We are living in strange times. My guess is nearly every generation could say that and they’d be right, for different reasons.
Novel Coronavirus is on our minds as it continues to impact our personal and professional lives. We are starting to see headlines about lifestyle choices, food in particular, to help “save” us.
We really can’t eat our way out of emergencies in most cases, despite some (inaccurate) headlines suggesting there is a magical solution in times of concern.
We CAN make really simple, incredibly helpful choices that support us every day. Like eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep and proper activity, as well as washing our hands.
I am not a doctor. I am not a virus expert. I am a health professional, nutrition in particular.
The good news is, this is a great reminder that we can and should stock our kitchens so we can make balanced, intentional meals on a moment’s notice.
We can include canned, fresh, dried, and frozen foods to ensure that even if the power goes out, we are covered. If there are things that happen, from weather disasters to outbreaks, we can prepare our cars, homes, and offices to make our existence as safe and as healthy as possible.
Yes, some of the pantry staples will be higher in sodium for food safety reasons. Isn’t it cool that salt in this role has a purpose that helps us? It simply means that we need to pair these items with lower sodium options to balance out the meal/snack/day.
We don’t need to panic. We need to prepare. For particular details for any national or international situation, follow the CDC, your doctor’s advice, and other experts in whatever is going on at the time. Who you choose to listen to is incredibly important in these moments.
In the meantime, here is a basic checklist to inspire your readiness at any time of year, in many circumstances (and don’t forget to rotate your stock so you are up to date – you can use all of these items year round):
Soap (hand, dish, laundry, shampoo, household cleaners, etc)
First aid kit
Bottled water (Emergency preparedness is a very good reason for this type of product)
Hand sanitizer and other products for self and surfaces (see this list that CDC links to from their site)
Canned fruits packed in 100% juice, water, or light syrup
Canned vegetables (remember to drain and rinse to remove some of the sodium)
Frozen fruits and veggies with no added “stuff” (no need for extra sodium or fat here)
Popcorn (pre popped and kernels)
Mixes for muffins, pancakes, etc. (try for at least 2 g fiber/serving and whole grain)
Dried fruits and meats
Whole grain cereal (read ingredient lists to limit added sugars)
Dry milk powder
Shelf stable milk (chocolate and white are available in cow’s milk; if other options are chosen for allergy or other reason, compare Nutrition Facts to ensure nutrition including protein)
Fresh items from all food groups for daily use as you normally would (see a budget friendly, balanced planning list with recipes here)
For additional resources in times of emergency, talk with your doctor and click through these additional links as you wish (this is not an all inclusive list and you should always follow your doctor’s advice to do what is right for you, and work with your employer, schools, and other relevant community resources):