I hope you and yours are staying safe during the COVID crisis. Until this week, we've actually been grocery shopping ourselves, but thought it would be a good idea to give our go-to grocery store's pickup services a test run in case it's absolutely necessary soon. Luckily, our intern Sarah had some experience with Kroger's Pickup before the stay-at-home orders so here's what we've learned about the grocery service before AND during COVID-19.
What is Kroger Pickup?
Kroger Pickup used to be called "Kroger Clicklist" and allows you to simply shop online (or in their app) and schedule a time to pickup your groceries outside the store. Currently, this service is FREE (~$5 value)!
How do you order groceries for Kroger Pickup?
Adding items to your shopping cart is super simple online or in the Kroger mobile app. You can easily search for items using their search bar (you'll notice that items you typically buy do seem to pull up in the search results first) or even via digital coupons!
PRO TIP: You can give associates additional instructions about items in your shopping cart where you see "Substitutions & Instructions" for each item. This is where you would share personal preferences like "green bananas" or "under $10" for your pack of chicken breasts.
How do you schedule your Pickup order?
Once you're ready to schedule your order for pickup, you'll begin the checkout process where you can then select a day & time (in 1 hour increments on the hour) for pickup that best suites you. Since the end of April, I've noticed no major delays in getting groceries same day if desired! (During the thick of Nashville's #SaferAtHome order, you had to schedule 3-4 days out.)
**NOTE: You will be charged once you place your order.
Sarah also shares that she, "opted-in for text reminders so [she] would get a text notification when [her] order was ready the next morning. [She] didn’t have to do this, but also noticed that you could easily edit your order on the app after it was placed. No stress!"
Those text notifications are super helpful as it's one way Kroger can let you know if there are any issues with your order, such as items being unavailable. In this scenario, they provide suggested item substitutions for you to review and you can accept or deny their suggestion. (In some cases, you might get an item "upgrade" -- organic bananas vs. conventional, brand name dressing vs. private label, etc. -- without any additional charge!)
How does Pickup at the store work?
There is typically a designated parking area for Kroger Pickup customers. Here are the exact instructions from our Kroger:
Once you call an associate to let them know you have arrived during your reserved time slot, they'll ask you which number parking spot you've pulled into and if you have any additional coupons. (I wish I would have known this ahead of time as I didn't think this was possible via their Pickup service!)
Their associates will load everything into your car and you can be on your merry way. We're typically pretty speedy shoppers when we go grocery shopping on our own (maybe takes ~30 minutes), but this Pickup process cut things down to just 10-15 minutes!!
Are there any cons to Kroger Pickup?
Overall, this is a great service for those who don't have the time to grocery shop on their own, are avoiding going into the stores, or possible unable to grocery shop themselves, but there is one big sticking point for Sarah and I when it comes to Kroger's Pickup service -- the use of plastic bags. It's pretty excessive with items sometimes bagged with only 1 item in the whole bag! Sarah expresses, "There was not an option to bring reusable bags and I wish there was." Agreed!
Are you opting for grocery pickup and/or delivery services right now? We'd love to hear how you're handling food differently these days!
It's one (of the many) question on everyone's mind right now... "How can I boost my immunity?" And while there is NO secret strategy or magic potion that will turn you invincible to illness, your diet CAN support a healthier immune system, just like adequate sleep and stress management. Today, I'm sharing some key nutrients for a meal plan made for strengthening your immune system!
Can foods boost my immune system?
While there is no single food or food group that can absolutely keep you immune from illness, there are certain nutrients that play important roles in keeping you healthy:
What foods contain nutrients to boost my immune system?
Sample Meal Plan for a Healthy Immune System
Here's a breakdown of the meals mentioned in this sample Immune Boosting Meal Plan:
Let us know if you tried out this immune-supporting mean plan, or found some different recipes to enjoy! Be sure to tag us @themealplanningmethod.
P.S. Do you like these sample meal plans? Check out our Heart-Healthy Meal Plan too!
I hope you are staying safe (and sane) during this unusual time of home quarantine. I've personally been keeping busy by tackling lots of home projects I've been putting off and focusing on lots of self-care. It's Day #3 of the #PantryFreezerChallenge with No Waste Nutrition and we're talking about creative meal planning! (Pst, if you need to catch up on the other days of our challenge, check out Day #1 here, Day #2 here, Day #4 here, Day #5 here, and Day #6 here.)
Now before anxiety starts to rush over you, remember that creating and cooking meals is not about crafting a 5-star meal that Gordon Ramsay wouldn't spit at. Of course we want the end product to come out delicious, but the heart of this step in the #PantryFreezerChallenge is to simply step outside your comfort zone, try something new, and use up those ingredients you already have on hand!
I always tell my clients that "boredom is the enemy of healthy habits." Why? Because when we get bored of something - whether we're bored of eating baked chicken, broccoli, and rice or bored of running on the treadmill - we're gonna abandon it. So keeping things new, fresh, and exciting is an essential strategy to getting healthy habits to stick around for the long run.
I've created a list of tips to help you meal plan creatively. Keep scrolling to check 'em all out!
Before I kick off my list of tips for creative meal planning, it's important for me to express that there truly is no right or wrong here. Creative meal planning and finding new ways to use old or unfamiliar ingredients is more about finding what feels right to you, so feel free to use these tips as a guide to inspire you to do just that.
1) Make something familiar.
Subbing in similar ingredients (that you're trying to get rid of and use up) into a recipe you already know and love is probably the easiest way to eat down your pantry/freezer. Here are some examples that we're trying out this week:
2) Create a copy-cat meal.
What could be a funner challenge or more rewarding experience than recreating a restaurant meal that you love at home!? With your own hands?! You can use the restaurant's menu as a guide to what ingredients & spices you'll need or try searching the web for "copy cat __________". I've got some pickle juice saved up that I can't wait to try making Copy Cat Chick-fil-A Nuggets with!
3) Phone a friend.
Call on friends, family, co-workers, etc. to give you ideas for whatever ingredient(s) you're trying to use up. Here are some posts you could try on social media or texts you could send to your ride or dies:
Similarly, get your immediate family involved in the creative meal planning process too! There is no rule that says that "all meal planning decisions must be made by __________." Making meals should be a team effort, so take family members off the bench and give them a chance to chip in.
4) Save it for a Salad!
5) Totally stuck? Leave the decision to chance!
There is no shame (at all!) in handing off the decision of "What's to eat?" to fate. I'm rather fond of our Dinner Dice, but you can also use resources like AllRecipes.com, SuperCook.com, and Pinterest to help you find recipes for any ingredient under the sun. Just try to be open to new tastes and don't allow yourself to go down a rabbit hole of options. I promise that time could be better spent elsewhere.
Did I miss any of your favorite ways to get creative with meal planning? Feel free to share with me in the comments below!