Quarantine life has certainly made it more complicated to take quick trips to the supermarket to get what you need for cooking. That is why knowing how to stock up on healthy foods that will last your family for at least 14 days is very important. Don’t worry, these tips and ideas will help you.
1. Start with dry goods to create a foundation.
When stocking up on healthy foods for quarantine, focus on getting dry goods such as rice, beans, oats, and so on. They should be your foundation. They have a long shelf life, they are easy to store and can be used for many different nutritious meals. However, be careful to store them properly. For example, you need to keep your grains in an airtight container in a cool and dry place. This way you will maintain both their quality and taste.
2. Stock up on canned foods that contain liquid. Remember: frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh
One of the most important advantages of canned foods is that they have a very long shelf life and they are also easy to obtain and they are very affordable. One problem though is that they tend to take up a lot of space since they are quite bulky. So, what you need to do is prioritize foods that contain a high amount of liquids. This will help you maximize your liquid intake too. For instance, when consuming tomatoes or beans, in case you don’t use the excess liquid immediately, save it for later. This way you can use it to cook other dried foods like rice or pasta. Also, canned tuna in water can provide both liquid and protein. Consider getting fruits canned in juice, not in syrup. They will keep you hydrated.
Frozen foods are also great because they will add vitamins and nutrients to your diet. Make sure you stock up on frozen foods such as fruits and vegetables too. Store them in your freezer where they will last longer than perishable versions. Stock up on frozen peas, spinach, carrots and berries.
3. Satisfy hunger with grains, seeds, and pasta
One of the best ways to satisfy your hunger is by eating a lot of grains, pasta, and seeds. If you stock up on these ingredients they will last you for more than just 14 days. They are some of the most affordable ingredients you can incorporate in your healthy meals. They are all very versatile, budget-friendly, and most importantly, if you store them in sealed jars, they will last for months.
All of these ingredients contain good carbohydrates that are full of fiber. Adding them to your meal will also provide a lot of protein and you can always add some fresh vegetables too. If you want a versatile source of protein, go for quinoa seeds. However, buckwheat is also a great type of grain. All of these ingredients are great for meal prepping as well. Grains, seeds, and pasta will last for about a week if you store them in the fridge after cooking.
Chickpeas, beans, and lentils are all great sources of protein plus they make deliciously filling meals for the whole family to enjoy. Buying chickpeas, lentils, split peas, cannellini beans, and other pulses are some of the most efficient and affordable ways to use leftover vegetables from the last night’s dinner. They all provide lots of protein as well as complex carbohydrates and several vitamins. They also provide your body with minerals that will give your body sustained energy throughout the whole day and many other health benefits. For example, they are known to lower blood pressure as well as reduce cholesterol levels.
5. Don’t forget to buy onions and garlic
Onions and garlic add flavor to the meal as base ingredients and they also have many health benefits too. One of the best things about onions is that they can stay fresh for about a month or even longer, while garlic can last even for more than three months. It is very useful to have both onion and garlic right by your side when you’re cooking since they are one of the most important parts of cooking any delicious and healthy meal. To make sure you have enough stocked up for the quarantine; buy at least seven garlic bulbs and eight brown and red onions. That will last you for about two weeks.
6. Remember to add dried herbs and spices to your shop
Also, try not to forget herbs and spices that will make your meals more creative, interesting, and tasty. You can either choose to buy herbs or you can even grow them in your garden. You can even easily grow herbs on your own. Try growing oregano, basil, rosemary, and parsley. You can even make gardening a part of your family activity. Everyone can get involved in taking care of the herbs. This can be your fun family activity but also a way for you to teach your kids how to handle house-related responsibilities.
Oregano is a great herb for stockpiling, especially for these times when we all have to take extra care of our health. Oregano is known as a very strong antiseptic. It is high in caracole which is a type of phenol. Caracole is widely known for its potency and it goes perfectly with fish and many Italian dishes. If you want to add some spice to your meal, simply add some cayenne pepper into the mix. Cayenne pepper is made from the dried pods of chili peppers. Adding this to your dishes will help your body create hydrochloric acid that will help enhance digestion as well as the assimilation of protein in your body.
