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What tips can you share for grocery shopping and cooking while social distancing?

Social distancing and stay at home orders have affected the way we shop, cook and eat. What are some tips that you can share on how you have shifted these past weeks?  Are you buying more dry goods and less fresh fruits and vegetables?  Are you shopping online?  Share any tips about cooking or grocery shopping

AARPTeri
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My husband is a picky eater.  Pre-social distancing, I only made meals I knew he would eat.  Now, since I have to buy what the grocery store has to offer, I have made some new recipes with ingredients he "didn't like."  Surprise!  He now eats what I put in front of him and he likes it!  I plan to continue this trend after we return to normal.  "Hey Mikey, he likes it!"

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Keep the pantry stocked,grab extra on sale ,rotate the items as new get added . Make 2 meals instead of one,enjoy one dinner ,date and freeze the other. I buy boneless chicken breast ,when I find a sale ,five pounds at a time.Cooked ,I slice slabs and freeze (I use vacuum sealer,worth having) in seperate pack 5-6 slabs to a pack.Easy meal prep ,thaw a pack in the morning for evening chicken soup,salad,stir fry or a sandwich.Same for ground beef on sale, crumble ,brown it and freeze in seperate packs.Again easy ,taco bar ,sloppy joe ,just remember ,like the pantry rotate freezer items. Keep flour and yeast on hand,warm bread and rolls ,make extra for the freezer ,too.It's tough to stay home,but I've never eaten better,lol. BORED? Break out the flour,maybe that oatmeal no body ate,baking can consume a lot of time with a sweet reward.YES, make extra for the freezer,choco chip,sugar,oatmeal cookies ,Yum

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I try my best to take advantage on items that on sale.  I often make a big pot of soup (either vegetarian and just a little bit of meat for flavor).  I ladle it up fresh for the day and freeze the rest in appropriate size containers (or freezer zip locks).  then I can have soup at any time.  

 

I have several basic recipes but am flexible using what is on sale at the moment.  

 

Soup and hot bread is so satisfying.  

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Periodic Contributor

I always keep extra food and supplies for emergency situations by buying items on sale and using coupons all year long. This kept me away from stores except for minimum visits for perishables.  This ia a good time to use what is on hand down to a lower supply for replenishing when crisis is over. This bad situation can be a learning curve for all for the next crisis; and there will be one.  A time to study up on survival rules.   Be careful. Stay safe.

 

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Cooking wise, it’s been rather hard on me because I honestly don’t like to cook so Iv made it more of a challenge by seeing how far I can link foods together to keep the stretching going further.  I create menu plans and try to work from my frig first, using up everything before it has to end up in the trash.  The fun part (ah did I just say, “fun”?🤪) is to find creative and appealing meals out of what I have.  When I went grocery shopping weeks ago, I looked at each item and planned ahead in my mind, how far I could stretch it and how many meals I could get from it.   I realized too, that we had been eating in the past, meals that actually could have been cut in half!Create a fun menuCreate a fun menu

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Periodic Contributor

I tend to stop by the grocery store a couple of times a week for fresh produce and random things I'm out of. Since I've been trying to avoid going to the store as often, I've been eating more frozen veggies. I've been mostly skipping the convenience foods I buy to take to work, too. Since I'm at home most of the time, I don't need easy to pack things for lunch and snacks. Balancing how much comfort food to buy has been a challenge. The tempation to indulge in emotional eating has been tougher than when I'm working. Trying to keep active and do activities I enjoy like knitting and reading help me with that challenge. 

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Newbie

I located a couple of small farms in the area that sell organic produce and eggs to restaurants. They have excess stock and open for a few hours for home customers. The area farmers market has started providing delivery for selected items as well. There are more options than the grocery store while they may be a bit more expensive and not as expansive, they have interesting and healthy choices.

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Trusted Contributor

I am fortunate to have a basement where I have a large shelving unit loaded with food stuffs such as soup, jarred spaghetti sauce, dried pasta, canned fruit, cereal, etc. I also have a chest freezer in the garage. These both are replenished throughout the year when items are on sale. I will make dishes like easy beef burgandy and freeze in containers which serve 2. I do the same with chili, bean soup, meat loaf.  I get turkey breast on sale, roast and slice it, divide the meat into packages for 2, cook the bones to make a broth for soup and freeze all. I do the same with chili and bean soup. At any point in time I figure we have enough food to last at least a month with grocery shopping being limited to fresh veggies and dairy products.

 

I realize not everybody has the luxury of the space we have to store canned goods or a small chest freezer as I didn't always have the space. I think COVID-19 has shown us all that planning ahead can be a good thing.  

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I've used online grocery shopping with storefront pickup for the first time recently. It has worked well since they text/email with any substitutions that need to be made. You have the option to accept or reject their choices and pay only for the product originally ordered. It's a change to shop less often but I've adapted. I'm also "shopping" my own pantry, using specialty items I had stockpiled and trying new recipes.  

