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Community Manager

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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Regular Contributor

I learned many years ago that "expiration dates" on many items are pure BS. Back in the late 70s and early 80s I was a forest firefighter. We were eating surplus rations from 1940s and 1950s and not a one of us had any problems. Most expiration dates are put on by the manufacturer so you rotate your stock and buy more of their product.

Contributor

There are two of us in our household. 1.We only shop every two weeks basically for 2% milk that only gives 2 weeks of use before the expiration date.

2. Watching T.V. late at night, causes later wake-up time. Eating two meals per day versus three.

3. Ration out food items: cook enough for 2 or 3 days at a time

4. Enjoy leftovers or add a salad or fruit bowl if not enough.

5. Our churches have virtual prayer time (daily); Bible Study, Sunday School and Sunday Service.

    Keeps us grounded in our faith and prevents boredom and depression

6. Completed our bulk/largest shopping about 3 weeks ago at Sam's and Walmart. Frozen veggies; divided up and froze bulk meat. 

 

Thanks for the opportunity to share. Stay blessed and safe.

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I store my fruits and vegetables in Tupperware containers specially designed to keep fruit and vegetables safe longer. I gave sets to my husband's family and they were surprised by how well they worked. My father-in-law found blueberries in one of the containers in the back of his fridge from a month ago and they were still fresh. My Husband did the shopping last time and apparently managed to stock up on enough food for almost three weeks using some of the canned soups we already had on hand with the fresh and frozen food he managed to pick up. Sadly, no toliet paper was in stock but we are surviving well with that too. Apparently, I don't go to the bathroom very often even though I try to stay hydrated. I am also using the AARP Exercises to try to stay (or possibly get) fit as I never really had time to work out before. I am saving 1.5 hours a day with not having to commute to work. As far as cooking though and trying out new recipes; it is hard enough right now finding food to eat let alone trying to look for anything particular. The shelves were empty three weeks ago, not sure how they will be when I or Kevin try to venture out in the next few days for more food. 

Contributor

I have limited my trips to the grocery store by preparing a list and buying enough meats and staples  for 2 weeks or more. If I need perishable items I shop at at a small store of a locally owned gas station or Kwik Trip (which I can walk to - bonus).

I also think it's important to keep our small locally owned resturants in business and order and pick up lunch at least once a week.

I enjoy searching online for new recipes to try and preparing a double to freeze or share with my children (who are working and appreciate the help).

Contributor

I am now planning my meals further out, with ingredients that can be used in several recipes. So I am at the store less.  I am trying a few new recipes a week and trying to use what's in my freezer before I make a purchase. I refuse to panic buy and only buy my normal things, in a normal amount but adding ingredients for new recipes. Of course staying safe and following all mandated rules. Stay safe and Smart. 

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as i said before, i will not live in fear. this social distancing won't stop me. my activities won't be curtailed. at this moment i wish to make a certain recipe requiring milk but don't have enough on hand so i will walk to the local grocery store (which i have 4 in walking distance) & purchase some but i will wear a mask as a precaution that i will concede to.

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Create your own Almond Milk. Soak the almonds, peel the skin, drain off the milk, add a little honey blend in blender and refrigerate.

 

make your own ice cream with frozen fruits and honey.

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It didn't take a pandemic to make me change, I changed about 5 years ago because I chose to.  My wife and I have been meal prepping and going to the grocery once a week before this all started.  One thing that we did change is we now are having our groceries delivered, but normally we like to choose our own produce.  I now eat a plant based diet and start my day with a plant based Meal Replacement Shake from a Health and Wellness Company I have been associated with for 5 years and they are ordered online.  In that 5 years I have become healthier and went from obesity to running marathons and even ultra marathons.  Just did a 50 mile run last week.  I'm 59 years old and change is possible even without a pandemic!

Contributor

I cleaned out my pantry and took all the foods that expire next year to store in the basement. The remaining ones-fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice and beans I combined with a frozen protein- fish, chicken and ground turkey to plan my meals. Then I made my grocery list with missing items like spices, sauces, oils and other items I needed to make complete meals for a month. Jean

Periodic Contributor

I always make a list of the items I need and I check the weekly circular to see the items that are on sale. I ususally go buy chicken or ground chicken once a month. Fruits and vegetables I buy weekly.

When the pandemic started I cooked my favorite foods: chicken cacciatore, chili, spaghetti, eggplant stew.

 

I bought a new cookbook and I made chicken picatta and sweet potato lasagna.

 

I have been wearing a mask on my face as suggested by the mayor and governor of New York and I have been practicing social distancing.  

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Since the weather is getting warmer, I have started planting my cool-weather crops in my garden beds.   This saves me money on groceries and keeps me from having to go to a store to purchase items I can grow.   Most cool-weather crops grow quickly so you do not have to wait long to enjoy them.  

