Early this year, a new kind of virus began generating headlines all over the world because of the unprecedented speed of its transmission. Corona virus (originally named SARS-CoV-2 and now designated COVID-19) has infected tens of thousands, with a rising death toll.
One of the most powerful defenses against a viral illness is a healthy diet. Did you know that eating foods loaded with sugar and simple carbohydrates compromises your immune system? On top of a healthy diet, experts recommend that various vitamins not only lower your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, but can also help your body fight off more temporary infections and illnesses, like COVID-19.
In this blog we're bringing you tips for stocking up your pantry without having it all go to waste, the best items to purchase, and other ways to protect yourself and your family against the threat of a viral outbreak.
Stock up on supplies that make sense
Being mindful to stock up slowly, try to consciously grab a little bit extra every time you have to stock up on something. You don’t need to stock up for the end of the world, but stay on top of what you have to ensure you don’t run out of goods if you’re home sick, self-isolating or quarantined for a couple weeks. Look for frozen foods and canned items that won’t go bad.
Experts say that if you’re healthy, you probably don’t need to buy face masks. If people keep buying the masks, there will continue to be shortages, and the individuals who actually need the masks — sick people and healthcare providers — won’t have them.
Stock up slowly
Rather than emptying store shelves, experts recommend that it's best to stock food, water, and other emergency supplies slowly and diligently. Rotate out your older perishable goods, using them before they rot. Keep reading for handy tips on how to successfully rotate your food without having to throw it out!
Rotate your pantry items
When stocking up, rotating your food items as you use them is going to be incredibly helpful in avoiding food spoiling. Organize your pantry items in order of expiration date - with the earliest expiring items at the front. Similar to a grocery store, as soon as you use one of your stocked-up items, be sure to replace it.
For example, as you finish a jar of peanut butter that was in your pantry, replace it with another one and place that one at the back, as it will be the most recent purchased and have the oldest expiry date.
Stock up on medicineIt’s also crucial to keep an eye on your medications. Over-the-counter medications like pain relievers, fever reducers, and decongestants are thought to help relieve milder symptoms of COVID-19 and are good to have a couple of bottles in your medicine cabinet if stores run low. It's also very important if you have prescriptions to fill extra from the pharmacy or ask your doctor to prescribe enough to get through an extra month.
Aside from the mood-boosting mental-health lift, exercising is a great way to keep your body healthy and strong. Keeping your exercise routine is important for your over-all health, but also studies have shown that exercise does trigger changes in our white blood cells, making them circulate more quickly, and it's possible this could help us fight off infections quicker.
Home workouts, a 10-30 minute walk outside, or even just some early-morning yoga. Get moving!
Get soap and disinfectants
By now you've probably witnessed the graphics being shared on Facebook and other social media making fun of people for running out and stock-piling soap. All jokes aside, this is a great idea. Health experts widely agree that frequent hand-washing is the most effective way to avoid contracting COVID-19, and other illnesses.
Cleaning surfaces that are in heavy-traffic areas (such as kitchen counters, bathrooms, etc) routinely will help protect against the spread of diseases as well. Don't forget to routinely sanitize your cellphone, something we often overlook!
Why Soap is Even Better than Hand Sanitizer
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.
Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs, like Cryptosporidium, norovirus, and Clostridium difficile and experts say Covid-19.
However, that doesn't mean hand sanitizer doesn't help! It doesn't really matter which brand of hand sanitizer you use or whether it's gel or foam, as long as it has at least 60% alcohol. And you should use enough hand sanitizer so that your hands get wet and it takes about 15 to 20 seconds for them to dry.
So in contrast to hand sanitizer, washing your hands does remove those pathogens like norovirus, Giardia, C. difficile & Covid-19 because it's not the soap alone that kills the germs — but the friction of lathering and washing away the organisms that makes handwashing more effective.
But you need to wash for at least 20 seconds, and make sure all the surfaces of your hands are rubbed thoroughly with soap and water. This illustration from the WHO is a great guide:
Get enough sleep
Sleep is great for our immunity. When you haven't slept enough, it's harder for the body to fight off illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer. About eight hours a night is a good benchmark.
Stock up on daily multivitamins
It comes highly recommended to stock up on a good daily multivitamin like our Nutracelle Gummies. Not only are they sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan, they're chew-able and taste just like candy so it's easier to stay on top of your health!
While you should plan to have lots of variety in your diet through your food pantry efforts, it’s good to have a daily dose of everything you need in a gummy.
