In these new times, it's important to plan...
Those who are used to eating out or are unsure of what foods are best to keep stocked can look no further. Keeping some simple staple foods well-stocked will help ease the burden should an event like this reoccur. While still in the throws of this current pandemic, these foods will help keep you nourished and ease your mind should food become difficult to access once again.
The coronavirus will be an event that defines the way we live our lives moving forward. Some things may return to a sense of normalcy, but other things will be forever changed. One of the things that have already changed is the way people look at their homes and preparedness. Like any preparation for a natural disaster, preparing for a global pandemic requires supplies, a readiness plan, and a fully-stocked pantry.
Many cultures around the world rely on rice as one of their staple foods. It is non-perishable, filling, and cheap to buy in large quantities. Using rice as the meal base will help you feel full longer as rice is also a calorie-dense food. Rice can be susceptible to bugs, so make sure when storing rice, you do so in a properly sealed container.
Beans and legumes
Similar to rice, many cultures eat a variety of beans. Beans are full of nutrients and vitamins and are also high in protein. Like rice, beans are dry-stored food, which gives them a long shelf life. Black beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans are some of the beans with the most nutrients, but all beans help add fiber to your diet and help you feel full. For non-meat eaters, legumes are one of the best sources of protein. Even for those who do eat meat, legumes have many health benefits. Other types of legumes are peanuts, peas, and lentils, all of which are great to keep stored in the pantry.
When the coronavirus first hit meat was one of the first things to fly off the shelf at my grocery store. Several months in with the scare in the chicken packaging facilities, chicken became easy to access, but other meat became more scarce. If you are used to a diet with meat keeping some staples in the freezer can help if there is another shortage. You can store things like hamburgers and other ground meats in the freezer for up to 4 months. Chicken breasts can be stored for nine months to a year, depending on how it’s cut. For more information on foods that freeze well and their recommended storage life visit, https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts.
It is essential not to forget how vital water is to our lives. While running water was never considered an issue during the coronavirus, other disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes water might not be as easy to access. Keeping several gallons per person stored in the pantry is a good idea, just if something should happen.
Fruits and veggies
When it comes to fruits and veggies, fresh is almost always better, but when preparing for a pandemic relying on access to fresh fruits and vegetables may not be possible. When buying veggies, remember that most canned vegetables are high in sodium. If you have a heart problem or are on certain medications, sticking to frozen veggies is better. Many steamer bags of frozen broccoli, green beans, or corn have a much lower sodium content than their canned counterparts. When it comes to fruit, frozen is a great option if you plan to make smoothies, but to get the feeling of fresh fruit canned can be more like the real thing. When buying canned fruit, make sure to look at the liquid it is canned in and stay away from the fruit in syrup. Make sure to always read the label's nutritional information.
Again, Keeping some simple staple foods well-stocked will help ease the burden should an event like this reoccur.
For more reading on food safety during a disaster visit, foodsafety.gov
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