Okay, I have to admit it, today I joined the masses and stocked up on toilet paper. I am still not sure why I did it, but the fear of there being no toilet paper on the shelves when I need it, put me into a bit of a panic. As a dietitian, I have to say, if I'm isolated for 14 days due to the coronavirus, I’m quite sure food would be more of a priority than toilet paper. So today, in addition to buying toilet paper, I stocked up on some non-perishable, dried and canned goods so that I can continue to provide balanced, healthy meals for my family if the need arises. Stocking up on these types of items is helpful because they generally have a long shelf life and they are easy to store. Of course, if you have room in your fridge and freezer you can stock up on other items as well. While it is a good idea to stock up on food, try to avoid panic buying. Remember it is not the apocalypse! Don’t forget, in this day and age, we also have the convenience of ordering groceries on-line that can be delivered to our home if we aren’t able to go to the store ourselves. Here are some healthy choices from each of the food groups to help guide you when stocking up your pantry:
Canned salmon, tuna, sardines or other fish (low sodium if available)
Nut or seed butter
Nuts or seeds
Dried or low sodium canned beans, peas, legumes
Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
Dried chick peas
Tetra Pak plant based milk
Canned vegetables (low sodium)
Canned tomatoes (low sodium)
Canned or bottled tomato sauce (low sodium)
Vegetable or tomato juice (low sodium)
Potatoes, onions or other root vegetables (if you have a cold storage room)
Canned fruit packed in juice or water
Unsweetened apple sauce
Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, banana chips etc.
Juice boxes or other tetra pak/bottled juice (in moderation)
Rice, brown or wild
Couscous, whole wheat
Pasta, whole grain
Whole grain cereal
Whole grain crackers
Whole grain melba toast
Rye crisp bread
Rice (brown) cakes
Whole grain flour
Bouillon cubes/packets (low sodium)
Canned soup (low sodium)
Herbs and spices
Mixes (pancake, muffin, biscuit, etc.)
Foods to stock in limited amounts:
Highly processed foods and prepared meals such as Kraft Dinner and Mr. Noodles. If you choose these foods, eat them less often and in small amounts.
Luckily most packaged foods are now stamped with a “best before date”. I noticed the majority of items were good for 1-2 years. Keep in mind that packaged food is usually still safe to consume past the best before date, it just may not have the same quality as far as taste, texture and nutrients. Be sure to safely store all of your canned and dried goods. For food storage guidelines, click here. Not sure how to use some of these pantry items to make a meal? Try some of these healthy recipes that you can make using dried/canned goods from your pantry.
Having a stocked pantry will be helpful if you need to self-isolate and will also enable you to stay home at the peak of an outbreak or if you become ill. But…don’t forget to leave some food (and toilet paper) on the shelves for other people in your community!
Eat well. Live well. Be safe.