As the Coronavirus continues to change our lives in completely unforeseen ways, people are now practicing social distancing in an effort to #flattenthecurve. But with more and more people hoarding items (such as toilet paper, bleach, and paper products), it can be hard to know if your local supermarket will have the items you’ll need in order to prepare a proper meal. That’s why it’s a good idea to have pantry staples on hand during the pandemic. These are just a few of the items that you should keep well-stocked — or stock up on the next time you shop for food.
Pasta is a perfect pantry staple since it has a long shelf life. You can serve it as a simple dinner with a tomato-based sauce, or even with a little bit of sautéed garlic, salt, and olive oil. Add a protein (such as grilled shrimp or chicken), and you have a hearty supper.
Rice is one of those items that you can buy in bulk and will last your family a long time. It can be added to almost any dish and depending on the seasonings that you add to it, can be either savory (think fried rice with chicken or pork), or sweet (like rice pudding). Be sure to keep it in an air-tight container to maintain its freshness.
Although you might prefer to pick your own fresh produce, in the time of this pandemic, it might be hard to find quality fruits and veggies. That’s why you should cruise on over to the canned foods aisle and select some canned veggies for your pantry. Items like mixed vegetables, corn, string beans, and so on can easily be added to a meal to up its nutritional value.
Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, B vitamins, and other minerals, Healthline reported. You can opt for dry or canned. Look for lentils, chickpeas, and red beans, which can help reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels. And in case your meat department has slim pickings, you can substitute beans as a meat replacement.
Sure, you might prefer to simmer your own soup with fresh ingredients, but that might not be an option right about now. That’s why you’ll need to check out your supermarket’s soup selection to see what’s available. You can always stock up on broths to flavor rice or pasta dishes, or purchase pre-made canned soups—serve with crusty bread and butter, and you’ve got a marvelous meal.
You’ll need something to pair all of that pasta with, and there’s nothing like ready-made sauces to accompany it. From vodka sauce to Arrabiatta, you can simply heat up the sauce and serve with pasta and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Apart from toilet paper, one of the first things that people grabbed during the pandemic was frozen vegetables. They offer all of the nutritional value of fresh veggies without any extra additives that canned vegetables might contain. Best part: you can always open up a bag or box of frozen veggies, take out what you need for a recipe, and freeze the rest for later.
If you thought that you shouldn’t stock up on milk, think again. According to Healthyeating.org, milk freezes well and can be thawed in the fridge or even in cold water when you want it. You can use it to make your morning oatmeal more nutritious or drink it straight (and cold) for a refreshing and healthy drink.
Although supermarkets are promising no interruption in food delivery, you’ve probably noticed that your meat section is looking kind of skimpy right now. So when you see a cut of meat that you like, it’s a good idea to stock up (without hoarding, of course). Once you’re home, separate the meat into what you’ll need for various meals, and then package it in freezer-safe bags for later.
Having pantry staples on hand is important as we wait to see how COVID-19 continues to affect our daily lives. With a well-stocked pantry, you won’t have to worry about finding food, and you’ll be able to continue eating healthy and stay safe until this is (hopefully) over soon.