A Guide to Grocery Shopping in a Wheelchair

Published: Oct 05, 2018

Shopping for groceries can be a nightmare for wheelchair users. Hopefully, this guide will help.

Basket or Cart

When shopping, you’re going to need a place to keep all the things you want to buy. Carts and baskets have distinct advantages and disadvantages when shopping in a wheelchair.


Shopping carts are great for when you’re shopping for a large item or a large amount of items. If the wheels of the cart are decent, you shouldn’t have too much trouble pushing a cart along with your wheelchair. Make sure that you keep one hand in the center of the cart’s handle while you push your chair with the other. This way you won’t have to steer both the cart and your chair at the same time.

When the cart starts to get full, it’s going to become more difficult to move and control. Make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and don’t block your vision by stacking things too high.

I only recommend using a cart when you’re going to be loading your groceries into a vehicle. Otherwise, you run the risk of buying more than you can carry with you when you leave.


Handbaskets are great for when you’re only doing a small amount of shopping in a single trip. They’re light, durable, and fit easily across your lap. I’ve also found that most grocery store handbaskets have about the same capacity as a large tote bag. This reduces the risk of you buying more than you can carry.

When using a handbasket, you need to be extra aware of both the weight and position of the items you place in it. There’s nothing worse than having your groceries tumble off of your lap and onto the floor. Make sure that you place heavier items evenly on the bottom and light items on top. This will help the basket stay level as you move through the store.

Paper Or Plastic (Or Reusable)

When it comes time to checkout, I recommend you use your own reusable bags to carry your groceries. They have a larger capacity than paper or plastic bags and sturdier handles. I recommend that you get a bag with straps long enough to comfortably fit over your head. Carrying the bag like this makes it more stable while pushing your chair.

Have a Plan

Make sure you have a plan around what you’re going to buy, where it is in the store, and how you’re going to get it home. You don’t want to “wing it” when it comes to trying to get all 12 eggs home in one piece.

To reduce the amount of groceries you need to buy, create a meal plan. This will help you cook meals for the most number of days with the least number of unique ingredients.