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We are using this time of social distancing to shop healthy and eat right. As we are only shopping every 7-10 days, we are not buying junk or snack foods. I am making lots of soups. Buy rotisserie chickens. The meat will make several meals but make sure to use the bones for chicken stock! Keep on hand onions, carrots, celery and garlic. A $5-6 chicken is such a bargain. Many of my friends are posting cartoons about how they are gaining weight now, but there is no reason for this. As an added bonus, don't throw away the celery bottoms. Set in shallow dish of water and start a new celery plant! Buy one grow many in the future!

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Periodic Contributor

shelf stable foods that require minimal prep are the way i been keeping the pantry stocked. i am a one person household but the family size packages can be reportioned so only the amount i need is used. there is more time for preparing a more elaborate meal so using the items that have been pushed to the back are getting some use. i get to the grocery store every 2 weeks so there is minimal contact with the crowds. the stores are being very carful about the amount of people in the store and the other customers have been aware of the space they are taking up with their cart and body.

g626
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Wasting food is my pet peeve - so I am making an extra effort to be mindful with leftovers. I love having them and have been trying to incorporate them into another meal. (Then they are no longer “leftovers” but “next-overs”!)

And any foods can be eaten at any meal- leftover spaghetti is good anytime! Leftover retried beans taste great on toast for breakfast or lunch etc. 

 

Anyway, doing these small things has enabled me to stretch what I have without necessarily cooking a whole other meal. I have also found some new favorites that I will continue on my menu!

 

 

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Periodic Contributor

No need to fear if you are prepared. One way to prepare your family for a crisis is to store food so  there will be no need for panic buying. It's easy to build a supply of food. When shopping buy two non perishable items instead of one. One to eat right away and the other to put away for a later time. Purchase foods such as rice, beans, grains, that will store easily and doesn't expire for a few years. Start building your food storage with one can, box, package of food at a time rotating the food as needed. 

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Newbie

Many of us are less active now necessitating diligence about nutrition. Use one of the many free apps to track all your food and drink to help guide you to healthy, lower calorie meals. 

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We have been purchasing larger store-brand products but eating smaller portions when we prepare meals. 

We buy more user-friendly supplies...more frozen or canned goods.  These will last longer and not spoil as quickly as fresh produce. 

We always shop ads/discounts to save money and stock up.  From the weekly ads, we plan menus to use the items more efficiently.

We always shop from a list and shop early in the day.

We have attempted to limit non-essential items.....examples include sodas, sweets, alcohol, etc.

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Something I've recently begun doing is saving ALL parts of the fresh veggies I purchase, freezing them to bulk up soups and stews later.  Don't like the entire asparagus spear?  The broccoli stems?  The mustard greens stems? Chop them up, toss them into a gallon Ziplo, and freeze for later use. Then add to the bag as you purchase other things.  Be sure to wash them!

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Periodic Contributor

Not so much different than before, but at the beginning of March it looked like this was going to be a problem for us I took action then. In the 1970's my husband was on strike from his factory for 6 wks. We were fortunate he was able to work some for his dad at the the farm . When contract came up again every  3 yrs l planned ahead and started about 2 months beforehand to stock pile food and such.   So when it looked like this would be a problem I went into strike mode.  We only need to replenish perishables.  All cupboards,  closets, and freezer are loaded. 

 

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1. I buy milk in the cardboard containers as they have a longer shelf life than in the plastic containers, it may cost a bit more but we don't have any go bad and we stretch out our grocery store trips.

2. I make a grocery list specific to a meal plan so I get in and out of the store quicker than my usual browsing.

3. We have 3 grocery stores within a mile so I used to shop multiple stores for sale prices, I keep it to one store now to reduce my time out in the public.  The lost savings are better than the potential medical costs.

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It is a good time to clean out the freezer!  I shop in a store that does not have pick up service once a week if they have good specials on fresh products, and use pick up from another store for everything else.  I plan my meals more carefully than before and think I am saving money as a result.

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Although we live five minutes away from three grocery stores, we chose to shop just once a week, and only in the early morning hours. We have been doing meal planning for about four years, and that saves time and money. 

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I make a meal plan for the week , make a shopping list for items I'm out of to complete each meal. I try to check sales and availability of item at 3 different stores. If available I print out the grocery store layout 
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We were in the habit of buying on impulse and then going out to get extra ingredients as needed.  
With social distancing we go out once a week with a firm list and then scan reciopes to find fun things to make.  Portions are easier to make smaller because we make just enough now.

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Periodic Contributor

I have purchased my groceries on-line for the last four times.

I will do go out until the time is proven to be better for us.

Senior are at more danger than many.

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Newbie

This is a time to give up certain items you are used to purchasing and get alternatives that don't expire quickly.

One stop to Costco to buy quanity and organic at a lower price.

