A list of food items you should buy and a list of places you can shop
It would be great if you could stock up on groceries. It could help you limit your trips to the grocery store and help protect you and your family. At the same time though, you have other bills to pay and you need to stay within your budget. It does not help that grocery store shelves are practically empty. Today, I have created a guide to help you find the best items to stock up on.
Should I stock up on food?
Stock up on groceries if you can. You do not need to hoard a month’s worth of supplies in your house. You definitely do not need to hoard months’ worth of toilet paper. Most grocery stores and carry-out restaurants are still open in locations that are under a stay-at-home order. There is no reason to panic when it comes to grocery supplies. However, if you do get sick, you should stay home. This includes avoiding the grocery store. Stocking up on 2-3 weeks’ worth of food is a happy medium. It allows you to stock up on food in case you do end up getting stuck at home.
Buying non-perishable food is a short-term expense. You might find yourself spending over $100 at once. The good news though, is that non-perishable items last. At some point, life will start returning to normal. If you still have some of these groceries, you can save a lot of money on future trips
We realize that stocking up on food may not be possible for everyone. If you find yourself in a situation where you get stuck at home without food, check online to see if there are local volunteer programs that can help bring your groceries directly to your home. You can also reach out to friends and family that may be able to help. We have more information at the end of this other blog.
What non-perishable foods should I buy?
Canned goods and frozen meat. Too many people are only buying pasta and sauce. Theoretically you could live off pasta for weeks, but we would not recommend it. You will need fruit, vegetables, and protein as well.
Fruits and vegetables:
Buy canned fruit. Stock up on canned sliced pears, apricot halves, mandarin oranges, sliced mango, cinnamon apples, and anything else your family will eat. You can also buy apple sauce. These items likely contain more sugar than fresh fruit. They are still better than having no fruit at all. You can also buy frozen fruit. Frozen fruit tends to be healthier than canned items, but is usually more expensive.
Buy canned vegetables. Stock up on canned artichoke hearts, carrots, green beans, asparagus, and anything else your family will eat. If you have a picky eater, try preparing vegetables differently. No one wants to eat cold asparagus. Try sautéing them with a little bit of butter and salt. You could also try cooking them in the oven. Oven roasted asparagus with a little bit of salt are always a hit at my dinner table. Frozen vegetables are another option, but they tend to be more expensive.
Of course, we all know that pork, steak, chicken, and fish are all proteins. They are meat, which makes them all high in protein. Contrary to popular belief, you can refreeze thawed uncooked meet. There are just certain rules you should follow. Read this before freezing meat. Stock up on the meats that are affordable for your location. It might be beef, chicken, or fish, depending on where you live. Do not forget about canned meats like spam or tuna. Consider spam and eggs for breakfast, or tuna, mayonnaise, and crackers for lunch.
Protein can be found in other food besides just meat. Milk, beans, nuts, and seeds are also rich in protein. Milk can be frozen and preserved. If you find that you are running out of room in your freezer though, you can also purchase items like almond milk instead. Almond milk usually has a much longer expiration date. Once it is opened, it should be consumed in about 2 weeks. Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the side of the cart. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches are always a great option, especially for young kids. You can also stock up on black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, or even chickpeas. If you own a food processor and are bored at home, you can even use canned chickpeas to make hummus.
This is the easy portion. It is okay to buy pasta, but consider stocking up on different types of pasta so you do not go mad. Buy rice, crackers, cereal, and pancake mix that only requires water. Cereal aisles are one of the aisles that have continued to be well stocked. There is nothing wrong with having cereal for breakfast or dinner. If sandwiches are a must, you can also buy and freeze store-bought bread! Do not forget about snacks! Skip the large bags of candy. Instead, stock up on ice cream, chips, and crackers. You could even buy chocolate chips if you know you will need chocolate.
If you are not on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), then try to avoid foods that have a “WIC” symbol next to the price tag. People can only use WIC to buy WIC items. If the store runs out, they might just have to go home without food.
The store is sold out. Where else should I shop?
You can try your local big-brand grocery stores first. Check out your local Walmart, Kroger, or Aldi store first. It might be a little better to try shopping at stores just outside of town. If those stores are out of items you need, you still have other options.
Shop at your local international supermarket. Is there a local Asian or Hispanic market in your area? These supermarkets carry some of the brands you are used to seeing at your regular big-brand stores. They may also have new products you have never heard of. There is nothing wrong with trying something new. Shopping at a local Asian or Hispanic market is a great way to get the sold-out items you cannot find anywhere else. It also lets you help support a local business!
Check out your local dollar store as well. They have groceries too! You might find affordable canned items, frozen fruits and vegetables, condiments, and snacks. They are likely to carry other items as well. You might find great deals on milk, ice cream, and frozen meals.
Have you had any luck finding groceries? Comment below where you shopped and what you bought.
There is a lot going on right now, and many families are finding this to be a stressful time. Grocery shopping should not be stressful too. We hope this guide helped you feel more comfortable about grocery shopping right now. Perhaps you learned more about storing perishable and non-perishable food items. Maybe you found a few alternative places to shop. Stay safe. Stay positive. We will get through this together!