Grocery shopping can be a real chore for people with chronic pain. Anything that makes it less of a hassle is a good thing.
Here are the tips that work for me:
Check your schedule
How many meals are you planning on eating at home this week? If you know that you have plans to go out with friends on Friday, there is no use in coming up with dinner ideas for that day.
Or maybe you have something going on during the week that you don’t normally have to schedule for, like needing to fast for a doctor’s visit. If so, you know you’re off the hook for at least one breakfast, but you might want to make sure you bring a small snack with you for after.
Plan your meals
Ok. Now you know how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks you need to cover for the week. What do you like to eat? Do you have any dietary restrictions you need to work around? Are there any sales you want to take advantage of?
Chances are you already have plenty of go-to meal ideas, but if you feel like you are stuck in a rut or just want to try something new, check out my meal planning post.
Make a list
Having a grocery list makes it more likely that you can get in, get what you need, and get out as quickly as possible.
It can also help prevent the dreaded emergency trip back to the store later in the week because you forgot to pick up a vital ingredient. (Thanks, brain fog.)
Do an inventory check
You probably have some of the ingredients for the meals you’ve planned on hand already. I always check, because the last thing I want to do is buy something I already have plenty of.
So, go ahead. Get in there and see what’s hiding in your pantry, freezer, and fridge. Cross any items you already have off your list.
Buy only the necessities
Sometimes my tendency to over-plan can lead to an unrealistically long grocery list. While every item on the list may be something we need, more than likely there are some things that we don’t need right now.
Don’t be afraid to put some of the items on your list into the “For Later” category.
Try to go shopping when the store isn’t crowded
Maybe crowds don’t bother you, but I have been known to ditch the trip altogether when the grocery store is too busy.
I prefer to save my shopping for the evening, but there may be another time of day that works better for you.
My husband and I typically do our grocery shopping together. Partly because there are always things I need help with, like picking up heavier items and bringing the groceries inside, but also because we feel that sharing the misery of grocery shopping is the fairest way to handle it.
But if you’re single or can’t get your partner to go with you, you may have other family members or friends who’d be willing to join you on your grocery adventure. You never know until you ask.
And if neither of those options are available to you, you can always ask for help from a store employee. That’s what they are there for, after all.
Does your store have handicap carts for you to use?
Don’t be afraid to use them if you need to.
And if they don’t have them, it might be time to find a different grocery store.
Can you lift it?
There is no point in buying a 50lb. bag of cat litter if you can’t lift the bag, no matter how much of a deal it may be. Focus on getting the smallest size you can while making sure you purchase enough to get the job done.
Do you need an emergency food stash?
I’m a big believer in planning things out, but let’s face it; plans change. Especially when you are dealing with chronic pain.
I like to have some quick and easy meal and snack options in the house for the days when I don’t feel up for cooking. Things like TV dinners, pre-mixed salads, granola bars, protein shakes, yogurt, nuts, seeds, cheese, and fruit.
Whatever you think will help get you through the tough days.
Still not easy enough?
I hear ya.
Ask a friend or relative to do it for you
People who know and care about you might be more than happy to help you out when you need them to.
Just make sure they know how much you appreciate their help!
Pick It Up
Not all stores in all locations offer this, but it is worth investigating the grocery pick-up options near you.
I felt ridiculously giddy the first time I tried grocery pick-up. I plan to take advantage of it a lot more frequently in the future.
Have It Delivered
Like pick-up, your options vary depending on your location and your budget. Still, it is worth checking out.
I don’t know that these tips will turn grocery shopping into something you look forward to, but I certainly hope they help make your grocery shopping trips easier.