Kitchen Hack: Save Time, Shop Online

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A surprising number of people find that a stumbling block on the road to healthful eating is not the food itself, but rather acquiring and using it.

Today I want to offer a possible way to skip the grocery store run altogether, saving you and your clients from headaches in the aisles, checkout lines, and parking lot.

That option is online grocery shopping.

You see, I recently tried Safeway's online shopping option before a big holiday gathering. The week was hectic and the traffic is often heavy here so it was too tempting to pass up. I do enjoy grocery shopping (and I often get ideas by seeing what is available) so it was an interesting experiment to give up my usual habit of shopping in the real store.

The pros are that you stick to the list and you save a lot of time. It took me 14 minutes to purchase my whole holiday list online. That's quite a savings compared to the hour it takes me when I go to the real store. I would imagine that anyone who saves this time can use it for working out or cooking at home more often. I also think that with the online option you might avoid impulse-buying some tempting item that is fresh out of the bakery or stashed on the end of the aisle.

The cons are that, with this option, you can't actually get to the store and choose all of your food yourself.

That said, my overall experience was very positive. With online grocery shopping, it's easy to search and find items and you can save them in a list of frequently used foods.

Plus, with Safeway's resources, you can search by recipe, aisle, on sale now, or keyword. So if I want to find honey and am not sure where it is in the store, it's a lot faster to use the keyword search than wander the physical aisles to see if honey is with sugar or jelly.

Moreover, the "shop by recipe" feature allows you to add all the ingredients for a recipe with one click and then print your recipe. I can definitely see this as a useful tool for dietitians who want to help their clients eat better. Each food item in the online Safeway store will show the nutrition facts label and the cost per unit. I also have a check box where I can tell them to substitute or not substitute in case an item is missing. I did give them the license to substitute.

And how did the holiday meal go? Well, I ordered a turkey breast in plenty of time and was able to thaw it before roasting it. I got plenty of vegetables to roast with it so I could make a great gravy. It felt very easy to cook everything on my list and there weren't any ingredients that had flaws or came up missing. The day went off without a hitch and we enjoyed turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, cranberries, peas, gravy, and pie. I forgot about my lack of “feel and choice” while cooking everything and the amount of “touch” for the food on the table was greatly appreciated.

So what do you think? Would you give online grocery shopping a try? Would you recommend it to your clients?

Here are a few other useful shopping resources...

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