Grocery shopping can be a daunting task for anyone! For those with chronic illness “daunting” is an understatement. Whether your symptoms include pain, fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, the ability to stand on your feet for very long or a myriad of others – this list can help!
I’ve found the best way to tackle this job is with as much simplicity as possible.
12 Grocery tips for the chronically ill woman:
1. Before you even leave make sure you have enough energy. If necessary, divide the list up into a couple little trips. I know it can be a chore just getting there. I also know sometimes we have the energy to grab a few things and sometimes we feel we can push ourselves to pick up the whole list.
2. Try to park near the same spot each time. That way you’ll always know where your car is! Brain fog anyone?! And if possible park near a cart corral so it’s easy to drop it off when you’re done.
3. Pick a day that isn’t as crowded. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are better in my area. If you’re not sure what days are less crowded you can always ask an employee.
4. Always grab a cart instead of those little baskets. Even if you’re running in for three little items, the odds are you’ll pass the water or juice and remember you’re running low. Now you’re left trying to lug those heavy extras around with you. Also, the cart is great to help keep your balance and offer a bit more support while walking. Ask my family – I am ALWAYS in charge of the cart!
5. If necessary, you can get the motorized carts and take them for a drive! Remember, you have to get these items in the house and put away once you’re done. A motor cart can help you conserve some energy! Don’t worry what others think – you might feel self-conscience behind the wheel the first few trips but wouldn’t you feel more self-conscience laying on the floor because you felt like you’re about to pass out!
6. Go against the extreme couponers and be brand specific. If I’m looking at 75 bottles of shampoo I’m not going to be able to focus and I’ll get overwhelmed. Instead, I have picked one shampoo my family likes and that’s the only one I buy. This also helps if you have any food allergies. Once you’ve found a product you like and doesn’t make you ill just stick with it! Believe it or not, this also makes couponing easier because you’ll only have to clip the coupons for the products you’ve chosen and it will minimize your coupon work!
7. Use a list that places the items in order according to the aisles at your store. HERE’S THE FREEBIE!! I’ve attached this Excel spreadsheet that I use – just download and print. Most grocery stores arrange their aisles in a pretty similar fashion but you can easily rearrange this one to match your store exactly. Also, change the items listed to fit the needs of your own family. There’s space next to the item so you have room to write if it’s on sale, you have an electronic store coupon, or a paper coupon.
8. Use an easy coupon keeper. I organize mine by aisle number to match with my grocery list. This way when I’m in an aisle and notice a sale I just go to that aisle’s pocket and check for a coupon to match.
9. Bring a helper if you can. That way if you’re getting too tired to even let go of the cart you’ll have an extra set of arms to grab what you need. They also come in handy if you happen to remember you forgot to put sour cream on your list and it’s 8 aisles back! Thank them with a slushee or something that way they’re willing to help again sometime!
10. If you do get sick and just can’t continue don’t beat yourself up. If you see an employee, let them know that you’re sick and have to leave. They’d rather be notified so they can put away the frozen food instead of happening upon a full cart with thawed items that now need trashed.
11. Try to arrange items on the conveyor belt according to where they go in the house. That way all the body wash and shampoo are in the same bags so you can just carry that bag to the bathroom. This also helps once you get home. If you’re running on empty by the time you arrive you can choose to leave a few things in the car until you gather a bit of strength or until another family member or friend arrives and can grab it for you.
12. Most stores will call someone over to help you get your items to the car if you need the help. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’ve used a motor cart and the store doesn’t allow them to leave the building you can ask the bagger to grab a cart so you can load the groceries in there to take out to your car. If you need to use the motor cart all the way out to the car let the cashier or bagger know that you have no greater desire at that moment than to follow their rule but you don’t have the strength to walk that far. Leave the option to them. They can let you take the motor cart or carry you. 😉
I hope this list might give you a few ideas to use to make your shopping trips easier! Leave a comment sharing your favorite tips. I’d love to hear from you!