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Grocery Shopping in the Age of COVID-19

August 2020

Grocery Shopping in the Age of COVID-19

First, the bad news: There isn’t a special food or nutrient cure-all for COVID-19. The good news? Regularly following a healthy eating plan can help you maintain a strong immune system.

Here’s what to focus on when mapping out your weekly menu, as well as tips for navigating the shopping experience in times of crisis:

Staples for a well-stocked pantry

While it’s important to include fresh foods in your diet, pantry goods can also provide nutrients. What’s more, they’re especially valuable for when you’re trying to limit community outings and shelves aren’t consistently stocked.

Use the list of below to help guide your pantry purchases (and remember to opt for the no-salt or low-sodium versions):

  • Brown rice

  • Canned chicken, tuna, salmon, and sardines

  • Canned fruits and veggies (or dried fruit)

  • Canned soup and broth

  • Dried peas, beans, and lentils

  • Jars of pasta sauce

  • Peanut butter

  • Shelf-stable milk

  • Whole-grain cereal

  • Whole-grain pasta

Check the labels and include both fresh and long-lasting foods that offer one (or more) of these nutrients: vitamin A, zinc, and protein. All three play a role in supporting your immune system.

Shopping tips: In store vs. online

When grocery shopping at the store:

  • Check the hours before you go. Some locations have limited hours, others have shopping times specifically for older adults.

  • Bring your own wipes, or use what’s provided at the store, to clean the handles of your shopping cart.

  • Wear a face covering or mask in the store; stay 6 feet away from other shoppers and employees.

When grocery shopping online:

  • Do your research and figure out which service is right for you (the supermarket delivering to your home, Instacart, Amazon Fresh, etc.). Don’t forget to double-check delivery fees!

  • Order well ahead of when you need the groceries. There’s always a chance certain items may be out of stock or the system is backlogged.

  • Ask the home delivery company to leave groceries by your front door instead of handing them to you in person.

And as a general rule, it’s a good idea to create a shopping list ahead of time. Using your smartphone or a pen and paper, keep track of the ingredients (and amounts) needed for your meals.

No need to hoard

Squirreling away food may seem helpful in times of uncertainty, but it’s really only hurting other shoppers in your community. Remember: Even if your supermarket is temporarily out of certain products, there isn’t a nationwide shortage of food. Build your pantry stock slowly and stay mindful of any item limits at the store.