With news outlets talking nonstop about the coronavirus outbreak and people responding by avoiding favorite restaurants and emptying grocery store shelves we are all starting to think more about what’s in our cabinets and what we should prioritize when picking up groceries. While most recommendations are not advising on hoarding food or stocking up for more than 2 weeks, stocking up on food for 1-2 weeks is a good idea since having food available can help with comfort and safety during this unprecedented time. While it might be tempting to add boxed macaroni and cheese and canned ravioli to your cart, it’s important to focus on items which provide you with immune-boosting antioxidants, probiotics and proteins which may help keep you healthy. With keeping health and perishability in mind, here are some ideas for items to stock up on until this passes.
In the Frozen Foods Section…
Frozen items are ideal because you can pull out the amount you will use and keep the rest in the freezer for another time. This helps to stretch items and keep food waste down. Frozen fruits and vegetables are packed at peak freshness so they have high levels of nutrients and antioxidants. Just be sure to avoid ones with added sugars, salt, or sauce. Frozen fish, salmon burgers, and low-sodium vegetarian burgers are great protein choices. It’s not a bad idea to throw an extra loaf of your favorite whole-grain bread or sprouted tortillas into the freezer as well.
When Cruising Down The Middle Aisles...
There are a lot of healthy options in the middle aisles of the grocery store. Whole grains such as brown rice, couscous, and quinoa make great additions to your cart. Canned tuna, peanut butter, no added salt beans, lentils and a variety of nuts are an easy way to add protein to your diet if your grocery store is out of meat or if you are a vegetarian. For fruits think unsweetened applesauce, canned fruit packed in 100% fruit juice or water, and dried fruits without added sugars. Whole grain cereals, whole oats, and trail mix make good breakfast or snack options.
While Back in the Refrigerator Section...
In the refrigerator section look for the following nutritious items. Large tubs of low-fat plain yogurt (regular or Greek) can make great additions to smoothies, added to cereal for a quick parfait, or eaten with some fruit for an easy snack. Hard cheeses, eggs, and cottage cheese can make for easy protein additions to snacks or meals.
If you have a little one at home, make sure you have a supply of baby food and formula for infants. And don’t forget about your pets too!
Putting it all Together...
Now what do you do with all of these items when you get back from the grocery store? Here are some meal ideas incorporating the food items above.
1. Baked fish with seasoned couscous and frozen vegetables
2. Bowl of oatmeal with frozen berries and nuts
3. Yogurt parfait with whole grain cereal and unsweetened dried fruit
4. Salmon or Veggie Burger on whole grain bun with frozen vegetables and cottage cheese with peaches packed in 100% juice
5. Sprouted grain tortilla loaded with beans, cheese, quinoa, and salsa. Add a side of unsweetened applesauce or frozen berries
6 .Peanut butter spread on whole grain toast and a fruit and yogurt smoothie
As the experts are expecting the COVID19 outbreak to get worse before it gets better, it’s a good idea to have a healthy supply of food at home to help keep your family safe. This allows you to avoid the large crowds in the grocery stores and relying on high-sodium, nutrient-poor convenient foods which won’t provide the nutrients you need to keep your immune system healthy. If you want to avoid the grocery store completely, home delivered meals, such as Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, are a safe, nutritious, and convenient option as well.
Interested in eating healthy? Hungry for more?