Eat Healthy During Quarantine: Things to Stock up On

Mandatory quarantines are hitting the nation, forcing people to stay indoors for their own wellbeing and that of others as the US leads the world in cases of COVID-19. What will the meals in your home look like over the coming weeks? What if it extends beyond a few weeks? Will you and your family have enough of the foods you need to remain healthy and keep your immune system at its best?

It’s important to stock up on all the basics, so you’ll have what you need to keep eating well while you’re restricted indoors. Need some direction? We can help.

Make sure you’re stocked up on canned goods like tomatoes, peaches, corn, beans, soups and meats. Have a supply of dried goods including pasta, bread, grains, legumes, fruits, coffee and baking staples. Stock the freezer with a variety of meats, veggies, fruits, and condensed juices — and don’t forget granola bars, pretzels, nuts, jerky and limit junk food for snacking. We have more ideas for foods you should be stocked up on to prepare for quarantine in your area.

Canned Goods

Canned goods are usually good for at least a year or two, so stock up with a good variety now to have them later. Some great choices to add to your list include:

  • Beans can be paired with pasta and rice dishes, tossed into a salad or added to soups. They’re high in protein and fiber, which can keep people feeling full for longer. Beans have also been found to regulate cholesterol levels, so a win-win.
  • Tomatoes are incredibly versatile, and they actually increase in thiamine, riboflavin and niacin when canned. They also contain vitamin C, which is essential for healthy immune function.
  • Peaches are another great vitamin C source, and they can work as a side, snack or cooked into a dessert.
  • Corn is a great source of fiber, and it also contains a decent amount of iron and potassium. Eat it with a little butter, salt and pepper as a side, or add canned peas and carrots and bake it into a shepherd’s pie.
  • Soups are quick and easy. They can be highly nutritious, depending on what varieties you choose.
  • Meats and fish are sources of protein, and getting some of these canned will free up shelf space in the freezer for other necessities. Add a few cans of chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon and crab for some variety. And if you skip this because you're a vegetarian, remember to grab some cans of mushrooms instead.

Keep a good variety of each so you can mix and match and keep meal ideas fresh—bored people are often grouchy people. Jarred goods like peanut butter and jelly are also good to have on hand.

Dried Goods

Beans and rice are excellent staples to keep on hand anyway, so hopefully, most of us have some of these already. They have long shelf lives, can incorporate into nearly any dish and add plenty of protein to even a meatless meal. If you buy both dry and in bulk, they’re also really cheap foods that can go a long way if you need them to.

Some other types of items to consider stocking up on include:

  • Pasta and/or noodles can help stretch meats and veggies. Opt for fiber-rich varieties, when possible.
  • Tortillas and bread are also excellent for extending meals.
  • Oatmeal, cereal and other grains keep well and are healthy ways to bulk out any meal.
  • Coffee and/or instant cocoa might help keep people going on cold mornings. Keep dried milk or shelf-stable alternative milk on hand for do-it-yourself coffee creamer.
  • Baking staples like flour, sugar, salt and leavening can go a long way. Not into baking entirely from scratch? Bisquick and similar multi-use mixes can expand baking horizons without being as finicky as scratch-baking.

Store these goods on a cool, dry shelf in sealed, airtight containers to prevent infestations as well as degradation from light and air.

Frozen Goods

The freezer is a great place to keep a variety of fruits, vegetables and condensed juices for times when veggies are hard to come by. You can also freeze bread for up to 6 months to maintain its freshness. Simply thaw it in the fridge and/or toast it when you're ready to eat it. Some people also like to keep meats and seafood in there or ready-to-eat options like those delicious vegan tamales. And don’t forget the ice cream to add a mood-boosting dessert to the menu every once in a while.

Snack Items

It can be easy to forget granola bars, pretzels, nuts, jerky, popcorn and dried fruit, but it’s just as important to stock up on snack items as it is to secure a supply of dietary staples. Make sure you have enough of your favorite munchies to help keep everyone satisfied in between all those meals you’re trying to stretch out.

Living weeks (or longer) in quarantine is stressful enough without the worry of empty or inadequately stocked cupboards. Make sure you have everything you need to ride out the wave. Remember, no human can survive on toilet paper alone. And there's more to staying healthy than just being fed—so be sure to look for ways to include vegetables, fruits, exercise, and fresh air into this new normal.

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3/30/2020 7:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
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