The whole world has come to a standstill due to the spread of Covid-19. India has been put under a national lockdown till 31st May 2020 as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus warnings. You cannot predict how long the lockdown may extend. However, the Government has assured that there would be no shortage of essential goods, like groceries, medicines, etc. Therefore, it would completely defeat the purpose of a lockdown if we flock the market all at once. There’s no need for panic buying. All you need is to think smart and plan, that is enough to set up a well-stocked pantry to tide over these troubled times. Try to buy only the essential items to have a nutritionally dense shelf stock pantry, stock up on basic items, and avoid unhealthy foods.
Whenever we step out for essential purchases, we ideally have a list of things we require and try to get them all at once to avoid stepping out of houses frequently. In addition to grocery and vegetables, it is also a good idea to have a good supply of cooking gas, water, and other household items. If not, try to have an induction oven at home for emergencies.
It’s a great challenge to keep your taste buds in check without compromising your health. Since rations are limited so try to recycle the leftovers. Slash your grocery bills and buy pantry staples on a budget as earning and income has been affected by lockdown.
It is the time when we all must prepare for the coronavirus lockdown intelligently if we haven’t already. So, what does preparation look like? How do you stock a pantry for an emergency? How do you stock a pantry on a budget? How do you stock an Indian pantry during a lockdown? One strongly recommended measure is to be self-reliant in preparing meals and to anticipate possible food shortages. The global quarantine has prompted many to explore their culinary talents and enjoy family meals at home. People have been finding interesting ways to cope with the perils of staying in for a couple of weeks. With the change in routine, also comes a change of diet, and to avoid coming out of the home quarantine, it is necessary to include nutritious and healthy food in your daily diet.
A healthy pandemic grocery list to help you stock your pantry on a budget should be your priority. Avoid making poor food choices. You need to stock the pantry with items like perishable goods, canned fruits, and dry goods without compromising your diet and health while staying in home confinement.
With shops selling bare necessities here are tips on how to stock up pantry wisely to make sure to have a nutrient-dense food’s shelf:
1. Stock Pantry with Basic Nutrient-Dense Foods
Having a selection of stable food items in your pantry that offer a nutritious lift also diversifies your meals. The best idea is to stock up the pantry with nutrient-dense foods that do not take too much space but add flavor to your meal. Grains and pulses are an integral part of the Indian diet as basic pantry staples. Pulses take care of your protein intake. Apart from rice and pulses essentials, keeping rajma (kidney beans), chickpeas, and soybean will work. It is very important to boost your immunity to be safe from this coronavirus. So you should also include food in your diet which can boost your immunity and help you stay fit. If fresh fruits are not available, you can use canned fruits.
Frozen vegetables and fruits last much longer and have nutritional qualities equivalent to those of their perishable counterparts. It can be added to your morning cereal and smoothies or can be enjoyed raw. Stock up on basic frozen vegetables and unsweetened frozen fruits with no added salt and/or seasoning.
Fruits like apples, oranges, grapefruit and bananas also have a longer shelf life. For bananas, in particular, stock up on unripe ones so that you can consume them as they ripen, whether as a stand-alone fruit or as an ingredient in your smoothies. Moreover, vitamin C helps in fighting seasonal flu which must be incorporated in your food selection.
2. Must-have Important Spices and Cooking Oils
How to stock an Indian pantry during a lockdown? We are living in a diverse India and every community stocks their pantry with their spices. An Indian kitchen is incomplete without a set of basic spices like turmeric, coriander, cumin, chili and asafoetida powder, as well as whole mustard, whole cumin seeds, and salts.
You also need to stock up your shelf with essential cooking oils like mustard oil, refined oil, olive oil, etc. for cooking. Try selecting the best oil for your health. Pile up kitchen pantry staples on a budget with frugal alternatives. Avoid consuming deep-fried foods and use less oil while cooking meals as our physical activities are confined.
Must Read: How to Prepare Your Family at Home for COVID-19
3. Go for Hardy Veggies, Fruits and Frozen Food Items
Fresh vegetables might not be easily accessible during the lockdown so, opting for ‘hardy’ ones, which do not perish easily, should be your choice. These include onion and potatoes, arbi (taro root), beetroot, sweet potato, bottle gourd, mushrooms, etc. Fruits and vegetables can be puréed, frozen, and stored too. Tomatoes can be puréed and frozen and used when required; bananas can be mashed and frozen, apples can be stewed with jaggery, put in a jar, and oranges can be comfortably stocked for some days.
There are a whole bunch of preservation techniques that people use when processing is not readily available. Keep milk powder/dairy whitener or tinned condensed milk as an alternative to fluid milk to tide over the crisis.
Food Items to Freeze asBasic Pantry Staples
- Canned fruits
4. Stock Your Shelf with ‘Healthy’ Snacks
You’re more likely to snack when you’re homebound. Although snacks are necessary to fuel your body when you undergo energy slumps, the quality and quantity of snacks are crucial. Nothing makes a cranky child happier than ‘chikki’, chocolates, and biscuits. Chikki can be a healthy alternative to chocolates and biscuits. Load pantry staples for healthy eating snacks like peanuts and chana. Yes, they are processed and salty, but you can always rinse them off and dry them. Stock up on basics with dry-fruits, a store-house of nutrients. Dry fruits which are not super expensive like dates, figs; etc. can be consumed in small quantities that have good nutritional values. These snack items are the best answers to your question of how to stock a pantry on a budget without compromising the taste.
- Cereal/Muesli/Oats: Speaking of breakfast, people working from home might not get enough time to make elaborate breakfast. Oats and muesli are high in fibre and healthier options for breakfast and a good option as a pantry staple for healthy eating.
- Broken Wheat: A warm bowl of broken wheat is an ideal lunch which helps you to stay fit.
- Nuts/Dry fruits: Everyone gets snacky sitting at home! Don’t hog on store-bought fried snacks or chips. Instead, go for dried nuts like almonds, cashews, or whichever you like, that will also be a source of energy and keep you from getting lethargic.
- Chocolates: Chocolate cravings might hit you so you can go for dark chocolates with fewer sugar contents.
- Tea/Coffee: We all need a daily morning booster, so start the day with tea or coffee. It amplifies our focus when we are busy working from home during the coronavirus lockdown.
- Noodles: A kitchen should have some snacks like instantnoodles, biscuits and some ready to eat foods.
- Readymade mixes: Readily available mixing packets of idli, dosa and others can be piled up wisely to use in time of need.
5. Stock Pantry with Essential Household Items
Apart from food items, other essentials for pantry also include vital household items that must be in stock in the coronavirus lockdown. Household items like toilet paper, toothpaste, dental floss, fluoride rinse, dish soap, hand soap, reusable plastic bags (to freeze items), pet food, etc. are the necessities. Hand sanitizer tends to be an obvious choice, but stocks are still running low in pharmacies and supermarkets.
Cleaning supplies along with disinfectants are a must to comply with the guidance on cleaning during coronavirus. Don’t forget to stock up on food and essentials at least for a month in case you can’t leave the house!
Do not stock pantry with extra items than needed. Every person around is undergoing the same crisis, hence we all should act responsibly in every part of our life.