Grocery shop like a pro during lockdown

Grocery shopping habits have fundamentally changed since the pandemic took over the world. Before, we didn’t think twice about taking a trip to the grocery store. But now, we have to be very mindful of the way we shop. We also have to make sure that we’re getting the right nutrients during the lockdown; to keep our immune systems strong. 

I want to share with you some lockdown shopping tips that have made my life a little easier:

Safety first during the lockdown

Before you leave the house

Chances are you won’t be allowed into the shop without a mask. Wear a mask to protect yourself and everyone around you. Also, be sure to keep your sanitizer handy, so you can regularly disinfect your hands after touching surfaces and food items. 

In the grocery shop

Most supermarkets have disinfectant wipes on hand. Use this to clean your shopping. It is also helpful to grab items using a disinfectant wipe. Of course, you won’t grab your fruit with a disinfectant wipe, but you can grab that box of crackers, a carton of milk, and any other packaged product with it. 

Remember to maintain social distancing at all times. While it is quite hard to maintain social distancing in a crowded supermarket, most supermarkets have made this easier by including demarcated circles on floors. When in doubt, your trolley is a good way to measure the distance needed between you and other people. 

When you arrive home

The first thing you need to do is thoroughly wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds). Next, remove your mask by untying the strings and avoiding the fabric of the mask. Lastly, disinfect your grocery packaging with a cleaning wipe or bleach. Some food companies recommend soaking their fresh produce in some water with eco-friendly, chemical-free dishwashing liquid or any feed safe bio-friendly equivalent, and then rinse them well. Lastly, wash your hands again. 

Make a list

Take inventory of what you already have before you go shopping. Next, make a list of what you need to buy, so that you don’t end up wandering around the store aimlessly. Group the list so you can minimize the time spent in any one section or aisle. For example, list all fresh produce items together and all pantry items together. If you’re in a store that you shop at regularly, chances are you know where everything is, so map things out, so you aren’t going back and forth throughout the aisles twice.

Here are some essential items you can include on your list:

Pantry staples

If you have a pantry, be sure to stock it. If you don’t have a pantry, simply make sure you keep all items out of direct sunlight, at room temperature to keep them fresh for longer. Pantry items tend to stay fresh for longer than fresh produce, making them ideal to stock up on during lockdown. Include essentials such as dry lentils, pasta, beans, rice, quinoa, and a variety of nuts to snack on. 

Fresh fruit and vegetables

Purchasing and cooking fresh vegetables can be challenging in a lockdown, especially when we need to limit trips outside of the home. But wherever possible, it’s important to ensure that you’re still getting plenty of fruit and vegetables in your diet. Fruits and vegetables can also be frozen and will retain most of their nutrients and flavour. Using fresh vegetables to cook large batches of stews, soups, or other dishes will make them last longer and provide meals for a few days. These meals can also be frozen and quickly reheated. 

Frozen and tinned options 

If you’re worried that fresh produce will go off quicker, frozen and canned items are a suitable replacement. While fresh is usually the best, frozen or tinned foods are still remarkable in terms of nutritional value. Did you know that many frozen fruits and vegetables get picked at peak ripeness? This means that frozen produce has maximum nutrition and flavour – which means you’re not necessarily losing out on nutrients by purchasing frozen foods. Plus, it’s really convenient being able to store these foods for longer periods of time.  

When it comes to tinned foods, this can be a great option to store in your pantry for days when you want something quick. Stock up on ingredients such as canned chickpeas, lentils, or beans – especially if they’re on sale. Try to find options with little to no added salt and give them a good rinse under water after opening.

Bathroom and household items

While you don’t need to fall into the craze of stockpiling toilet paper, it is necessary to keep bathroom and household items on hand. 

Make sure you buy enough of these important items:

  • Toilet paper 
  • Tissues 
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Fluoride rinse
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Hand soap
  • Reusable plastic bags (to freeze items)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cleaning products
  • Toiletries

Choose the best lockdown shopping times

The best times to shop are usually in the early to mid-morning and on weekdays- this is when people who are still working are likely not at the store. If you shop in the early morning, you’ll also have the advantage of the store getting disinfected overnight. Some stores offer early morning shopping hours to accommodate senior citizens. If you regularly shop at a particular shop, you’ll also be more aware of when their busiest and least busy times are- take full advantage of this. 

Do your shopping online during the lockdown

It may cost a few extra rands, but ordering groceries online offers many advantages. For example, you avoid the crowds and save a ton of time. As an added bonus, most food delivery companies now offer contactless delivery for added convenience and safety.  

The bottom line is, grocery shopping has become more difficult during the pandemic, but if we need to learn how to change our habits to make the most out of the situation. 

If you’d like more tips on how to stay healthy during the lockdown, check out my article on How to Boost your Immune System or book a consultation 

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