Social distancing due to COVID-19 has made a big impact on all our lives. It’s all to easy to focus on the negative impacts but there are positives as well. Here’s five of the ways social distancing has made a positive impact on my grocery shopping.
Shopping kid-free for social distancing
If you’re lucky enough to have someone to watch your children, you’ve probably been shopping kid-free. That was my preference before, too, but now it’s easier to insist that they stay home with Daddy. Not only does it help with social distancing, it makes it easier to focus on getting what I need and getting out.
Fine-tuning weekly shopping
I used to try to make grocery shopping a weekly event, but I would always wind up making extra trips for things we need throughout the week. Now, though, I’m definitely more motivated to shop once a week at the most. Because of this, I’ve paid close attention to how quickly we use up staples and adjusted my shopping list accordingly.
Creating a realistic budget
Weekly shopping makes it easier to keep track of how much we spend on groceries. Knowing exactly what we spend in a week makes it easier to realistically plan how much of our budget needs to go towards groceries.
Since we haven’t eaten anything other than home cooked food since around the end of February, we have a clear picture of what it costs to eat every meal at home. Comparing the cost of one meal out to our current weekly expense makes it clear just how much eating at home saves.
Sticking to a list
Weekly shopping means having a thorough list. Forgetting something means going without or having to make a second trip. I’ve been much more thoughtful about planning for snacks and accurately gauging how long the staples we have on hand should last.
Needing an accurate list made me reorganize some of my kitchen storage. Knowing what I have is the first step to knowing what I need and what I need to use up.
Weekly shopping and eating at home for every meal has made me get more creative. I’ve always been more of a well-stocked pantry person than a detailed meal planner. While I don’t usually have a specific meal plan, I always have some general meal ideas when I head to the store. That flexibility, along with knowing what I have at home, works really well when I may have to make last minute substitutions at the grocery store due to shortages.
To keep us from getting totally bored with eating at home, I try to experiment with a new recipe at least once a week. I don’t wan’t to have to make a separate trip to find specialty ingredients, so I look for recipes that use mostly staple ingredients with maybe one or two new ingredients, like curry or miso paste that bigger grocery stores are likely to carry. That way, if they don’t have it, I can easily work with what I have.
Near the end of the week, I try to use up any leftovers, sometimes combining them with new ingredients to make something different.
What positives have you noticed with social distancing regulations? Please, share them in the comments.
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