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Question: I’m visiting the grocery store less frequently to limit my exposure to the coronavirus. How do I maximize my shopping trips to ensure I’m making healthy, nutritious meals at home?

Grocery shopping

To make your grocery shopping trip as efficient as possible, take some time to plan ahead, says Ruth Litchfield, professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University.

“Many of us are at home more now. Sit down and spend 15-20 minutes sketching out a week of menus so you know exactly what you need,” Litchfield says.

“Sit down and figure out where can you use leftovers for another meal. That’s the most efficient way to get in and out the grocery store is to really have that list, have that menu and go forward,” she adds.

Litchfield notes that canned fruits and vegetables are a nutritious substitute for fresh produce if you’re trying to limit trips to the grocery store.

And it’s OK to stick to the basics when it comes to planning healthy meals. “A pasta meal is really quite easy. If you prepared some type of roast, you can take the leftovers, add vegetables and make a stir fry out of it or maybe make a fajita out of it,” Litchfield says.

Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website for more tips on how to grocery shop during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also visit Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s “Spend Smart. Eat Smart” website for quick-and-easy healthy recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients.

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