New Englanders are hardy people; after dashing out for bread and milk, we’re ready to ride out any winter storm. However, grocery shopping during a pandemic is a lot more challenging. You want to minimize your trips to the grocery store, but have plenty of food to make nutritious balanced meals. So what should be on your shopping list?
First, make sure to get plenty of vegetables. Fresh vegetables may be in short supply, but asparagus has been plentiful lately. Don’t forget onions, carrots, and celery to use as a base for soups. Potatoes and winter squash have a longer shelf life, so these are also good choices. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh, if there are any available. Last but not least, don’t forget some cans! Canned tomatoes can be used in a variety of recipes, and if you do buy other canned vegetables, you can rinse them to remove some of the sodium.
Next, you’ll want to get some fruit. Fresh fruit may also be in short supply, but frozen fruit with no added sugar is a good option. You can also look for unsweetened applesauce, canned fruit packed in juice, and dried fruit such as raisins which have a longer shelf life.
Beef and chicken have been in short supply, but eggs, cottage cheese, and yogurt are all good sources of animal protein. You may also find chicken and tuna in cans. Beans are a great source of plant based protein, and you can buy them either dried or canned. Nuts and nut butters are a source of protein and healthy fat. You’ll also want to make sure you have a heart healthy oil on hand such as olive or canola.
Finally, look for whole grains including oats, barley, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta. If the bread shelf is empty, you might pick up some flour and try to bake your own. And don’t forget popcorn which is a whole grain and makes an excellent snack!
Remember to use good hand hygiene and follow standard food safety practices including cooking food to the appropriate temperature and refrigerating leftovers promptly. For more information on food safety, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Written by: Kerry Coughlin, Sodexo Registered Dietitian