THE PREMIUM VEGAN NUTRIENTS You'll Find in Nutramin Vitamin Gummies
- VITAMIN A – From 100% natural fat-soluble beta-carotene, not cheaper synthetics.
- VITAMIN C – Extracted from real fruit, never synthetic ascorbic acid found in other multivitamin brands.
- VITAMIN D3 – Plant-based vitamin D3, instead of cheaper animal-sourced sources.
- VITAMIN E – Extracted from natural plant-sources for maximum effectiveness.
- VITAMIN B6 – Naturally-sourced from nutritional yeast.
- FOLIC ACID – We use vegan-sourced folate, which is almost 100% bioavailable
- VITAMIN B12 – Only naturally-sourced Methylcobalamin, NOT the cheaper & less effective Cyanocobalamin.
- BIOTIN – Our plant-based, vegan biotin is not derived from animal sources like most other brands.
- PANTOTHENIC ACID, IODINE, ZINC, CHOLINE & INOSITOL – We never use chemically-synthesized alternatives or animal-sourced ingredients.
And of course... Protein is so important for your immune system
Experts agree that one of the best emergency foods to have in your pantry is protein powder. Because it's filling, aids in immune function, and has a very long shelf life (Nutralean & NutraVegan both have a shelf-life of up to 24 months).
Plus it's a very easy food to prepare with just water. Whether you're a Nutralean, NutraVegan (or both!) fan, both proteins are the perfect just-in-case pantry item.
Not only are our prebiotic protein products made with clean ingredients and have an impressive shelf-life of two years from production run, but because of our unique formula... they also offer a wealth of nutrients, gut-healing benefits, and hunger-fighting powers.
We choose a special prebiotic fiber from the acacia tree that slows down the digestion of the protein. This enables your body to get the most out of the protein, which is the most-filling macronutrient there is! Feeling full and protein are two huge factors in remaining healthy and for fighting off diseases.
Plus, as an added bonus, both of our protein powders are perfect for baking and cooking with, so you have tons of recipes at your disposal. Make a delicious, filling smoothie in just seconds in your NutraShaker cup, or choose from hundreds of easy, few-ingredient recipes!
What else SHOULD be on your emergency grocery list?
We have some advice on what to prioritize for your pantry-stocking grocery list.
Although some items on the the list may not be ideal when living Keto or Low-Carb, we have a hack for that! Add Nutralean to some of the higher-carb foods, this will boost their nutrition profile with healthy, filling protein and prebiotic fiber and as an added plus, you will automatically eat less of it - making your supplies go even further!
Also remember to get a can opener and have some bottled water jugs on hand.
The Power of Tea
- In an emergency situation, tea can help you hydrate quickly when you can't wait for the boiled water to cool. Caffeinated teas provide a burst of additional energy; while other teas can provide a calming and soothing effect, which you may need. Additionally, many kinds of tea have polyphenols which helps build immunity, reduces the risk of blood clotting and even lowers cholesterol levels. Consider adding echinacea, peppermint and chamomile teas to help combat the common cold naturally, too.
Root Vegetables - Cheap & Filling
- Long lasting root vegetables: such as carrots, parsnips, beets, squash, cabbage, and turnip are excellent for soups, stews, veggie platters with dips and are inexpensive ingredients for cooking at home. Also stock up on potatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger. Store in a cool, dark place.
- Shelf stable boxed meals: Although not nutritionally ideal,you can take comfort in having several shelf-stable, ready-to-eat meals on hand, which require no cooking - pancake mixes, mac n' cheese and other easy recipes can be made healthier with Natural Nutralean or NutraVegan.
- Bake Bread: You can freeze bread, but the best option is to make your own. If you have a bread-maker, you can add 2-4 scoops of Natural Nutralean or NutraVegan to make it healthier with more protein and more fiber. Follow the low-carb bread recipes from our recipe section and cookbooks too!
- Eggs: Most eggs can last a few weeks in the refrigerator. Freezing liquid eggs is also a great solution.
- Cheese: Choose long-lasting hard cheese varieties like cheddar, provolone and Gouda, or cheeses that still have the wax around it.
- Canned Veggies: When it comes to veggies, canned items can be a nutritious and affordable option to have on hand without the worry of spoilage. The nutritional content between canned vegetables and fresh is very similar, although some canned goods may contain higher amounts of sodium. With very little prepping is required and already cooked, canned vegetables can be a real lifesaver for adding in to soups, stews and casseroles. Vegetables are a fantastic source of fiber, vitamin C and other nutrients. Canned olives, artichokes and asparagus are other options for added variety.
