This article is part of a series; for the rest of the series, visit Food and MS.
Good planning makes selecting food items easier...so let's go shopping. Keep the cooking tips in mind when making your grocery list. Planning begins with an organized list and helps ensure organized meals. Also, remember that it takes starting with good ingredients to produce a good meal.
How often do you shop?
Many people shop every week, buying items for their weekly menus or buying standard supplies to stock their pantries. Others shop more often to ensure having fresh ingredients on hand, to get out of the house and interact with other people.
Create a List I've heard all my life that grocery shopping is done better with a list. Why? A list encourages you to plan menus and allows you to get all the items you need. Many people run to the store "just for milk," yet return with many more items. It's quicker and cheaper using a list because the shopper is more focused. A shopper with a good list who has self discipline can discourage impulse buying. Self discipline and focus are more difficult if you shop when you are hungry.
Write it before you go and keep a running list magnetized to the frig. Also, you can take advantage of Internet list programs. Each of these following example online programs allows you to keep a running list during the week:
My Grocery Checklist
Whether you are a member or not, My Grocery Checklist allows you to select items or add some of your own.
This site displays stores' weekly ads and prints coupons. When your list is complete, you can share it with others so someone else can do the actual shopping.
With Zip List, you can arrange items based on your specific grocery store.
Be sure to mark your list so you know which items have coupons to use them effectively. Also, keep the coupons organized so you can find them when they are needed. On your list, mark priority items you absolutely must get as opposed to those that would just be nice to have. Sometimes a store has a printed layout to make things easier to find and to help you organize your list by an item's location.
Where You Shop There are so many places groceries are available including farmers' markets, standard grocery stores, specialty stores, and even the Internet. When selecting stores, ensure they are accessible by considering location, layout, facilities, and restrooms. Check with the store to see if they offer home delivery or call-in services for car pick-up. Each store has advantages, and some of those advantages relate specifically to MSers who have accessibility problems. Let's take a look. Farmers' markets are great for people who want fresh local fruit and vegetables. Many neighborhood groups buy in bulk and disperse the produce. The markets are sometimes located in an outdoor site with walking space that may be covered in gravel or another awkward outdoor terrain. Although each group member takes a turn at selecting produce, people who do not easily get out can make a deal and have fresh produce delivered.
Standard grocery stores range in size. Small, family owned stores are often willing to do the shopping and possibly even deliver to local patrons. If they do not deliver to homes, they are usually willing to take them out to a car. Larger chain stores are usually accessible, and they may deliver or participate in delivery programs. There are other stores that cater to all types of shopping but carry a full grocery inventory as well, like Walmart or discount clubs like Sam's. Not included in the discount category are specialty stores like Whole Foods and stores that carry foods from different nations. In these days of the Internet, one popular place to shop is online. There are two ways to take advantage of the Internet. First, in addition to creating the online shopping list, particular items can be compared for ingredient and nutrition content. Then, there is actually shopping online. It keeps you out of the weather and makes the task much easier. In addition, online shopping helps locate items that are not normal grocery store fare.
Among the benefits of online shopping are the convenience of home delivery and avoiding weather including beating the heat. There are specialized grocery items of all kinds online, including vegetarian and even vegan. Search online. You might be pleasantly surprised. Shopping
When you are shopping, check the nutrition and ingredient details to ensure you are getting ingredients that are best for you. Take a magnifying glass with you to make reading the small print easier.
When you are in the store, ask for help if you need it - reaching, special meat cuts or custom packaging. You can ask a manager, a worker, or even another shopper, and they are usually glad to help.
When you are checking out, you may want to ask the bagger to pack light bags so you can handle them.
Home from Shopping
Separate large portions of food into the sizes you will use during the week. If your menus are scheduled in a particular order, place your groceries based on that sequence so you can get the first day's ingredients first.
Cut and store meat, vegetables and fruit so daily chores are already done and you can get a snack out of the refrigerator without requiring extra work.
Grocery shopping has been talked about as if it is an awkward errand performed in a haphazard manner. However, with a little planning and organization, grocery shopping is a breeze even for people with disabilities.
Next, I will begin talking about food that is good for us to eat.