Adapting to Shopping & Eating During COVID-19

We all need to eat, but with less frequent shopping trips, and sparse shelves, adapting to these changes seem difficult, but they don’t have to be.

The federal government advises “additional stores of food and water” during a pandemic. This does not mean stocking up on as much of everything as possible or panic buying, but rather planning for the next week or two. Think ahead about your meals for the next 5 to 7 days and try to hit the grocery store as infrequently as possible. Try these tips to see if you can save money, time, and hassle.

Stock Up On The Essentials

Purchase food staples that can be used for multiple meals:

  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Nuts & Nut Butters

Choose hardy fruits and vegetables that will last a long time in your fridge:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranates
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Beets
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Peppers
  • Winter Squash.

Frozen produce works wonderfully in recipes calling for fresh fruit and is just as nutritious. Canned fruits and vegetables are also great, but be careful to avoid added sodium and sugars, if possible.

Repurpose items. When your bananas start to go bad, peel and freeze them for smoothies or make them into banana bread. Have a pasta dinner with whole wheat noodles, then use the leftovers to make pasta salad to serve with lunches.

Meal plan. Build a calendar of meals based on what you have at home. Plan out meals a few days in advance to save time, stay organized and use what you’ve got on hand.

Skip buying bottled water unless the water from your faucet is unsafe. Many homes already have water filtration systems in place to purify water. It’s much more economical and environmentally friendly to just drink tap water or fill a reusable bottle or pitcher.

Support your local farms by buying meat and produce from them. It is likely the healthier, and more flavorful option than your local big box store anyway.

Practice Healthy Habits

Eating behaviors definitely change if you’re staying put. Being home with a fully stocked pantry can quickly turn into an all-day buffet. Instead of reaching for a snack out of impulse or habit, ask yourself what you’re truly hungry for. You may be surprised to find that a healthier option is just as satisfying.

Leaving a plate of cookies or a bag of chips on the counter is a visual cue to grab one every time you walk past. Try cutting up fruit or vegetables with dip and putting them on the counter or in the front of the fridge so they are easy to grab instead.

Do your best to minimize distracted eating. Use mealtimes to connect with your family by eating at the table together, if possible. Create a separate time for meals and snacks, so that you can enjoy the food and eat as much as you need, without mindlessly overeating.

If you’re home with kids, try making a snack box for each of them at the beginning of the day with all of their snacks for the day portioned out in it. That way, they can help themselves without having to ask every time, and there’s a limit on the amount.

Drink water. Keep a water bottle or a cup with a straw close by so you can drink consistently throughout the day. Being hydrated allows your body to accurately gauge hunger and fullness signals.

Wash your hands. Before you eat, after you eat, anytime you sneeze or cough. Wash your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

If you do leave your home, make sure to wear a cloth or fabric face covering.

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