Remember when grocery shopping had a personal touch to it? These days, many of us prefer a hands-off approach to stocking our pantries. The fewer hands that touch foods we buy for our family, the better.
The grocery store is one place most people can come into contact with COVID-19. Whether you shop in-store or use a delivery service, many people other than the shopper may touch the foods you buy. You can limit exposure to germs by stretching out your food supply and keeping your grocery shopping experiences to a minimum.
Here's a low-touch strategy to pare down grocery runs and boost up meal preparation.
Make a meal plan. Write a list of meal ideas for 10 to 14 days. Then make a grocery list with ingredients you need for each meal. Remember to include items for breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy snacks.
Take stock of staples. What do you already have on your shelves? Make sure you’re not running low on basic dry foods, like flour, sugar and rice, that you use often in everyday meal prep.
Keep shelf-stable items on hand. Foods that you can store at room temperature are essential for any pantry. Keep your shelves stocked with dried beans, quinoa, oats, whole wheat or legume pasta, canned meat, canned tomatoes, dried milk or shelf stable milk alternatives and marinara sauce. Instead of hoarding, buy what you need for two weeks.
Prep foods for the fridge. Fresh fruits and vegetables last for several days if stored properly in the refrigerator.
Put herbs in containers with a small amount of water before tucking into an easy-to-find spot on a shelf.
Rinse leafy greens, wrap in paper towels and store in a sealed fridge-friendly container.
Use the crisper drawer for other produce.
Save long-lasting produce for later. Vegetables and fruits that stay fresh longer make great options for end-of-the-week meal plans. Try recipes that include root vegetables, Brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, apples, citrus or cabbage.
Find it in the freezer. For the last week of your meal plan, use frozen fruits and vegetables. They are picked at their peak, flash-frozen and full of freshness when you need them.
Article written by Allyson Mast, Clinical Dietitian at Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction. Allyson helps both surgical and non-surgical patients with medically managed weight loss plans. By providing personal consultations, she helps patients set goals and address the areas they struggle with most. Virtual visits are now available at Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction, call (574) 537-8326 to schedule an appointment.