Stuck at home? Whether it’s the threat of winter storms, flu season, illness or injury, check out these 9 tips to prepare your pantry to be stuck at home for an extended period.
9 Tips to Prepare Your Pantry:
1. Keep dry beans in stock
Always keep extra bags of dry beans on hand. They’re great for protein and shelf stable (aka they don’t go bad in about…forever). Plus, dry beans are so versatile, they can be used in dishes from Mexican flavored chili to Indian dal makhani, both of which are amazing for leftovers. You can use them on potatoes, nachos, pasta and more!
2. Pasta, rice and hearty grains
If you or your family can eat grains, keep pasta, rice, oats, quinoa, buckwheat and the like in your pantry. All you’ll need to have a filling meal with these staples on hand is boiling water and a simple sauce. Many of these grains are chock full of nutrients and are quite filling. If you can’t make it out to the grocery stores, that’ll be super important to prepare your pantry.
3. Canned vegetables
While not always ideal when it comes to taste compared to fresh or frozen vegetables, canned vegetables definitely have pride of place when it comes to stability. You want to be prepared, in the case of storms, for your power to go out. So you don’t want to depend on frozen or refrigerated items to get you through. Prepare your pantry with canned vegetables instead.
Tomatoes and corn are a couple of veggies that still taste pretty good and work well in recipes from canned. You’ll be able to make chili and pasta sauce as well as soups sauces. I also like olives, Asian vegetables like water chestnuts and bean sprouts and peppers.
4. Nuts and dried fruits
We love homemade trail mix and it changes every time we make it. Nuts and dried fruits are great pantry staples, especially to keep your energy up during illness. Lately, I’ve been doing a mix of pistachios (which, hello, now they’ve decided are a complete protein! win!), Brazil nuts (great for mood boosting), cashews, almonds, black currants and dark chocolate chips. From there, I toss in whatever else I see that looks good.
I usually mix that up in the 2 liter jar and the kids eat it in a few days. Junkies. So, we keep LOTS of nuts and dried fruit on hand. They’re great for protein and energy.
Grab any other shelf stable snacks that are healthy that you and your family enjoy to prepare your pantry. Mr. Meaty likes beef jerky and the kids are fans of Cliff peanut butter bars. I like these yummy Madagascar vanilla granola bars, myself.
5. Coffee, tea and cocoa
Is it strictly necessary? No. Will you feel better if you have them? Probably.
Make sure you’re stocked up on your favorite coffees teas and cocoa supplies for your family and whatever accoutrements go with them for you. Either get used to drinking it black in case of power outage or, grab shelf stable coconut creamer
On a related note, make sure your water filter is up-to-date. If it isn’t or if it’s nearing the change date, order a backup or replace it now.
6. Freezer foods
Don’t go too crazy with this, especially if you’re preparing for winter storms that may result in loss of power. But, if you’re preparing for an extended stay at home, you can also stock your freezer with fruits, vegetables and proteins.
Smoothie packs filled with leafy greens and fruits that can be dropped into a blender with yogurt for a nutrient-packed breakfast will be amazing for a self-quarantine.
As for fresh fruits and vegetables, if delivery is still possible, check out a CSA box or delivery service like Misfits Market. They’ll deliver fresh produce weekly or every other week.
7. Toiletries and medical stuff
Now, don’t go nuts and hoard the stuff. But, don’t forget your medicine cabinet and linen closet. If you’re stuck at home, you will need extra toiletries since you won’t be using those at work or school during the day.
You’ll need extra soap, toilet paper, facial tissues and such. Make sure you have enough shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. to get you through as well.
You’ll also want to refresh your stock of medical stuff like pain reliever/fever reducer in case you do get the flu or other illness.
8. Pet stuff and cleaning supplies
Be sure to stock your pets up on dry food, wet food and treats. And, don’t forget the litter.
Also, you’ll want to make sure you can properly sanitize your home in case the flu or other illness does hit your home. Stock up on cleaning supplies: spray cleaner, dish soap, laundry soap and towels.
9. Work and learn from home stuff
In case of extended school closure and e-learning opportunity (our school system, during the March 2020 closure, for instance plans to provide education via an online learning portal even for elementary age students), you’ll need a place to learn. Make sure you have a good set up in place.
The same goes for the opportunity to work from home. Of course, in the case of a storm that knocks out power, this won’t be possible. But, if you’re snowed in but power remains, you’ll be prepared to work or learn remotely. Make sure you have comfortable chairs, desks and enough devices for everyone who needs them (or set up a learning and work schedule if you need to share).