As we get through the COVID 19 stay-at-home order, it’s best to reduce the number of trips we make to the grocery store. It is also good to be prepared for a 14-day quarantine by stocking up on two weeks of food and supplies. In a world of instant access to food, this change in our lifestyle might be difficult for some. With the added concern for safety and overall health you might wonder what you can keep on hand to continue eating a healthful diet as your cabinets become empty.
The first step is to stock your pantry with food that is easy to use and combines well with anything. A well-stocked pantry can relieve some of the pressure when it comes time to make a meal.
Here is a list of foods that store well.
- Dried or canned beans, peas and lentils
- Canned fish and chicken
- Nuts, seeds and nut butters
- Eggs and egg substitute (for when you run out of fresh eggs)
- Frozen poultry, beef, pork and seafood
- Powdered or evaporated milk
- Yogurt (you can also freeze yogurt)
- Cold weather vegetables like carrots and parsnips
- Potatoes, onions, squash
- Dried, canned, or frozen vegetables with no added salt
- Dried, canned or frozen fruit in 100% fruit juice
- Long-lasting fruit like oranges and apples
- 100% juices
- Whole grain pasta, oats, flour and brown rice
- Premade whole grain dough (can be frozen)
- Whole grain bread (can be frozen)
Supplies for cooking or baking
- Olive, canola or other vegetable oils
- Yeast, baking powder and baking soda
- Dried spices and seasonings
- Butter or margarine for baking
If fresh fruit or vegetables begin to become over-ripe you can freeze them or use them for baking. Bananas and avocados are a great substitute for eggs or oil. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots and cauliflower can be blanched and frozen for longer storage. Keeping some basics like flour, eggs and butter make it easier to cook foods from scratch. You can make muffins, crackers and homemade breads to keep your family satisfied. If you run out of an item you might be able to substitute it with another from this list from North Dakota State University's ingredient substitution list.
Buying meat in bulk can save money, but as soon as you get it home wash your hands and separate the meat into smaller portions in freezer bags or containers to be frozen. Remember to pull meat out of the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator the day before in order to have it ready to cook for dinner.
By planning your pantry, you have the freedom to combine different ingredients each day and use leftovers to make something completely different the next day, even if it is made from last night’s meal. Rice bowls and quick pasta are great recipes for mix and match meals and leftovers. Black beans and rice is a recipe that can be used in several different meal options such as burritos, as a base for a rice bowl, and nachos.
For more from the 5 Tips for Feeding Your Family Through Quarantine series