This post is about my tips on what food items to buy and stock up for self quarantine. This list has all the best Indian food to stock up for coronavirus grocery list.
With such turbulent and anxious times around us and in the world rather than hoarding and panic buying, I am sharing a list of best Indian foods to stock up for coronavirus quarantine or if want to minimise your outings and practice social distancing.
Either way, this grocery list might help you to stock up on grocery essentials for month so that you do not go on a wild shopping spree and end up with groceries and items that you may never use.
What food to stock up for Coronavirus quarantine
After looking at fights in grocery stores, supermarkets and empty shelves one thing we all know is these are uncertain times and there is very little that we can control.
Food has always been a great source of comfort and often a connection and somewhat feeling of being in control. So Food hoarding seems somewhat natural. Whether you agree with food stocking or not but this is definitely one thought that most of us are having in our minds.
After I shared the photos of me stocking up on essentials and buying extra groceries and food to stock up if the situation goes bad and we go under mandatory or self-quarantine (God forbid) But as I always say I am one of those people who like to be prepared for The Best or the Worst situations.
I am not being dramatic here, Nor am I trying to create panic but it is always better to be prepared especially in times like these. When I have shared so many other things with my readers, so here I am with my recommendations for what Items of food to stock up for coronavirus quarantine.
Top Tips to Buy Food Items for Storing
Yesterday when I went grocery shopping I noticed a few things and based on those I am sharing my top tips to buy.
- First and foremost before buying take a quick look at your pantry. Check what you already have. You don't canned goods or everything and anything if you already have the recommended two-weeks' grocery and cleaning supplies.
- Shop for grocery early during the day. In most of supermarkets morning is time when most of the things are available after re-stocking.
- Shop sensibly and wisely keeping in mind your storage space, fridge capacity and freezer space.
- Buy only absolute essential spices, extra can wait if you are otherwise not using them in your regular cooking. You can skip garnishes and one or two minor seasonings focus on main ingredients and flavour.
- While buying be sensible and DO NOT overstock. Most of us stock up nicely as it is, so you are not going to starve. Sometimes it may so happen that you are left with lesser ingredients and that my friend is time to be creative with what you have.
You can plan your own menus if you already meal plan or meal prep and stock up based on that. This Indian grocery list of food to buy for coronavirus has tips and advice based on many recipes on my tasty curry.
How Long To Stock Up For
Thankfully India as a country has low coronavirus cases and I am hoping and praying that it remains this way. But as of now, wherever coronavirus quarantine is being done authorities have said a quarantine period of 2 weeks or 15 days.
You will not immediately want to go and shop for groceries so to be safe I have listed it for one month. You can decide and buy accordingly.
Food Options that Are Cost-Effective and Space-saving
- Shop for flours and rice instead of buying bread, ready to eat freezer meals etc because that will take a lot of fridge/freezer space.
- You can buy ready to eat meals in packets (not frozen, because that will take up precious fridge space which can be used in freezing essentials)
- Instead of buying cans or liquid cartoons, buy dried stuff (If you are out of India) dried beans which last much longer, powdered milk instead of fresh milk or long-life milk, dried soup packs etc.
Use Freezer Space Wisely
If you do not have a deep freezer or side by side refrigerator avoid things that take up large space and are not absolutely essential ( sorry ice-cream I need the space for better things)
Throw away the cardboard boxes, and store food in the main packaging it saves lots of space.
Frozen vegetables like are great to have on hand, You can buy packed frozen vegetables or chop your own and pack it in ziplock bags. It is more space effective and cost-effective.
Food Options to Buy and Stock Up.
Dairy and Deli
Eggs are always a great idea unless there are very high temperatures where you stay. Eggs stay good for weeks so you can easily buy them in good quantity and store for 2-3 weeks.
I have more than 70 egg recipes and you can try them easily or come up with your own. You can never go wrong with eggs.
I prefer to use fresh organic milk, but as they say desperate times desperate measures you can store long-life milk or milk powder. Fresh milk can be frozen if you do not have space constraints. So choose as per your convenience.
Cream & Butter
I would not recommend if you are not much into desserts or heavy curry. You can buy a small pack if you are not sure. And in case you are planning on doing a lot of baking because you have time then Yes buy the brand of cream that is freezable.
Butter can be bought to serve with bread, paratha or to spread in sandwiches. If you plan on baking, buy larger quantities.
Do not buy more than you require, I bought slices to use in sandwiches and shredded cheese along with grated parmesan (block will take time and space ) to use in pasta.
