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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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I make big pot recipes so we have lots of leftovers. Potato chowder, chicken & rice, beef stew, chili, crock pot meals etc. help make the meal planning much easier. 

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Periodic Contributor

I shop at Aldi's. Smaller store, easy to maneuver, fast in and out, good food and products. 

Contributor

The only thing I'm doing differently is ordering online and picking up my groceries at Walmart.

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Newbie

Im not married......but ehen I cook, I eat all leftovers until their gone. I eat only three meals a day. I try not to buy or eat junk foods. I eat things that will get me full like beans and potatoe dishes. I drink lots of water and it gets me full. I try to get exercise in home which takes up most of morning and I visit my mom who has Dimentia 3 to 4 days a week. I also make meals and dishes w Rame. noodles which is very cheap....and i get leftover foods from my daughter who does not eat leftovers. 

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I take advantage of the 'senior' hours most grocery stores have set up. I don't mind shopping first thing in the morning and I haven't run into any crowds or lines. So far so good.

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Periodic Contributor

You're lucky that you don't have lines. Where I live there are lines even for the senior hours. Of the senior hours start at 7:00am, people start to line up at least 6:30 am (if not earlier). I end up going to the store toward the end of the day just because the lines are shorter then (or go to a smaller store that doesn't usually have the long lines). Sometimes the store doesn't have all the stock in the later afternoon but I make do with what they have. 

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Periodic Contributor

Me too!  It’s great because the store is almost empty.  The one thing I’m annoyed at is that my ShopRite where I usually do all my shopping doesn’t have senior hours,  I called and complained to the manager, but he said he’s been trying to convince the owner to start that.  Apparently, ShopRites are privately owned, so it’s up to each owner.  Many of the ShopRites have senior hours, but mine doesn't.😖. So I’ve been shopping at my local Acme, which has done an awesome job.  They have senior hours, one-way aisles, some (not all) staff wearing gloves and masks, and reminders to customers over the loudspeakers about social distancing.  They’re taking it very seriously.  And there’s someone at the self-checkout to help speed you along. Excellent!

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Couple of years ago I bought an Instant Pot but I wasn't using it much, or not at all. Some days ago I checked online and found several easy recipes. Wrote down the needed ingredients and bought them. Since then I have been enjoying using my Instant Pot and eating healthy and delicious food. Sometimes what we need is a little bit of time for planning. 

Newbie

Use your crockpot or slow cooker a couple of times a week to make a quantity of food that you can freeze some of for those busy days when you have less time to prepare a nouishing meal.

Also if you lucky enough to still be working, buy youreslf a widemouth hot thermos that you can use to take warm food to work and save on the expense of take-out food. 

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We are four people, used to online shopping befor, but we start to bake bread and make yogurt in our kitchen, also we cook one time a day and have leftovers for second meal.

Contributor

A local cafe/restaurant recently switched to selling groceries to its customers.  It is a win-win as they are able to keep ordering from the vendors from whom they buy, and customers can prevent going to the grocery store as often.   This cafe now has an open window through which they slide orders down a 6-foot table to customers.  Customers order online and pay online.  Our order yesterday including fruit, veggies, and such additional items as bags of gnocchi.  We greatly appreciate not having to spend as much time in the grocery store.   Apparently, other eateries are now selling groceries so it pays to investigate your local options.  Incidentally, our local eatery that has done this--Tucker Silk Mill in Easton PA--is featured in this article from CNN:  https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/08/business/restaurants-grocery-stores-coronavirus

Regular Contributor

pop up free food pantries have been created in my community.  It may be limiting but it is free.  I found one that has minimal wait lime and lines so I am in and out in 10 minutes or less.  Fresh produce, some staples, and a hot meal have been offered.  Site employs social distancing and food is put in your bags by volunteers (wearing gloves and masks).  some sites have extreme lines so I avoid those.  As far as grocery shopping, I try to go during "senior" hour.  I went to Safeway and there was a long line but I went to the front of the line and asked where the senior line was and I was ushered into the store immediately.  There were lines in the store but as least the wait time to get in was nothing.  Costco has long lines but they seem to move decently.  Otherwise I am using everything I have in the house and finding ways to combine certain foods that one would not have expected.  I have a kale growing in the yard (bonus aphids for extra protein!) and if situation continues, I have started growing other edibles.  Neighbors leave food on porches so we all share.  

