Grocery Shopping Tips During the COVID-19 Pandemic
It's March 2020. Normally around this time of year, I'd be looking forward to doing my grocery shopping at a farmer's market. But things are very different this year.
In the midst of the Corona Virus Pandemic, businesses have been shut down, schools and restaurants are closed.
Everything in our daily lives has been put on pause or has changed drastically. We have to find a new normal and that is going to take some getting used to.
Grocery shopping is one of those essential tasks that we are going to have to keep up with regardless of the closures and changes.
In order to adjust to our new normal, I've found comfort in a few adjustments to my regular grocery shopping habits.
Perhaps these tips will help you too, as you navigate this new reality - at least for the time being.
Go to the store only when you absolutely must.
We are so fortunate to live in a country that has grocery delivery. If you're able to, use it to reduce the amount of people in stores and the amount of exposure you have to potential germs. I use Instacart and I'd recommend a subscription right now. It's $10 per month and that includes delivery for all purchases over $35. You can request porch delivery which will also help at this time.
If you must go to the store, take precautions.
Choose a local grocer if you can. Not only will you be supporting a small business but they are smaller and usually don't have a lot of traffic at any given time. It's easier to practice social distancing in these stores. I've seen people wearing disposable gloves, masks and the like when grocery shopping. If you don't have access to those items you can use a plastic bag to act as a glove. Decide which item you want to buy before you touch it. This is not the time to be touching multiple fruits before you select one.
Other precautions like wiping down your cart and having hand sanitizer with you are always recommended.
When we come home, we shower and change our clothes. The clothes we wore to the store go right in the wash.
Trips to the store must be based on necessary purchases so be quick if you go. We also only have one family member go out for essentials. I'd recommend asking any neighbours or elderly family if they need anything before you go. These small actions will help reduce the chances of community spread.
Buy enough for two weeks
While I don't believe in stockpiling, I do think it is important to make sure you buy enough to reduce the amount of grocery trips you normally make. For example, if I normally shop once or twice a week, my goal will be to go twice as long before I need to buy something.
That means you can't always satisfy every craving, but if you plan ahead, you will have access to what you need to prepare healthy meals at home.
Buy Produce that lasts
For the fresh ingredients on your list, I'd suggest buying a variety of items, especially fruits and veggies that don't spoil quickly.
Turnips, parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts, squash, potatoes, rutabaga, broccoli and cauliflower are all vegetables that will last for two weeks or more. Fruits that will keep for awhile include citrus, apples and pears.
I'm not saying don't buy the vegetables/fruits you are used to - what I am saying is buy those but also add some veggies that don't spoil as quickly. When you prepare meals, use up the vegetables/fruits with shorter shelf life in the first week, and make the second week about using the vegetables that are more resilient.
Stock your pantry and freezer
Make sure your pantry is stocked with items that are non-perishable and that will be used in multiple ways. Canned beans, chickpeas, rice, oats, pasta sauce, broth, canned tomatoes, lentils and flour go a long way. When you buy meat or fish, buy a little extra and freeze it. This will help you get more meals out of your one trip to the store. Frozen fruits and veggies are also great to have on hand for quick, healthy meals.
Buy immunity boosters
Make sure you add some immunity boosters to your list: onions, garlic, ginger, lemons and other citrus are great to add to your cart.
Wipe/Wash what you bring home
Current research shows that COVID-19 can live on plastic for a few days and on cardboard for 24 hours. That means if someone with COVID-19 touched the box of crackers you brought home earlier that day, the virus would still be alive when you bring it home.
If your groceries will be fine in the car over night, you can leave it there. Or you can wipe everything down with disinfectant before you bring it inside your home. This Youtube Video by a Family Physician will give you some great tips on how to disinfect your groceries safely.
Right now be conscious of needs vs. wants and set a reasonable budget for your groceries. That being said it is also important to have a few snack or 'nice to have items' at home that will help you stay sane during quarantine.
Chocolate, wine and chips seem to be pretty high on many shopping lists.
Taking stock of your fridge, freezer and pantry before you shop and it will help you save money and only buy what you need more of during this time. I write a list of what I have to help me plan meals before I head out.
Hope these tips help you make sense of the new reality we are living these days. Wishing you peace, health and wellness.