How can you safely stock up your pantry during the COVID-19 crisis?

By Alka Chopra RD, CDE

We are in the midst of a crisis and need to stay as calm as possible. I know this is easier said than done. Following some self-care practices is the way to go. One of the essential self-care practices is taking care of your nutritional needs. Making careful food selections and healthful food choices strengthens your immune system and that can prevent you from falling sick.

From what I am seeing and reading, most people are leaning towards canned and dry food to stock up a pantry. While that is a good plan, we forget fresh and frozen foods that are packed with nutrition. I know that you may have some concerns about food safety & spoilage. Well, there are several ways around it.

If you store them correctly, fresh foods can last a long time in your pantry. Here are some of my favourite strategies you can put into place to ensure you have a steady supply of fresh food in your pantry.

Keep your freezer full with frozen fruit and veggies.

Foods like frozen burgers and frozen chicken breasts can stay safe in your freezer for months. You can even buy ground chicken and meat to make your own and freeze them. Just be sure to use freezer bags to avoid freezer burn.

Buy milk in a Tetra Pak - it has a longer shelf life.

If you own a deep freezer, you can even freeze bread and thaw it the day before you wish to eat it.

Pack up your pantry with veggies that have a longer shelf life.

Some examples are acorn squash, beets, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, citrus (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit etc.), garlic (whole, unpeeled), onions, parsnips, potatoes, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes and turnips.

Peppers you can always buy in bulk, chop them and freeze them.

Pack up your pantry with fruits that have a longer shelf life.

Some examples are apples, pomegranate, oranges, grapefruit, melon.

Each time you go grocery shopping, buy a little extra.

Stock up your fridge with fermented foods like plain yogurt and kefir. Keep a good stock of dry beans, lentils and quinoa.

Something to remember is that our bodies require a variety of nutrients to keep the immune system strong and protect against illness. So make sure you have a pantry full of a variety of foods. Strong immune systems are built with healthy food choices. Stay healthy, stay safe.

Emery Keelesdale Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic.

Email: or call, 647-476-1351.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and the recommendations in this article do not replace the treatment plan given to you by your physician/healthcare practitioner. If you are living with any food intolerances, please make your food choices carefully or consult your physician/healthcare practitioner before making any changes to your food choices.