11 Top Tips for Food Shopping With A Chronic Illness

WE’RE (2)I wanna talk about food, and specifically food shopping.

I want my fridge and cupboard to be magically full of food I want. I don’t want to go and get it, and I don’t want to think about what I want.


So, currently there’s a few ways food ends up in my house:

1. My girlfriend brings me things I ask for on the way home from work.

2. I go to the little Tesco around the corner from me (walk).

3. I go to the bigger Tesco in town (bus).

4. I do an online food shop from ASDA.

Now they obviously all have their pros and cons:

1. Have to know what I want and no opportunity for browsing; but it does get brought to me relatively immediately.

2. On bad days I can’t walk that far, it’s more expensive, and I end up buying things I don’t need; but it is convenient, relatively close and stocks all the essentials.

3. It’s a faff to get the bus into town and it’s difficult to carry things back; but it has a much wider range of products and is cheaper.

4. It doesn’t come immediately, less browsing, I always seem to have substitute issues; but it’s cheap, I have the full range of products and I don’t have to leave my bed.


So, I present to you my 11 top tips for food shopping with a chronic illness:

  1. Keep a running list of things you need (food, toiletries, whatever). If possible, have this list somewhere you can access on the go, should you ever find yourself at some shops or a supermarket. Personally, I use Evernote.
  2. When shopping online, make use of the opportunity to look at previous orders and re-order essentials/things you liked in the past. I find it helps to just jog my memory.
  3. Always have ready meals in the freezer or tinned soup in the cupboard, just in case.
  4. Try and get housemates/friends into the habit of asking you if you need anything picking up when they are heading towards yours. It’s not much hassle to them and big help to you. (It’s worth trying to get them to ask because a) it’s a reminder and b) I don’t always know when people are coming and don’t want to miss my opportunity to text them!)
  5. Clear table/surface in your kitchen before online shop is due to arrive so that you have somewhere to put your delivery and don’t have to bend over to deal with bags on the floor.
  6. Don’t feel pressured to unpack food (either from a shop or online shop), immediately. Just make sure you put away freezer/fridge food. The rest can sit in the bags for a while!
  7. Whilst you have to pay for delivery of online shopping, I calculate that’s money well spent in terms of the time/energy it would take me to go and do that shop myself.
  8. Don’t forget that many supermarkets have a cheaper delivery option if you’re prepared to expand the delivery slot to 8 hours or so. If you’re in all day anyway, this might work well for you!
  9. If you don’t have access to a car, always make sure you use a basket and not a trolley when browsing the shop so you don’t accidentally pick up more than you can reasonably carry.
  10. When friends and family inevitably say “let me know if there’s anything I can do (to help you)”, asking them to help with shopping is a very legitimate request.
  11. Always go shopping with a list. Not so much to avoid picking up unnecessary things, but to remember what you went to get in the first place!


Find a routine that works for you. If you’re organised and plan your meals in advance, then predominantly online shopping might work for you, but if you’re more scatty (like me!) then perhaps go for a combination of shopping methods.

How do you go about food shopping?