To help slow the spread of COVID-19, many are reducing their number of visits to the grocery store. Going from picking up a few things here and there, to shopping once every two weeks can be difficult to adjust to. Here are some tips for an easier adjustment.
1. Consider your food storage space.
There are three types of food storage space: pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Which of these is your biggest space? Your answer should influence the types of items you buy. For instance, if you are one who has a large freezer in your garage, frozen green beans make a lot more sense than a case of canned green beans. Or maybe you have a large walk-in pantry and a small freezer—plan to have canned chicken chunks rather than frozen chicken breasts.
2. Choose produce with a long shelf-life.
One of the biggest barriers to a two-week shopping trip is the idea that food will go bad. Check out this list of produce that can last two weeks or longer, if stored properly.
- Winter squash
3. Plan for week two.
A one-week shopping trip is common, but week two is where things can get a little dicey. The solution is to plan for the items which are going to go bad. Use brown bananas for whole wheat banana muffins. Use fresh berries for a yogurt parfait in week one, but freeze the extra for a smoothie in week two.
4. Plan to use all of the ingredient.
Recipes often leave partial ingredients unused. If you don’t have a plan for these leftovers, they will most likely get tossed. Instead, make a plan for how to use all of the ingredient. For instance, maybe you need celery to make a chicken creole dish, but not the whole head. Plan to use the rest of the celery sticks for chicken salad sandwiches. Or maybe use a few tablespoons of tomato paste in a chili, and the rest in that chicken creole dish. This strategy reduces food waste, saves you money, and saves you storage space.
5. Make a plan, make a list, and check it twice!
Now you are all set to make your plan. A solid plan and a thorough list is how you prevent showing up at the grocery store the next day. Here are a few tips for making a menu plan:
- Use up ingredients you already have.
- Don’t forget to take inventory of non-food items like dish soap or sponges.
- Be sure to factor in your schedule to your menu plan. Planning quick crock pot meals for busy days filled with home-schooling helps you actually stick to your plan.
- If you feel overwhelmed planning every meal for 14 days, start with dinner. Be sure to have things on hand for nutritious breakfasts and lunches; oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, or eggs for breakfast, and sandwiches, veggie sticks, hummus, soups, or leftovers for lunch.
- Don’t forget to shop for your snacks! Check out our eShop collection for nutritious snack ideas here.
6. Be prepared with emergency meals.
Make sure you have ingredients for a simple back-up meal in case something goes wrong with your planned menu. As much as we like to think everything is going to go according to plan, it is always good to be prepared. My go-to emergency meal is whole wheat pasta, marinara sauce with ground chicken, and frozen veggies. Add a couple to your shopping list!