Have you noticed a lot of empty shelves at your local grocery store?
That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in food shortages across America. The pandemic has caused breaks in our food supply chain. It’s also brought an influx of consumers panic-buying, leaving grocery store shelves empty. Restaurants, grocery stores, and food suppliers have been unable to operate like normal. As a result, some types of products have become harder to obtain. While food shortages can be scary, there are plenty of ways your family can cope with rising food prices and empty shelves at the grocery store.
1. Avoid Panic-Buying
Remember when the pandemic first hit, and it was nearly impossible to find toilet paper? The reason toilet paper was nowhere to be found was because of panic-buying. According to the US Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, panic buying is a herd behavior where large quantities of daily necessities are purchased from markets, resulting in stockout situations. When coping with food shortages, our first instinct may be to stock up. However, we should avoid panic-buying because it worsens food shortages by disrupting the supply chain.
There has been an increased demand for products due to panic shopping. In addition, there have been pandemic-related closures and disruptions in ordering, replenishing, and distributing, resulting in more than just food shortages. We are also seeing an increase in the price of our food. So, when the grocery store shelves have finally restocked, you may have noticed your grocery bill getting higher and higher. So, how do we cope? Ease pressure on the industry by only buying what you need. Often when panic shopping, we overstock on more than we need, and many of the items we purchase perish and go to waste. Save money, only buy what you need, and try to avoid panic-buying when coping with food shortages.
2. Befriend your Freezer
Another way that your family can cope with food shortages is by freezing food. Freezing is an easy and convenient method of preserving your food for more extended periods. When it comes to freezing food, the sooner, the better. Frozen food will only stay as good as it was when you put it in the freezer! So, make sure whatever you are freezing is in good condition. An excellent way to utilize your freezer is by freezing entire meals. Prep meals in large quantities ahead of time and place whatever you aren’t eating immediately in the freezer. When you’re ready for your next dinner, simply take it out to thaw. Not only will this help your family cope with food shortages, but it will also make feeding the family a lot easier. Instead of cooking a new meal every night, you can take one pre-made out of the freezer.
3. Stock your Freezer with Dream Dinners
Suppose you don’t have the time, energy, or money to spend an entire day cooking meals to stick in the freezer every week. In that case, place an order with Dream Dinners. Dream Dinners will send you delicious, fully prepped meals that are ready to stick in the freezer. Placing an order with Dream Dinners to stock your freezer will help you prepare for any foot shortages that may come your way. Place all of your meals in the freezer and thaw them each week when you’re ready to eat them.
Not only will this help your family effectively cope with food shortages, but it will also take a lot of stress out of mealtime. Dream Dinners does all the shopping, chopping, and prepping so you can avoid the grocery store altogether. You will also avoid spending too much time in the kitchen! Most Dream Dinners meals go from fridge to table in under 30 minutes. So, you’ll spend less time cooking and shopping, and more time with the people you love!
4. Substitute Meat
One of the main items currently scarce due to food shortages is meat. Major meat processing plants have been forced to close due to covid disrupting food production. If you notice a scarcity of meat in your area, try substituting meat with plant-based alternatives. Purchasing less meat and eating vegetarian a few times a week can help ease the strain in areas with meat shortages. It will also help your family more easily cope with these shortages.
In addition, going meatless a few times a week comes with some great health benefits. Eating less meat lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. You don’t have to avoid meat altogether to receive these health benefits. Instead, try going meatless 1-2 times a week. We recommend participating in Meatless Monday. Every Monday, go meatless and eat only vegetarian meals. Meatless Monday can be fun to get the entire family involved and make it a habit. Does the thought of cooking vegetarian stress you out? Place an order with Dream Dinners, and be sure to add our vegetarian options to make Meatless Monday a breeze.
5. Grow Produce
If food shortages have you stressed, try growing some of your own produce. Despite popular belief, you don’t need a large backyard garden to grow your vegetables. There are a lot of delicious veggies you can grow right inside of your house! More specifically, you can grow beets, carrots, tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, mushrooms, and more.
If you have never grown your own vegetables before, start with a simple tomato plant. Check out this article on how to grow a tomato plant like a pro if you need some help. If you are lucky enough to have a backyard garden, make use of it! Growing your veggies can be an enjoyable hobby that saves you money, keeps you active, and helps with the environment. If food shortages have you worried, having your vegetables growing in your garden may relieve some of that stress.
6. Eat at Home
If rising food costs are putting a strain on your family, try eating more meals at home. Eating at home more often can help you save money. Cooking more homemade meals has benefits that go beyond saving money. When you cook at home, you are more likely to eat a healthier diet. You can plan your meals ahead of time, and you control what goes into them. Cooking at home also puts you in control of portion sizes. You can ensure that the family isn’t over-eating and that no food goes to waste.
7. Prepare Your Shopping List
Preparing your shopping list ahead of time is a great way to cope with food shortages and rising food prices. Call your local grocery store before heading out and see if any of your regular grocery list items are out of stock. Knowing this ahead of time will help you properly prepare. Decide which recipes you will cook for the week and only buy what you need. To avoid an extremely high grocery bill, research any sales that may be happening. If you find a good deal, try and plan some meals around it. Having a prepared shopping list will prevent you from aimless shopping and over-purchasing items you don’t necessarily need!
8. Eye the Expiration Date
Whenever you add an item to your cart, make sure you check the expiration date. Does that jug of milk in your cart expire in 3 days? If so, you may want to rethink that purchase. Try and find items that don’t expire soon. That way, you won’t accidentally purchase something that goes bad before consuming it. Shop for food items that last longer. This way, you will be able to go extended periods between grocery store trips, which will save you money in the long run.
9. Never Shop Hungry
You’ve probably heard this one before but never go to the grocery store hungry. Walking the grocery aisles with a rumbling belly is a sure-fire way to end up with a hefty bill. If you head to the store hungry, you’re much more likely to fill up your cart with unnecessary items. In addition, you have a higher chance of choosing things that look more appetizing (AKA the unhealthy stuff). Prepare for your grocery trip by eating a meal and writing a grocery list. If you properly prepare, you will go into the store with a clear head and won’t leave with empty pockets and a cart full of calories.
10. Don’t Waste food
A great way your family can cope with food shortages and rising grocery prices is by minimizing food waste. Repurpose those leftovers! Often we throw away what we couldn’t finish for dinner without giving it a second thought. But why not turn your leftovers from last night into an entirely different lunch? Check out this blog for ideas on how to repurpose your leftovers from dinner into lunch the next day.
If you’re looking for more ways to cope with food shortages and rising food prices, check out our blog on ways to reduce food waste. Place a Dream Dinners order to ensure you have a stocked freezer with ready-to-cook meals for the entire family. Have a method for coping with food shortages and rising prices that you didn’t see in this article? Share in the comments!