- Canned Fruit: Look for canned fruit that contains no added sugar and are packed in water. Canned pumpkin isn't just for pies! This versatile ingredient is a great low-carb option with tons of recipes on our site. You can make a simple soup by adding bouillon cubes and spices. Just be sure to read the label to make sure it contains 100% pure pumpkin, as the pie filing variety is loaded with added sugars. It can be added to muffins or other baked goods for a boost of natural sweetness and fiber and can also make delicious desserts.
- Canned Beans: Although a little high on the carbohydrate scale, both dried and canned beans are a great source of plant based protein and super high in fiber. Beans can be added to soups, chilli and salads, and can be used to make nutritious dips such as hummus. White kidney beans can be significantly lower in carbs and contain vitamins such as vitamin B1 and vitamin B9.
- Canned Meats and Fish: A wonderful source of both protein and omega-3 fatty acids, canned fish (such as tuna, salmon, anchovies and sardines), can be used in sandwiches for lunch and main dinner dishes. Canned chicken breast and ham are also great options. Tuna, especially, can be added to casseroles, pasta, mac n-cheese, lettuce wraps and more - add a scoop or a few tablespoons of Natural Nutralean!
- Canned Soup and broths: Pick up several different varieties so you aren't getting bored with the same things. Look for lower-carb soups and be mindful that some varieties may contain gluten if that is a concern in your household. Add your favourite spices and veggies as well as Natural Nutralean to add some flavour and nutrients. Soup stock is a great source of protein, and are the perfect base for hearty soups and stews. They also add wonderful flavour to cooked grains and rice.
Nut butters and Seeds:
- Nut Butters and Nut Butter Substitutes: Of course, our household is nut-free, so we use seeds like sesame butter and soy-nut butters. But nuts are nutrient-dense and full of plant-based protein, containing heart-healthy fats, as well as essential minerals. Nut or seed butter can be spread on apples or stirred into oatmeal and yogurt. If someone in your household also suffers from a nut allergy, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame based butters are excellent alternatives. Look for natural nut butters that are simply nuts, oil and salt.
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts are an excellent for stocking up on. They are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Seeds can also be an alternative if there is a nut allergy in your household. Sunflower and pumpkin and make good nut replacements. Make sure you don't buy them in the bulk food section if you have allergies - as these have been cross-contaminated. And always read labels for allergens!
- Cooking oil is extremely important to stockpile for cooking! Buy small containers and look for the word "virgin" which means that they are the first press and have the most nutritive value.
- Butter can be frozen and thawed as needed.
- Coconut oil is very heat stable, and because it's low to oxidize, it means that it won't go rancid as quickly as other oils. It can last up to two years, and it is great for you! Studies have shown coconut oil can help burn more fat.
- Ghee. Ghee is butter that's been melted and simmered down until all the water has evaporated and the milk solids have settled at the bottom. It has a long shelf life.
- Olive oil is an ideal oil, as many brands have a shelf life up to two years. Whatever oil you buy, be sure to buy in small containers as the minute you open them, they oxidize and begin deteriorating quickly. Avoid anything made with soybean oil as 90% of soybean products are genetically modified or cross-contaminated.
Other important supplies:
- Milk & Milk Powders: Cow's milk and heavy cream expires quickly, and if you're going to be quarantined, you'll want to keep some in your freezer. You can thaw both milk and heavy cream out.
- Coconut Milk: Canned coconut milk is great for cooking with, adding to soups and you can even get coconut milk powder, which convenient to have on hand.
- Baby food and formula: Depending on your baby’s age, they may be eating grown-up food in some form, but it's a great idea to stock up on some ready-to-eat food pouches and kid-friendly snacks to supplement meals. If there's an infant in the house, make sure you have enough formula for at least two weeks.
- Pets: If you have pets in the home, don't forget to stock up on their food staples.
- Sugar Free Jam and Jellies: These can and some sweetness to oatmeal, baked goods, your home-made bread, pancakes and more!
- Condiments: Pickles, relish, mustard, ketchup (sugar-free if you can!) and mayonnaise can go a long way to breaking up the boredom and making your foods taste better. Tabasco sauce, hot sauce, and Sriracha sauces can help spice up bland foods. Worcestershire sauce will kick your stews and soups up a notch too. Soya sauce will help bring flavour to any Asian-style meals.
