A trip to the grocery store for someone with cancer may be a tiring event. Some patients may need a little help such as a ride to the store or help carrying heavy items. For others with limited stamina and immunity, grocery shopping may not be possible. Here is where a caregiver, friends, relatives, and neighbors can really provide help! Use these grocery shopping tips to make the trip easier.

Shop with a list: Use our Grocery List to get you started with a fully stocked pantry. Make copies of a standard a grocery list that can be added to each week which includes perishables like milk and bread. Add in-season fruits and veggies. Add any new items for changes in special dietary needs.

Be an early bird: Shop early in the day if you live in warmer climates so the food will stay cold while driving, and it will be cooler while unloading the groceries at home.

Bring a cooler: If you plan to buy chilled or frozen foods, take a cooler with you to keep the food at a safe temperature until you make it home.

Check the dates: Cancer patients often have decreased immunity. This means that they are at a greater risk for infection and disease. Be sure to only purchase foods that are have not passed the expiration date. Also, don’t purchase foods with damaged packaging.

Read the label: Some dietary restrictions may limit specific ingredients like acid, alcohol, fiber, grapefruit, iodine, lactose, or sodium. The healthcare team or a registered dietitian can provide a written list of suggested and restricted foods.

Grab cold foods last: When shopping, select fresh items and room temperature items first. Then grab cold and frozen foods right before you check out at the grocery store. This helps keep the cold and frozen foods at a safe temperature on the drive home.

Use coupons: Look online and in the newspaper for coupons, especially for protein beverages and supplemental products recommended by the healthcare team. Some specialty products can be pricey. Check out the product websites for coupons or contact the manufacturer.

Save the receipt: Saving the receipt can help you and/or your loved one stick to a budget.

Treat your loved one: Your loved one may be on a limited budget for food. If you spot a special food, flower, or magazine that the patient might enjoy, pick it up for him or her.