What food to buy during the Corona Virus?
Mar 17, 2020
Hello everyone, I had a lot of questions about what food we should stock up on during the 14-week quarantine. I wanted to do a video for all of you to help you, in case you are stuck or you are wondering what to get, I also had a couple of questions that needed answering, and will help everyone as much as I can about foodstuff.
The main food you should think about getting are things that are nonperishable and last months in the freezer or without a freezer. As needed, this includes baby food and formula for infants, as well as pet food. I will make a whole list of what you should buy in the stores or online.
Whether you're housebound for the next couple of weeks from a COVID-19 quarantine, or simply trying to survive a school or work shutdown, you'll likely be limiting or avoiding trips to the grocery store. So you may be wondering: What are the best foods to buy when you know you're going to be stuck at home -- and is it even possible to consume a nutritious diet?
Healthy food to buy for your pantry:
Beans and legumes
Reach for these on your next trip to the store, because they're not only long-lasting but also a great starting point for a nutrient-rich meal. Beans and legumes are excellent shelf-stable sources of plant protein, Chickpeas or lentils for example, can be mixed with salads and pasta dishes, or used in soups and stews.
Canned or vacuum-packed protein sources like tuna or salmon are also highly nutritious and offer a boost of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
These are a great source of protein and healthy fats, and pair well with lots of foods, from crackers and breads to apples and bananas. Sun butter, which is made from sunflower seeds, is appropriate for those with peanut or tree nut allergies.
Whole-wheat and bean pastas, quinoa and brown rice
These are the nutrient-rich grains to stock up on, and they can be used as a side dish or mixed with proteins and vegetables.
You can cook oats and add savory toppings like grated cheese, sundried tomatoes or even eggs for a quick, nutrient-rich meal. And note that while eggs do require refrigeration, they still have a longer shelf-life than most refrigerated foods and can be very versatile as well.
A high-fiber, high-protein dry cereal or muesli with low-fat milk can also come in handy as a quick mini-meal.
Canned, sugar-free fruits and vegetables
Stocking up on canned vegetables, canned fruit and applesauce without added sugar is also wise. Be sure to rinse canned vegetables to get rid of extra sodium.
And don't forget canned or jarred tomato-based sauces.
Dried fruit, popcorn and yes, chocolate
Dried fruits like prunes, apricots, raisins, cranberries, figs are a sweet source of iron, fiber and antioxidants. They can be combined with nuts -- including my favorite, omega-3 rich walnuts -- or almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts or pecans. Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds are also a tasty nutritious option, and can be used for DIY trail mixes. Popcorn is also a great source of fiber, and you can sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top to turn it into a savory snack or add dried fruit or mini chocolate chips for added sweetness. You can even indulge in a stash of chocolate, though the healthiest kind is dark chocolate, which is rich in anti-aging flavanols. It is certainly okay to incorporate a few indulgent foods, like chocolates or other sweets, especially during stressful times.
Water, shelf-stable milk and coffee
Remember, in addition to stocking up on foods it's important to stay hydrated.
"The general rule of thumb for emergencies is to store at least one gallon - 5 litres of water per person. However, if you typically drink tap water or have some sort of filter, I wouldn't worry about buying copious amounts of water.
Milk is also a good source of calcium and immune-boosting vitamin D, but it doesn't necessarily have to be refrigerated. Having a shelf-stable milk or plant beverage on hand isn't a bad idea if you don't want to or cannot venture out to the grocery store.
And caffeine counts too. Consider whether you have enough caffeine to get you through a few weeks. You may need to create your own latte or brew your own pot of coffee if you don't want to or cannot venture to your favorite coffee shop.
What to buy for your freezer:
Bread, deli meat and fresh seafood
Remember, fresh foods can be frozen, which will allow you to enjoy them at a later date. Take full advantage of your freezer, including for foods that freeze well but that you might not typically freeze, such as milk, deli meats and bread.
I only recommend freezing shredded cheese that you plan to use in cooking, such as packaged shredded mozzarella. Hard cheese, like Parmesan, can keep in the refrigerator for weeks though. Additionally, if you already have fresh fish and meat, consider freezing it. Animal proteins like seafood, poultry, and beef hold well in a freezer -- typically for a few months.
Additional fruits and vegetables
Here's some uplifting news: Reearch has revealed that frozen fruits and vegetables can have just as many vitamins -- and sometimes more -- as compared to fresh.
Frozen strawberries, blueberries and peaches can be used for smoothies, while spinach, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus and green beans can be used as a solo side dish or mixed with pasta or rice. Packaged foods help meet the nutrition needs of many of us, including vegetarians, as well as those who have special dietary restrictions. For vegans and vegetarians, packaged alternatives are a good option, including items such as frozen bean burritos, frozen veggie burgers and frozen veggie pizza.
