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Gulf Today Report
During this COVID-19 outbreak, it is best if we all try to limit our trips to the grocery store. But if you continue eating healthy, what food options do you have considering you are unable to buy fresh produce for a couple of weeks?
If you are one of those people who had the habit of grocery shopping once a week, planning a shopping trip now may be daunting. But it can be done.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, social distancing has become commonplace. The challenge of getting all the food you need for an extended time also is compounded by the fact that many other people are trying to do the same, so supplies of certain items may be limited.
As you think about how to tackle your grocery shopping, take time to plan. Check your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Consider how you can use the items that you already have, so your shopping focuses on what you really need and will use. Confirm that you have staple items, such as flour and sugar.
When you make your grocery list, consider your new routines, your family and the meals you’ll eat. For example, if you have children home from school, you’ll need more supplies for lunches than usual. Peanut butter for sandwiches is a good staple that’s easy to store. Lunch foods such as bread, cheese and deli meat freeze well, so buy extra and freeze what you don’t need right away.
Other fresh foods can be frozen and used later, as well, without losing their nutritional benefits. For example, fresh berries, bananas and other fruits can be frozen then thawed and used in smoothies. Meats such as beef, chicken and fish will last for about four months in the freezer.
As an alternative to picking all fresh foods, buying frozen options from the store can be a good choice when you want to stretch what you have over time. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be a healthy part of your meal planning. Because these items typically are frozen at their peak of freshness and undergo minimal processing before they are packaged, they retain their nutritional value.
If fresh or frozen items are in limited supply in your store, try shelf-stable alternatives. Powdered milk, and canned fruits and vegetables, also serve as suitable alternatives that have the benefit of lasting longer over time.
Make sure to check the expiration dates on the items you buy to see how long they can be stored before use.
As you make decisions about what to buy for an extended period at home, be realistic about what you really need. Don’t panic and purchase too many items. Buy foods you commonly use and that you know your family will eat. And even if you have to buy brands or alternatives that are different than usual for you, stay focused on the foundations of a healthy diet: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.
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