Navigating Groceries and Meals in Our New Normal
Not too long ago, grocery shopping was a completely normal part of the average week. But with the latest uncertainty, a trip to the grocery store can be a stressful and even a scary experience.
As you know, stress leads to premature aging…so we’ve created a few tips to help lower your stress level when it comes to feeding you and your family.
No matter how well you’ve planned, you’ll likely need to venture to the store to stock up on food at some point. One of the best things that you can do for yourself and your family right now is to make nutrition a priority. Adding fresh produce and whole foods support a healthy immune system and your general wellbeing. It’s also a great time to experiment with new foods and recipes.
Fortunately, there isn’t any evidence that these germs can be spread through food. Although this particular microbe can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours, it’s more likely to be passed from person to person and not by touching a surface that’s contaminated. However, we are still learning about this microbe and how it spreads. It’s important to take precautions when going to the grocery store or handling food you have delivered.
While it’s necessary to exercise caution, you don’t have to be fearful about buying food. Follow these tips to stay safe while going to the grocery store or ordering food.
If available, using grocery pickup or delivery services is the best option for limiting your contact with other people. However, these services aren’t accessible everywhere, and many now have long waiting periods. If you need to go to the grocery store, here are a few tips to protect both yourself and others.
- Make a detailed grocery list before you go shopping. Organize your list by your store’s layout so you can get in and out as efficiently as possible.
- Visit the grocery store during less busy times, such as early in the morning or on weekdays. Avoid the store on weekends and in the evening.
- If you have one, wear a mask. A homemade cloth mask is fine; the most important thing is to make sure your nose and mouth are covered. Check to see if they are now required in your area. But remember, anything less than an N95 mask is protecting others from you, but not likely protecting you from others.
- Take hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes or spray with you.
- Sanitize your hands before you go into the store and after you leave.
- Disinfect the hand of your cart or basket with wipes or spray.
- Disposable gloves also work, just be sure to remove and throw them away as you leave the store.
- Only touch items as you’re putting them into your cart. Instead of picking up produce to look it over, inspect it only with your eyes before choosing what you want.
- Stay six feet away from other people. If an aisle you want to walk down is crowded, skip it and come back later.
- Maintain social distancing guidelines with grocery store employees when asking for assistance or checking out. Keeping them safe and healthy also helps other customers remain safe and healthy.
- While it might make you cringe, leave reusable bags at home for now. They may come into contact with infected surfaces before you bring them home. Utilize single-use bags for now, and dispose of them right away.
- Use self-checkout if it’s available. Disinfect the scanner, touchscreen, and keypad before touching them.
- Wash produce when you get home using water or a fruit and veggie wash.
Ordering meal kits from places like Blue Apron, Home Chef, and HelloFresh provide you with nutritious meals without having to brave the grocery store. With these subscription services, you can choose the meals you want to make and have all of the ingredients, as well as recipes, delivered to your doorstep. And you won’t have to worry about forgetting something at the grocery store.
To safely handle food delivered in meal kits, follow these tips.
- Wash your hands before opening and unpacking the meal kit package.
- Wash produce with water or a fruit and veggie wash.
- Follow normal food safety guidelines, such as placing cold items in the refrigerator and keeping raw meat separate from other foods while cooking.
- Wash your hands again after unpacking food and discarding the packaging.
With these tips, you can continue to cook and eat healthy, delicious meals during this uncertain time. Remember to enjoy and savor your meals. Good food can be a source of joy and variety, as well as a way to connect with your family.
Let us know your tips for staying safe while shopping!