Before I say anything, I want to make sure we’re on the same page here – I am NOT in any way, shape or form, advising you to panic buy anything. You don’t need 100 rolls of toilet paper and you do not need 100 packs of flour.
So, these are just suggestions about foods that make sense at these times because of their long shelf life and because they’re gonna nurture your immune system – and strong immune system kinda feels important now.
Please remember that you’re not the only person who needs food and that panic buying is not helping anyone. No matter what the future brings, grocery shops will be open and food will be available to you.
Be reasonable and mindful. Check what foods you really need before going shopping and just continue shopping normally – with perhaps getting one or two extra packs of some foods for the purpose of being able to stay home longer.
1. Whole grains
Whether it’s flour, pasta or just grains – whole grains are great for your immune system because outer shell, where all the nutrients (such as B vitamins, magnesium, trace minerals) are has not been removed. Also, whole grains are rich in fiber, which keeps out gut healthy.
But the most important part – whole grains are delicious and versatile, you can use whole grain flours for delicious bread and bread rolls (I’ll include links for recipes below), cakes etc. – if you aren’t used to whole grain flour, just mix it with the white one; that way you can adjust to taste and get some extra nutrients in, whole grain pasta is incredible and you can, of course, use it just as white pasta. Brown rice, quinoa, buchwheat are all super delicious and can be used in all sorts of soups, stews, as a side dish..
Oats are an amazing food to have these days; you can use them for so many dishes, both sweet and savory.
Give it a try, if you already haven’t. Besides, when’s the better time to try out new recipes than now, when we’re all day at home anyway?
Fiber rich, protein rich, nutrient rich, long shelf life. What else do we need?
I’d say now is their time to shine – many of us avoid going shopping very often, so fresh fish and meat may not be an option every day. This is a great opportunity to explore what legumes you like, what can you do with them, and maybe even in the future lower your meat consumption by sometimes choosing legumes – that is, if you’re eating meat, of course.
You can find legumes canned, in glass jars or dried. Although all of them have long shelf life, I’d recommend buying dried ones in a bulk – this is the cheapest option.
You can use them for salads, soups, stews, veggie burgers, hummus, bread spreads, and if you’re feeling extra creative even brownies 🙂
3. Nuts and seeds
Extremely nutrient and energy rich, they are a great snack option. Healthy fats, vitamin E, selenium – all the good stuff.
And let’s face it; they’re delishhh. Get some walnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame… and sprinkle them over everything.
You can also make your own nut/seed butter (which you can use for all sorts of sauces and bread spreads, or just eat it with a spoon because why not), you can roast them and add some spices (salted sunflower seeds are godly)..
4. Spices, herbs, vinegar
Now’s your time to try growing those herbs on your balcony or in the kitchen – rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme – you name it, everything is gonna add great flavor to your dishes.
Make sure you always have your favorite spices ready – after all, spices and herbs are what adds that special touch to every dish and without them, it’s all kinda bland.
I use apple cider vinegar, it’s great not only for salad, but also for warm dishes; add a bit to your soups and stews, it’s a great substitute for lemon.
I guess my recommendation here is obvious – all the way high quality olive oil. It’s a golden liquid for a reason. You can use it for everything except frying at extremely high temperatures.
However, whatever oil you’re using, make sure to get ones in dark bottles – vitamin E, which is the “main” nutrient in the oil is sensitive to light, so when you’re buying those plastic bottles of oil, it’s questionable how much of it is left. Aside from that, those cheap oils in plastic bottles are highly processed and are not gonna serve your body in any way.
Another fats I’m using are coconut oil and butter. Both have relatively long shelf lives because of their high saturated fatty acids content. And both are super delicious.
You can use coconut oil for frying, for all sorts of cakes and sweets. Butter.. well, I love it on my bread 🙂
As far as shelf lives go, honey is an absolute winner. Nothing lasts longer 🙂
It’s a perfect sweetener for everything, but try not to use it on temperatures over 40C – so, let your coffee or tea get a bit colder before you stirr it in.
