Still under a state-imposed lockdown due to COVID-19? Finding the grocery items you need to fill your freezer, fridge and pantry may be quite the challenge, thanks to panic-stricken consumers. The good news is retailers are cracking down on hoarding by limiting the quantities that can be purchased for select items.
This means you may have good luck at the grocery store the next time around. To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a quarantine grocery list for a family of 4.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to purchase enough food to last for at least 2 weeks. Why so long? You want to minimize the chances of coming in contact with someone who’s infected with COVID-19.
Before You Shop
You may be tempted to head to the grocery store right away and stock up on as much you can. But don’t do so just yet. Instead, take an inventory of the items in your home. Do you have enough to cook a few tasty meals? Dig deep in your freezer, pantry and fridge. It’s also a great time to toss any expired items to make room for the new influx of groceries that are coming soon.
Take notes to avoid purchasing goods you already have on hand. It’s also best if you avoid buying more food than you can properly store. Otherwise, you run the risk of items spoiling before you can get around to using them and wasting your hard-earned money.
How to Prepare Your List
Meal planning is a must when preparing your quarantine grocery list. It makes your shopping trip more efficient, saves you a ton of cash and eliminates the need for frequent runs to the store. You’re free to choose delicious meals for your family.
However, you want to be flexible with your selections just in case those noodles or rice you wanted are out of stock when you arrive. Also, try to select ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes to reduce the number of items on your list and stretch your budget.
What to Buy
Here’s a cheat sheet to help you out as you compile your quarantine grocery list.
For the Freezer
It’s no secret. Frozen foods have a longer shelf life. They may not be your preferred choice, but some items, like frozen veggies and fruits, could be worth considering if fresh produce is scarce.
Planning to buy frozen meat products and are worried about space? Remove the items from the original packaging and store them in small containers or freezer storage bags. Just don’t forget to notate the date of purchase and what’s inside. That way, you’ll know what’s inside and which items to use first.
You can’t go wrong with these items in your freezer:
- Frozen fruit
- Frozen meat
- Frozen vegetables
For the Fridge
Go easy on the dairy products, like cheese, milk and yogurt, if possible. They only last for a week or two, at most, so only buy the amount you think you’ll need for the 14-day window.
Consider these items for your refrigerator:
For the Pantry
Canned goods, packets of rice and pasta are all go-to items for the pantry. You can make several meals with these items without spending hours in the kitchen.
How about junk food? You can pick up an item or two of your family’s favorite snacks, but don’t load up. They’re called junk food for a reason and aren’t the ideal choice to boost your family’s health during this time of crisis.
Consider these pantry items as you make your list:
- Canned beans
- Canned fish (salmon and tuna)
- Canned fruit
- Canned soup
- Canned vegetables
- Cooking oil
- Evaporated milk
- Nut Butters
- Rice cakes
- Seasonings (salt, pepper, spices)
- Spaghetti (or other pasta) sauce
Other Items You May Need
While at the grocery store, don’t forget to pick up these items if you don’t already have them lying around your home:
- Cleaning supplies
- Dish liquid
- Disinfectant spray and wipes
- First-aid supplies
- Hand soap
- Kitchen sponges
- Laundry detergent
- Over-the-counter medication
- Paper towels
- Toilet paper
- Trash bags
- Pet Food
- Prescription drugs (60-day supply)
A Final Thought
The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted life as we know it. Millions have been laid-off or furloughed. Parents are now forced to homeschool their children while working from home. And there’s much uncertainty as to when things will return to normal.
If you’re facing any of these situations, you have more than enough on your plate. Don’t let meal planning for your family to be an added source of stress. Keep your plans quick but healthy and cost-efficient meals for your family of 4 until life returns to normal.
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