With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, shoppers are searching for the right food to stock up on to prepare for the worst. While stocking up is a good idea, many shoppers have resorted to panic buying, causing unnecessary shortages. Here’s how to prepare for COVID-19 responsibly.
Dry goods are great food to stock up on for disaster preparation. Grains and legumes are healthy, easy to prepare, and work well with a wide range of ingredients. That means you can create a tasty, nutritious meal with whatever is available, even when fresh ingredients are limited.
In many areas, consumers are buying up whole grains, so you may have limited choices. Fortunately, there are many healthy whole grains available, so you should be able to find something. Here are some grains to look for.
Rolled Oats: Oats are a very versatile, filling and healthy grain, providing plenty of fiber and carbohydrates, along with vitamins and minerals like folate, thiamin and manganese. There are also plenty of healthy oatmeal recipes, with ingredients like dried fruit and chocolate that are still easy to find.
Rice: The bran and germ of rice — the outer layer and embryo — are chock full of nutrients and antioxidants. Varieties like brown rice, black rice, and wild rice are all healthy, delicious and great for emergencies. Avoid white rice if possible; the most nutritional part of the grain has been removed.
Quinoa: packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, this ancient seed also has a wonderful texture and flavor.
Wheat: If your body tolerates wheat gluten, it’s a great staple grain. Try bulgur and whole wheat couscous (usually made of durum wheat).
Buckwheat: Despite the name, buckwheat is not actually wheat, which means it shouldn’t harm people with celiac disease and wheat sensitivities. It’s also a great source of magnesium and manganese.
Hemp Seeds: Whole grain hemp is one of the best grain sources of protein and omega fatty acids. That makes it one of the most useful seeds to have on hand — particularly for vegetarians and vegans.
Other Dry Essentials
Flour: Whole grain flour is healthy, and versatile. You can add variety by stocking up on buckwheat, amaranth and other flours in addition to wheat flour.
Beans and Legumes: Beans and legumes are great sources of folic acid, fiber, protein, and minerals. Some of the healthiest beans are chickpeas, lentils, green peas, kidney beans and black beans. However, feel free to mix it up — there are no bad choices when it comes to beans!
Pantry Staple Food to Stock up On
Nut Butter: Peanut, almond, and other nut butters are protein and nutrient rich. They’re also great for baking, smoothies and other treats.
Dried fruit: Dried fruit is often very sugary, which may prove a problem for some diets. However, it’s nourishing, keeps well and adds flavor to a lot of meals, from cereal to cookies.
Canned Fish: Canned fish have the same health benefits as fresh fish, including omega-3 acids that protect heart health. Look for canned fish that’s packed in water, since oil can leach some of the healthy fat from the fish.
Canned vegetables: While fresh is usually better, canned beans and vegetables have similar benefits to their fresh counterparts and keep much longer. Check the sodium content before you buy — many canned vegetables add a lot of salt.
Spices: A well-stocked spice rack will help you cook healthy, delicious meals for your family, even if you have to go without fresh ingredients.
Soup: Stock up on canned soup and soup ingredients like bouillon, stock, and soup mixes. Having stock will make it easy to cook “stone soup” with leftover vegetables, meat or whatever else you have on hand. You can also keep soup fresh for several days by simmering it daily, which makes it good survival food.
If you eat meat or fish, it’s a good idea to stock your freezer with these products. Portion them out ahead of time, so you can thaw what you need to cook. Frozen berries, vegetables and hash browns are also a good idea. Finally, consider including some convenience foods like microwave meals, and a treat or two. If you’re stuck inside, you’ll be grateful for a bowl of ice cream now and then.