What else is important?
It’s good to be prepared for any kind of disaster. But since coronavirus isn’t a hurricane or other natural disaster that has the potential to cut power, buying things like frozen veggies or ready to eat meals that can keep for a significant amount of time may be helpful too. Just make sure to regularly replace any perishable foods and don’t neglect non-perishable stocks. Also, if you’re getting canned vegetables, soups and other canned foods, look for low salt varieties, and make sure to continue to be health conscious in all your choices of foods, experts say. Eating well supports overall health and can bolster immunity at a time when that’s critical.
Don’t forget to include in your tally others, such as elderly parents or neighbors or college-aged kids, that may rely on you in an emergency. Figure about 1500-2000 calories per person per day. Since you are at home and not moving, try eating 2 meals per day.
You also want to have at least one liter of clean drinking water per person per day. This may be less water than you are used to drinking. For this reason, it’s good to avoid salty foods and other foods that may make you thirsty.
How to stock your emergency food kit
Here’s a list of good candidates for your emergency food supplies:
- Coconut oil, butter, oil
- Musli, oats
- vinegar - food preservation, flavoring, tenderizing, antibacterial, cleaning and MANY other uses!
- Nut butter
- Dry beans, lentils, pulses, rice all sorts of grains
- Frozen meat and fish
- Canned fish, such as tuna, salmon, or sardines. Tuna and salmon are also available in shelf-stable pouches.
- Beef or fish jerky
- Dried or canned fruit
- Dehydrated or canned vegetables
- Canned beans
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Whole-grain crackers
- You can freeze bread, cheese
- Protein and/or energy bars
- Milk or nondairy alternatives in shelf-stable packaging
- Alcohol - vodka, spirits
- Pet food and baby food
Before breaking into your dried and canned goods, eat your refrigerated first—but only as long as you can maintain them at food-safe temperatures. Keep a non-electric thermometer in your fridge and freezer to monitor temperatures.
Just remember that there's no need to buy out the stock at your local grocery store. Right now there's no indication that food retailers will be unable to meet the demand of consumers, and it's also important to consider the needs of others and not overbuy. So only purchase what you actually need -- and these items will last you a while, which is convenient when you're unable to leave your abode.
While advice varies, it’s a good idea to have a month’s supply of any medications you’re taking. Also, keep handy any self-care supplies, including items needed to manage chronic disease like blood glucose test strips for diabetes.
Check to make sure you have at least a 30-day supply of your prescription medications, and have other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins. Also, have a thermometer and medications to reduce fever, like acetaminophen or naproxen.
I had a couple of questions, hopefully, these will help!
What to do if I don't have a freezer?
Not everyone has a freezer or the money to fill it. I suggest getting the same items as before, mainly grains, sauces, beans, and canned food.
Can I get infected by someone delivering food?
When it comes to ordering in, the food itself is unlikely to be much of a danger. Cooked foods are unlikely to be a concern unless they get contaminated after cooking. Now might be a good time to familiarize yourself with what your local health department thinks of the food-handling practices of your favorite restaurants.
The danger of the delivery interaction, meanwhile, depends on how it’s orchestrated. For the food’s recipient, the risk is relatively low. There can be transmission through contaminated inanimate objects, but we think the most important route of transmission is respiratory droplets,” which spread when someone coughs, sneezes, or even breathes in close proximity to others. As always, wash your hands before you eat. (If you’re worried about other kinds of deliveries—mail or online-shopping orders, for example—they’re also relatively unlikely to transmit the virus, but you should still wash your hands after opening them.)
The places people order from make a difference too. A local restaurant is a better choice than a start-up that sends gig workers with no health-care benefits into crowded big-box grocery stores to fight over dried beans on your behalf. The restaurant delivery person interacts with fewer people, lessening his or her individual risk, and the money you pay for the food goes toward keeping a restaurant’s staff employed through a crisis.
What time shall I shop?
Ditching delivery to go to the grocery store isn’t necessarily a safer way to stress-eat, for either individuals or service workers. Crowded stores would have a greater risk of infection, simply because of numbers of people and density. Shoppers can avoid some of this risk by dropping in at odd hours or patronizing less popular stores. But the risk of exposure is still far greater for people ringing up groceries than for people buying them, just like it is higher for the delivery drivers bringing food to your door than it is for you.
Can COVID-19 (coronavirus) be passed on through food?
Experience with SARS and MERS suggest that people are not infected with the virus through food. So, it is unlikely the virus is passed on through food and there is no evidence yet of this happening with COVID-19 (coronavirus) to date.
Coronaviruses need a host (animal or human) to grow in and cannot grow in food. Thorough cooking is expected to kill the virus because we know that a heat treatment of at least 30min at 60ºC is effective with SARS.
I hope this was helpful! Please let me know if you have any more questions.