7. Focus on uncomplicated recipes with simple ingredients
Not everyone is great at cooking, and that’s fine. One of the most efficient ways to approach cooking during these times is to focus on simpler and less complicated recipes. The best part is that you don’t even have to use complicated ingredients.
Homemade soups are one of the best and healthiest meals you can make. They are lower in saturated fat, processed ingredients, and sodium than store-bought soups. They can be easily made with canned goods such as tomatoes, beans, and lots of veggies. Even better, you can add some frozen root vegetables too.
One of the best and most delicious soup recipes include ingredients such as avocado, so try it out. For instance, there are some very interesting vegetarian chili recipes that include sweet potato, onion, black beans, and a jar of salsa. You can even check out some of the recipes for making a fresh homemade salsa too.
Or you could try making bean soup by mixing up two cans of black beans and one can of diced tomatoes. Add some chicken broth, which you can either get canned or by mixing a bouillon cube with water, and then add whatever seasoning you want. It can be peppers, parsley or cilantro; whatever you prefer.
For breakfast, one of the easiest and tastiest ones that the whole family can enjoy is a colourful and healthy bowl of oatmeal mixed up with frozen berries and other fruits. To make it more interesting and more flavourful, add a handful of nuts or a spoon of peanut butter.
Pasta salads are easy to make and are very refreshing and tasty. All you need are some frozen green peas, canned black olives, and some Italian dressing. Create variety with grain salads. You can also opt for making this salad with canned tomatoes instead of using fresh ones. And if you ever get bored, you can switch between using regular white and brown rice. You can even choose to add more exotic cupboard ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, or sardines to make it more fun and interesting.
8. Stock high-energy snacks, like nuts, jerky, low-sodium dried fruit and protein bars
Meals are the most important part of your diet but don’t forget the snacks. Since you’ll need snacks for a long period, you want to ensure that you have everything to satisfy your needs. Opt for snacks that can be stored for a long time, and that are proper sources of energy and all of the necessary nutrients. Your snacks should contain nutrients such as fat and protein. Nuts, for instance, are great for these purposes. Next to their other benefits, they are a source of macronutrients and they also taste great! They are delicious, provide energ, and they can be stored for a long time. Isn’t that all that healthy snacks should be?
Dried fruit and seeds are also great choices for snacks. Even beef jerky shares the nutritional value of these other options. It’s important to keep your diet healthy but don’t forget to make it interesting and include many different options. For example, protein bars can be great sources of energy too, because they have the right concentration of nutrients and they are low in sodium (check the label). Consuming too much sodium can lead to dehydration. Because of that, protein bars are better options than some protein-filled foods. Include honey, peanut butter, and powdered milk, since these provide fats, vitamins, and minerals that are always needed.
Everybody craves comfort foods such as chocolate and coffee. It’s okay to stock up on those foods and drinks too. Buying sweets, coffee, and tea might not be essential, but they can make a huge difference in your mental health during this state of emergency. Remember, it is okay to treat yourself.
Don’t overdo it, but don’t try to cut it out quickly either. If you’re someone who drinks coffee a lot, cutting out caffeine all of a sudden can cause many physical withdrawal symptoms in your body. It can lead to heavy headaches, fatigue, and irritability. You can try instant coffee crystals that will help with your cravings. Or you could switch to drinking tea that will help you keep hydrated when you get bored of drinking plain water.
Dark chocolate is a great treat. It can last for a long time if properly stored. However, if you crave something sweet, but still want to respect your healthy dietary plan, then making yourself some delicious protein pancakes will help you satisfy your cravings while also staying healthy at the same time.
9. Make sure you have the essentials: Water and a Can Opener
Lastly, make sure you are stocking up on the essentials such as water and a can opener. In cases of emergency like this one, water supply gets affected the most. You need to plan on storing a three-day supply, with at least one gallon of water a day for each member of the family as well as any pets in your home.
Also, make sure you’ve got the right tools in the house. Everything you’ve done to prepare for this period will be useless if you’re unable to get to your store goods or prepare them properly. So, make sure you buy a can opener as well as the right cooking utensils.
It’s not complicated to maintain a healthy diet even during these times. You just need to make sure you write down these ingredients, bring your to-buy list to the store, and make sure everything on that list is checked.
By Mia Johnson
Mia is a Freelance writer & Fitness Expert from Sydney, Australia. She has a ten-year career in journalism and has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org