Vitality

What To Stock In Your Pantry And Fridge Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

One of the best things for you to do to be prepared in the event of an emergency is to stock up on food, and that applies in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the latest CDC recommendations call for those at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 to take action, which includes stocking up on groceries and any needed medications.

If you are preparing to stay at home for a long time, it is important to have on hand any healthy foods, which means buying those that are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other essential health- and immunity-boosting compounds.

To start, registered dietitian Samantha Cassetty has listed the best food for you to stock up in your pantry and fridge in the face of this unpredictably deadly pandemic. Here they are:

Fruits

  • Long-lasting fruits - Long-lasting fruits such as bananas, apples, grapefruit and immunity-boosting citrus fruits are good choices for you to add to your fridge. These can be sliced and frozen for snacking or to be used when making smoothies. 
  • Frozen fruits - Rich in fiber, frozen fruits such as frozen berries, pineapple, mangoes and peaches are packed with gut and immunity-boosting phytonutrients.
  • Freeze-dried fruits - Packed with vitamins and minerals, freeze-dried blueberries, mangoes and other fruits are perfect for snacking or adding to trail mixes. 
  • Canned fruits - Canned fruits with no added sugars are good options to add to your pantry. Shop for applesauce, pineapple, pears and peaches that are canned in 100 percent juice. 

Vegetables

  • Frozen veggies - Frozen veggies such as frozen spinach, cauliflower and butternut squash should form the foundation of the majority of your meals while staying confined to your home.
  • Dried veggies - Dried veggies such as dried beets, dried kale and dried carrots deliver ample nutrition to your body and also add variety and fun to the food you store at home. 
  • Canned veggies - Consumed by dietitians for everyday eats, canned veggies such as canned pumpkins, canned tomatoes and canned olives are also great options for you to eat.

Protein 

  • Beans - Beans are both nutritious and delicious, whether canned or dry roasted. When looking for canned beans, make sure that these have no added salts, but if they do, rinse them under running water first so a good portion of sodium is removed. Along with plant-based proteins, dried and roasted beans such as dry chickpeas and dry edamame supply your body with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  • Chickpea and lentil pasta - Compared to ordinary noodles, chickpea and lentil pasta packs more protein and fiber.
  • Canned fish - Canned tuna, salmon and sardines are all great options. Since dietary guidelines call for two servings of seafood each week, these are perfect for meeting your weekly seafood quota.
  • Nuts and seeds - Nuts such as pistachios, pecans, walnuts, peanuts and almonds boost the nutrition and tastiness of a range of meals and snacks. On the other hand, fiber-rich seeds such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds supply some protein, and can be added to your breakfast or used to top salads, sauteed veggies or avocado toast.
  • Cheese - When stored properly, some hard cheeses such as cheddar can last more than two weeks. Shredded cheese can last even longer when frozen.
  • Eggs - Eggs stored in cartons on top of fridge shelves rather than the fridge door can last for about three weeks. Boiled eggs stay good in their shell for about a week.
  • Milk - A cup of dairy milk contains 8 grams of protein, more than that of eggs. For emergency situations, it is best to select unflavored, shelf-stable varieties. Alternatively, since there are plant-based options available, choose pea or soy-based milk (especially those without added sugars) since these come close to or match the protein content of dairy milk.

Grains / Grain Alternatives 

  • Whole grains - Steel-cut oats, quinoa, brown rice and other whole grains are great choices for tasty and nutritious side dishes, and can stay in your pantry the whole time you are holed up and after.
  • Pasta - Ordinary pasta and noodles are perfect for accompanying veggies and protein-rich food sources.
  • Flour - Specifically, an assortment of healthier alternatives to processed, white flour such as chickpea flour, almond flour and whole-grain flours.
  • Bread - It is preferable to buy 100-percent whole-grain or gluten-free bread if available. Slice and freeze them so they will last for months because they will not last long on the counter.
  • Cracker - Whole-grain, seed or nut-based crackers are best served with cheese and fruit for a deliciously fun way to refuel. If you want a dairy-free snack plate, substitute cheese for nuts.
  • Cereal - Fortified whole-grain cereals fully loaded with fiber and with little added sugars cover a lot of nutrients that your body needs. Cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber and with zero to less than 6 grams of added sugars are ideal, and are best served with fruits, nuts or seeds and milk for a heartier, healthier breakfast.
  • Popcorn - If you are planning to binge-watch your favorite show while cooped up in your house, then it is best to have a bowl of unflavored popcorn on hand, and you might be surprised to know that it is packed with both essential antioxidants and fiber.

Extras 

Along with fruits, vegetables, protein and grains, you should buy a few healthier convenience store options such as dark chocolate, veggie burgers and frozen entrees since you cannot cook everything from scratch all the time.

Fruits and Vegetables Fruits and vegetables. Pixabay

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