Herbs and spice essentials
Coriander seeds, Mustard seeds, Fenugreek Seeds, Black Peppercorns, Cumin Seeds, Red Chillies powder, Tamarind, Turmeric Powder, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Dry ginger, cloves.
Most of the Indian kitchens already have most spices available during monthly grocery shopping, so take a stock of your spice cabinet first.
Rice Pasta and flour
You can buy 2-3 varieties of rice as per your consumption 4-5 kgs is enough if you consume rice 3-4 meals per week for a family of 3. You can decide on your own consumption pattern.
Stock up on essentials like whole wheat flour, sooji, Besan/chickpeas flour. Other than these if you bake All purpose flour/maida is great to include in your food to the stock list.
You can try the following recipes
Eggless whole wheat blueberry cake
Dal Lentils and legumes
You can stock up on any of your favourites or all of your favourite dried lentils and legumes but be mindful about the quantities if you have less storage space. It’s not like you are not going to buy them again it is just that you are storing for in case of emergency.
Oils and Fats
Ghee, cold-pressed mustard oil, rice bran oil, extra virgin olive oil tops my list always.
Sugar and Salt
Salt is must in any dish so go ahead and buy it as per your requirement because you do not want to run out of it. Stock up on Sugar, honey or brown sugar as per your consumption pattern.
In case you plan to do a lot of baking during this social distancing time you must check your stock of Baking soda, Baking powder, Vinegar and dried yeast.
Essentials: Onion, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, Ginger. These all are absolute must-haves in my list of food to stock. Now that I am writing the list of foods to stock for quarantine these are on top as well, because of good shelf life. Other than tomatoes rest can be kept on counter.
Other than 5 essentials I mentioned above You can buy these freezable vegetables, either buy them frozen or clean and chop them. Store these in your fridge or freezer.
At any point of time I always keep two frozen veggies in my freezer, peas and corns. My Mom freeze them for me when peas are in the season.
Cauliflower, peas, corn, carrots, chopped mixed vegetables, frozen spinach, chopped broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin.
Fresh pureed tomatoes are a good choice as you can use them on a regular basis. You can freeze the fresh tomato puree for 3-4 weeks.
You can buy fresh herbs and freeze them or if you have time buy pots of fresh herb plants. I am lucky to have always a small herb Garden at hands.
In my other article “Meal plan for coronavirus,” I have shared shelf life of vegetables and herbs to buy and store and other aspects of Grocery shopping for Coronavirus.
You can Buy these fruits which last longer in the fridge. Apples, oranges, banana, kiwi these will easily last you for 3-4 weeks. Though you can buy most fruits but personally I would prefer to but fruits with peel.
You can buy fruits and freeze them for smoothies, Sorbets, ice creams etc. Banana, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, watermelon etc.
BREAKFAST AND SNACKS
You can buy Instant breakfast mix for breakfast and snacks both. ready made breakfast cereal I personally never buy nor advice, but if you wish you can buy after checking nutrition etc.
Only cereal I will say to stock is rolled oats, dalia / broken wheat or at the best Instant oats.
Smoothies and parfait are tasty and healthy breakfast. Eggs, bread, poha etc are all great Indian breakfast options and I have included a variety of breakfast options for 15 days in the meal plan.
Fruits, dried fruits and nuts, Protein Bars in 100 calorie, carrots, hummus etc all of these are great snack options.
I strongly suggest not to fall into the trap of buying fried snacks like namkeens, chips or such items. You can easily go overboard when these are available in bulk and you have free time at hand.
Instant Breakfast MIX
In case you absolutely want to have something quick for a snack I will recommend to buy few packs of Instant breakfast mix.
Most of these individual packs are around 250 calories so if you split and pack for two people all you are consuming is roughly 150 calories and it's still much healthier than fried snacks.
Ready To Eat Meals
Normally I would not advice them. But there might be a time that you do not want to cook at all. We all have such times even in normal days, you may want to have something at hand for one or two quick meals.
So you can buy and stock 2-3 food items. I bought 1 pack of frozen paratha and 3 packets of chana/dal and 2 frozen snacks. Again like fried snacks do not go overboard if you do not buy them otherwise. But from my experience I can tell you these come quite handy sometimes.
While this is what I could think of in terms of grocery shopping, I will try and talk about it more during the week and hopefully by that time our scientist will come up with some more facts for prevention and cure.
Hope this post will be helpful to you and help you to shop and store food sensibly and don’t hoard food or stockpile. In terms of groceries buy only what you need and consume regularly.
Most importantly sanitise everything and maintain a social distance to help in stopping the spread. And Do not forget to wash your hands with soap and water regularly.