Grocery shopping may be something you used to take for granted. But it’s a little more complicated these days. To minimize shopping time, it’s important to get what you’ll need in as few trips as possible. And to maximize nutrition, it’s crucial to choose healthy foods that you’ll actually eat.
The best way to achieve both objectives is by creating a well-thought-out shopping list. In addition to some fresh foods, include foods with a long shelf life. Panic buying and hoarding aren’t necessary. But having a several-day supply on hand may provide some peace of mind.
Making Smart Food Choices
First, focus on choosing nutrient-rich foods. A healthy, balanced diet provides several nutrients that may help support your immune system when eaten on a regular basis. For example:
- Protein plays a role in the immune system’s healing and recovery processes. Sources include fish, poultry, beans, and nuts.
- Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system. Sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and apricots.
- Zinc helps the immune system function normally. Sources include fish, poultry, beans, and whole grains.
Creating Your Shopping List
Next, make sure to include some long-lasting staples on your list. Here are a few suggestions. (Look for brands with low salt.)
- Canned tuna, salmon, and sardines
- Canned chicken
- Peanut butter
- Dried beans, peas, and lentils
- Brown rice
- Whole-grain cereal
- Whole-grain pasta
- Jars of pasta sauce
- Cans or shelf-stable cartons of soup and broth
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Dried fruit
- Ultra-pasteurized shelf-stable milk
Looking for some easy recipes using common ingredients found in your pantry? Check out Pantry-Ready Recipes for Tomato Rice and Oatmeal Applesauce Bread at the bottom of the article
One last tip: Some supermarkets now have designated shopping times for older adults. Others have shortened store hours. Call ahead to check on any changes.
Getting Groceries Without Leaving Home
To avoid going out, consider ordering your groceries online from:
- Your supermarket’s website, and asking a relative, friend, or neighbor to pick them up
- Your supermarket’s website, and requesting delivery to your home
- A home delivery company, such as Amazon Fresh or Instacart
Many companies delivering groceries are now taking additional precautions. For example, they may provide contactless delivery, leaving your groceries by your door rather than handing them to you directly.
Inquire about delivery fees. Also, be aware that some items may be out of stock and deliveries may be delayed. Don’t wait until the last minute to order.
What if you’re running low on food and the supermarket shelves are temporarily bare? Here are a few resources that can help:
- Call 2-1-1
- NY Office of the Aging: 1-844-697-6321
- Excellus BCBS Member Care Management: 1-800-860-2619 (TTY 1-800-662-1220) weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.