As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States, people are bracing themselves for the next wave of the pandemic. Data from retailers and online shopping platforms suggests that people are already stocking up on staple items.
If you’re planning to spend more time at home than in previous weeks, buy accordingly, but don’t overbuy. That said, if you’ll be taking less frequent trips to the store, it’s helpful to have nutritious fresh, frozen and pantry foods on hand at home. With a mix of each, you can whip up a variety of meals and snacks, including easy options when you want to lighten up on your cooking load.
How to stock a healthy kitchen
While most Americans base meals around meat or poultry, fruits, veggies and other plant foods are really the foundation of a healthy diet and immune system. These foods provide critical vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other bioactive compounds, so now’s a good time to try to address your family’s intake. Here are some must-have, mostly plant-based foods to keep at home, along with pro-tips for how to use them.
Fill your cart with a mix of fresh fruits and vegetables (as well as frozen, canned and dried versions, which are addressed below), focusing on some of the longer-lasting ones. The perimeter of the supermarket is also where you’ll find seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy foods, so take stock of what you’ll need. Eat perishable items first, and then move on to your longer-lasting foods. For meat, poultry and seafood, you’ll need to freeze anything you won’t eat within two days. Here are some to seek out:
- Citrus fruits, like clementines and grapefruits, are excellent sources of immune-supporting vitamin C. Try brightening up a salad with segments or drizzle a half grapefruit with honey and broil it to have as a snack or healthier dessert.
- Hardy veggies, like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, contain a plant-compound, sulforaphane, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, these veggies keep up to five days in the fridge. Batch roast them to serve alongside meals throughout the week.
- Red and orange peppers are packed with vitamin C while baby carrots are loaded with vitamin A. Both nutrients are important for a healthy immune system. Snack on them with a dip, like hummus or guacamole.
- Dairy foods, like milk, yogurt and cottage cheese, as well as eggs, provide protein, which is essential for the production of immune system cells. Look at sell-by dates, which are often a few weeks out, but keep in mind that this date isn’t the end-all-be-all. Unopened milk that has been stored properly (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit) can be safely opened and consumed a few days past that date (even longer for eggs) provided nothing seems off.
You can find nutritious gems in the center aisles. The focus should be on minimally processed foods. Here are some to try.
- Pulses, such as canned chickpeas and black beans, provide a slew of key…