I look online for ideas for cooking food items that we have which gives us a variety of meals instead of using the same recipes.  

Look for days and/or times when customers over 60 years of age can shop.  

I am actually enjoying staying at home more and getting things done that have been on my to-do list.

Contributor

We ordered two boxes from a Produce warehouse, one of organic veggies and the other of fruits, then planned our meals around what we were able to pick up.  We also used Instacart, but one coiuld use whatever is local, to get other ingredients, and then have cooked stuffede zuchini and peppers, an egg and vegetable torte, pasta using frozen shrimp from the freezer, lemon, and asparagus, with parmesan.  It's bene fun and healthy!

Periodic Contributor

We K.I.S.S. often and KEEP IT SIMPLE SURELY.  We get curbside pickup once a week from a local independent restaurant, ordering enough for a few meals. We shop Senior Hours at our grocery store and get enough for a few weeks, getting sale and store brands to save money.  When we cook, we co-cook, using simple recipes with herbs and spices for full flavor. 

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My husband has the habit of buying exotic ingredients every time he tries new recipes, whereas I'm inclined to make do w/ substitutions. As he's been doing most of the cooking lately, we have every kind of flour, seed, grain, spice, curry-paste, you-name-it, & cupboards bursting w/ little-used ingredients. In the be-careful-what-you-wish-for category, I've remarked in exasperation that I wouldn't mind if a natural disaster prevented us from leaving home for a couple weeks (hurricane, tornado, etc), forcing us to use up our bounty of foodstuffs. I know, stupid wish, even in jest. Coronovirus is not what I had in mind. But here we are. One of the upsides to this international tragedy is that in our humble home, we're FINALLY making use of buckwheat flour, garbanzo bean flour, almond flour (among others), jars of beans, lentils, quinoa, barley... We're slowly using up canned & frozen foods. We made soup w/ pumpkin puree that has probably been frozen since 2 Halloweens ago. We've gotten creative, tossing things into omelets and pasta dishes that would otherwise continue aging in cupboard & freezer. I haven't been to the store in 3 wks. We're on our last fresh tangerine, but still have frozen berries. We water down juice, make more tea, use patio herbs, & even dragged out the bread maker! When the shelf-stable nut "milks" run out, we have a box of expired powdered milk. After that, water. I'm determined not to grocery shop until the cupboards are bare. I feel that we could live on what we have for weeks to come. When it comes down to ketchup soup, we'll shop!

Periodic Contributor

Love your story and your humor!

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Spoiler
My husband and I have been working together since January 1st. We have each lost around 20 pounds. We cook healthy meals together as well as healthy treats. Neither one of us feels deprived. In fact, we feel better not having high sugar treats. For the most part, we don't miss them. We also have a fully stocked pantry in our basement that has helped us immensely when the pandemic began. We already had toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, canned foods, frozen foods, disinfectant wipes, and many of the necessities on hand. A lot of people thought we were crazy to have a fully stocked pantry. Now they know that it's not so crazy after all. We weren't preparing for an emergency of any type, we just purchase items when they are on sale to have them on hand.
Periodic Contributor

But of course that is how you would manage on a budget. Good thinking

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Buy items in bulk whenever possible.  When buying meat in large quantities it can be divided in meal size portions and put into freezer bags. ground Turkey or beef can be made into patties and popped into the oven or air dryer for a quick meal.

Contributor

We are trying to use what we have on hand during this time. We use the frozen foods along with our cnned foods. that was we can stay out of the stores and stay safe.

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I like these ideas from Eating Well. Includes shopping list. 

3-Ingredient Pantry Dinners for When You Can't Get to the Grocery Store

 

http://www.eatingwell.com/article/7677536/3-ingredient-pantry-dinners/

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How do I turn off the email feed from this board topic

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I Only go to grocery about every 3 weeks. I buy a gallon of milk and divide into plastic quart containers to freeze for later. I also keep powdered milk to use for cooking and baking. I make  my meat portions smaller to spread our over more meals. For instant cut back on some of the hamburger you put in a casserole to put on a pizza or add to some spaghetti. I cook roast carrots and potatoes for a meal then next day make beef stew out of the leftovers. The next day I'll add more vegetables and tomato juice to make vegetable soup. What's left will freeze for another day.

