Shop safe, shop smart: Tips for that last-minute run to the grocery store before Thanksgiving

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INDIANAPOLIS — Many are planning last-minute trips to the grocery store Wednesday for their Thanksgiving meal. 

For those who decided to cook last minute, or those who just haven’t been able to make it, going to the grocery store this close to the big event can be intimidating.  

There are some steps shoppers can take to make sure they get what they need while staying safe.  

Crowds are still expected to be out at grocery stores, even if many people are switching to smaller meals. It’s best to plan ahead and make a list so that you can get in and out effectively. 

It’s important to know what you want ahead of time, but also be prepared with backups since many items can be sold out this close to the holiday. 

Many grocery stores including Meijer and Kroger have heavy sanitation procedures in place, but shoppers are also asked to do what they can to stay safe. 

Social distancing as much as possible is still important. Wearing a mask and sanitizing your hands after touching surfaces is also recommended. 

The store director at the Camby Meijer, Angie Muckridge says when it comes to this year, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. 

With health officials recommending smaller gatherings, many families are scaling back their traditional meals. 

“I think the trend has changed this year. It’s a little bit more intimate, less gatherings of people. So I think people are doing something a little bit different. Maybe they’re getting smaller turkeys this year, or maybe they’re going traditionally off the beaten path. Maybe they’re looking for more steaks. Or maybe they’re looking for more burgers, or pubs or roast. So, a little different this year,” said Muckridge. 

She also said that decorating and home decor can also go a long way towards making the holidays feel special even though they might not be celebrating like they planned. 

“I think at the end of the day everybody is looking for a little bit of hope to end 2020. And change things, but keep things still familiar. So, I think that home decor and still making those larger meals and then still having those leftovers and being creative, I think is going to be so important to the family tradition that people hold so true.” 

With smaller gatherings there may also be an increase in leftovers, even with scaling back.  Muckridge also had some recommendations on what to do with that extra food.  

“Put it in the freezer, seal it in a food safety bag, bring it out for that last-minute protein. And add it to a hot soup, a casserole dish, anything that could be that quick moment bite to eat for yourself,” Muckridge said. 

She also suggested the traditional leftover idea using the turkey to make a sandwich or in a crockpot recipe. 

There are also home and curbside delivery options for those who don’t want to go into the store. 

Some stores may have adjusted or reduced hours so it’s best to check with them before heading out. 

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