As the world desperately battles to stop the ceaseless spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries were forced to put strict lockdowns into motion. That triggered panic in certain places; people all over rushed to stock up on basic necessities, most notably (but oddly enough): toilet rolls!
To help you combat that sort of mentality, we’ve come up with a list of essential items you should have in your list when shopping for yourself and loved ones.
This will help you avoid food wastage and shortage of supplies for others who may truly be in need. Without further ado, let’s begin!
As an important source of many nutrients including fibre, B vitamins, and minerals, grains usually help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
So, once you get chowing down on these, you won’t be needing THAT much food intake!
- Rice, noodles, pasta, cereals such as oats, bran flakes, and barley
- Wholegrain or plain crackers as snacks
Heat, air and moisture are the enemies of grains (Malaysian weather, we're looking at you), so store all of these in airtight containers, with tight-ﬁtting lids or closures.
Eat more = improve overall health, and reduce risk of disease. What’s there NOT to like?
As an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, they also include a wide range of health-boosting antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory and have immune system benefits.
- Dried fruits such as dates, raisins, and apricots
- Fruits with a longer shelf life such as lemons, apples, pears, guavas, and oranges
Keep apples away from other fruits, preferably in a plastic bag in the fridge. They produce ethylene gas when ripening, which will make make the others ripen more quickly!
You know what they always say: Mothers know best, and she was right, always eat your veggies!
There’s a long list of health benefits if you do – they may help to maintain healthy blood pressure, reduce blood cholesterol levels, and lower risk of heart disease, among MANY others.
- Frozen vegetables
- Vegetables with longer shelf life such as cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, and beans
Line your vegetable drawer in the fridge with a few sheets of kitchen roll; it absorbs the condensation that the veggies generate as they chill, thus allowing them to stay drier and fresher for longer.
- Leafy vegetables (but only buy three to five days’ worth of stock)
- Starchy root vegetables such as pumpkin, turnip, sweet potato, potato, tapioca and yam
Wrap celery in a sheet of aluminium foil; it lets the gas that spoils your celery escape, rather than trapping it, so the stalks stay fresh and crisp.
4) Dairy products
Apart from being an excellent source of calcium, you’ll be getting other nutrients such as vitamin D, potassium, and magnesium.
Consuming the proper amount of dairy a day can help build bone mass, leading to improved bone health.
- Powdered milk, UHT milk, cheese and yogurt (check the expiration date before purchasing)
These must be stored within the refrigerator itself, at temperatures of 2°C to 4°C, and never at the door. It's the warmest area of the fridge, and most prone to temperature fluctuations!
5) Protein sources
Did you know that your body needs protein in order to build and repair body tissues (think bones, muscles, and skin)?
In addition, you won’t feel as hungry so fast, so it really aids in weight loss and metabolic health – win-win!
- Meat, poultry, fish and seafood (can be stored in the freezer for up to three months after cleaning well)
- Ikan bilis (soak well before cooking to reduce sodium level)
- Canned proteins in water such as tuna in water
- Eggs (A good, easy source of protein, but do not overstock as they will not last too long. Store in the refrigerator to maintain freshness for a longer period of time)
Raw meat, poultry and fish should be stored in the following top-to-bottom order in the refrigerator: whole fish, whole cuts of beef and pork, ground meats and fish, and whole and ground poultry.
6) Tofu and tempeh
If too much meat isn’t your thing, why not give these plant-based proteins a try instead!
While tempeh is higher in protein than tofu, the latter has fewer calories and still offers significant amounts of iron and potassium while boasting more than double the calcium.
- Consume these during the first week as they will not last longer than a week
- Legumes and lentils
- Red beans, green beans, dhal, chickpeas and hummus
Tofu should be kept in (preferably filtered) water, and stored in a tightly sealed container, covered with plastic wrap. Change the water daily to keep it moist and fresh. Tempeh will need to be stored in the freezer if you aren't going to eat it immediately, where it can stay fresh for about three months.
Don’t be afraid to stock up on your favourite food items too, such as chocolate, coffee, and the occasional snack!
Just because you’re currently stuck at home during the current Conditional Movement Control Order, doesn’t mean you can’t have the food you normally eat and enjoy.
Before you step out of the house though, take stock of your current inventory, and then calculate how much you and your loved ones will need for the week so you can buy accordingly.
Now, when you do venture out, make sure you follow these precautionary steps to avoid contracting (and then bringing home to your loved ones!) the Covid-19 virus:
- Wear your face mask at ALL times.
- Carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser (with a content of at least 60% alcohol) with you. This is because alcohol is effective at killing different types of microbes, including both viruses and bacteria, and 60% is the recommended amount.
- If you ever need to touch anything, such as the handles/poles on public transportation or the trolleys and baskets at the supermarket, sanitise your hands immediately after!
Use the non-dominant hand (i.e. your left hand if you are right-handed, and vice versa) for doorknobs, transport, bathrooms, etc. because you’re less likely to touch your face with that hand.
- Similarly, when you reach home and before you touch the front door’s handle, sanitise first. Then when you’re inside, wash your hands with soap and water (scrub them for at least 20 seconds), take off your face mask to dispose of it, then wash your hands again.
- Change out of your clothes so that you can put them to wash immediately. Then, take a nice long shower to reward yourself for surviving the apocalyptic outdoors.
- Finally, make sure you disinfect all the products which went out of the house with you too: groceries, handphone, wallet/purse, car and house keys, door handle, as well as the locks.
- Make sure you avoid touching your face at all costs when you’re outside, especially the areas around your eyes, nose, and mouth. However, if you desperately NEED to scratch that itch, sanitise your hands first, and use the inner part of your shirt to rub the area.
So, there you have it, your very own checklist to follow so you and your family remain well-fed while at the same time, protected from the virus.
Remember, disinfect, sanitise, and always wear that face mask when outdoors! Above all, please stay at home, and stay safe! Together, we can break the cycle of this pandemic.
If you find yourself starting to go a little crazy with being all cooped up in the house, don't give in to the madness! Have a read on 6 Useful Work From Home Tips to Stay Sane for ideas to get through these trying times.