With the rapid spread of coronavirus and a surge in calls for social distancing throughout the nation, there is a solid chance you may have to self-quarantine for a significant amount of time within the next few weeks.
If you’re planning an extended stay at home, having nutritious foods on hand is imperative for maintaining your health and being prepared amid the illness that was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization last week.
The CDC recommends that Americans who are older or have long-term health issues prepare for the outbreak by minimizing time spent in public and stocking up on supplies.
Below is a guide to different food items that you may want to keep in stock that will offer you variety in your diet and nutrients during a period of self-isolation.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
A quarantine is no excuse to skip the produce.
Stock up on long-lasting fruits like bananas, apples and oranges and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, peppers and potatoes.
These hardier perishables are great options to work through in the first few days before you have to turn to the dried and canned goods in the pantry.
Fruit cups and sauces
Once you’re out of produce, canned and jarred fruits are a great option to maintain some fresh variety in your diet.
Applesauce and fruit like pears and pineapples canned in 100 percent juice will be a much-welcomed snack so you’re not just reaching for chips deep into your self-isolation.
Make your time in the kitchen as easy as possible with frozen vegetables.
Items like cauliflower rice, frozen spinach and green beans are easy stir-ins that can provide a solid foundation with some skillful seasoning and creative matching.
Pastas, rices and grains
Grains and pastas will give you the burst of energy you need while remaining inside.
Whole grain pastas — as well as grain alternatives like chickpea or lentil pastas — are great to mix with vegetables or proteins like tuna or salmon.
Grains like oats, brown rice, quinoa or farro will hold in your belly and your pantry and can make a perfect, filling side to pretty much any meal.
Canned beans and vegetables
Staying stocked up on canned beans and vegetables will make cooking a breeze.
Products like black beans, chickpeas or canned tomatoes are perfect for building up flavor bases in sauces or casseroles.
Canned or jarred olives or artichokes can be enjoyed as snacks or mixed into salads for a unique bite.
As if you needed an excuse. Think of all the snacks and meals you’re about to eat where you’d think, “This would be so good with some cheese.”
Go for a harder cheese like Cheddar which, when properly stored, can last for over two weeks.
Make your shredded cheese go the mile by preserving it longer in the freezer.
Dried cheese crisps are great on their own, but they also make for the perfect crunchy, carb-free alternative to crackers or croutons in soups and salads.
Get your protein fix from eggs, which will last you about three weeks in the fridge.
No one ever went wrong with eggs for breakfast, whether as scrambled, fried or as omelette.
But eggs can provide the perfect protein counterpoint to an assortment of fresh, delicious vegetables, or even toppings on sandwiches or salads.
Chips, crackers and dips
Don’t fight it. You’re going to want snacks.
Get ahead of your cravings by stocking up on multigrain- or bean-based chips or crackers that are low in oil and high in healthy ingredients.
Get different bean or yogurt dips, which finely complement not just chips or crackers but crunchy vegetables as well.
Sandwiches pack a serious punch with not a lot of effort in the kitchen.
Get a 100 percent multigrain bread to make sandwiches that you’ll fill with all the other ingredients you stocked up on.
Dairy milk packs a mean punch of protein, coming in at 8 grams per cup.
But you can also reach for an alternative soy-, nut-, or oat-based milk that are low in sugar.
Even though you’ll be home for a while, you probably won’t feel like cooking every single meal.
Stay stocked on frozen meal options — just make sure they’re healthy. A cauliflower crust frozen pizza is an example of a flavorful, low-guilt item that you’ll be excited to eat, and will be a breeze to make.