How to food stock for Self-Isolation and Quarantine
In the wake of the new coronavirus spread, millions of people are being asked to stay at home, and limit their interactions with others.
Stocking up on enough household items to last for weeks generally isn’t an issue, as items such as toilet paper, trash bags and hand sanitizers don’t have an expiration date. It’s choosing the right foods to stock on your fridge and pantry that can be more challenging.
Eating properly while home – isolated can be challenging , and you can easily fall in the trap to consume a lot of ready meals like pasta with cheese, frozen burgers, pizzas and snacks like sweets and crisps. Instead of stocking up on these products that can have excessive amounts of sugar, fat and/or sodium, aim for shelf-stable foods with high nutritional content.
Here’s your smart and nutritious shopping list:
Legumes: choose dried or canned, you can enjoy them on their own or mixed with other foods to create delicious combinations. Legumes are high in protein, fibre, and a variety of vitamins and minerals
Ideas: Perfect for making soups (minestrone, lentil soup), salad, tacos, burgers.
Tip: If choosing canned, try and get the ones with less sodium.
Frozen or canned vegetables: Stay here for a sec and read carefully. DO NOT skip this important food group! Frozen vegetables are sometimes a better option than the fresh ones, since they are picked at their peak in terms of freshness and nutrients.
Ideas: frozen vegetables – broccoli, carrot, artichokes, green beans can all be steamed or grilled, or pan fried, added to curry, rice or soups. Canned mushrooms are sometimes even tastier than the fresh ones and can be added to pizzas, soups or omelettes. Use canned tomatoes for pizza or pasta base.
Dried or canned fruits: They can be a tasty and nutritious addition to any diet. If you are going for the canned ones, look for options that come in 100% fruit juice and not sugar – filled syrup.
Ideas: raisins, dates, apricots are all choices that have a long-life and can be eaten plain as a snack, or can be added in cereal and oats.
Rice/quinoa/cous – cous: Common and relatively cheap ingredients that can be used on a daily basis in many different ways. They are dead simple to prepare, and can sit comfortably on your shelves for months.
Cooking ideas for rice: biryani rice, egg-fried rice, soups, curry rice.
Cooking ideas for quinoa: quinoa burger, quinoa salad.
Pasta: that’s the one you might all have already guessed. Yes, pasta! Pasta comes in various shapes and types, it’s an inexpensive food item, stays fresh for long and it can be incorporated into a wide variety of meals. Aim for the whole-wheat versions, since they have more fibre and are a much better choice with more nutrients
Cooking ideas: whole-grain spaghetti napolitana or alla puttanesca, fusilli pasta salad, small macaroni in soups.
Oats: Oats are an unprocessed type of grains, high in fibre and low in sugar.
Ideas: you can use oats in your breakfast to make oatmeal, oat pancakes or to make your own oats cookies.
Canned fish: tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines help maintain a high protein intake for your quarantine diet.
Ideas: make delicious tuna wraps or tuna burger, add sardines to your legumes or salmon in your salad.
Vegan protein (dried soya mince & tofu): Either you are vegan or not, these two items shouldn’t be missing from your cupboard or your fridge. They are two of the easiest types of protein you can have, as they have a long-life making them a nutritious choice for surviving a long quarantine.
Ideas for dried soya mince: spaghetti Bolognese, vegan tacos or burgers and stuffed veggies.
For tofu: tofu curry, marinated teriyaki tofu, salad with tofu and tofu maki rolls.
Nuts & nut butters: These are a great source of healthy fat, and protein.
Ideas: enjoy pecans, walnuts, and even pumpkin seeds with some dried fruits, or add almond or peanut butter spread on your whole-wheat crackers.
Other important food products : olive oil,lemons, apples, marmalades without sugar, long-life milk, oat/soya/almond milk, breakfast cereals, whole-grain flour, whole-wheat crackers,honey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic.
Pet food: Last but definitely not least, don’t forget your four-legged friends when you go shopping who is your best company during this period. Time for some pet training 😉
Clinical Dietitian- Nutritionist, MSc