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6 non-grocery-store food ideas for you


Life has gotten considerably crazier here in the U.S. since I last blogged on Friday.

Schools are closed, events are cancelled, people are working from home, and, uh, the grocery stores are kind of nuts.

empty bread aisle from coronavirus

If you want something like lemon extract, you’re good. It’s in stock!

But you’d better not want bread, bananas, or toilet paper.

Here at chez FG, we are pretty much good to go on necessities, but I know not everyone is feeling that way.

And as I was pondering that, I thought it might be helpful to list a few non-grocery store options for you.

Even though I do have groceries, it made me feel a little better to know that there are still alternatives, and I hope it makes you feel better too.


I hear that a number of grocery stores are having trouble keeping produce in stock.

So, this is a great time to consider a produce delivery service.

People can’t go to a produce warehouse and panic buy all the oranges, you know?

Hungry Harvest

(Update 3/23- Hungry Harvest is not accepting any more new customers at the moment, due to high demand. They want to make sure they don’t take on more customers than they can adequately serve.)

If you live on the east coast, give Hungry Harvest a try.

Hungry Harvest delivery

I’ve never had bananas from them 😉 but they can bring you a box filled with a variety of produce each week, and you never have to leave your house or interact with another human.

Plus, when you buy from Hungry Harvest, you are helping farmers to earn money from produce that may otherwise have gone to waste.

(Note: Hungry Harvest usually has some non-produce add-ons, such as milk, cheese, and bread.)

Washington’s Green Grocer

If you live around Washington D.C., you can order produce from Washington’s Green Grocer.

WGG is a small business (and they keep it that way on purpose), so this is only useful for those of you in the Mid-Atlantic.

But if that’s you and you need some fruits and veggies, go check them out!

(Note: WGG also sells some non-produce items, such as bread and milk.)

WGG doesn’t sell rescued produce, so if ugly produce squicks you out, WGG is a better option for you.

Imperfect Produce

This service is a lot like Hungry Harvest, but it’s available across more of the country.

I don’t have a discount code for you, but you could probably google to find one.

Consider a meal kit service

The cheapest option is almost always to cook food at home with groceries you buy.


If you don’t have enough groceries and you can’t get out to the store, this might be a really great time for a meal kit service.

The current evidence suggests that food transmission is not a big concern, and every food company I’ve come into contact with has sent me emails saying they are being very careful about sanitation around food prep.

So it sounds to me like meal kit delivery service could be safer than grocery shopping.

There are a ton of options out there, but I’ll highlight two I have tried (and have discount codes for!)


Meal kits are never super cheap, but if you’re looking for the most affordable option, Dinnerly is it.

A Dinnerly one-dish meal

Dinnerly costs less than $5/serving, and the cooking/prep is definitely on the easier side of things as compared to other meal kits.

Plus, if you order a Dinnerly box through a link or button on my blog, you can get $10 off per box for the first three weeks.

The voucher should apply through the button below, but you can also try copying and pasting this discount code in during checkout: A3FRGLXGRL10W

(3/23 update: Dinnerly has gotten overwhelmed with new customers and for the moment, the $10 discount offer has been removed. I’ll update when it’s back up and running.)

Washington’s Green Grocer

I mentioned that they deliver produce, but they do also have meal kits.

Washington's Green Grocer meal kit

Some of them are pretty expensive for frugal-minded people, but others are around $5/person, like this burger bundle.

Or this turkey zucchini burger kit.

And WGG makes a serious effort to keep their meal kits low waste; I’ve been impressed with the ones I’ve seen.

Use code FRUGALGIRL for $10 off your first order.

Get takeout from a local business

Hat tip to my kind friend Angela of Tread Lightly, Retire Early for this idea!

Angela is making it a point to spend some of her money at local takeout restaurants.

Small businesses are hard-hit by the current situation, and Angela is purposely upping her takeout spending right now to help support them.

Five Guys takeout date night


If you have some financial wiggle room at the moment, consider supporting a local business by ordering takeout.

It’ll help stretch the groceries you have and it can help keep someone’s business afloat.

What other grocery store alternatives would you add to my list?

Share in the comments!

P.S. This is a good time to use cloth towels and washcloths, since paper towels are sold out in a lot of places. Here are 8 ways to keep kitchen towels and washcloths sanitary (and non-stinky!)

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Sunday 29th of March 2020

I realize this is a "hindsight is a wonderful thing" kind of post but these last weeks have made me appreciate making bread at home all the more. I'm a big fan of my bread machine but I have nothing against you hard core peeps who tough it out making bread the old fashioned way. But sorry - a bread machine makes the whole process so easy there's no reason to not do it that way.

My point is we haven't had store bought bread in this house in over a year. I didn't expect my supply of bread flour and yeast to ever turn into "y2k end of the world" emergency rations but I guess they did. And after seeing what has been left in the bread aisle time and again - yeesh! ("Honey do we want the last loaf of smashed Wonder bread? I think some slices are missing.")


When I checked the pantry as this epidemic mess started and stores were being swamped we already had enough bread flour and yeast to get us through at least another four months. No bread insecurity here - for some time anyway. (Bread flour has become another nearly impossible thing to find in the stores now.)

Ima gonna go hug my bread machine. It's made having bread in the house a "non grocery store" thing for us for a long time. And it's turned into an accidental blessing these days.


Wednesday 25th of March 2020

Good recommendations. We've used Hungry Harvest and it was wonderful. Also, helped me to branch out and try cooking with vegetables that I never worked into my diet previously.

Fun Fact: The CEO who started Imperfect produce worked for Hungry Harvest originally. Then told the owner of Hungry harvest that he was going on a vacation to California only to never return.


Monday 23rd of March 2020

Misfits Market is also like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce! There is also the option to grow some of your own food. I live in the mountains where it is still cold, so I'm just regrowing veggies (like book Chou, romaine, and green onions) while also experimenting with growing microgreens from seed which only takes about 1-2 weeks and makes an excellent addition to curries, stir-fries, and pasta dishes made from pantry ingredients or as a salad on the side. I think Amazon has large bags of microgreen seed mixes.


Sunday 22nd of March 2020

Tried to used your dinnerly link and it said the voucher could not be applied :(


Sunday 22nd of March 2020

Hmm. Have you ordered from them before? The code should be embedded in the link, but try putting this code in directly: A3FRGLXGRL10W

I sent an email to my contact at Dinnerly to see if there's a sitewide issue, and I will let you know as soon as I hear from her!


Thursday 19th of March 2020

See if your local farmer's market is still open. The big one here in NYC is open and they have instituted protocols to keep people safe. They are barricading their stands so it is no longer self service. They ask people to line up, keeping 6 feet apart, and when you reach the stand you tell them what you want and they will pick it for you. They are also encouraging the use of credit cards and Venmo to reduce the risk that passing cash around can have.

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