- Cocoa Powder: Not only does chocolate contain loads of antioxidants, but it's a great way to indulge yourself when you are home-bound. Look for high quality dark chocolate and of course - treat yourself daily with Chocolate Nutralean and NutraVegan!
- Be sure to also stock sugar free chocolate chips to add to pancakes, muffins, breads, and more to delight kids and help keep the normalcy as best you can considering the situation.
Apple Cider Vinegar & White Vinegar:
- Stock a couple of bottles of vinegar, specifically apple cider vinegar. For a simple salad dressing or marinade, all you need is apple cider vinegar, oil and salt and pepper!
- Vinegar works wonderfully to clean cutting boards and food preparation surfaces and it makes a great fruit and vegetable wash. It can even help wilted vegetables come back to life when you soak in cold water with a splash of vinegar.
Why Frozen Foods are Great:
Frozen vegetables are picked and frozen as soon as they are ripened, so they are often more nutritious than fresh vegetables and fruit that are trucked long distances before they reach your local grocer.
- Vegetables: Buy a variety of frozen veggies to add to stir-fries, casseroles or soups. Pick up a variety of green veggies, like peas, broccoli and spinach. Get about four big bags.
- Fruit & Berries: Frozen fruit is great for smoothies and for making easy desserts. Like their canned counterparts, they're also a great source of vitamin C and full of nutrients! Plus, make super-smoothies with your Nutralean and NutraVegan.
- Pizza or pizza crust: If you have room in your freezer for these, make ahead some pizza crust from our recipe section. While not essential for basic nutritional needs, freshly baked pizza will be a welcome weeknight treat.
- Meat and poultry: Chicken breast, ground beef and ground turkey all freeze well. They can be turned into the foundation of any meal, added to soups, stews and chili to bulk them up.
- Frozen treats: Staying at home for a two-week period can be stressful, so don't deny yourself (or your family) a treat or two. Pick up a few containers of ice cream and a box or two of no-sugar-added ice pops. You can make protein ice-cream with our easy recipes, and if you use cans of coconut milk, or frozen cream with frozen berries, it's easy to make a high protein, low-carb treat for stressful days at home!
Store Some Dry goods:
- Spices and herbs: Stock up on your favorite herbs and spices to add flavour and variety to your meals.
- Pasta. This classic wheat-based pantry staple can be high in carbohydrates and lacking in protein. Look for bean or vegetable based, gluten-free varieties if you have an allergy. Jarred or canned pasta sauce is also smart to have on hand, or you can make your own sauce from canned tomatoes. Look for no sugar added options. Pasta is filling and inexpensive - so while it's isn't high-carb - it's easy to add Natural Nutralean to make it a healthier option.
- Rice: Although brown rice is a much healthier option, it takes significantly longer to cook. White, instant rice is the quicker option. Add lots of protein to it, to lower the blood sugar-spike. Remember - rice can last for a long time, so it's a great emergency food.
- Flours: Stock up on your favorite flours. Even though white flour isn't the healthiest option, adding several scoops of Natural Nutralean will give you nutritious fiber and protein to keep you full and you will eat much less naturally. When you are baking your own bread, you can add coconut flour, soy flour, or if you don't have allergies - almond flour is excellent!
- Baking soda and baking powder, dry yeast: Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, which means they help food rise. Baking powder and dry yeast are important to have on hand when baking your own bread.
- Cereals and Oatmeal: Stockpile whatever cereals your family eats. Look for non sugary, whole grain or rice cereals. Hemp hearts can be a great addition to hot cereals. It contains high levels of fiber and vitamin E to boost your immune system. Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, all make great cereals.
- Crackers and cookies: While crackers have little nutrition, they do provide a sense of normalcy to an emergency situation and can be a great addition to soups and tuna salad, and your favourite nut or seed butters for your family.
- Salt: Sodium plays a crucial role in maintaining human health as the main source of sodium and chloride ions in our diet. Sodium is essential for nerve and muscle function is necessary for the regulation of fluids in the body, regulating blood pH and pressure.
- Epsom salt: has many health benefits for the skin and is an excellent source of magnesium. It is also a great way to relax after a stressful day at home! Just add it to your bathwater and soak.
We hope you're taking the advice of officials, as we are! Nutracelle supports being cautious, thoughtful and above all: conscientious. During this time, our head office is working remotely to follow social distancing guidelines and recommendations.
Stay safe everyone! We'll all get through this together ♥
For another great resource on smart pantry packing, check out this article by Fitness Volt, found here.