It’s effective against coughing, it streghtens immune system, it’s rich in antioxidants – long story short, it’s a great option to sweeten those days we’re spending at home.
If it’s not an option for you, maple syrup is a great alternative.
Also, don’t give honey to children under 1yo.
7. Frozen fruits and veggies
A pack or two of your favorite veggies with short shelf life are a nice thing to have frozen during these crazy times. Remember, don’t go crazy with it.
You can use frozen veggies more or less just like regular ones – stews, soups, roasted, salads, everything.
Frozen fruits are great for müsli, nice-cream, cakes..
8. Fresh fruits and veggies
Carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic, potatoes, lemons, apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, ginger – all of these hold up well for a while, stored either in the fridge or in the dark, cold place.
When deciding your next meal, try to consider shelf life of specific foods and use them up in order to minimize food waste.
If you’re feeling creative, you can try growing your own foods from scraps of these; I’m not a gardening expert, but apparently you can grow your own lettuce, ginger, garlic, onions, carrots easily at home. Look it up, there are some great resources on YouTube and Pinterest.
Aside from those, great idea is having a few extra cans of tomatoes, coconut milk, corn, pickles, mushrooms and similar foods you enjoy. Dark chocolate is an amazing food to always have at home, you’re gonna want some sweets eventually 🙂
Foods I wouldn’t recommend to be a majority of your lockdown foods are “junk” foods like sweets and frozen pizzas and similar stuff – of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t have them and it certainly doesn’t mean you should feel bad about having them – we’re all about food freedom here, BUT, be mindful of what your priorities at the moment are. You probably want your family and yourself to be healthy, and nurture your immune system at times like this.
Besides, these foods are going to wreak havoc on your sugar levels, which may lead to extreme ups and downs, which may lead to unnecessary overeating – meaning you’re gonna need to go shop more often and expose yourself to the virus and it’s gonna cost you more.
So, enjoy all the foods you love, but be mindful of how much of which foods do you really need.
Some delicious recipes you can try these days, using the foods from the list:
- Hazelnut Granola: https://www.ninasempire.com/hazelnut-granola/
- Best vegetarian lasagna: https://www.ninasempire.com/best-vegetarian-lasagna/ – you can batch cook the lentil bolognese sauce and use it more than once.
- Cream cheese bread rolls: https://www.ninasempire.com/cream-cheese-bread-rolls/
- Simple carrot soup: https://www.ninasempire.com/simple-carrot-soup/
- Whole grain toast bread: https://www.ninasempire.com/whole-grain-toast-bread/
- Apple carrot baked oatmeal: https://www.ninasempire.com/apple-carrot-baked-oatmeal/
- Mashed chickpeas: https://www.ninasempire.com/mashed-chickpeas/
- Carob almond butter: https://www.ninasempire.com/carob-almond-butter/
- Magical ashwagandha drink: https://www.ninasempire.com/magical-ashwagandha-drink/
- Easy yogurt brownies: https://www.ninasempire.com/easy-yogurt-brownies/
- Quick whole grain spelt bread: https://www.ninasempire.com/quick-whole-grain-spelt-bread/
And, to repeat myself – panic buying is not helpful nor is it necessary. Yes, it’s smart to stock up on some foods in order to avoid exposing yourself to the virus, but keep in mind that you’re not alone in this. Other people need food (and toilet paper) too. Remember, no matter what happens, food will be available.
We’re living in extraordinary times, we have never been faces with something like this, but I’m hoping all of us will learn from the current situation. I hope you find positive lessons in all of this, I hope you use this time well, for your personal growth, for learning, for showing love and kindness to everyone, starting with yourself.
Also, this is the best time I have ever lived through to be grateful – when everything is stripped down, like it is now, look at how much you have to be grateful for. You have food, roof over your head, your family, your health, you’re safe. Make sure to remember that at all times.