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COVID-19 Grocery List & Considerations

Updated: May 9, 2020

There is no food shortage. Shelves are restocked daily. Avoid panic buying.

Even so, many of us aren’t used to grocery shopping for a 14-day period. That alone could make some people anxious.

Below I’ll outline:

  • Grocery store expectations and items to consider purchasing.

  • Immune boosters and supplements.

  • Establishing structure for both nutrition and movement.

  • Connecting with your registered dietitian.

Planning for and Navigating the Grocery Store:

Expectations and Items to Consider Purchasing

Now is not the time to buy one item at a time. More exposures at the grocery store increase your risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Recalibrate your approach to shopping: What do you need to stock your kitchen with for the next 14 days? Go once as to limit your exposure to society.

Normally, many of us head to the store with a list. When what we want isn’t there we linger, looking for an alternative. Plan for your items not to be there and what you’ll purchase as a replacement. Get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. You can also consider grocery pick up or delivery (think Kroger, Whole Foods, Amazon, or meal prep programs).

Using the below example template, if your goal is cow’s milk, what else will you be open to?

I’m about to head to the grocery store. Following is what my list looks like: the "Option 1" column is my preference, with the "Option 2" columns as a back up. These lists aren't random, since they're based on what I plan on making, which includes a fun food to keep me sane (see my meal plan below).

Additionally, since you know your grocery store’s layout, devise a plan of how to limit your time there (see the #1, #2, #3?). Hit each area once and avoid backtracking. Once in the checkout lineup, ask people to stand back (you aren’t crazy, you’re doing your part to avoid community transmission).

When creating your own list, consider using a piece of paper you can discard of rather than taking your phone into public spaces (unless you plan on cleaning it once home).

Below is an example of what I plan on eating. Quantities of items and frequency of fueling will be different for everyone.

Immune Boosters and Supplements

Slow down and avoid panic-buying immune “boosters” and supplements—stick to the basics of immune health:

  • Fruits and vegetables.

  • Adequate calorie and protein intakes.

  • Probiotics (e.g., Greek yogurt, kefir, pickles, miso, kimchi)

  • Vitamin D (e.g., fortified milk and juices).

  • Adequate sleep.

  • Manage your stress levels (e.g., download the HeadSpace app, exercise).

  • Wash your hands, avoid touching your face or biting your nails, and practice basic hygiene advice.

Any company using fear tactics or promoting the use of a specific branded product are a warning sign—especially those from paid social media accounts or companies themselves. We’ve learned we’re a population nutso for toilet paper, but remain aware of why we’re acting like this: out of fear.

Don’t’ let companies talk you into buying unnecessary products. We don’t know what the economy is going to look like post-COVID, so be mindful of how you spend your money.

Establishing Structure for Both Nutrition and Movement

Be honest and mindful about your caloric intake and exercise.

If we’re sitting at home more, most of us are moving less, yet the kitchen is within eyesight and boredom eating may get the best of us. Many of our group fitness studios and gyms have closed. Making adjustments to our nutrition and exercise plans are necessary.


Meal delivery will help support local businesses as they see dips in their profits, but be smart about what meals you’re ordering. For instance, consider swapping your usual burrito with sides of beans, rice, guacamole, and chips (when training for 3-4 hours daily) for simply a burrito bowl or burrito with a side salad.

For nutrition, focus on these three:

  1. High fiber: Whole grains, nuts, and seeds; starches, fruits, and vegetables with the skin; beans, pulses, and legumes.

  2. Nutrient dense: High-fiber options above, dairy, eggs, tofu, meat, poultry, and seafood.

  3. Structured, mindful eating: Create an eating schedule that mimics your typical day. Tune into your body: are you stomach-gurgling hungry, bored, thirsty, tired, or simply need a bit of movement?


For exercise in the indoors, consider the following:

  • Free apps: Nike Fitness Club.

  • Paid apps: Peloton (also have at-home workouts and yoga—not simply cycling).

  • Free workouts posted by your favorite group fitness instructors: If they aren’t posting anything, ask if they can send you some workouts or if they have any recommendations for instructors to follow who are posting workouts.

  • Athletes with strength and conditioning coaches should ask them for an at-home workout.

  • Get creative with equipment: Swap dumbbells, weighted exercise balls, and kettlebells for milk jugs, textbooks (fill a box with multiple books to squat with), and agreeable animals or babies. Dust off ankle weights, skipping ropes, and bands.

For exercise in the outdoors:

  • Take your workout app to the park.

  • Stay away from humans and only be in close contact with those who you are 100% isolating with—even if neither of you have symptoms.

  • Just because you’re not around people, be mindful of touching your face and surfaces that other isolated people will eventually touch (e.g., crosswalk buttons, water fountains, park benches). Is it cold outside? Be mindful of your snot.

  • Go for a walk, run, hike, or bike ride.

  • Walk your dog and play frisbee, or take your neighbor’s dog for walk (animals are not known for spreading COVID-19 to humans).

Connecting with your Registered Dietitian

In this time of isolation, many athletes connected with professional and collegiate sport programs continue to have access to a dietitian via telecommuting and social media—use your dietitian! Even while working from home, they remain an ally to you.

Top concerns for me include athletes with disordered eating, eating disorders, body image concerns, and those returning from injury [especially those who may be on crutches or in a cast/brace (i.e., immobilized limbs that already make it hard to walk to the kitchen or grocery shop)]. Without structure, daily distractions, and movement, negative habits may get the best of them.


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