Top Foods to Stock Up on When Social Distancing

March 20, 2020

Submitted by Sarah Fine, RDN, LDN, Aramark Dietitian, affiliated with Jefferson Health New Jersey

As COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) remains a large focus of our everyday lives, it is important that we continue to take care of ourselves, which involves nourishing our bodies with a well-balanced diet. As the grocery store shelves empty at alarmingly fast rates, you might be asking yourself, “What foods should I really be stocking up on?

If you’re going to be stuck in the house, your shopping list should include all your favorites! You can still follow your normal eating patterns; however, it is important to have items that fall into all the major food groups. Below are some recommendations.

  • Grains: Lentils, pasta, rice, and quinoa are all great options. Opt for the “brown” or whole wheat version of these products (pasta, rice) to include more fiber in your diet. Bread can also be purchased and frozen.
  • Protein: Meat, chicken, and fish are all essentials that you can store away in your freezer until you are ready to cook them. If your freezer is full, don’t hesitate to opt for more shelf-stable products, such as canned beans, fish or chicken, nuts, and nut butters.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: You should continue to purchase and consume fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce items that can last more than a month include cabbage, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, potatoes, and onions. For more long-term needs, try frozen or canned vegetables and fruit. Dried fruit is also a great option.
  • Dairy: Continue to purchase dairy products as you normally do. For a longer shelf life, consider purchasing shelf-stable or condensed milk. Prepackaged cheese may also last several weeks. Be sure to check the expiration dates prior to purchasing and choose the package with the date furthest away.

Additional Tips:

  • Clean out your kitchen! Organize your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to ensure all expired food is disposed. This will help create room for new, fresh food.
  • Make and freeze some of your favorites. This way you’ll have convenient go-to meals for several weeks. Good items to freeze include casseroles, soups, and chili.
  • To avoid food waste, consume fresh food first, then frozen food, and lastly nonperishables.