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As my days became consumed with delibration about what to prepare for meals in a way I had not thought about for years, looking on line for inspiration I suddenly sat back and remembered all the wonderful recepies I experienced as a child from my grandmothers. I recalled that most of them took way too much time to cook becase they did everything from "skratch" and I put them away for that very reason.  And many of them, were of course, made with less healthy ingredients, lard, bacon grease, lots of butter!  Having time now to pull out those old recepies has been a joy, not only because we loved them as a family but cooking them again gave me much pleasure and a great deal of nostaliga. I have found so much happiness adapting these recepies to our current diets and savoring every bite.  At each meal my husband and I recall times when these particular recepies were served and we laugh at family situations and silbilings who fought over grandma's gooseberry pie in an era gone by.  Being able to have the time to do this has been so rewarding.  It makes putting meals together a new adventure with an old twist.

Contributor

I always tend to purchase a bit in bulk when I catch things on sale that we normally eat, I don't buy just because it's on sale. So, my freezer and pantry was already pretty full before this all started.  I try and eat pretty healthy, so thankfully I had several bags of my protein powder on hand.  I have been doing the grocery pickup for items that need replensihing more and fresh vegetables.  I keep containers of spray santizers in my purse.  I take the wipes at the store (when I do go in for something), and clean the handles of the carts, and as soon as I leave the store, I spray my hands and my debit card, the steering wheel, and try and clean the items as I unpack them at home.  I've been eating my protein bars for breakfast, protein shake at lunch or something light.  I cook dinner and make enough that I can have leftovers or change it up for a different meal later in the week or for my lunch.  This has helped stretch my food pretty far.  I don't eat grains and breads so can't use those to stretch things. The other night I made spaghetti squash with meatsauce, I took my leftover meatsauce and added quite a bit of chili powder last night and had chili for dinner.  We can do this!!! I always try and shop my pantry and freezer before going to the store.  

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Even while staying more at home, there is only so much we can eat. Don't buy more fresh fruits and vegtables then you know you will use in a week. You may be tempted, or want, to buy for a longer period of time - but fresh items spoil whether you want them to or not. I try to think of a specific meal where I will use the purchase in the next week. If I don't have an answer, I dont buy it.

Regular Contributor

Luckily, we have done this for some time now. One day a week, usually on Sunday after church, we cook, cook and cook. Meat and vegetables are either baked in the oven or air fried. We then portion out the food, setting some out for the week and freezing the rest. 

When some vegetable goes on sale, we buy and cook up a few pounds of it with the food we will not eat within the next few dats into the freezer. Not only does it save money, but we can have great tasting produce year round.

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March 26 was my last trip to our neighborhood Walmart.

The dust had settled on some new prescriptions from my final doctor visit on the 18th.

While I was there to get my six prescriptions from the pharmacy, I took a little time to tear out two of the sanitation wipes near the carts, wipe down all the wires and handle of the cart, and leave the wipes on the handle to use instead of touching the handle as I pushed the cart through the store. I have never done that, before.

I bought a gallon milk, a hand of bananas, and one loaf of wheat bread from a local baker.

I got the gallon of milk because we were down to a half-gallon in the fridge. I got the bananas because we were out. I splurged to get the loaf of bread for comfort food, because that's the bread my grandpa always had on hand when I was a kid. I always enjoyed the toast and creamed honey at his house, so I had that one morning with some of the bread only with regular honey. The creamed honey is only whipped, anyway, and it tastes pretty much the same.

Since then, I have been eating mostly canned and frozen foods we've had on hand. We have a small but full pantry with bagged and canned goods and a freezer with everything from meats to frozen vegetables and fruits, including whole frozen peaches, which I like to use in milk shakes.

My daughter-in-law, who lives in our basement, did buy me two Red Baron pizzas at my request on her trip to the store this last Tuesday, since she was going to get some for herself, anyway. I would have gone without, otherwise.

I have no plan to go to the store on any particular day, now. I just know that, so far, I hope to get another gallon of milk and maybe some eggs the next time I go to the store. Any other items might be spur of the moment or planned by then. In any case, I will probably wipe down the parts of the cart I plan to use before I push it around.

Happy Good Friday!

Stay well and enjoy!

Contributor

I let the kids rotate and let them pick one main meat and then I add lots of fresh vegetables for dinner.  I wear a mask in the store and carry sanitary wipes to wipe the cart and my hands.  I try to let the kids get involved as much as possible.

Contributor

Eggs, eggs, eggs. Inexpensive and super nutritious. Fritatas are my go to. Great for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.

Regular Contributor

We make casserole dishes twice a week from the pantry. Great way to save trips to the grocery store. If there is beans, rice, noodles, cheese whiz,

salsa and can veggies you can decide what dish to make.

We loved making up different dishes.

Striving to stay healthy as well.

 

+Salmon is purchased in bulk-smoked on a grill- seasoned & doubled wrapped in foil. I freeze it.

At lunch or dinner just pop one in the toaster oven for 15-20 minutes=YUM yum mealtime 

Boddy C