Navigating the grocery store while social distancing

An image of fresh produce section at the grocery store.

Making the decision to grocery shop these days should come with careful consideration. While we make an effort to socially and physically distance ourselves from others, the days of running to the store for a few items have vanished. Instead, we’re setting our sights on getting the most out of the food we already have and going to the store only when necessary.

Let’s talk about how to best prepare for your next grocery haul:

  1. Make sure you’re really out of ingredients for a meal. Those leftovers in the freezer could go perfectly on top of a salad or bed of rice. Or, what about gathering the veggies and meat you have left to make a soup? You can also enter ingredients you already have in your kitchen into a recipe app for some inspiration.
  2. Know your CDC guidelines before leaving the house. Although these guidelines are being updated daily, we know that social distancing (staying at least 6 feet from others), adamant hand washing for 20 seconds, avoiding touching our faces, and wearing a cloth covering over our nose and mouth are all measures we can take to help the safety of ourselves and those around us.
  3. Look at your budget and plan a menu of what you’re going to eat for the next couple weeks. If you still have food, try to incorporate that into your meals and build up from there! Need new meal ideas? Here’s some inspiration.
  4. Make a list of the foods you’re going to need, then divide that list into sections of the store such as: frozen, produce, canned goods, refrigerated, dry goods, meat, pharmacy, and cleaning supplies. By following this tactic, you can cut down your time in the grocery store and keep yourself and those around you safer.
  5. Think about where you can substitute fresh foods for canned or frozen ones. Items such as canned or frozen vegetables, fruits, and meats have similar nutrient content to their fresh counterparts but last a great deal longer. Want some more tips and tricks? Read more about the benefits of canned foods or frozen foods from the experts.
  6. Once you’re at the store, look for the disinfectant wipes offered to wipe down your cart or basket.
  7. Give an extra “thank you” to the employees at the grocery store. They deserve our gratitude during this time.

Now that you’ve made it home with your food for the next couple weeks, wash your hands upon entering the house. When putting your groceries away, always start with fresh foods and double check the dates on perishable items so you know when they’ll spoil. You can always put leftovers in the freezer to be used later on, even if that “later date” is just a few days away. But for now, it’s time to get cooking!