It truly is incredible how many aspects of life have drastically changed in the last five months. I have always considered myself a bit of a germophobe, but I never imagined being this consumed with face masks and hand sanitizer. Yet here we are in our new reality, attempting to hold onto any semblance of normality while fully acknowledging that this situation cannot be taken lightly.
One thing that hasn’t changed is my family still has to eat. I am an obsessive meal planner and have been for at least five years, but living in a pandemic has forced me to adjust some of my routines.
For starters, I don’t even do the shopping anymore.
There was a time when I looked forward to the solitude of casually strolling through grocery store aisles, leaving my kids and husband at home so that I could peruse without distractions. Since we began sheltering in place, my husband became the designated shopper, mostly because he finds the experience less stressful than me.
Secondly, I now make a flexible meal plan for 10 days instead of the five or six days we used to.
This minimizes the number of times my husband needs to expose himself to the grocery store crowds. I give him a grocery list with everything we’ll need to eat for at least 10 days (all snacks, produce, and ingredients for meals) and he picks everything up in one big haul. I even organize the list by the layout of the store so he can zigzag through the aisles and get out of there quickly!
Another adjustment is that we transitioned to a pescatarian diet.
This means that we eat seafood but not any other meat. We actually started making the switch early in the year and the scarcity of red meat, poultry, and pork on shelves for a while made it much easier. There are numerous health, environmental, and financial benefits associated with this change and it’s one we are enjoying.
Lastly, we stopped eating at restaurants.
No fast food, no takeout, and certainly no social distancing dining in. Believe me, I love having an occasional break from cooking, but I found that it was easier to keep a couple of frozen pizzas in the house than stress out about whether or not the teenager who baked my pie was wearing their mask properly. In this era, it’s all about keeping my family safe and controlling the things that I can.