Preparing for a Coronavirus Quarantine? Here's a Healthy Shopping List To Help
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We’re guessing you’ve probably been following the latest coronavirus pandemic updates from the CDC pretty closely. As the situation evolves, you might want to prepare in the event that there’s a quarantine or you or a family member gets sick. Having a plan in place is never a bad idea.
Also, stocking up now will mean that you won’t have to get these items later if you’re not feeling well or when there are more cases in your area and you want to self-quarantine.
There’s are a lot of great guides out there, but we also know if you’re reading this living a healthy lifestyle is important to you. Generally, we recommend you fill your diet with foods from the perimeter of the supermarket, including fresh fruits, veggies, and proteins.
However, when it comes to purchasing food that will last you for two to three weeks at a time, the middle aisles are going to be your friend. Unfortunately, those aisles are also where most processed foods loaded with refined carbs, added sugars, and preservatives are.
And while loading up on frozen pizzas, boxed mac and cheese, and chocolate might sound like a good way to combat your stress… eating primarily healthy foods might be better at helping you reduce your stress.
With that in mind, we created a healthy foods shopping guide you can use to prepare. If you don’t end up needing them, you’ll find the bulk of these are foods we recommend year-round.
What Healthy Food Items To Stock Up On
When you’re stocking up, go with what you know and love. (Sure, canned sardines may provide protein and healthy fats, but don’t fill your pantry with them if you’re not sure if you like them. Now is not the ideal time to get adventurous with your grocery list.)
Now is also a good time to meal prep.
Freeze soups, pasta sauces, and other freezable recipes so all you have to do is reheat them. Here are 13 crock pot recipes and some meal prep guides that can help you find meals to make. Add these ingredients to your shopping list as well.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most fresh produce probably won’t last through a 14-day quarantine, so you’ll want to buy enough frozen and canned fruits and vegetables to make it through that amount of time. Flash frozen produce typically retains more nutrients, but you only have so much freezer space, so you might need to buy canned goods as well.
Some fresh fruits, like citrus, will last up to a month, so purchase some of those as if you want to have fresh fruit on hand. When choosing canned fruit, look for fruits packed in water or 100% fruit juice rather than those canned in syrup. For frozen fruit, read the ingredients list to make sure there’s no added sugar.
For veggies, again, frozen is best. If you’re buying canned veggies, keep an eye on the sodium. Rinsing canned veggies also helps cut down the excess salt.
Beans are great to buy in these situations in that they do double-duty as both a veggie and a protein source.
Eggs, Meat, Fish, and Tofu
Like fresh produce, most meats won’t hold for two to three weeks (with a few exceptions, like smoked salmon). Pick up meats with a long time left before their sell-by date. You’ll also want to pick up fish and meat to freeze and some canned fish as well.
Frozen meat and fish is often cheaper, making it a better option since you’re just going to freeze it at home anyway!
Tofu and tempeh are generally tastiest fresh, but can be frozen.
Fresh eggs are good for three weeks refrigerated, up to a year frozen. (Just make sure not to freeze them in the shell. Crack them in a bowl, beat the white and yolk together, then freeze.) Eggs are a great way to add quick protein to your diet.
Grains will add variety and nutrients to your meals. Whole grains like quinoa, farro, oats, and brown rice will also help give you energy if you’re working out at home. (We’re guessing you know this, but if you have a fever, don’t work out.) They also keep an incredibly long time raw.
When it comes to bread, tortillas, bagels, etc., we recommend whole grain. Freeze everything you’re not going to use in the first week.
You’ll want to have some healthy snacks on hand. Consider jarred salsa, olives, pickles, popcorn for air popping, hard-boiled eggs, nuts and nut butters without added sugar, and seeds.
Oils and Spices
Check your pantry to make sure you have enough olive oil on hand and the spices you need to make the recipes you like. If you like things spicy, get a bottle of no-sugar added hot sauce.
For the most part, use the expiration date as a guide as to how long you can keep dairy products. Also, you can technically freeze milk, cheese, and yogurt for later use. Some people don’t like what it does to the texture, particularly yogurt, so you might want to test this before freezing too much.
Non-dairy milks like almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and hemp milk come in shelf-stable versions that you don’t need to refrigerate until opening, so consider those.
Drinking water is always a good idea. If you haven’t changed that Brita filter in a while, consider doing so.
But, after a few weeks, water can get a little… boring. Flavored waters like La Croix or teas are great healthy alternatives. And, if you like your morning coffee, don’t forget to get that too.
If you end up quarantined, it’s bound to be a little stressful. The occasional Mindful Indulgence (to borrow a Sugar Free 3 term) might be nice.
Just don’t get carried away. Pick a few things, maybe a bottle of wine or two, a big bar of dark chocolate, a couple pints of ice cream… but don’t fill your cart. You just want enough to allow for a little something every now and then along the way.
One trick is to place your comfort foods in the little child seat rack of your shopping cart. Three weeks of indulgences shouldn’t need to take up more space than that space.
Medication, Toiletries, and Household Supplies
If you can, get a 14-day supply of any medications you need… including any cold and flu medications or cough drops you prefer when you get sick. Also, take a look at your toiletry supplies and see where you’re at.
See if you need to pick up more toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene products, razors, or body wash. Same goes for household supplies like laundry detergent, dish soap, hand soap, and garbage bags.
If you have babies or toddlers, get some extra diapers, baby food and/or formula.
Watching Netflix for 2-3 weeks sounds fun… but might get old fast. Considering picking up a puzzle, a book, a video game, yarn for a knitting project, or anything else that could help you relieve the boredom of being stuck indoors.
If you have furry (or scaly) creatures, make sure to think about them too! Grab some extra food as well as litter and/or bedding.
Your Shopping List
Use this list as a starting place, but adjust it so it fits your diet and your taste buds.
- Frozen fruit (berries, mango)
- Frozen vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, peas, green beans, edamame, spinach, sweet potatoes, etc.)
- Canned or boxed low-sodium vegetable soups
- Broths (chicken broth or tetra-packed bone broth)
- Citrus fruits that have long shelf lives (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes)
- Canned vegetables (pumpkin, tomatoes, beans, jackfruit)
- Canned fish (sardines, canned salmon, canned tuna, canned crab)
- Lean meats to freeze (chicken, beef, pork, turkey, etc.)
- Lean fish or shellfish to freeze (salmon, tuna, cod, trout, shrimp, etc.)
- Frozen tempeh and/or tofu
- Whole grains (quinoa, farro, whole-grain pasta, whole-grain bread, oats, brown rice, etc.)
- Nuts and nut butters
- Shelf-stable milks (almond, soy, rice, coconut, rice, oat)
- Unsweetened yogurt
- Hard cheeses (Parmesan, cheddar, etc.)
- Fermented or brined snacks like olives, pickles, and kimchi
- Flavored water, coffee, and tea
- Olive oil
- Spices and flavorings like hot sauce
- Diapers, baby food and/or formula if needed
- Toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene products, razors, body wash, etc.)
- Household products (laundry detergent, dish soap, hand soap, garbage bags, etc.)
- Pet supplies (food, litter/bedding)
- Entertainment options (books, games, puzzles, hobby supplies, etc.)
- Checklist to Get Ready www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/checklist-household-ready.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcommunity%2Fhome%2Findex.html
- Nutrient and Stress Management www.longdom.org/open-access/nutrient-and-stress-management-2155-9600-1000528.pdf
- What You Need to Know About Egg Safety www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/what-you-need-know-about-egg-safety