As this posts we are on day 24….. TWENTY FOUR of social distancing, and basically cutting out any sort of non essential time out of our home. I am marking March 16th as our official start date to this, because that was the kids first school day that was cancelled. So what does that mean for our family? We are taking every precaution we can to not only protect ourselves from this virus, but also protect those around us. We only leave when ABSOLUTELY necessary. Sometimes for my husband or I that is for work, we get out to exercise and get fresh air, and I take one day per week to grocery shop. Today I am going to discuss what meal planning and grocery shopping looks like for me.
I have always been a meal planner so that isn’t much different for me. What is different is planning for breakfast, lunch and dinner each and every day. Also a new reality is not being exactly sure what will be in stock at the store. So to start I make my “rough draft” plan on notebook paper. Pretty much every week I have had to adapt on the spot in the store when items are not stocked.
There are a select few items that if I see them in store, even if not on my list I grab it. Staples. Things I know we can use.
For now I am grocery shopping once a week to keep our supply up, that way if one of us does get ill, or lockdowns become more strict we will be prepared. I know for some delivery is an option, but for us it isn’t a good solution. Time slots are very hard to come by, so much is out of stock, and I would rather someone who really needs delivery is able to get it over me, who is capable of heading out to the store.
Once my meal plan is made, usually containing simple, easy meals… I move on to my grocery list. When meal planning I don’t take too much into account what we have on hand. Most fresh food we have gone through in the week, and any left from the previous shopping trip is shelf stable and can be added to our stock of items in case we cannot head out to shop.
For years I have made my grocery list in the order of the store, but now is no different. It helps me keep focus. There are so many distractions currently at the stores…. and I find myself getting overwhelmed a lot. Having a list in store order is helpful. I slowly maneuver through the isles. Taking my time to see if any items in stock are those I have had trouble finding during previous trips. I keep my phone in my purse. I wear gloves. I sanitize the cart. I also have my card payment in my pocket so I don’t have to touch my purse/wallet trying to make payment.
As far as what stores I am going to. I have stuck with Target and Giant. Giant has had the best stock on things, and I like Target because I can also grab household items there as well (currently. I could see them roping off and only allowing grocery at some point). I have also done BJ’s in the past weeks, but I don’t think anything on my list in the coming weeks will make it so I need to add an additional store.
When home, I reevaluate my list. What items I wasn’t able to find and if that changes my plan for the week. If it does I make changes. I then add my final meal plan to my planner.
A few tips that have helped me along the way navigating this new system….