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As I am writing this, I am a mom of a now 1 year old watching all the pandemic updates and trying to stay home as much as possible.
But to ‘shelter in place’ people need essential items, like food. And if you’ve been to the grocery during all this, then you’ve seen the lack of supply. People are panicking and over buying items. I didnt really want to participate in this hoarding but; unfortunately, I realized if I didnt buy a little extra before the shelves were empty we wouldn’t have our needs met.
So what exactly do you need. I’m no expert, just a mom, but in my opinion you need the basics for at least 2weeks. That means the major food groups: bread/grains, dairy, fruit, vegetables, protein, and some healthy snacks and fun things to help you make it through. Also yes, you’ll need some toilet paper (not 10years worth just enough, it’s not going to run out). Make sure you have some paper towells( again not a ridiculous amount)… and laundry detergent, hand soap etc.
Ok, I bought what I could responsibly buy to cover us for 2weeks but I still feel like we weren’t able to get certain essentials because the shelves were empty now what. Here are some alternatives:
* can’t find milk… buy dry milk! It wont fool anyone into thinking it’s real milk but it’s easily put into recipes and it has a very long shelf life. Also, consider almond milk… again it has a longer shelf life than regular milk.
*fruits and vegetables arent available. They probably are you just need to be creative. Some stores were out of fresh fruits and veggies but had plenty of canned items and it was the opposite in other places I visited. So if they have canned or frozen ones great buy them and if not buy fresh and freeze or can it yourself to make it last. Also, real fruit jerky is an option. Its spring and it wont be long before people with a green thumb will have plenty in their gardens.
*But they were out of meat fresh and frozen, now what? Again be creative. Think Spam, or tuna, or sardines and crackers. All last in the pantry for a long time and are really cheap if your trying to stretch your budget. Consider real meat jerky. When out of protein look to high protein yogurts, peanut butter, or beans.
*No paper towels, order them online. Also, not everything needs paper towels. Consider if you have not been exposed at all just reusing some of your paper towels. Seriously, if you washed your hands and only used a paper towel to dry them with, let that paper towel dry up and use it again later. ( Better for the environment) Better yet it’s called a fabric hand towel people- put a fresh one out daily and launder the dirty ones. Still not ok with this, then make your own ‘non-paper’ towels. Or, if you really want disposable towels and cost isnt an issue, try buying a box of mechanic’s towels. I know this because my husband works on cars. They may be sold out in the paper towel aisle in Walmart but try the automotive section and look for the blue paper towels.
*Out of laundry detergent or handsoap. Buy online or Make your own. Their are lots of great recipes online. Also, you could handwash small laundry items in dawn liquid dishwashing soap.
*Alternatives to all this…. try the baby aisle. I’m serious. We are stocked up on vegetable puree right now of every type. I have peas and carrots and mangoes all as baby food and probably an overstock of it. Also, look at baby snacks. I am addicted to these yogurt bites. And you can find other baby snacks or foods that would supply all major food groups.
*Buy direct from a farmer/local business. Big box stores look empty but my local butcher shop has everything I still need and want plus the ability to easily obtain more to meet the demand.
*Trade while maintaining social distancing. We have beef cattle farm and are wholesale only so we cant sell direct to the consumer but I have a freezer full of beef. I can link up with family and offer what I have in abundance for what I need. Let’s trade! And even when I trade I can still maintain social distance. Everyone wins and it costs nothing.
I just want to encourage people to adjust to our new and temporary normal with a smile and without panic. You can still get all the products your family needs and wants in one way or another. Please be kind to each other, lookout for your neighbors, and share when you can. This too will pass.