Don’t Panic Buy! Smart Grocery Tips & Recipe Ideas

As COVID-19 panic spreads, fear-based grocery shopping has gone into overdrive. To make sure you’re not overspending at the till or buying foods you don’t actually need, we’ve put together some of our top tips + a few family-friendly recipes that use basic ingredients.

There’s no need to panic!

As the Prime Minister keeps telling us and the head of Foodstuffs has confirmed, there is no need to panic buy. We are very lucky in our country to have plenty of fresh and storable foods alongside toiletries readily available but we need to give the supermarkets enough time to restock the shelves. 

Remember: Think about the most vulnerable people who may be finding the supermarket shelves empty.

How to shop smarter

Shop normally (either online or in-store) and where stock limitations allow, add an extra tin of tomatoes or bag of pasta to your groceries – not three or four!

Note: As of 20th March, Countdown has confirmed that they are limiting all stock to 2 per customers (some exceptions apply).

A few things to add that you might not usually buy are:

  • Oats – great for breakfast or baking
  • Tinned beans – kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils are full of nutrients and protein and bulk up any meal. Paired in a saucy dish, kids won’t even taste the difference
  • Slow cooker sauces – take the hassle out of cooking after a long day by having one or two slow cooker meal sachets in the cupboard
  • Popcorn – when cooked properly, popcorn is a great snack for kids, big and small
  • Apples – puree your own apples and pop in the fridge/freezer for your bub

Remember, don’t bulk buy these items, just grab them and add to your normal shop.

Family-friendly recipe ideas

To help you make the most of the ingredients you have, we’ve compiled 3 kid-approved recipes that use a lot of basics but pack a whole lot of flavour. The best part, even the kids can help whip these together.

mexican meatloaf

Mini Mexican Meatloaf

Served with salad and guacamole these mini Mexican meatloaves will be a family favourite, with hidden vegetables and easy to pre prepare it’s a winner for the busy family with vege avoiding kids.


  • 500 grams beef mince
  • 1/2 brown onion finely diced
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 sachet taco seasoning (30g)
  • 1 bottle Mexican sauce (250g) or tinned tomatoes
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°fan forced. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Combine all ingredients except for the mozzarella and salsa in a bowl using your clean hands.
  • Press the mixture evenly into the muffin tin cups and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and spoon over Mexican sauce and sprinkle mozzarella on each mini meatloaf.
  • Return to oven and cook a further 8 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Serve with salad and guacamole.


  • My kids call these giant Nacho balls. They seem to be very popular at my house.
  • If I know I will be running short of time at dinner , I make these right up to filling the muffin tin and refrigerate until I am ready to bake them.
  • I have hidden carrots and zucchini in this mix often and the children rarely notice because of the sauce and cheese.
This recipe was created by Jennifer Cheung for Kidspot.

What’s your top tip for shopping during this time?

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