Periodic Contributor

Love your aphids quip! 🤣

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We are social distancing to the max and have not been to a grocery store for several weeks.  In early March,  we added to our always well stocked food supply and have been eating home cooking from our stock since. I find it a good time to be creative and use things we've had in the pantry and freezer for a long time. My tip regarding fresh fruits and vegetables: When shopping, buy an assortment of produce including types with long refrigeration lives such as apples, oranges, yams, potatoes, onions, beets, cabbage, carrots. Use first the produce with shorter storage lives such as the berries, bananas, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. Don't allow anything to spoil and go to waste. Before that happens, freeze the produce for later use. Some kinds can be frozen from fresh while others require a parboiling first. Consider turning veggies into a tasty vegetable soup (or other type) or a soup base and freeze the soup for later use. I like to smash my over-ripe bananas to flatten them prior to freezing so that I can easily snap off a frozen chunk to add to smoothies or banana pancakes or bread. Likewise, freeze berries and other fruits for later use. Remember that the freezer is your friend. I cook most things in large batches for just the two of us, thus preparing several meals in the time it otherwise would take to make just one. Freeze leftovers in meal size packages for easy meal prep at a later time. Best wishes to all, and, as they say, "We will get through this together."

Periodic Contributor

Thanks for recommending freezing soup. I regularly make broth using the remains of a rotisserie chicken (everything but the meat!), as I am watching sodium and canned soups are LOADED with sodium. Can't possibly use all of it before it goes bad, so I freeze it. I used to freeze in cup size in baggies, but now I freeze it in ice cube trays (popping out and putting in zip lock bags after freezing). THAT way, if I need a tablespoon for a recipe or just a mug of soup, I can choose one or more ice cubes to fit! Works with sauces and herbs (the latter frozen in water or oil). I even chop fresh pineapple (when a pineapple is on sale for a buck!) finely and put THAT in ice cube trays - great for tossing in a smoothie. Whoever gave me the ice cube tray idea - I am eternally grateful! Makes using the leftovers so much more adaptable to various amounts needed.

I second the idea of being creative right now. It makes for better use of what you have (less waste) AND it can relieve the inevitable "cabin fever" that we're all going to have to endure for a while.

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Periodic Contributor

I am "shopping" from my freezer and cupboards! It is surprising how many meals I am able to fix from the food staples that I have at home.  At times I have to be inventive with food substitutes, the meals are fun and tasty.  I still need to get fresh products every other week. 

Cook more at home, go to the store early when it's less people outside or out to buy and staying at a distance from the others. 

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Periodic Contributor

One thing to be very conscious at all times is the hand-washing, and washing or desinfecting all groceries purchased. Hand-washing shall take at least 20 seconds, thoroughly up to your wrists. Washing of all fruits and vegetables that were on display is important.  All packaged groceries or products shall be desinfected.


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Periodic Contributor

Cooking is an excellent opportunity for having quality family time.  We do not need to be experts cooks.  With the "zillions" of recipes in Internet, you would be able to cook awesome foods, with the products you like the most.  Have fun!!!

 

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Go outside early when it's less likely to be more people outside. 

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I have been taking advantage of stores that offer order pick up. It is not the best solution when produce is involved, I've experienced bad selections from store employees for produce. Most stores are implementing their own procedures for safety. A grocery store I normally dont shop at has become my only store I will shop at now. 

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 I served on submarines so I remember going many weeks without fresh food. We are well stocked with pantry staples and using delivery only as needed since it is much more expensive.

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Periodic Contributor

I have always had plenty of canned/packaged/frozen ingredients on hand, plus lots of spices. That way, I can always fix something for dinner without having to make a trip to the store. (When I was in the Air Force, I was often in very remote places, without quick access to stores!) Even more important now (I am 65, a cancer survivor, and had bacterial pneumonia 6 years ago, so I am high risk!), so as to limit going out. Milk is what drove me out today, after two weeks at home. I DO have a package of nonfat dry milk on standby - can use that for coffee creamer or in recipes and save the fresh milk for cereal and occasional glass to drink.

I've always tried to play with recipes and making up my own concoctions, as actively cooking and trying new recipes keeps me eatingly "healthy" longer. Boredom with "same old, same old" makes me susceptible to going for fast food! Trying to stay home as long as possible at this time has made me get creative with the ingredients I have. For instance, I have a great "Mu Shu Turkey" recipe, but didn't have turkey (at least not thawed!) or mushrooms or fresh garlic and ginger. What I DID have was half a bag of tri-color cole slaw mix that needed using! SO, improvised the recipe to make a side dish of the recipe and used ground ginger and garlic powder and added some chopped red onion to the scallions called for in the recipe. Not perfect, but still quite tasty!

