I know of the major temptation to stock up on comfort foods like Doritos and chocolate chip cookies when you are stuck under self-imposed “house arrest” during the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, those kinds of foods, as “stress relieving” as they may seem, are hardly the right choices for your “quarantine diet.” Here are the kinds of foods your really should be stocking your pantries with while we are forced to “shelter-in-place.”
As a person who lives in Florida, when we prepare for hurricane season every year, our “disaster pantry” always included shelf stable milk. Your quarantine shopping list should include it too.
These shelf-stable milks have a long shelf life and taste worlds better than you may remember from years ago.
Registered dieticians also recommend that you have a plentiful supply of dry beans in your pantry. From basics like black bean soup to more creative dishes like garbanzo beans simmered in canned coconut milk and seasoned with curry powder, there are lots of options to turn beans into a main dish, especially at the end of your quarantine when fresh veggies might be running low in your ‘fridge. Plus, we all need to eat more plants and get more fiber. Now is as good a time as any to start that habit.
Deanna Segrave-Daly, Philadelphia-area-based blogger at TeaspoonofSpice.com and author of “The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook,” says, coronavirus or not, she likes to stock her freezer and pantry with staples for easy Mediterranean diet-inspired meals. “Frozen seafood like shrimp or fish fillets often are fresher than what you get at the fish counter (as they are flash frozen right on the fishing boat) and they cook up quickly in the oven – even straight from the freezer.”
Segrave-Daly also recommends stocking the freezer with a range of ingredients for quick meals, such as frozen vegetables like corn, peas and edamame, along with frozen fruits like cubed mango, pineapple and berries to add instant nutrition to grain dishes, salads and smoothies. She also recommends making double batches of chili, lentil soup, lasagna and other family favorites to stash in the freezer for make-ahead dinners.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Nearly all the nutritionists recommended adding a variety of nuts and nut butters to your shopping list.
“I like to keep nuts – pecans, almonds and walnuts – in the freezer to preserve the flavor,” Segrave-Daly says. They add protein and healthy fats to any dish, and they’re also a snack-friendly food, she adds.
Whole grains fight inflammation and can boost your immune system, so now is a good time to add things like whole-grain tortillas, whole-wheat sandwich buns, whole-wheat couscous, quinoa, farro and other whole grains to your shopping cart. Combined with lean proteins – such as boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 93% lean ground beef and 100% ground turkey breast – these grains can be a wholesome foundation for multiple meals.
While you’re thinking about your quarantine cuisine, the nutritionists say don’t forget about soap, dishwasher pods, dish soap and any kitchen tools, like a can opener and that valuable corkscrew, that you might need if you’re stuck at home.