Replace Cows milk with many options of a milk carten that doesnt need refrigeration until opened. Anyone of these Milks listed in order of my favorites

Almond Milk

Coconut Milk

Cashew Milk

Rice Milk 

Some of these Milks are flavored and sweetened, I prefer unsweetened plain .

I use it in cereal, coffee, smoothies. A great drink to swallow down your supplements or medications.

Lasts for months...Enjoy!

Another go to item there is large bags of frozen berries.

Blueberries

Mixed berries and more.

I live alone so it stores for a long time and I use as needed straight from the freezer.

You can use it is smoothies instead of ice or an addition. 

It is yummy in a micro for 10 seconds or less to use on ice cream, in yogurt, on your oatmeal or cereal. 

The berries are safer to eat and have the same nutritional value!

Things that last a long time to stock up on if you want dairy.

All Cheeses..stay away from processed cheese....so many more delicious cheeses that last in your Frig.  

BTW jarred fig jams or perserves are a wonderful accoutrement. 

Dried beans are a great source of protein and fiber. Get creative with them.

If you do buy fresh veggies..make yourself a chili and freeze...dont forget to get freezer bags.

I bought several bags or lemons, oranges and grapefruit. juice and zip lock into your freezer. 

Great for cleansing and nothing like a hot tea of lemon and water.

Essential healthy alternatives to sugar with health benefits buy Molasses and Honey..a boost to so many things. Get creative.

So more high protein to buy other than freezing meat ...Canned tuna, sardines, oysters!

I keep crackers once I open in frig. Lots of my dried items are refrigerater

Buy rice and large jars of capers, 203 mgs of protein in one Tbs. of capers makes your rice so tasty

you can add any frozen veggie like peas or corn. I love avacados too. 

Costco has small packages of avacodo and humus..yum with their millet flax crackers.

Eggs hard boiled peeled in frig are a quick protein snack

Jello..yum with manderin oranges and cool whip 

Hope this was helpful!

Nancy Iannitelli

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How is everyone having such success getting groceries without going into the store?? 

I haven't been able to get a mask, so don't want to go into the stores, but have only been able to get a time slot for curbside pickup once since this started!! 

And ofcourse wasn't able to get many of the items on my list bc of shortages.

 

I continually try at three different stores and keep getting a 'no slots available at this time, check again later' message.

I have put off getting delivery bc of the fees, I'm on a fixed income, but I am running out of food.  I will look into the Shipt I read about on this board, thank you to those who mentioned it.

 

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Periodic Contributor

I am having the same problem. People sharing tips seem to have no problem finding groceries or placing online orders. In my area, like yours, the shelves are empty - the beans, eggs, and staples everybody here is mentioning are sold out. There are no slots available for pickup or delivery and if you look at the menu for ordering, most items have a note saying the store may not have them. We were used to eating beans and such before this happened and shopping once a week - now everybody wants beans and we can't find any. People give hints to stock up and freeze things - what if you don't have a large freezer? Assuming you can get the item.
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Most grocery stores are adding the next open slotted at midnight every night and are now waiving the curbside pickup fee and bag fee as well.  I  have set my alarm for midnight to do my weekly shopping order. It's a pain to have to do that but it's the only to insure your ability to horder. Grocery stores in my area in Oregon are currently running a full week behind in filling grocery orders. Also, I  found out by asking the people who work at the little, corner mom & pop stores that they have items that the regular grocery stores are  out of. Like toilet paper, napkins, milk, eggs, butter, bread etc. even hand sanitizer. It also helps to call a store before going there. A lot of stores have shortened their to have more to re-sanitize their stores before the next business day.

 

In regard to your not being able to purchase masks, you can wear a scarf placed over your mouth and nose and tie it at the back of your head so it fits snug. You can usually purchase bandannas at most stores  as well. The little mom and pop store up from my home is selling reusable, washable masks too. You just have to ask them. Also, you can get the pattern to make masks from material online or at a fabric store. They're easy enough to make by hand if you don't have a sewing machine. 

 

Hope this info help you.

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Periodic Contributor

67CAA743-30B7-46FA-8F4B-A21C37F8D9CB.jpeg

 

769E57EF-98F9-438D-BF35-420A5747C002.jpeg

I'm making n95 equivalent masks from hepa vacuum bags saw it on youtube

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Periodic Contributor

FYI: there are some new websites that show how to make your own masks very easily by simply folding fabric and using two rubber bands.  Here’s a good one:

https://m.facebook.com/berlinofficialband/videos/523495618531994/

Good luck!

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Regular Social Butterfly

Hello Rewards Warriors,

 

Why split the Community into (4) forums and Management isn't using the section they created for these post😒

 

Is AARP Rewards objective to create confusion for members with the ridiculous posting maneuvers and extra credit?

 

Have a Blessed & Safe Day

Marylin

 

Have

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