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This Is the Best Day of the Week to Go Grocery Shopping

We talked to a nutrition expert to get the lowdown on which day you should hit the grocery store.
woman wearing a yellow coat scans the produce section of a grocery store

Grocery shopping can sometimes seem like a necessary evil. Leaving the house to go retrieve at least a week's worth of food can be a stressful experience, between fighting crowds, carrying heavy groceries, making a list in advance, and actually planning out your meals—all before you even cook a thing. No matter where you may live—the city, the suburbs, or in a rural area—almost everyone can agree that grocery shopping takes up a good chunk of time and money. Why not strive to get the most bang for your buck and also save time? Michelle Dudash, registered dietitian, nutritionist, and author of Clean Eating for Busy Families, revised & expanded provided insight on when is the best day to grocery shop so you end up scoring all of the deals and beating the crowd.

What day of the week is best for grocery shopping?

While it's ideal to grocery shop on Saturday or Sunday so that you can meal prep lunches—and maybe even dinners—for the week in advance, if crowds aren't your thing, it may be time to switch gears and try shopping mid-week when it's inherently less congested with people.

"During the week is the best time to shop in terms of stores being less crowded," she says. "Wednesdays and Thursdays are good because lots of stores do Wednesday ad changes. Some deals sell out, but for the most part, they are good for the whole week." Whole Foods, for example, runs new deals on Wednesdays every week!

If you absolutely have to shop on the weekend, though, Dudash says Sundays are usually the busier of the two, so try to go on a Saturday.

"The day after B-level holidays like St. Patrick's Day and Memorial Day, stores will offer big discounts on holiday foods they still have a lot left of," says Dudash. Maybe hit the grocery store to stock up on burgers and buns the Tuesday following Labor Day? It never hurts to take a look!

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Which is a better time to grocery shop: morning or evening?

"An hour after opening, because all of the produce is freshly restocked. The old items are on top, so choose something underneath," says Dudash. "If you are at the store right at opening, chances are that the produce won't be restocked yet, and [there] may be slim pickings."

For those who work the traditional 9 to 5, Monday-Friday gig, this will not work for you. However, there's always Saturday!

Are there any foods to be wary of when shopping?

"Be careful about buying fresh fish, since fish tends to arrive on certain days of the week at any given store. Ask your sea monger about their delivery schedule to assure you get the freshest fish," she says. It might require a special bonus trip to the grocery store, but wouldn't you rather have the freshest fish possible? If you need tips on how to cook fish without making your entire house smell, we've got you covered, too.

Final verdict: Wednesdays are best, but Saturday morning also works.

To recap, the best day of the week to shop for groceries is Wednesday morning an hour after the store opens for the freshest produce and for when the best deals start (think about it: now you won't have to go back for a raincheck!). However, if you work a traditional 9-to-5 job and can't do grocery shopping mid-week, your best weekend alternative is Saturday morning rather than Sunday.

Now, who's ready to shop some serious deals and score the best produce? Be sure to check out our 30 tips for saving money at the grocery store—without coupons!—for other smart shopping tips!

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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