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5 steps toward safe grocery shopping

August 26, 2020 / in Markey Menu / by Sean O'Nan, MS, RD, LD

Written by Sean O'Nan, a registered dietitian at UK Markey Cancer Center.

Grocery shopping when you feel sick can be complicated. The thought of trying to plan your next week’s meals when you have no appetite or because foods are tasting poorly only makes the job more difficult. Now add to that increased public health and safety measures regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and a quick trip to the grocery store has turned into a daunting task. 

Now, more than ever, it is important for cancer patients and their caregivers focus on safe practices when being out in public to reduce their risk of exposure to additional illness. However, part of maintaining a healthy immune system starts with proper nutrition. In an effort to help you keep safe and ensure access to healthy food options, below are 5 steps towards making your grocery trips safer and more efficient!

  1. Make a list. Planning out your grocery trip can help reduce the amount of time you spend in the store. By planning out what you plan to purchase, you will know exactly which parts of the store you need to visit and can eliminate having to backtrack through the store for a forgotten item. Planning can also help you stick to a budget by reducing impulse buys!
  2. Keep a food log. If you struggle with changes to your sense of taste and smell, keeping a record of which foods and flavors you tolerate best may help you plan which foods you want for the next week. This can also help you keep track of what you eat each day and find areas your diet could use some work.
  3. Check with stores about special shopping hours. Currently, many stores are offering special shopping hours for members of the community who may be immunocompromised or elderly. Check with your favorite grocery stores to see what hours this is available to help reduce your risk.
  4. Utilize friends and family. If you have friend and family who are looking for ways to help with your care, let them do the shopping for you! If you have pre-prepared a list, this can eliminate your need to visit stores in person and can help reduced your risk for illnesses.
  5. Don’t forget food safety! As always, continue washing and cooking your food properly. Avoid any foods prepared by others if you are unsure about food safety recommendations were followed (ex. buffets, restaurants, meal delivery from friends/family, etc). Be sure to let others know about food safety guidelines if are asking to bring meals to you. Click here for more information on food safety from the CDC.

For additional information regarding diet and nutrition for cancer patients at UK Markey Cancer Center, please call 859-323-2798 and ask to speak with a registered dietitian.


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