Grocery shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic has become quite stressful. From long lines to empty shelves, it can feel overwhelming just thinking about stepping foot in the grocery store.
The good news is that most countries do not have a shortage of food supply and food isn’t a major source of contamination of the virus. The empty shelves are mostly due to people panicking and overbuying rather than actual food shortage.
The biggest concern is going into public spaces with other people in close proximity. The biggest way to prevent the spread of coronavirus is through physical distancing. So the main goal should be to decrease the amount of times you need to go grocery shopping. Try and buy enough groceries to last you 10 days to 2 weeks at least.
If you are able to, ordering groceries to your home is a great option to avoid stepping foot into grocery stores. However, this option may not be available in all areas and sometimes may be more expensive. Considering the uncertainty of jobs and financial situations, shopping on a budget may also be important for you at this time.
If grocery delivery is not an option for you, here are some tips to help you simplify grocery shopping during stressful times.
Inventory Before Leaving
Before stepping outside of the house, take a quick inventory of your fridge and pantry. Use up items in the kitchen first before buying more food. Make a grocery list of the exact items you need and stick to it.
Start from Frozen
Most grocery stores are set up for you to shop produce first. Instead, you want to start in the frozen section and stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables. By starting in the frozen section first, you can stock up on a variety of mixes and stay within budget. Look for vegetable mixes without added salt and spice to use in stir frys, soups, stews, and omelettes. Stock up on a variety of frozen fruit to use in smoothies, smoothie bowls, and baked goods. Be mindful of the space in your freezer when deciding how much to buy.
Buy Longer Lasting Produce
Buying fresh produce is a great way to increase the nutritional value of your food. The main goal is to buy longer-lasting produce to reduce food waste and help food last longer. If you do decide to buy items like leafy greens, herbs, or berries, you will have to eat these within 2-3 days of purchasing. Here are vegetables and fruit that will last longer:
Power Up Your Pantry
What you stock in your pantry can significantly impact how you are eating throughout the day. Stocking with nourishing items like whole grains, plant-based proteins, nuts, and seeds can help you make healthier choices throughout the day. Having these items in your pantry makes it a lot easier to put together quick and easy healthy meals. To shop on a budget, only buy 1-2 items per category and be sure to use up what you have at home first.
- Whole grains: rice, oats, pasta
- Oils and vinegars: olive oil, white vinegar
- Beans and legumes: canned and/or dried
- Baking: flour, baking powder, yeast
- Spices: whole spices last longer but ground are more convenient
- Nuts and Dried fruit: almonds, cashews, raisins etc
- Seeds: hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed
- Nut Butters: all-natural peanut butter
Avoid Buying Bulk Snack/Treat Items
Even though you won’t be going to the grocery store for up to 2 weeks, that bigger bag of chips isn’t actually going to last you a longer time. You are likely to eat through bigger portions just as fast. So save your money and buy a moderate amount of treat/snack items. Once your treat items run out, try using ingredients to make healthier snacks/baked goods.
Here are additional COVID-19 grocery tips to keep in mind:
- Designate one person to go grocery shopping in the household
- Wash your hands before and after going to the grocery store with warm soapy water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face while at the grocery store.
- Wipe down the cart with a disinfectant wipe.
- Write down your grocery list on a piece of paper to avoid having to touch your phone repeatedly. Having a grocery list will also help you ensure you only buy items you need.
- Decide what you want to buy before picking it up to avoid touching multiple packages and putting them back.
- Stay 6 feet away from others while shopping.
- Discard any excess outside packaging or wipe down packaging you will be keeping in your kitchen.
I hope this is helpful for you during these stressful times. Be sure to share with others to help simplify grocery shopping during the pandemic.