4 Tips for Easier Post-Rehab Grocery Shopping

Senior woman post-hospital stay grocery shopping

Going back to daily life after post-hospital rehabilitation and therapy can be challenging.

One typical chore you may or may not have missed is grocery shopping, which can quickly become tiring or beyond your current physical capacity after rehab.

Fortunately, we have a few simple tips to make this task easier and less overwhelming. That way, you can focus on what matters most – your recovery.

Tip 1: Form a Plan of Attack

Maybe you were always an organized list-maker before trips to the store, or maybe you just try to get in and out as quickly as possible.

Regardless, planning out what you need beforehand will make the trip itself simpler and ensure you don’t need multiple trips throughout the week for forgotten items.

As you create your list, keep in mind any dietary restrictions you may now have with new medications. And depending on your situation, your doctor may have recommended avoiding certain foods or adding others.

Eating well as you recover from your surgery or illness is more important than ever. Your body needs key nutrients to help heal itself, and you need to build up enough energy to take on the task of getting back to normal.

You’ll also want to think about foods that are simple to prepare, keep for a while and can be used in a variety of ways. This will decrease the likelihood that you’ll waste food and the number of grocery trips you might have to make.

Nutritional Considerations for Grocery Shopping

The National Institute on Aging recommends thinking about these suggestions as you plan your grocery list:

  • Choose nutrient-dense foods. For example, a 200-calorie serving of peanut butter has more nutritional value than a 200-calorie serving of potato chips.
  • Cut down on added sugars, saturated fats and sodium. Try making healthy swaps – like substituting flavored sparkling water for soda, or leaner cuts of meat for fattier ones.
  • Pick whole grains over refined ones. Foods like brown rice and whole-grain bread offer more nutritional benefits than their white, refined relatives.

Related: Quick and easy post-rehab recipes you’ll love >>

Tip 2: Take a Shortcut

Many grocery stores now offer delivery or pick-up services. This can be a real time-saver for anyone and may be perfect if you aren’t feeling up to getting your groceries after rehab.

Below are some central Ohio grocery stores that offer pickup or delivery options.

  • With Kroger Pickup (formerly ClickList), you can order your groceries online up to three days in advance, then have them brought out to you without leaving your car.
  • Aldi offers a home grocery delivery service that works much the same way. Check their website to see if they offer this service in your area.
  • Apps like Instacart offer grocery delivery service from a variety of local stores. Check the app to see if your favorite stores participate.

Another option, although it can be more expensive, is a meal kit delivery service like Blue Apron or HelloFresh. These services have grown in popularity recently, so there are plenty of options available. If you don’t mind paying more, they can be convenient options during your recovery period.

Tip 3: Ask for Help

If ordering your groceries for delivery or simply picking them up isn’t an option, don’t be afraid to enlist some help.

Even if you live alone, don’t drive or don’t have someone on-call, you can still get help. See if you can arrange for a friend or family member to visit once a week and take you to the grocery. You can also call your area Agency on Aging to ask for services near you.

If you do end up venturing to the store by yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. Store associates can reach items on higher shelves, lift heavier things and bring groceries to your car.

The National Institute on Aging also suggests looking for motorized carts, shopping at a time of day when you’re well-rested and there are fewer people, and looking for a seat in the pharmacy section if you get tired.

Related: The importance of continuing therapy at home >>

Tip 4: Create a Post-Game Strategy

Once you get home with your bags, take it as easy as possible. If someone went with you to the grocery, ask if they can help you put things away.

Don’t lift something heavy or twist sharply. Use common sense depending on what your injury or illness was. While physical activity is good for your recovery, doing too much, too fast isn’t.

Think about where items are stored and how easily you’ll be able to access them. If they’re currently in hard-to-reach places, see if you can do a little rearranging so you won’t have to bend or stretch too much. Make life as easy for yourself as possible.

More Post-Rehab Tips

After rehabilitation and therapy, you’ll probably have a lot of medical bills and paperwork to handle. Keeping all this information in order can be challenging.

Need some help? Download our guide, How to Keep Your Medical Bills Organized, for tips on keeping your paperwork in order.

Download the Guide >>