For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every part of our lives, especially how we shop for groceries. Even our grocery stores look different: some have long lines outside, bare shelves, shoppers and staff wearing masks and gloves, and sneeze guards at the register.
Understandably, you may be dreading your next shopping trip and worried about how safe your groceries are. These ten tips will help you protect your health, as well as the health of those in your community.
1. Don’t Hoard
Don’t worry, there won’t be a food shortage.Stock your kitchen with non-perishable dry staples (rice, beans, peanut butter, canned goods) in addition to fresh and healthy fare. Many families and vulnerable seniors may not be able to get out to the markets or afford to buy two weeks of groceries at once, so be respectful and only get what you need for the immediate future.
2. Go to the Market When It Will Be Less Crowded
Morning is usually a good time, but many stores now have special early hours for senior shoppers, so call before you go. Even if your kids are home from school, shop by yourself to make it safer for everyone.
3. Wear a Mask
There has been discussion about whether wearing gloves makes a difference in protecting against the spread of coronavirus. If you do choose to wear them, experts agree that you shouldn’t reuse disposable gloves; for every use, always wear a fresh pair. You may also use durable gloves that can be cleaned after every use. Either way, you still need to wash your hands frequently.
4. Prepare a Grocery List in Advance
Sticking to a pre-planned list will help you get in, get what you need, and get out as fast as possible.
5. Look with Your Eyes, Not Your Hands
Don’t pick anything up unless you’re going to buy it.
6. Maintain Your Distance
Keep at least 6 feet between you and other shoppers and store employees.
7. Continue to Make Healthy Choices
Staying healthy may be one way to protect yourself from COVID-19, so stick with nutritious food choices:
- Choose plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fresh is best, but frozen produce is also full of nutrients.
- If you can’t find fresh or frozen, pick canned fruits with low or no sugar and look for low-sodium options for canned vegetables.
- Select lean cuts of meat.
- Avoid processed foods.
- Water should be your family’s drink of choice.
- Keep sodas, juices, and sugar-sweetened beverages to a minimum.
8. Pay with a Credit or Debit Card
Save your cash and pay with a card instead, since paper money can spread germs.
9. Wipe Down Your Packages Before You Put Them Away
Every time you go to a market and make purchases, follow these steps:
- As soon as you get home, wash your hands.
- Wipe all plastic, glass, and metal containers with a disinfecting wipe or a bleach solution (five tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of water).
- Thoroughly wash all produce with water only: soap or bleach could leave a residue that may be harmful if swallowed.
- Once you’ve finished, wash your hands again.
10. Show Courtesy and Appreciation to Supermarket Employees
Supermarket workers are some of those at highest risk for getting the virus, so they’re under a lot of stress. Show them some gratitude by smiling, being patient, and saying “thank you.” You benefit from showing kindness, too: being kind can help lower your blood pressure, decrease pain and inflammation, and make you happier.
Having Trouble Adjusting to the New Normal?
Even if you’re the head of a family, you need to make time to take care of your mental and physical health. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe anxiety or depression, or if you find yourself turning to drugs and alcohol, contact our Behavioral Health Services at (855) 425-1777.
AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.