Grocery Shopping Tips

Tips for Grocery Shopping during Coronavirus Shutdown

Tips for grocery shopping during a corona virus shutdownHey folks! I hope you are staying safe and taking every effort to prevent your exposure to the Corona virus. Most states have by now announced a shutdown which means all non-essential businesses will be closed and only essential operations will be open. I think this is a much needed action in order to curtail the corona virus pandemic and is a wise decision by the government.  So my first reaction to this was relief but this was soon followed by anxiety regarding food. How much to stock up on? What foods should I buy ? What precautions to take while grocery shopping etc. So I read up the posts by experts in our AIP and wellness community and based on that, my husband and I worked out a plan.  Since I had put some efforts into this, I thought I should share those tips with you! You can check out Dr Sarah Ballantyne’s excellent post on ‘How to prepare for a shutdown’ as well.

I wanted to keep this post simple and so I wrote it as a ‘question answer’ format. I hope you find it useful! Please also share what tips you have!

How often should I shop?

First, take an inventory of all proteins (meat, poultry, seafood) you have in your freezer and refrigerator.  Take a note pad and list each item and next to it note down how many servings / meals that would make.  Then add up all the meals to get a total no. of meals and divide that by 2 (divide by 3 if you have 3 meals with proteins in a day). Divide this further by no. of members in your family/household. This will give you no. of days that you have food for.  Now give a rough sizing up for your vegetables too – fresh and frozen to see how many meals (and consequently how many days) they would last for. As your inventory drops to about 1 week worth of food, then its time to shop again. The buffer of 1 week is good to account for any possible change in situation for example  any future shortages etc.  Try to limit your shopping trips though and so shop only once a week and pick only one store per week. It’s ok if we are missing some ingredients, we need to learn to manage with what we have. While you are shopping, wherever you can, pick up enough quantities to last you for two weeks so you can potentially avoid a weekly trip in the future in case the situation turns worse (however do this responsibly and please don’t stockpile if there aren’t enough of the item to go around! We definitely need to play well and share the available food with everyone!).

Is fresh produce dangerous?Can the virus stay on food surface for a long time?

I have looked at a lot of articles and my conclusion is that – We do not know yet how regarding long the corona virus can live on the surface of fresh food(Not enough scientific data). Some folks have suggested washing with water to get rid of the virus but again there is no scientific evidence that this would indeed get rid of the virus. So in absence of that, I am adopting a cautious attitude and I am buying only produce that comes wrapped up so that once you go home, you can scrub the package with soap and water and then get the fresh veggies out. Come to think of it most of fresh produce is wrapped in some form – for example fresh lettuce , mixed greens in a box, Apples, oranges in a bag, Whole Cauliflower that’s wrapped in plastic wrap, Mushrooms wrapped in a box, Bag of sweet potatoes, Bag of potatoes, Box of strawberries, Box of Blueberries

Vegetables and fruits that don’t come wrapped but have a thick inedible peel (bananas and avocados) are also ok to get. You can get these items and once you get home, put them in a tub of soap and water.  Scrub them lightly and rinse and dry.

What items to shop for?

Meat / Poultry / seafood: Based on your inventory taking, identify how much more protein you will need to last you at least a couple weeks. Right now since many folks are stockpiling, there are already a lot of shortages and so you may have to compromise on the quality of the meat etc. Its ok if you don’t get grass-fed beef. Just cut a leaner cut. The focus right now is on survival vs optimal wellness! So its ok. Once things turn back to normalcy, you can get back to your good quality foods and focus on your health again.

Fresh produce: – refer to above notes.

  • In addition to what I state above, get root vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, yuca, squash (spaghetti, acorn), rutabaga, turnip etc since these vegetables keep for long in the pantry.
  • You can get extra bananas and the ripe bananas, you can slice and place in the freezer to use later in smoothies etc.

Frozen produce:

  • Frozen vegetables are really good at such times since they will keep for a long time in the freezer.  So every time you go to the store, get a couple extra frozen veggies pack.
  • Eggs – Good to load up on these as they are a healthy protein(although not AIP) for the whole family.
  • Canned seafood – tuna, salmon, sardines etc are also great since they keep for a long time in the pantry and its really convenient to convert into a quick meal.

Other tips while at the store:

  • Wear a face mask whenever you step out of your home especially while visiting grocery stores.(Check out my post regarding face masks)
  • As soon as you enter the store, use sanitizer/sanitizing wipes to wipe the handle of the cart and your hands.
  • Use store provided paper bags that way you don’t have to wash and sanitize your bag after getting home.

Back home from store:

Once you get back home, wash all wrapped produce in mild soap and water and rinse. Discard the shopping bags in the trash. And wash your hands again thoroughly with soap and water. As an extra precaution, I recommend taking a full shower with hot water to make sure there is no virus lurking anywhere on your body.

Tips for online grocery shopping:

  • Order in advance. Most grocery stores are swamped already with online orders so there is a 1-2 weeks wait! So plan and place your order sufficiently in advance!
  • If you are doing online shopping through your store or amazon, upon delivery, wipe box with sanitizing wipes when you pick it up from your doorstep. Then open the box. Wash your hands thoroughly first before getting the contents out. Discard box immediately and wash your hands once again.
  • Shop AIP is a good resource for many of your AIP pantry items. You might find certain AIP items here that could be delivered faster than other sources.
  • Wild Zora also has great AIP products that could be very useful at times like these. You can use the code ‘cook2nourish15’ to get a 15% discount on their products.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you purchase any products through those links, I may get a small commission. Your price remains the same regardless of where you purchase.
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