How To Navigate The Grocery Store Right Now, From A Grocer
Grocery stores at present largely evoke thoughts of peril. In fact, the New York Times noted grocery stores and stress now go hand in hand. But since we can't stop purchasing essentials, like food, how can we combat some of that undue stress?
We spoke with Mike Geller, owner of Mike's Organic Market and Martha Stewart's favorite grocer, and he offered insight on best practices for shopping safely and swiftly, as well as overall tips on what to stock up on right now.
How to shop safely.
Geller suggested limiting trips to the store and trying to shop at off-peak times when possible. "Most stores are wiping down shopping carts and surfaces," he said, "but it doesn't hurt to bring along your own sanitizing wipes."
At the end of your grocery trip, wipe the cart back down and disinfect your hands with hand sanitizer. "As the CDC recommends, please avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes, and nose until you are able to wash your hands," Geller said.
A trick to shop swiftly.
To help you get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, Geller recommends creating a shopping plan beforehand. Unlike a traditional grocery list, he said to think in terms of categories, not items.
"Instead of shopping for one kind of grain or one cut of meat, have a rough idea of your menu ahead of time and improvise as necessary based on what's available." A little flexibility goes a long way in times like these.
Should your grocery list change?
"Experts say the food-supply chain remains intact," Geller told us. Meaning there's no real need to panic buy. Instead, he suggests stocking rationally on staples like rice, beans, pasta, canned fish, nuts and nut butters, oats, and cereal.
Though nonperishable goods can be healthy, don't completely abandon produce and vegetables. "You could buy these frozen," he said, "but when possible, buy them fresh and preserve their best qualities through blanching."
- Throw the veggies in boiling, salted water for 1 minute.
- Remove from the boiling water and rinse in cold water.
- Place them on a baking sheet and freeze.
- Remove from the freezer, put the veggies in baggies, and freeze again.
The most important tip.
Thank your grocer! "Grocery employees have been put on the front lines amid this crisis and are working around the clock to ensure food makes it to your table," he said.
"A smile and some gratitude will go a long way in these times when anxieties are running high for everyone."
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Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.