food you need during quarantine

Food You Need During Quarantine

As the coronavirus spreads, almost all people across the world are in the obligatory quarantines, and businesses and services are being shut down.  However, even if you’re stuck at home, you don’t have to live on rice and soup. A little arrangement can help you and your family to eat well for weeks. Here’s what you should plan to stock and some tips for preparing healthy, satisfying meals.

Clear out old food
An easy first step is to review what you already have in stock, and get rid of things you don’t need. Do a fast scan of your freezer and pantry and discard anything past its expiration date.
Your basic list: A basic list should include most important food groups and macronutrients, including:
– Protein sources like canned beans and canned fish like tuna in water
– Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as tomatoes or sauce. Root vegetables like onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and citrus fruits like lemons are examples of fresh foods with the best longevity.
– Whole grains including bread, quinoa, rice, and whole wheat pasta
Healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and nut butter.

Stock up on canned and frozen foods
– Canned goods have a very long shelf life, are easy to obtain and low-cost.
– Frozen foods such as fruits, vegetables should be part of your stock to add vitamins and nutrients and have a longer shelf life than perishable versions.

Some tips:
– Use as many fruits and vegetables as you can. Cook with garlic and onions, those foods can support a healthy immune system.
– Consume fresh foods first and when it comes to expiration dates, read carefully and evaluate whether the food is secure to eat. Check food for visible signs of spoilage, and throw it away, if you have any doubts.

Avoid excess sodium
Sodium is used to conserve food and add flavor, and is usually added to canned foods to extend shelf life. Too much salt can cause dehydration, which can cause weakness, dizziness, and other unlikable symptoms. If you have canned goods high in salt, rinse items like veggies and beans before using them. Consider salt alternatives such as dried herbs like oregano, thyme, basil and rosemary; spices like pepper, turmeric, chili powder and paprika; or salt-free seasoning blends, like curry powder.

Stockpile healthy snacks
– Dried fruit, seeds, nuts, peanut butter, dark chocolate, honey and powdered milk have a very long shelf life and can provide fats, vitamins, and minerals. Getting enough protein is important not only for energy, and maintaining overall health and muscle, but also for satiety even when your eating options are limited.
– Protein powder and protein bars are good to have in stock, and are often lower in sodium than other protein-rich foods. Check our tasty protein bars here.
– Coffee and tea are usually ignored during stockpiling because they aren’t essential but they can make a huge difference on your mental health and morale during an urgent situation.

Prioritize what you will actually eat
Focus on things that you and your family enjoy eating, and recipes you’ll have the energy and time to prepare. If you feel sick and don’t have the energy to cook, storing ingredients for complex recipes won’t be helpful, so consider as well ready-made items like microwavable rice or some cans of soup.

Make sure you have the basics
– Public emergencies can affect the water supply, that’s why, plan to store about a three-day supply, with one gallon of water per day for each person at your place.
– Don’t forget the right tools. All the preparation in the world will be useless if you’re unable to access the stored goods, or properly prepare them, so make sure to have a hand-held can opener, and eating and cooking utensils.

Christelle Bedrossian
Dietitian-Nutritionist
Beirut, Lebanon

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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian

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