Americans tend to live busy and fast-paced lives so making time for eating at home doesn’t happen all that often. In fact, on average Americans spent less than 10% of their food budget on groceries and were found to eat out 5.9 times per week. Meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning can consume extra time and energy that most may not have to spare. But now that Americans are having to adjust to eating at home learning how to do so effectively will be a game-changer.
COVID-19 has caused restaurants all over to close their doors to the public and people have switched their expenditures from eating out to grocery store shopping. Large cities such as San Francisco saw increased sales growth of 540% and Los Angeles similarly saw an increase of 340%. Because of this grocery stores are having to adjust their operations to not only meet the supply and demand of shoppers but also adhere to CDC safety guidelines. Many chains are raising their base pay for workers to compensate for new rushes as well as hiring to help ease the burden. New rules have been implemented such as decreased hours to ensure overnight cleaning can be done and early morning senior-only shopping hours to protect the more vulnerable.
Even though stay home orders have been issued all over the country, people still need to and are allowed to shop for the essentials. While doing this, shoppers can help protect themselves and others. Some practical options are to avoid peak hours when stores are more crowded and social distancing is harder. Keep a safe distance of 6 feet from others and wear a mask if possible. Keep your phone away to avoid spreading germs and use wipes with opening refrigerator doors. If able, consider using a grocery store delivery or pick up option that allows for no contact. Finally, when bringing in groceries avoid touching your face and wash hands for at least 20 seconds afterward.
With more time to cook and the need to do your own cooking, finding creative ways to get dinner on the table can help make the transition less overwhelming. There are many great online options for finding new recipes to cook. Websites like Tasty have filtering options to find recipes specific to vegan, low-carb or gluten-free meals. Other sites such as Allrecipes and SuperCook have features to search for recipes based on the ingredients you have in your fridge and pantry. And the sites Substitutions and drop can help find ingredient substitutions in case your grocery store is out of an item or you want to eliminate an extra grocery store run.
Cooking at home doesn’t have to be a headache nor does it have to put you in harm’s way. By following some simple procedures while shopping you can make sure you’re keeping your pantry and refrigerator stocked with all the important ingredients. Finding healthy meals to cook can be as easy as a click away. Find out more about how to stay healthy during quarantine here.
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