Lockdowns are now routine; almost every country has begun locking down its public sphere to cut down socialising, eventually minimising the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In these trying times, our primary concern lies with the unit of life- food. It is common for one to ponder upon ‘How to stock the pantry?’ or ‘What should I stock my pantry with?’. These conditions have pushed us to make a list of all things we need to stock in our pantry. Thus, here’s a guide to help you understand all the essential items which can help in preparing the ideal ‘pandemic pantry’.
Things to Stock in Your Pantry
A well-stocked pantry plays a major role in saving both time and money; here’s a list of all the right things to stock in your pantry :
- Whole grains (whole grain pasta, brown rice, barley, rolled oats)
- Canned or dried beans (look for low-sodium or no-salt-added beans)
- Fruits and vegetables (canned fruits, applesauce, canned corn, green beans etc.)
- Fish (canned tuna and salmon)
- Nuts and dried fruit (can be added to homemade trail mix, salads, hot cereals or baked goods)
- Whole-grain, low-sugar cereals (can be added to trail mix or as coating on meat, poultry and fish)
- Vinegars and other condiments (like Dijon mustard, apple cider, red wine, rice or balsamic vinegars)
- Dried herbs and spices (can be used in place of salt or fat)
- Healthy fats (canola and olive oil can be used as dressings or vinaigrettes)
- Basic baking items (flour, baking soda, baking powder etc. can be used for making healthy desserts)
You can either choose to buy in bulk or stock up, but the former is the better option since it leads to better unit prices than packaged goods.
How to Stock a Pantry
To understand how to stock a pantry, one needs to first divide the requirements of the household. Thus, you first need to create a customized list that suits the needs of the household. Special consideration needs to be given to family members with special needs, like babies, pregnant women or the elderly and ill.
The Pantry List should be divided into the following criteria:
- Drinks (bottled water, concentrated juices, sports drinks, water sterilising tablets)
- Pet Food (canned/dry)
- Dried and Long-life Food (ready-to-eat meals, breakfast cereal, flour/bread, rice, pasta, etc.)
- Snack Food (dried fruits, nuts, biscuits, spreads, crackers, snack bars)
- Emergency Backup Power Supply (batteries, portable radio, torch, candles, matches, manual can opener)
- Ready to eat bottled/canned food (Meat, fish, fruit, juice, vegetables, soup, pasta sauce)
- Other items (like prescription medication)
- Baby supplies (baby food, baby formula, nappies, wipes)
- Health Supplies (First Aid Kit, Analgesics/Pain Killers, face masks, protective gloves, thermometer)
- Toiletries/ Cleaning Products (toilet rolls, soaps, shampoos, sanitary napkins, rubbish bags)
You can start with purchasing certain products initially, and stock up on later trips. Keep regularly checking the expiry dates of the items, and ensure that easily perishable items like milk and bread are consumed in time, and replaced accordingly.
It is additionally suggested that products be purchased for those family members, neighbours who are elderly/disabled/sick.
What Should I Stock My Pantry With
One should stock their pantry not only with food items, but also with other essentials like toiletries, power supply options and health supplies. In case the babies or elderly live with you, all items of immediate need must be stored in bulk to aid in case of any emergencies.
Samples of items that can be stored have been given above.
Essential supplies for stocking up your pantry, refrigerator and freezer include:
- Basics (Fine salt, olive oil, vinegar, rice vinegar)
- Baking (Flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream, tartar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, milk, vanilla extract)
- Sweeteners (granulated sugar, maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, confectioners’ and brown sugar)
- Drinks (Tea, coffee, juices)
- Rice and Grains (White and brown rice, standard pasta, egg or rice noodles, breadcrumbs)
- Snacks and Cereals (crackers, tortillas, cookies, biscuits, peanut butter, applesauce, breakfast cereals)
- Canned Goods (Beans, vegetables, olives, capers, tomato paste, tuna, anchovy paste)
- Dried Herbs and Spices (Oregano, paprika, cajun seasoning, curry powder, fennel seeds granulated garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg)
- Dairy and Eggs (Milk, plain yogurt, butter, cheese, eggs)
- Fresh Produce (Apples, bananas, bell pepper, carrots, celery, leafy greens, potatoes, onions, cucumber)
- Condiments (Jam, ketchup, mayonnaise, pickles, hot sauce, sesame sauce, mustard)
- Sandwich Bread
- Frozen peas, chopped spinach, corn
- Fruits (berries, mangoes, peaches)
- Dough (pizza, pie, puff pastry)
Preparing a Pandemic Pantry
Preparing a ‘Pandemic Pantry’ is no easy task, especially for those who are novices in the field of food. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an ideal ‘Pandemic Pantry’ should be stocked with at least two weeks of supply. The following guidelines should be kept in mind while preparing a pandemic pantry-
- Make sure you have the basics (olive oil, butter, eggs, milk, onion, garlic etc.)
- Take inventory of the ingredients; an organized list will always come in handy
- Continue with healthy eating; making a ‘weekly meal menu’ helps in maintaining a balance between eating healthy and junk
Every cloud has a silver lining; staying stuck at home doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to binge on unhealthy food out of stress. Once you curate the right things to stock your pantry, ball’s pretty much in your court! Make sure that you understand how to stock your pantry according to the needs of your household, and customize your perfect ‘pandemic pantry’, complete with all essential items!