Grocery shopping tips during the COVID-19 pandemic

Here are a few tips for safely getting your groceries during COVID 19 (coronavirus) pandemic:

In the grocery store

Grocery shopping with maskIf you’re going to the grocery store, try to go when it’s not crowded. Since the virus can be transmitted through close contact with other individuals, the key to social distancing is by avoiding large groups of people. But if you don’t get your timing right and find yourself at the grocery store with a lot of people, get what you need and leave as soon as you can. Don’t dally!

If you see your friends or family give them a wave or a nod. Speak to them from a distance (experts say at least six feet). Wear a face covering. The new advice from the CDC on face masks is voluntary. The agency says the non-medical coverings can be “basic cloth or fabric masks.”

Take sanitizer or disinfectant with you. Use it to wipe your hands and the cart before and after you shop. Use a credit or debit card. That way, you don’t have to hand over bills or receive change. Also, use your own pen to sign receipts. If you can, use a virtual payment system like Apple Pay so that you don’t have to open your wallet at all.

When you get home

When you get home, wipe down non-porous containers like glass or cans with disinfectant wipes. These containers can also be thoroughly rinsed.

handwashingIf that’s not practical, wash your hands well after putting away all packaging, including paper boxes and bags. “It all comes down to hand hygiene,” says Liz Garman, a spokesperson for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology in Arlington, Va.

Washing fruit

It also doesn’t hurt to wash your hands after opening the containers and using their contents. Wash your hands, counter, and other surfaces you’ve touched. Do this after you’ve put away the groceries.

When it comes to washing fruit and vegetables, most government agencies recommend simply washing with running water, scrubbing with a vegetable brush as needed rather than using special produce washes.

Delivery services

Grocery bag full of foodMany consumers are trying to avoid visiting grocery stores entirely, by turning to delivery services. Even if a grocery store or warehouse is thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, the delivery person needs to take the same precautions to prevent the spread of a virus to you.

Ask your delivery person to leave the groceries outside your door. “If contact-less delivery of groceries or meals is available, opt for it,” says Dr. Chris J. Wiant, MPH, Ph.D. It’s possible that either you or your delivery person is a carrier of the COVID-19 virus so it’s best to keep contact to a minimum. Some services have sections where you can specify how you would like your groceries to be dropped off, so tell the delivery people to leave them outside, if possible. If you plan on giving the delivery person a tip, see if you can tip electronically instead of handing out cash.

And always make sure to wash your hands before and after you pick up the groceries from your doorstep. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Good Nutrition is important

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During this pandemic good nutrition is more important than ever. You don’t have to sacrifice all the benefits of a plant based diet for you and the world we live in. Just follow a few basic procedures and you’ll  be giving yourself the best chance for health.

For more plant-based shopping tips, see our shopping guide In Pursuit of Great Food.