5 Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Trips During Pandemic
For most of us, our lives made an abrupt flip flop since March with the appearance of Covid-19. Many families left work and school and never returned. But, it wasn’t just jobs and schools that were affected, grocery shopping changed as well. I held out as long as I could before making a trip to restocking necessary supplies, yet I could only hold out so long.
When I finally did go shopping I already had a few helpful skills in my back pocket. My family lives in one of the most remote counties in the U.S.A. and our closest grocery store is an hour’s drive, each way. I knew I needed to utilize those skills so I didn’t have to make a grocery run again any time soon. There are a variety of reasons for limiting public outings and here are 5 tips to help you make the most of each trip.
1. Plan Ahead
Create a menu plan for the month before shopping. There are apps and programs that help with this and often you can find preplanned menus complete with shopping lists online regardless of your dietary restrictions are.
2. Strategize Produce Purchases
Fresh produce is desirable but it’s also highly perishable, so how do you get it to last 2 or 3 weeks out? The trick is strategic buying. When making your meal plans for the month, choose to use the most perishable items first. Fresh berries, for instance, have a short shelf life and perish quickly. Eat those in the first 2-3 days, then move onto more stable items. Full heads of lettuce, celery, and bananas have a longer shelf life and can be eaten a week out, sometimes longer. Oranges, apples, many peppers, and potatoes have a long shelf life, especially when stored correctly. Save those items for weeks 2 and 3. Buying produce that isn’t ripe yet can also extend the life of your fresh produce.
3. Utilize Frozen Ingredients
Weeks 3 and 4 of meal planning can be tricky especially if you live in a harsh environment or are accustomed to weekly or daily grocery store runs. However, there are many frozen produce options that are both healthy and convenient. I love adding frozen berries to yogurt and cereal. Frozen veggies can also be added to casseroles and enhance meals long after the fresh items are gone.
4. Consider Shelf-stable Milk
An often overlooked item is shelf stable milk. These can be found for both dairy and non-dairy options. While they may not be the ideal choice all of the time, they can stretch that shopping trip out and are a reasonable option for cooking and baking.
5. Take advantage of online shopping
There are many online vendors that can supply most of your needs and deliver them straight to your door. Many places also offer purchase and pick up options. You shop online and then pick up your items at the store without ever going inside for a faster, lower stress experience.
There is no doubt that the new normal doesn’t feel normal at all. However, it is possible to reduce risk and simplify shopping by planning ahead and implementing a few basic strategies.