (fruit, low-fat cheese and brown rice) and decided to let prices and stock guide me. Unfortunately there was no low-fat cheese or brown rice so I changed my game plan, selecting nonfat vanilla yogurt and thin whole wheat spaghetti. I figured I could make a fruit smoothie to drink and make noodles with peanut butter sauce (both recipes are personal faves from the CMA book!). I'm also planning to make sesame-ginger asparagus on the side. After buying the food I realized I could make a whole different meal with the ingredients: whole wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs with a yogurt parfait for dessert. I could toss the asparagus in a lemon vinaigrette for a side dish. Now it's your turn to take our $10 challenge: What five ingredients would you buy and what meal would you make?