What to do if the grocery store is out of your meal plan items

There’s no question we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Restaurants, businesses and schools alike are all shutting their doors in attempts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Not to mention, if you’ve been to the grocery store in the last week or so, you’ve probably noticed the shortage of some pantry staples… Items like chicken, ground turkey, bananas, water and toilet paper are all in hot demand right now.

But what happens when you head to the store to stock up for the week, planning to make all the yummy recipes from the FASTer Way, and your local grocery store is OUT of the ingredients you need?

There’s no question that we LOVE having the meal plan readily available to guide us along in our health and fitness journey. However, with the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, it’s safe to say that some of our beloved pantry staples are now on short supply.

Wondering how you’re going to stay on top of your nutrition when the grocery stores are selling out of what you need? Not sure what to do if you can’t find the ingredients to make tonight’s meal plan recipe? Well friends, rest assured! We have some good news for you: You can STILL live the FASTer Way lifestyle, even in the middle of a global pandemic.

Even if meal-plan staple ingredients are running low in supply at the grocery store, we have a list of 10 suggestions on how YOU can stay on top of your nutrition during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Progress Over Perfection

First and foremost, focus on making progress, not perfection. In the coming weeks, if you have to substitute a few ingredients from the meal plan to accommodate what you have and can find, that is 100% OK! Don’t stress yourself if you don’t have exactly what is needed in the meal plan that week. Make healthy adjustments as necessary and keep moving forward!

See What You Already Have

This is a great time to take inventory of what’s been hiding out in the back of your pantry. Got a few cans of beans? A can or two of fire-roasted tomatoes? Some dry quinoa and tomato sauce? Some frozen ground turkey packed away in the freezer? Throw it together to make a healthy, fiber-filled chilli! You’d be surprised how many nutrient-dense ingredients you’ll find pushed to the back of the pantry or stored away in the freezer.

Hit the Grocery Store Early in the Morning

Head to the grocery store first thing in the morning! As the day goes on, certain food items and pantry staples are more likely to sell out quicker than others. Plan to arrive at the grocery store as early as possible to beat the crowds and pick up those meal plan ingredients that were restocked the night before.

Check the Smaller Stores and Local Markets

Some of the smaller, specialty food grocery stores aren’t being hit as hard as the Costcos and Sam's Clubs of the world! Consider checking these stores before heading to those major chains. If there’s a local market in your area, swing by to see what fresh ingredients they have in stock. Many of the smaller, locally owned markets offer fresh organic meat and locally grown produce.

Be Creative

Take inventory of what’s in your pantry! We recommend making a list of all the ingredients you have and writing up some creative recipes. Don’t be afraid to swap out healthy alternatives in the meal plan, too! If you’re missing a few ingredients for a particular recipe, use what you have in the pantry and make the necessary adjustments. You’d be surprised at what you might just come up with!

Don’t Turn to Processed Foods and Sugar- Resist the temptation to grab those quick, sugary snacks from the pantry. Be intentional about your nutrition and in your meal planning for the week. Make sure that you are stocking up on plenty of fresh, whole-food options for when the urge of snacking strikes. Nuts and dried fruit are a great option to have on hand for a quick and satisfying snack (bonus-- they have a great shelf-life!)

Check out “Simple Ingredient Meals” on Pinterest

Pinterest is a GREAT tool to utilize during this time. There are thousands of simple, healthy, “low ingredient” recipes to make and explore. Try searching things like “simple ingredient meals,” “healthy dinners under 5 ingredients,” and “easy healthy meals.” You’d be amazed at all the recipe ideas you’ll find on Pinterest that keep you living the FASter Way lifestyle!

Stock Up on Frozen Berries

There are still plenty of frozen berries in the freezer section at the grocery stores. Frozen berries are GREAT to keep on hand to add a boost of antioxidants to any recipe. Consider making a mixed berry smoothie or adding frozen berries to your oatmeal and dairy-free yogurt. Not to mention, they’re a yummy snack to eat right out of the bag, too!

Buy Fresh and Freeze It

Not sure about what to do with that fresh produce that’s about to go bad? Throw the rest of the produce into an ice tray, fill it up with water, and pop it into the freezer to freeze until solid. Use those frozen cubes as smoothie starters and flavor blends to add to your meals. Try starting with leafy greens like spinach and kale for a green smoothie! Or strawberries and blueberries for an antioxidant-boosting berry smoothie. Or freeze ingredients like mashed sweet potato, avocado or tomato puree to add flavor and nutrients to dishes down the road.

Refer to the “Pre-Meal Plan” Days

Remember, we haven’t always had a meal plan available in the FASTer Way community. Don’t have the exact ingredients for the meal plan? No problem! Make a plan and adjust as needed. Don’t doubt yourself and your ability to live the FASTer Way lifestyle even with a shortage of ingredients. It’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice!

Even if the grocery store doesn’t have what you need for the meal plan readily available, there are plenty of ways to stay on track with your nutrition during the coronavirus outbreak. You CAN create a delicious, nutrient-dense dinner for low carb day. You CAN choose nutrient-dense foods to properly fuel your body to get through your workout.

You CAN make the right choices and stay on track with your health goals. We believe in you and know that you can do this! Need some guidance along the way?

Reach out to us! We’d love to help guide you along the way as we continue in our health and fitness goals together as a community!