While a majority of us are currently sheltering-in-place, there is a large handful of people that have been forced to quarantine themselves from the public.

The difference is quite drastic.

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Shelter-in-place usually means to “stay where you [are] until the coast is clear,” yet in the days of the Coronavirus, this term references the act of “[staying] at home as much as possible, meaning [we] shouldn’t be out unless getting food, gas or other essentials, or for medical reasons.”

On the other hand, a quarantined state is referring to anyone “who may have been exposed to the virus.” These individuals “are asked to stay at home … [or] … a provided facility” for at least 14 days and practice “zero contact with the outside world,” barring a medical emergency. This includes quarantining yourself from other people in your own household. It’s possible that any of us could contract the virus and therefore it’s crucial to be prepared for the eventuality that you’ll be quarantined.

Yes, this means stocking your medicine cabinet with the essentials, such as Tylenol, a nasal wash, and oodles of tissue, but it also means stocking your kitchen pantry, fridge, and freezer with foods that will sustain your body for two weeks.

Making sure your body is getting adequate nutrition is a key ingredient for kicking any illness!

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Quarantine Stocking versus Grocery Shopping

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Every time you visit the grocery store, you’re reminded of the state of affairs. Half-empty shelves, low stock of staples, and face masks everywhere. These subtle yet anxiety-provoking reminders can easily trigger our minds to go into panic mode, buying more than we need of all the wrong things.

What’s the difference between panic shopping and stocking your house with quarantine food?

First off, panic shopping is directly linked to fear and anxiety, which leads to overcompensation. There is no food shortage and none in the foreseeable future so you don’t need a month’s worth of canned vegetables and beans or a year’s worth of toilet paper. Shopping for the eventuality of being quarantined means buying enough food to last at least two weeks. This means “smartly stocking your fridge, freezer, and pantry to keep everyone at home fed and well in the event you need to spend a few weeks inside your doors.”

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Before heading off to the store for your quarantine preparedness shopping, take a few moments to sort out exactly what and how much you plan to purchase:

  • Take a current inventory of your fridge, freezer, and pantry. It’ll be a surprise how much food you already have!
  • Plan out quarantine meals that share ingredients. This means choosing long-shelf-life ingredients as the central piece — such as “rice, pasta, [and] legumes” — that will be “enhanced with protein and vegetables.” Strategic meal-planning will save money and unnecessary purchasing!
  • Choose to go with frozen over fresh. Most of us shy away from frozen when possible, but these are special circumstances!
  • Steer clear of junk food. Candy, chips, and cookies have long shelf lives for a reason … they’re brimming with preservatives! Even though they’ll last, these foods won’t do you any good if you’re sick.

15 Foods that Last During Quarantine

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Once you’ve taken stock of your current pantry, it’s time to develop that two-week meal plan. Make sure to consider foods that have a long shelf-life, yet also provide some level of nutrients. While nutrient-density may not be the top of priority — we’re focusing on long-lasting, here — it should at least be on your radar.

You’ve got a game plan, now it’s time to execute!

Choose a quieter time to go grocery shopping — think, first thing in the morning or late at night — or opt for a grocery delivery service. Make sure you’ve packed your list, your face mask, hand sanitizer, and some disinfectant wipes!

Head to the store and start stocking up!

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Here are a few long-shelf-life foods to get your list and meal planning started.

1. Root and Hardy Vegetables

Even though your freezer is stocked with frozen veggies, it’s beneficial to have a small number of root vegetables and hardy vegetables in your pantry. These types of foods “can last a long time and will give you much-needed roughage,” to keep your digestive system healthy. When choosing these vegetables always go with the whole option, meaning they still have their tough skin, which keeps the tender flesh inside from going bad.

Here are a few great varieties, “potatoes of all varieties, whole carrots (baby carrots do not have the same shelf life), whole winter squash, whole heads of cabbage, whole heads of celery, [and] Brussels sprouts.”

Try your hand at some simple root veggie recipes — such as this Colorful Roasted Root Veggies, Dill Pickle French Fries, or this Earthy Beetroot Soup — and hardy veggie recipes — such as this Winter Squash and Sage Pizza, Cleansing Green Soup, or this Crunchy Asian Cabbage Salad.

