Routines are being redefined — including the way we shop for our groceries. Here are a few things I have adjusted to make grocery shopping a bit easier during COVID-19 and a free PDF template to help you stay organized.
As a mother and founder of a small business, this time has redefined many aspects of my life as I am sure it has for you. One area that I have noticed a dramatic change is in my grocery shopping routine.
I will be the first to admit that I love going to the grocery store. But these past few weeks have challenged me to become more creative and resourceful than ever.
An important aspect I have had to keep in mind is my family’s dietary needs. We follow the autoimmune paleo diet for a lot of our dinners because it leaves us feeling the best. Now, whether you have strict dietary restrictions or not, these tips can be applied to help improve your grocery shopping experience.
What is the AIP Diet?
The autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet is a long term anti-inflammatory diet, which focuses on both food and lifestyle. Many people with autoimmune disorders or autoimmune conditions have found a relief in the AIP elimination diet.
If you have digestive problems, mild stomach issues, gut health issues or leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease, or rheumatoid arthritis I encourage you to look into the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet. For me, it dramatically reduces inflammation and the elimination phase gave me a clearer understanding as to what foods make me feel my best and what foods I should keep as my eliminated foods.
For more information on what the AIP diet is and some health coaching tips, check out this incredibly in depth overview from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom).
Changes to make
I love to browse at the grocery store, but these days my shopping habits look a bit different. I now go to the store once every 10 days or 2 weeks. I have done this by adding more variety in the types of products I buy, meal planning with the entire family, and making sure that I buy enough food to last us for the entire 2 weeks.
Step 1: Buy Variety
Be intentional about fresh produce
My family loves having fresh fruits and veggies to snack on during the day, but the tricky thing is that certain fruits and veggies just don't last very long before they go bad. This doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to fruits and veggies all together — you just have to be more intentional.
When buying fresh produce you have to make sure that it’s going to last until the next time you head to the store. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that will serve as a wholesome source of vitamins and won’t go bad before your next grocery trip.
Fresh fruits and veggies to pick up:
- Sweet potatoes
- Spaghetti squash
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
Shop Frozen and Canned Foods
The other major thing I changed about my shopping habits is that I began to buy more frozen and canned goods. Now don’t get me wrong, I love fresh produce but there is something really relieving about having some extra options in my cupboards right now.
One thing that may come to a surprise to many people is that canned and frozen foods are actually healthy choices. These options have a surprisingly high nutrient density because they are picked at their ripest point and then processed very quickly. Most fresh fruits and veggies are picked way before they are ripe in order to account for transportation, which makes them less nutrient-dense.
However, not all canned foods are created equal. Certain canned and frozen foods can be loaded with added salt, extra sugar, and harsh preservatives, so please make sure to read the ingredient label.
Frozen and canned foods to pick up:
- Organic vegetable mixes
- Organic fruit mixes
- Sliced beets
- Heart of palm
- Fermented vegetables
- Wild Planet’s organic roasted chicken breast (my kids loved this and didn’t even know that this was meat out of a can!)
Tip: You can also drain and rinse foods to lower their salt and sugar content.
Step 2: Be prepared
There is a difference between meal planning and meal prep (spoiler: you need both!). Meal planning is when you collect all of the possible recipes you’d like to make for the week. This is a really personal thing for our family and it has become necessary to have enough food for 2 whole weeks!
My tips for meal planning:
- Know what your family likes to eat
- Plan at least one meatless meal a week
- Look for seasonal recipes
- Plan your meals around foods that are on sale
- Check your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer
- Plan to use leftovers
- Make extra
- Check the weather
- Keep it simple
- Make a menu
Please feel free to use this Meal Planning PDF template to help you and your family stay organized!
Once you have taken stock, selected your recipes, and purchased your groceries it’s time to get ready for meal prepping. Meal prepping is essential to our family’s balance and looks different depending on which season of life we are in.
During quarantine, my family and I have slowed down a bit. We’ve been using this time to make our favorite recipes in large batches and then freezing them for when our schedules pick back up. Our most recent batch recipe was Autoimmunewellness’ AIP Carrot Sweet Potato Chili. Whether the tempo of life is slow or fast, it’s a relief to be able to have healthy options stored away.
Step 3: Buy Extra
This tip may seem obvious, but it is one that I think is often overlooked. Life doesn’t always go as planned. Whether the dish doesn’t sound as good, the weather did a full 180 on you, or maybe you missed an item on your list — it’s nice to have backups.
Go ahead and make sure to purchase a few additional options and properly store them for when this moment arrives. The important thing here is to make sure that you have shelf-stable options that are a healthy choice for you and your family.
These past few weeks have been a lot to take in. My two teenage kids are now home full-time. My work schedule and home schedule are morphing into one. My grocery trips have been dramatically cut back.
But this also means… More time to spend with my kids before they start lives of their own. More time to perfect new recipe ideas. More time at home with my family and not out running errands.
My hope for you is that you use this time to empower yourself with food. Skip the over-processed foods and instead add in more nutrient-dense foods like bone broths, organ meats, and fermented foods to help strengthen your mind, body, and soul for the good and bad times.
Happy grocery shopping,
-Zora Tabin (Founder, Mom & Healthy Snack Enthusiast)
P.S. If you are looking for additional snacking options to keep in your cupboard try out our Meat and Veggie Bars. These tasty treats are gluten-, soy-, and grain-free.