Nutrition Corner: Save money by looking at unit price

Nutrition Corner - Mary Ehret

Did you ever wonder why the same food comes in similar but slightly different sized packaging? Take pasta, for instance. Some are boxed in 16 ounces, others bagged in 12 ounces. To compare prices, this could be a nightmare.

I am always looking to save money at the grocery store. It’s important to look both at the price and the weight or fluid oz of the product. I look at the unit pricing shelf tag. Unit pricing makes comparing prices easy because it tells you the price per “unit.” Some units are ounces, pounds, or fluid ounces.

The unit pricing shelf tag is usually posted on the shelf below the food. I will admit, at times the lettering is so small I can’t read it, or I need to scoot down to even see it. The shelf tag shows the total price (item price) and price per unit (unit price) for the food item.

Unit pricing can help you decide what brand to buy. Store brands often cost less than well-known national brands. The packaging may be the only difference. (Be sure to check the nutrition facts panel on the food label to see if the nutrients are the same.) Compare the unit price before you make your purchase and consider its use.

Unit pricing can be a family fun activity in the store. Most children as young as 9 years old learn about unit pricing in math class. Take a few moments to look for the shelf tag. Remember, there will not be a shelf tag on loose packaged produce. Therefore you will need to look for the price per pound written somewhere above the produce.

Spend an extra minute in the store. Find the unit pricing shelf tag and save a few dollars.

Try economical, nutritious low cost meals this next week. This recipe is made in one pan, a skillet and cooks in a jiffy.

Quick Skillet Lasagna

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 pound ground beef

1 can (16 ounce) tomatoes

1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste

1 Tablespoon fresh parsley (optional)

1 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

2 cups cooked egg noodles

3/4 cup cottage cheese, lowfat

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Chop onion. Cook beef and onion, in skillet until beef reaches 160 degrees is brown and onion is tender. Drain off excess fat.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, water, and garlic powder to the beef mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer until sauce is thick, about 25 minutes.

Add uncooked noodles. Cook for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Mix cheeses and drop by spoonful onto of mixture.

Cover and heat over low heat about 5 minutes.

Nutrition Corner

Mary Ehret