Covid-19, Food

How to Get the Most from Your Next Grocery Shopping Trip

If your budget is tight and you’re under quarantine at the moment, you’ve probably noticed another problem: hectic supermarkets with increasingly empty shelves.

Yup, coronavirus has changed the way we live momentarily, and for many of us, this means we need to rethink the way we shop for groceries.

Because the supermarket remains a place where we can potentially catch the virus, we’re limiting the number of trips we take. This means it’s really important that we a) look after our budget and b) stock up on foods that will last a long time.

In this article, I’m going to take a look at how to get more out of your next grocery shop.

Choose shelf-stable foods

Rice

Half a cup of rice costs very little and it can go so far. Indeed, rice is often the best base for so many meals. Plus, rice can last for years if you stick it in the pantry.

If possible, go for brown rice as it’s more nutritious.

It’s no wonder viral videos have been doing the rounds of people filling their supermarket trolleys with the stuff.

Lentils

Don’t like lentils (I’m looking at you, housemate)? Bruh. You’re missing out!

If, on the other hand, you’re not like my housemate, make sure to stock up on lentils. You can add them to curries, soups, and even salads; they don’t need to be soaked, and they last ages.

Beans

Beans are stuffed with fiber and protein and — pound for pound — cost so much less than meat.

Not just that, but they go so far and can be added to a variety of dishes. Here are some recipe ideas involving beans.

Oats

Oats are a veritable bargain, and I highly recommend you get yourself a few bags. Oats — steel-cut or rolled — last a very long time and contribute to a hearty quarantine breakfast.

Also, you can use oats to make some yummy bread.

Pasta

I’ve personally been involved in my own real-life horror movie recently: Yep, I went to the store and there was NO PASTA LEFT.

It was just awful, but I got through it.

Fortunately, there are many small businesses and food apps that are selling pasta. If you can, get yourself a few bags because pasta goes a looooong way, and you can whip up loads of amazing dishes with it.

And you don’t need to spend a fortune on pasta sauces by the way. Instead, you can create your own pasta sauces using the ingredients you’ve already got in.

Here are some other pantry essentials you should stock up on:

  • Flour (all-purpose, whole-wheat, oat)
  • Quinoa (can be added to your breakfast oats for extra protein)
  • Dry chickpeas (healthier and cheaper than canned!)
  • Couscous
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews are great for fiber and energy)
  • Dry fruit (prunes, apricots, and cranberries, etc.)
  • Coconut flakes (add them to your morning oats!)
  • Granola of your choosing

Buy root vegetables

Got a garden? Now might be the time to start growing your own veg!

As long as you’ve got good soil and a good amount of space, all you then need is water and sunlight and you’re on your way.

Root crops include beets, potatoes, carrots, turnips and onions, and can be bought locally.

The best thing is that you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment and pride when your babies start sprouting. Plus, it means fewer trips to the busy supermarkets. Smart.

Turn old vegetables into stock

The last thing any of us wants to do right now is creating food waste. As such, it’s a really good idea to turn your old vegetables into stock that can later be used for soups, casseroles, and so on.

Actually, we wrote a guide to upcycling leftovers: it also allows you to get your creative groove on and it’s a perfect solution for food waste.

Use spices to spice up your quarantine life (sorry not sorry)

As well as all the above, you’ll want to add some fizz to your dishes during quarantine. Make sure to grab as many of these spices as your budget allows:

  • Pepper (black and red)
  • Chilli (powder or flakes will do)
  • Curry
  • Garlic powder
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Bay leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger powder

All of these spices can be added to a variety of dishes to give them more flavor and kick.

Support local small businesses

Can’t get to the supermarket at all because it’s just too busy and sets your stress levels a-rising?

No worries. Why not support small/local businesses instead?

Since being put in quarantine by my government, I — like you — have found it really difficult to get what I want from the supermarket. So I decided to look online for food delivery services/apps that are selling good quality, organic produce.

Yes, you’ll probably find that shopping this way is a tad more expensive, but it means you’re supporting smaller businesses and you’re staying away from the crowded supermarkets.

Pro tip: NatureHub features a map of small, local businesses you can possibly order from. For more details, make sure to contact them by phone or Facebook.

Be considerate when you go shopping

Lastly, it’s a difficult time for us all right now, so when we do brave the apocalypse at the local supermarket, let’s be kind and considerate to each other. This means maintaining social distancing and not buying literally everything in sight.

Remember, there’s enough food to go around for everyone. But if we all stockpiled absolutely everything, some — especially health workers who are working round the clock at the moment — will miss out.

And before I go, here is a bunch of articles to help you eat healthier and learn to plan meals so that your food lasts longer.


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About Will Titterington

Will is a writer who's always looking for ways to live more sustainably. He’d probably like to build his own house one day but one step at a time — he’s only just learned how to change a lightbulb.