Tips on getting groceries during lockdown

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The country is in a nationwide lockdown, and many are limiting their trips to the grocery or departmental store. Here is how to make essential shopping safe while you are quarantined.

We can't stress enough please don't hoard; do make sure to shop for enough essentials in one planned trip to the store, so you don't have to make multiple trips or even daily trips.

Keep a well-stocked pantry

Planning out a menu for a week or two in advance can be helpful, but if you don't have time to plan meals, a well-stocked pantry can relieve some of the pressure when it comes to making a meal. Keep the following handy for quick, easy-to-fix dishes.

Shelf-stable products: Dried or canned beans, peas and lentils (such as black, garbanzo, kidney, white and pinto beans; green, yellow or split peas and lentils), canned vegetables with no added salt (such as tomatoes, green beans and corn), dried or canned fruit in 100 percent fruit juice, whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet and whole-wheat pasta), pouches or cans of fish and chicken, nuts, seeds, and nut butters, oils, dried herbs and spices and frozen foods.

Vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and Brussels sprouts), fruit (such as berries and cherries), and whole wheat pizza dough can also be stored for some time.

When thinking about what to make at home, consider foods that also freeze well. Casseroles, soups, muffins and breads are easy to portion out and store in the freezer in individual containers. These foods can be frozen for at least a few weeks without significant loss to quality.

Plan meals based on the foods you already have

Looking for healthful ways to reduce your trips to the store? Get creative with what you have on hand.

Check the refrigerator, freezer and pantry for foods that need to be used up. Leftover meats and veggies can easily be transformed into meals by cutting them up and adding to soups, salads or sandwiches.

Use them as toppings for salads or cooked grains like rice or pasta, or filling for a tortilla or stuffed into a pita for a satisfying sandwich. They can also make for ingredients to make soup with.

Leftovers should be used within three to four days and reheated well.

Freeze leftovers or perishables you know you won't eat before they spoil and be mindful of portion sizes.

Choose smaller portions to stay within your calorie needs. Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses to help keep portions under control. Being mindful of portion sizes can also help food last longer.

When you have to go to the store

To help you reduce the amount of time you spend at the store, create a plan before you go. Deciding on meals and snacks before you shop can save both time and money. Review recipes and make a grocery list of what ingredients are needed, then check to see what foods you already have on hand and make a list for what you still need to buy.

Organise your list according to the section of the store these items are located in. This will prevent you from having to run from one end of the store to the other.

Try to buy perishable items, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and frozen foods, toward the end of your shopping trip to reduce the amount of time they spend at room temperature.

Many stores offer disinfectant wipes to clean your hands and wipe down cart and basket handles before shopping, or you can use your own personal hand sanitizer. And remember to wash your hands when you return from your grocery trip.

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