2. Aromatic Foods

Don’t give up those flavors in quarantine! If you get sick, you may not want too much flavor, yet aromatic foods such as onions, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers are all great for unclogging a stuffy nose, keeping your lungs clear of mucous, and infusing the body with anti-inflammatory agents. Plus, these foods “will last a long time in your fridge or in a cool spot in your home,” such as a dark pantry. Don’t keep your aromatic foods in “plastic bags as the humidity will cause them to mold or rot.”

Get your aromatic cooking started with these recipes: Super-Simple 4-Ingredient Thai Chili Sauce, Oven-Dried Crispy Onions, Rosemary-Garlic Chickpea Flatbread, or this 15-Minute Sesame Ginger Noodles.

3. Stocks and Broths

The staple of any quarantine-friendly kitchen is plentiful amounts of stocks and broths! Choosing your favorite stock or broth to have on hand when you’re ill is a great way to infuse your body with nutrients while settling an upset stomach and soothing a soar throat. You can easily make your own broth — such as this Instant Homemade Vegetable Stock Powder or this Vegetable No-Bone Broth — and keep in the freezer. Stock and broth are also available in “cans or cartons, or space-saving bouillon pastes or cubes.” Make sure to grab a low-sodium brand!

When the time comes to use your stock or broth, there are lots of options! Simply heat it up plain and drink like a tea, add to your favorite grain, legume, or bean for a boost of flavor, make a nourishing concoction such as this Immunity Boosting Miso Soup, this Curried Split Pea Soup with Root Veggies and Ginger, or this Comforting ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup.

4. Canned “Soft” Vegetables

Root and hardy veggies can last an astonishingly long time in a dark pantry, yet those soft veggies will go bad within a few days. Yet, you don’t have to sacrifice these wonderful ingredients, just make some compromises. The best soft veggies that add flavor and versatility to any dish are peas, — rich in protein — corn, — rich in folic acid and vitamin B12 — and tomatoes — rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Make sure you choose a brand that is salt and sugar-free, — used as preservatives — and in a BPA-free can. 

5. Canned Soups

Contemplating individual ingredients is important, yet practicality comes into play when sourcing quarantine foods. This means consideration of your energy level when you’re sick. Quick, easy, and no-fuss meals that can be prepped in minutes are essential. Pre-prepared soups are the perfect option! You can go for canned soups — make sure to go with organic, non-GMO, no added sodium, no added sugar, and BPA-free cans — or opt for condensed soups, which “will save pantry room,” but you’ll have to add water, an extra step that may be simply too much if you’re too sick.

When searching for vegan-friendly canned soups online, try Amy’s a try such as this Amy’s Organic Light Sodium Split Pea Soup, Amy’s Organic Light Sodium Lentil Vegetable Soup, or this Amy’s Organic Low Sodium Butternut Squash Soup.

6. Dry Pasta and Canned Pasta Sauce

Another go-to, super-simple, quick meal is pasta. Make your meal even simpler in times of ailment by stocking your pantry with some pre-prepared pasta sauce. Dried pasta happens to be “one of the best things you can keep on hand for helping to maintain a healthy and varied diet” as it’s “shelf-stable, comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there is a version for every diet, including gluten-free and vegan.” Avoid highly processed white flour varieties and go for whole wheat, — such as this Mantova Italian Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti Pastabuckwheat, — such as this Organic Buckwheat Penneor even a legume-based version such as this Bentilia Gluten-Free Red Lentil Rotini Pasta.

Get picky with your pasta sauce! Go for a low-sodium, low-sugar, organic, and non-GMO variety, — such as this Primal Kitchen Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce. Otherwise, you can always slather that pasta with some healthy fat-filled olive oil and herbs or even mix in a bit of that stock or broth that you have on reserve!

7. Nuts and Nut Butter

Nuts and nut butter are an excellent source of raw nutrients to have on hand for quarantine. These ingredients are great for “a quick boost of protein for a snack, a topper for another dish bringing some crunch and flavor to the party, or an ingredient in baking.” Go traditional with almonds, walnuts, cashews, and peanuts or spice things up with hazelnuts, pecans, or brazil nuts. Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk as nuts and nut butter can be store in the freezer to last longer.

Save some money and make your own nut butter such as this Roasted Cashew Nut Butter, this Homemade Almond Butter, or this Homemade Peanut Butter.

8. Crackers or Other Bland Shelf-Stable Snack Foods

Part of planning for quarantine involves planning for the inevitable, which includes catching COVID-19. This means stocking up on nutrient-dense foods that will support your body, as well as foods that are easy on an upset or nauseous stomach. When it comes to replenishing an empty, nauseous stomach, going bland and going crunchy are good options. Even though crackers, rice cakes, and crispbreads are generally highly-processed, you can find some options that are a bit on the healthier side such as these Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers, these MoonPop’s Puffy Pop Rice Cakes, or these Wasa Gluten-Free Original Crispbread.

