5 Tips For Smart Shopping During The Pandemic

by Elizabeth Vennefron, RDN, LD

Last Updated: June 29, 2020

Making a grocery list not only gets us in and out of the store fast, but it can help reduce waste, save money and lead to healthier eating habits. Before even going to the store, there are a few steps we can take to ensure our carts are full of nutritious foods that won’t break the bank or go bad in the next few days. While we still continue to feel the impacts and adjustments brought on by COVID-19 and the resulting social distancing, making those grocery trips last longer is more important than ever. In this article, we’ll share some tips and discuss tools to shop smart and simplify the shopping experience.
  1. Meal Plan.
    Whether you are cooking for yourself or a family of 5, it is always a good idea to plan at least 2 meals for the week. With just this little bit of pre-planning, you can reduce stress, trips to the store, and the likelihood of giving up and ordering takeout. Not sure what to make or where to find recipes? Check out Yummly or Kroger’s recipe archive! Kroger offers a variety of 30-minute meal ideas, 5-Ingredients or less recipes, and even vegetarian options for those looking to reduce animal-based proteins.
  2. Take Inventory.
    Examine the pantry, fridge and freezer for what you already have before heading out the door. Looking to see what is already in the home can prevent buying duplicates, make sure you have what you need for your weekly recipes, and, ultimately, save money. Keep a running list of items that you run out of, so you don’t have to go searching every time. Brainstorm meals you can make from the ingredients you currently have on hand. If you are wanting to make something from the freezer like a roast, go ahead and put it in the fridge at this time, to begin the thawing process.
  3. Save Money.
    Check your local Kroger ad and e-coupons for the latest deals. By simply visiting Kroger.com, you can check out which promotions are live, review the weekly ad, and add digital coupons to your account. If you’re planning to take advantage of the “Buy 5, Save 5”, make sure to know what the participating products are in advance to reduce your time searching in-store.
  4. Utilize Smart Shopping Tools.
    By using your kroger.com digital account, you can create an online grocery list to simplify your shopping experience. There is even a feature to print out the list, if you prefer to have the list in your hand. Another option is to check out MyPlate for grocery list templates and meal planning resources to help stay organized. For those tech savvy individuals, download OptUP, your virtual assistant for healthier shopping. OptUP keeps track of your purchases and breaks them down between high, medium and low scoring foods. Products are scored from 1-100, based on their nutritional value. For those low scoring foods, OptUp provides better-for-you options to increase your OptUP score and improve your overall health.
  5. Check Things Twice.
    Before running off to the store, ask yourselfs these questions to ensure you are purchasing a variety of nutrient dense foods.
    • Do I have at least 3 different fruits and vegetables? It's important to have a variety of fruits and vegetables, because they provide us with key nutrients vital to our health.
    • Are half of my grains whole? Whole grains are high in fiber, which aids in digestion, helps lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood glucose. Look for the words “whole grain” on packaging, and choose brown rice, quinoa, or other ancient grains.
    • Do I have a variety of lean proteins? Aim to have at least 4 different animal-based proteins such as chicken breast, fresh or frozen fish, and lean beef.
    • Will my produce last until I’m ready to use it? If not, utilized canned, frozen, dried and freeze-dried options.
    • Do I have foods from each of the different food groups? By purchasing foods from all food groups, you are more likely to consume more balanced and satisfying meals.

Putting together a healthier grocery list can be difficult, especially if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, or have limited food options available. Let our team of Kroger Dietitians help you! Schedule an appointment with a Kroger Dietitian, who can talk with you about how our focus on Food As Medicine has helped thousands of customers achieve better health while still enjoying foods they love. We can assist you in navigating the aisles, help you choose products and share recipe ideas that align with your personal goals all while saving you time and money. Are you in the middle of a pandemic, have strict stay-at-home orders and/or afraid to go into the grocery store? No worries! We’ll chat with you virtually through Dietitian Direct. Our team of Dietitians will bring our food, grocery, and clinical nutrition expertise right to you, in a personalized, non-judgmental way.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.


Elizabeth Vennefron, RDN, LD

Elizabeth Vennefron, RDN, LD

Elizabeth loves being a dietitian because it connects her two passions- helping people, and healthy living. She’s a walking encyclopedia of better for you foods, meals, and culinary hacks to ensure her patients are enjoying the flavors they love while eating and staying well.