This Is Why You Actually Should Go to the Grocery Store When You’re Hungry

Contrary to popular belief, there's a good reason to shop hungry.

It’s widely advised that you shouldn’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. Why? Because you’ll end up buying more than you need—and usually not on anything healthy. In a recent interview with Jeff Mauro, chef and cohost of The Kitchen, he actually advised the opposite. And I get his point. Here’s why.

You’ll Buy More Interesting Ingredients

Jeff says to “go to the grocery store as hungry as possible. Ravenously hungry. Therefore, you’re more likely to buy and try and, you know, put new things in your cart and almost overfill your cart.” When you get home, you’ll have the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.

If you pick up a new condiment or salad dressing, now’s your chance to give it a whirl. See what it pairs well with. If it’s amazing, it just might become a new pantry staple. And if you don’t like it? You don’t have to buy it again.

Browse the produce section and see what speaks to you. Pick up a new cheese or two and cured meats, and have fun creating a personal charcuterie board. I just wouldn’t recommend filling your cart with five bags of cookies. (If you are craving sweets, limit yourself to one or two packages of the good stuff, like our favorite dark chocolate.)

You’ll Save Money in the Long Run

Okay, this sounds counterintuitive. But it’s true! If you buy more food at the store, you’ll be forced to cook at home more (which is something we’ve been especially used to during quarantine). According to Jeff, “you are more apt to use those ingredients that you were salivating over in the grocery store and not order out as much or have delivery or fast food.”

He’s right. Personally, my grocery bill has been a little higher during quarantine since I made all my meals at home (here’s what Taste of Home staffers cooked during quarantine), but it’s much lower than what I’d normally spend on eating out each month. So in the end, I definitely saved money.

When it comes down to it, there’s no right or wrong way to grocery shop. If your priority that week is to eat healthy and stick to a budget, then bring a shopping list and go after you’ve eaten. But if you’re in a cooking rut and want to experiment with new foods, then shop when you’re starving and let your cravings and creativity shine.

Emily Racette Parulski
Emily Racette Parulski is a Senior Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in email newsletters. When she’s not writing about food, she’s baking something sweet to feed her chocolate obsession.