9. Healthy Snacks

Healthy snacking is essential for quarantine. Not only do you have to combat boredom-based eating, but if you’re quarantined with your children, they’ll no doubt be asking for snacks on the regular. Having healthy options on hand as your go-to is key! Essential healthy snacks include kale chips, — such as this Baked Kale Chips recipe — pretzels, — such as these From the Ground Up Cauliflower Pretzels — popcorn, — such as this SkinnyPop Original Popped Popcorn — dark chocolate, — such as this Taza 70% Chocolate Vegan Organic Amaze Bar — and even fruit bars, — such as this That’s it. Apple+Cranberry 100% Natural Real Fruit Bar.

10. Condiments

Adding condiments to your quarantine list most likely completely slipped your mind. Most likely, you won’t be up for a hot dog, hamburger, or creating a delish sandwich. With that said, your stomach most likely won’t be on the fritz for the entirety of your quarantine and you’ll want a bit of easy-access, no-hassle flavor now and again. Make sure to add your favs including vegan mayonnaise, — such as this Hampton Creek Just Mayo Vegan Mayonnaise — mustard, — such as this Annie’s Naturals Organic Dijon Mustard — relish, vinegar, hot sauce, — such as this Heartbeat Vegan Gluten-Free Red Habanero Hot Sauce — soy or tamari sauce, and any other that you can’t do without!

11. Cooking Oils

You can’t go into quarantine without your favorite cooking oils! Oils provide a much-needed source of healthy fat and vitamins, plus they’re versatility will come into play big time. Think about a salad or bowl of pasta with a bit of olive oil? How about baking without coconut oil? Thinking about stir-frying without avocado oil? Cooking oils can add that additional nourishing spin to a bland dish when your body needs it most!

Stock up on your lovely, plant-based, healthy fat-filled oils such as this Kentaste Unrefined Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, this Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil, or this Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

12. Shelf-Stable Non-Dairy Milk

Making sure to stock up on a good quantity of shelf-stable non-dairy milk is a good idea. Not only are plant-based milk alternatives easy on an upset stomach, but they’re essential for simple meals such as oatmeal, cereal, coffee or tea, and baking recipes. Keep in mind that once you open a package of evaporated milk, “you’ll have to refrigerate it,” so choose the timing wisely!

Get some of the best shelf-stable, plant-based milk alternative options from this list!

13. Coffee

Coffee may not be the best choice for a dry throat or for hydration, but if you’re an avid coffee-drinker, avoiding the coffee-detox may be a life-saver. If you’re already dealing with headaches, fevers, and a queasy tummy, adding on more unpleasant symptoms may tip you over the edge. With that said, if you’ve gotta go coffee you can at least try to add a bit of nutrient-density along for the ride.

Here are some coffee-based, nutrient-rich recipes to give a try: Cacao Coffee, Blender Mocha Cashew Latte, Mocha Granola, or this Golden Latte.

14. Tea

Choosing to go with tea over coffee when you’re sick is a great option! Plus, tea has a much longer shelf-life then coffee — both beans and pre-ground. Many teas can be slightly caffeinated or caffeine-free, depending on your personal desire or bodily requirement. During these times of uncertainty, opt for a tea that also nourishes the body such as this Bigelow Premium 100-Percent Organic Green Tea, this Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger Herbal Tea, or this Numi Organic Tea Chamomile Lemon.

You can also get creative and make a nourishing tea concoction at home such as this Bubble Tea, this Fruit Infused Sun Tea, or this Sage and Black Tea Latte!

15. Super Hydrating Beverages

This is another hugely important part of a quarantine-friendly pantry! Part of keeping yourself healthy and giving your body the tools to fight this virus is keeping yourself properly hydrated. Hydration is not only essential for a healthy immune system, but it’s also a key element of healthy lungs. While water is truly the go-to for proper hydration, it’s also a good idea to have some super-hydrating options that help restore your electrolytes such as coconut water, — such as this Naked Juice 100% Organic Pure Coconut Water — electrolyte-infused water, — such as Propel Water Unflavored With Electrolytes and No Sugaror even Gatorade — such as this Gatorade Classic Thirst Quencher.

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

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Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!

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