Since the coronavirus outbreak, going to the grocery store can feel more like a fictional sci-fi adventure experience than an errand to check off your to-do list. With many cities implementing social distancing, a simple stroll down the aisles has turned into a 30-minute line to get in, followed by a scavenger hunt for your household essentials.
It’s no wonder that people are stocking up as much as possible to limit their trips to the store.
With all the anxiety and fear around the coronavirus pandemic coming from the media and maybe the people around you, it can all start to become a bit overwhelming. But the truth is, just like everything in life, this novel coronavirus will pass, and it right now is not the time to panic.
So how can you make your grocery trips a little more streamlined? In addition to patience, bringing a well thought out grocery list is key to getting in, getting out, and not having to go back for a week or two.
In this guide, we’ll talk about the essential foods, personal care, and household items to stock up on and which ones you can probably leave behind for now.
If going to the grocery store has become one of your most dreaded to-do’s these days, you’re not alone. Whether you’re afraid of contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19), or are unsure if you could be asymptomatic and pass it on, being in close proximity to people may feel a bit unnerving right now.
But here’s the good news; there are plenty of grocery items that you can stock up on to make your trips to the store fewer and far between.
In the food category, you’ll want to focus on shelf-stable foods. Your refrigerator should be home to foods that you plan to eat within the next week or so, while your pantry and freezer can hold items with a longer shelf life.
You’re likely cooking more than usual at this time, so make sure you pick up a variety so as not to get too bored with the same options over and over.
- Canned fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, herring). Make sure to buy brands that are low-mercury and come in BPA-free cans like Wild Planet and Safe Catch.
- Oils: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil.
- Boxed soups (Kettle & Fire brand are incredibly high-quality)
- Canned vegetables (BPA-free cans)
- Low-carb pasta sauce like Rao’s
- Nut butter (almond, hazelnut, cashew, macadamia nut, peanut butter, sunflower seed)
- Nuts, seeds, and trail mix (almonds, pecans, macadamias, chia seeds, and flax seeds)
- Condiments like salad dressing, mayo, mustard, coconut aminos. Stir-fry sauces, simmer sauces, etc. (anything to keep your meals tasting exciting)
- Ground beef, steaks, chicken, bacon, fatty fish. Fill your freezer with as much animal protein as possible. After your refrigerator stash is gone, you can slowly replace it with what you’ve stored in the freezer.
- Frozen vegetables like stir-fry blends (onions, peppers, mushrooms), brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower (including cauli rice and cauli mash), and green beans. Many people are finding that the frozen section of the grocery store is pretty sparse at the moment. If that’s the case for you go ahead and buy fresh vegetables and put them in the freezer.
- Frozen berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. These fruits (in moderation) make excellent additions to protein shakes and smoothies– which you may be enjoying a lot of these days.
- Eggs. Eggs are considered the perfect protein, and depending on the sell-by date, they can stay good in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.
- Dairy items like cheese and sour cream.
- Sausages and other nitrate-free prepared meats.
- Any raw meat that you plan on preparing within a couple days including, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, etc.
- Fresh vegetables that you plan to eat within the week.
In the personal hygiene department, you’ll want to make sure you’re stocked up on the essentials. Again, the goal here is to make as few trips to the store as possible, so be sure to have enough personal care products on hand to last you for a couple of weeks, at least.
If that bottle of shampoo is looking low, just go ahead and buy a backup, no need to wait until you’re desperate.
- Hand soap — The CDC and WHO recommend hand-washing whenever you leave the house as one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That puts hand soap at the top of the list for your personal care products.
Other essential to make sure you’re stocked up on include:
- Cotton balls
- Facial cleanser
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Neosporin (or other anti-bacterial gel)
- Band aids
- Contact solution (if you wear contacts)
- Toilet paper — Jokes aside, this is always essential to have around the house, and right now, it’s a hot commodity. Many stores are limiting the amount of toilet paper you can buy at one time, so this is definitely an item to grab when you see it. But hey — leave some for the next person too.
- Paper towels
- All-purpose cleaner
- Dish soap
- Laundry detergent
- Pet food
Many grocery stores are looking pretty sparse right now. Luckily, online ordering is still an option, so if you can’t find it at the store, you can likely still order what you need on Amazon or another online retailer.
While many emergency preparedness kits will recommend stocking up on bottled water, that’s typically only in preparation for a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane where clean drinking water may not be available.
In a pandemic situation, the water supply isn’t affected. As long as you have some type of a water filter at home, tap water is completely fine. Save the space in your kitchen for bulk food items and cleaning supplies like paper towels instead.
Although it may be tempting, right now is not the time to stock up on booze. You may have more time on your hands, but alcohol is one of the worst things you can put in your body when it comes to keeping a healthy immune system.
If you want to enjoy a drink here and there, go for it. However, if you’re running out to the store stocking up on alcohol, you may be setting yourself up for disaster.
First of all, you’re stuck at home right now. If you don’t have much to do, it may be far too tempting to open bottle after bottle to pass the time. And second of all, if you want to stay in ketosis, keeping your alcohol intake to a minimum is crucial.
Find other ways to release stress like exercise, creative projects, or find yourself something entertaining on Netflix.
Tempting as it may be, now is not the time to indulge in low-quality comfort foods that will take up space in your kitchen and potentially challenge your immunity. If you’ve been following a keto diet for a while, then I’m sure you’re not running out and buying loads of cookies and cupcakes, but even “keto-friendly” treats are sometimes made with questionable ingredients like artificial colors and sweeteners.
Try to fill your grocery cart with as many whole food options as possible, these will not only keep your body physically satisfied, but they will enhance your immunity — a crucial thing to keep in mind at the moment.
Foods That Go Bad Quickly
It may sound obvious, but if you’re only planning to go to the store once or twice a month, you’ll need to stay away from foods that have a short shelf life. These items include things like fresh berries, green leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce or spinach, and prepared meals that you find in the refrigerator section.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you maintain social distancing, trips to the grocery store need to become a bit more strategic.
Doing a little planning ahead and thinking about the meal prep you want to do for the next week or two can be a big help to make your shopping experience more streamlined.
As you survey the grocery store options focus on the nonperishable items, and limit your fresh produce for now. Also, try to avoid the urge to start hoarding items like toilet paper and paper towels.
And remember, above all else, try to remain calm and patient. Every person you come in contact with is going through the exact same thing as you — so treat others as you would like to be treated out there.