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Shopping for Food
You are responsible for doing the grocery shopping. Always keep an organized list in the kitchen and write down things when they are empty. Include things such as items that are replaced often like milk, bread, soap, and toilet tissue. Also make sure that you purchase things according to the patient’s diet such as low-sodium, sugar substitute, and low-fat foods. Be sure to check the pantry and refrigerator often for foods that are no longer good and throw them out. Always read the labels on the foods that are purchased to make sure that they follow along with the patients’ diet guidelines. Think of food shopping as a challenge. Your goal will be to get the most for your patients’ money by purchasing the best quality, most healthful foods and staying within the food budget.
Terms of Food Products
- Light or lite—50 percent less fat per serving than the regular product
- Low fat—3 grams of fat or less per serving
- Fat-free—less than 1 gram of fat per serving
- Low cholesterol—20 milligrams or less of cholesterol and less than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving
- Cholesterol free—2 milligrams or less of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving
- Low calorie—40 calories or less per serving
- Calorie-free—less than 5 calories per serving
- Reduced or less sodium—25 percent or less than the regular product
- Light in sodium—50 percent or less than the regular product
- Low sodium—140 milligrams or less of sodium per serving
- Very low sodium—35 milligrams or less of sodium per serving
- Sodium free—5 milligrams or less of sodium per serving
- High fiber—5 grams or more of fiber per serving
- Good source—contains 10 percent to 19 percent of the daily value for a certain nutrient
- High in—contains 20 percent or more of the daily value for a certain nutrient
Shop for the Freshness of Produce
You should always check the label for the expiration date on the foods before purchasing. When shopping at the supermarket, always check the dates on food before making a purchase. Also, check the look of the food. Does it look and smell fresh? Frozen foods should be frozen, and refrigerated foods should be cold. Purchase these items last to prevent thawing. When leaving the grocery, check the receipt and make sure that the correct change was given. You will give the grocery list, receipt, and change to the patient as a record of the purchases.
Returning Home and Food Storage
When returning to the patients’ home, make sure the patient gets inside the home safely; then you can go back to retrieve the food. All of the frozen and refrigerated items need to be put away first, followed by the pantry items. Try to use the items before the expiration date so they don’t go to waste. Proper storage is essential to maintain the quality and the safety of food. Meat, poultry, and fish must be refrigerated immediately.
Guidelines for Food Storage
- Use moisture-proof wrap; label dates on all packages.
- Keep a list of freezer contents; any foods stored beyond appropriate time (Quality and safety may be questionable) should be discarded.
- Food should not be stored any longer than one month beyond recommended time.
- Wrap perishable foods to prevent mingling of taste and odors.
- Wrap raw meat loosely.
- Refrigerate leftovers immediately; wrap tightly to prevent drying out; use within 2-3 days.
- Keep eggs cold; store inside the refrigerator, not on the door.
- Use cool, dry storage areas; avoid damp and hot locations.
- If pests are a problem, store dry goods (cereal, pasta, etc.) in a glass or heavy plastic storage containers.
- Date packages not already dated, keep foods in moisture-proof containers (except for fresh produce)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture developed rules regarding the safety of meat and poultry:
- Store all food properly; keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until serving. Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard.
- Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meats and poultry separate from other foods. Wipe all working surfaces with an antibacterial wipe after touching any meat.
- Cook thoroughly, All meat and poultry should be fully cooked. All meat should not be pink in the inside.
Always wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water before and after you prepare any meals. If you are interrupted during food preparations, always wash your hands again, before resuming your food duties.