How to plan your shopping (well)

Get organised and #StayAtHome longer, eating healthy food with a shopping list geared to your needs

Thousands of Portuguese have been confined to their homes ever since the state of emergency was declared in Portugal on March 19 due to the threat of covid-19. Shopping for essential goods such as food is one of the few reasons for people to set foot on the street. Thus, if you want to go out even less, good organisation is essential to keeping the fridge and pantry well-stocked without having to hoard or go to the supermarket every day, and to guaranteeing the entire family´s food needs, in accordance with age groups, for a longer period of time.

The Portuguese Directorate-General for Health (DGS) recently launched a manual containing tips and advice and clarifying countless doubts in relation to food in a situation of social isolation such as that which the whole world is experiencing. The goal is to encourage food shopping in a responsible manner, purchasing long-lasting products geared to a healthy and well-balanced diet.


Good shopping planning starts with drawing up a list of what you need to buy. In this chapter, DGS recommends:
Check the food you still have left at home;
Also check the storage capacity of your fridge and freezer to ensure you have enough space for the food you purchase;
Plan the different meals you intend to have to give you an idea of ​​the ingredients you need, making a note of what's missing;
Give preference to food and portions that are consistent with a healthy eating pattern, or in other words, items included in the different groups of the Food Wheel. For example, choose products with a high nutritional value over those that provide plenty of energy but few nutrients, such as sugars. And remember that most vegetables can be purchased frozen, which increases their shelf-life;
At the supermarket, only buy what's on the list, choosing, where applicable, products with a longer shelf-life, less salt and less sugars (read the labels!). In the case of fruit, remember that apples, pears, oranges and tangerines last the longest without over-ripening


According to the DGS Manual, and pursuant to the estimated average daily nutritional needs of the Portuguese population (2000 kcal, 20% protein, 50% carbohydrates and 30% lipids) for each 14 days of confinement, each person will need: 1 kg of breakfast cereal; 3 kg of rice, pasta or potatoes; 2.5 kg of vegetables; 3 kg of fruit; 5 litres of milk or 14 yoghurts or 600 g of cheese; 6 eggs, 6 tins of canned fish, 2 kg of meat or fish; 1 kg of canned legumes (beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils) or 350 g, if dried; and 350 ml of olive oil.