So, play with what you have on hand. I personally like "dump" recipes - stir fry onions and other fresh/canned/frozen veggies, then dump in a can of beans, a can of tomatoes or tomato sauce, a splash of barbecue sauce, any spices that you like. In other words, toss together ingredients you have and see what you can come up with! Some of my favorite dishes emerged from this process. AND it's kind of fun to try to be creative.

Finally, I plan to do some take-out (now that so many places have contactless pickup!), so as to support the restaurants that are suffering.

Contributor

With the staying in and only shopping as little as possible because of the crowds of hoarders I figured it was time to get creative. Started by digging deep into the cupboards and pantry. Those bags of beans, peas, and canned tomato's we put up last year are getting some new recipes. We even have MI corn we blanched. We will clean up as much as we can, because we have lots of time. Why not make some new dishes. When we get low we will find a time and store not too crowded so we do not have to wait in line. Mask, gloves, and disinfectant wipes will be an important part of our shopping. Some old time down home cooking is on the agenda.

Contributor

Since we are heading towards the peak of this Coronavirus Epidemic, I will not walk into anymore markets whether it is Ralph's or a local Mom and Pop. Before deciding this, I shopped for two weeks. Bought a lot of items I could freeze such as salmon, hotdogs and more. 

I bought fresh vegetables to last a week. 
Once we started to run low or out of parishables I ordered online for curbside pick up. Right now most markets are not charging for this service. 

So as far as cooking, I am cooking fresh, no take out. I also subscribed in the beginning to HelloFresh in which they send the ingredients and you make the meal. I did this being afraid I wouldn't be able to get food at the market. Now since that is not the case, I cancelled the service because you can buy the same ingredients for far more less at the market. With that, I wish everyone to keep distancing yourselves from everyone and stay healthy. Take walks and enjoy the fresh air, wearing a mask of course. Catch up on Netflix such as Tiger King, Unorthodox and Ozark. And don't forget to eat lots and lots of Matzoh. 🍴🍷

Periodic Contributor

I live in Milwaukee county where we have 2000 corona cases confirmed. I'm on the edge of the county.  In nearby ozaukee county there are about 50 confirmed cases of corona. So I go to the Walmart in Saukville instead of one near my home to try to be in a grocery store that is less likely to have as many infected people.

Periodic Contributor

First I shop where I find it not crowded. No standing in line around the block as they are now at Cosco and Kroger. I find the small corner fruit market better, no waiting, fresh produce and fruit. The local bigger fruit and produce market also caries meats and bread, canned goods, pasta, cooked foods and meals, etc. Alittle costiler but worth it to avoid the crowds and hoarders. I also have been using dried beans rather than canned, (cheaper) plus with all this free time, what have I got to lose. Have also been using the grill a lot more, as the weather is getting better. Why not, vegies are great grilled, and with different spices make for a change. And of course, be safe, observe 6 foot rule, wear a mask, gloves, and use a sanitizer wipe on carts, packaged foods and your gloves after shopping.

Periodic Contributor

I do the same thing - I refuse to wait an hour on line.  That defeats the purpose of going out.  For large orders I recently used Costco delivery (Instacart) and when I need something fast I go to the smaller stores where there is either no line or the wait is no more than about 5-10 minutes.  I understand the reason for the lines but I just don't get it.

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Thanks

Social Butterfly

@s916861m 

@VirginiaS66146 

 

Hello there

Virginia... & s916...

I read all this threads posts and noticed no one replied to your request for help in stopping emails from this thread of 100+ posts meaning your getting lots of emails

 

Here's how to stop them: 

 

FYI anytime you post on any thread in AARP Community IF you DON'T UNCHECK the BOX below comment box (Email me when someone replies)  you will be subscribed to the thread- which means you'll get emails from that thread until there are no longer comments made - I've gotten emails from posts from years ago when someone new reads old posts. 

Suggestion:  If your interested in Thread you may wish to get emails for bit (leave default check in box) then you can always do what tell you below to stop them 

[ See Screenshot below] 

 

Since you MUST UNCHECK box BEFORE you hit post your comment You'll now have to go to this thread from link in email about this or go back to community thread from AARP site- clicking link in email easiest will take to you to my post in thread

You'll need to go to top of comments & click on dots on side of Title & choose UNSUBSCRIBE in drop down menu

That will stop all emails

Hope this helps

Everyone stay safe and have a beautiful blessed "Stay at Home" weekend

Ginger  ;  )Default Box for emailsDefault Box for emails

 

 

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