Tips from our Dietitian Jill during these strange times!!!

There’s no disputing that the global pandemic we are living in has impacted every corner of our lives. Today I’m curious about how you are doing with the changes to your experience around obtaining food. Let’s get into it.

The initial panic shopping that we saw happening last month during the start of isolation has slowed down. You have likely come to expect some of the changes that have been implemented in stores (Plexiglas dividers, I’m looking at you), and you’ve become a pro at keeping people out of your 2-meter bubble while scanning the single direction flow of aisles for your peanut butter and pasta. But your shopping routine is far from “normal”.

If you are feeling anxious or frustrated when you go into your grocery store, you are not alone. Even if the store isn’t very busy when you go (lucky you), you may still find that you are feeling uneasy. Simply put, your routine has been disrupted. While shopping, your mind no longer gets to focus on the food you are leisurely collecting throughout the store; more likely, your brain may feel like a pinball machine, thoughts bouncing from the person approaching you the wrong way in the aisle (please turn around!) to the empty flour shelf you are noticing up ahead (now how am I going to bake bread like everyone has been talking about?) to wondering what you will do if the bags of bread are also MIA. In your worry about the status of the eventual bakery section and their questionable stock level, you pass right by the chocolate you planned to buy (because, let’s be real, it’s not all kale and avocados on that list) and now have to make a full loop around because you’re following the one-direction aisle rules.

If this sounds all too familiar, I hope to help with a few tips. Or at least make you laugh.

Tip #1: Make a list.

Old fashioned pen and paper may work well, but what if you drop it? Or forget it at home? We are less likely to forget our phones behind, so I recommend using them for your list. My personal fav is Google Keep – it’s free, links to your gmail account (if you have one), and can be used as an app on your phone and on your computer browser, which I personally love for adding a bunch of items at once as it’s more comfortable than holding my phone the whole time. You can also add “collaborators” so that you and those you share your home with can both add to and check items off the list. An added bonus of an electronic list is that you can move items around easily so even if you write something in after, you can drag it higher up your list to let you group items together. Which brings me to the second thing…

Tip #2: Organize your list by grocery section.

Grouping all your produce together, canned goods, baking ingredients, dairy section, etc., will help to avoid forgetting an item and having to backtrack in the store. I can’t promise you won’t ever forget something, but it may reduce the frustration.

Tip #3: Prepare for disappointment.

While making that list, before you step foot inside a store, come to terms with the reality that some of the items you want may not be available. Changing your expectations before you are faced with the empty shelf will help to reduce your disappointment and frustration, making you less likely to feel defeated. Do you have a recipe you want to make that needs that item? Try a quick Google search for “___substitutions”. You may be surprised. If you live with many food restrictions and are finding this a constant challenge, post below and I’ll do my best to make suggestions!

One last thing. When you get home, sanitize that handy-dandy phone. Don’t let your trusty cell bring unwanted guests into your quarantine zone.

Have ideas to share? Questions you want answered? I’d love to hear them! Email me at

Jill Middlemiss
Dietitian / Nutrition Coach