Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry During Quarantine with These Essentials

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Having a well-stocked pantry is important, especially while many of us are isolating at home.

Sadly, doing the groceries isn’t the walk in the park that it used to be, as grocery stores are potential breeding grounds for the dreaded coronavirus. In fact, 60% of Americans reported being “fearful” or having a “sense of anxiety” while doing their shopping, according to a survey conducted by C+R Research.

In addition, those surveyed reported making less trips to the grocery than usual, at once a week, compared to the pre-pandemic rate of 2.3 times a week. Indeed, reducing our risk of exposure to COVID-19 entails fewer trips to the grocery, and thus, being more smart about how we shop. 

To ensure you have everything you’ll need to prepare your meals at home, make sure you’re stocked with these pantry essentials.

Fresh Produce

Fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a balanced diet. However, storing them properly in your refrigerator can be challenging as they tend to go bad easily. It’s still best to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in small quantities, to ensure that you won’t be throwing any of them away. A week’s worth of produce should be reasonable.

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Green Onions or Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Lemons
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Dairy and Eggs

As with fresh produce, the amount of dairy products and eggs you purchase should be based on what you can consume within reason. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consuming eggs within three weeks of purchase. Milk, on the other hand, can last seven days past its sell-by date, while opened milk lasts for two to three days.

  • Butter
  • Plain yogurt
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Ground parmesan cheese
  • Eggs
  • Milk (pasteurized)

Meat and Seafood Products

To complete your pantry basics, it’s a good idea to have meat and seafood products that you can easily defrost and prepare. Take it easy on the frozen microwave meals, as they are typically laden with high amounts of sodium, sugar, and fat.

  • Bacon
  • Chicken breast or thigh fillet
  • Ground beef or pork
  • Salmon fillet
  • Sausages

Herbs and Spices

Dried herbs and spices have a shelf life of up to three years and can be kept in your pantry. Take note, however, that they tend to lose their flavor and aroma over time, so take only what you need. The right spices for your rack will depend on your own preference, but this list covers the most common herbs and spices used to season popular dishes.

  • Basil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Curry powder, or yellow/green/red curry mix
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground red pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Canned Goods

When you’re busy or in a pinch, canned goods are an easy way to have a good, quick meal. The lack of nutrition in canned goods is also a misconception; produce used for canned goods are sealed within hours after picking, which helps maintain protein, fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins during the process. Given their long shelf life, they’re also a must-have for emergency food stores.

  • Capers
  • Corn
  • Corned Beef or Ham
  • Fruits
  • Olives
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauce


Who doesn’t like having snacks on hand? Here are suggestions of easy eats that are sure to satisfy your cravings.

  • Biscuits
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Peanut butter


Keep these in items in your pantry for your daily dose of caffeine and refreshments.

  • Coffee
  • Iced Tea
  • Tea Bags
  • Tonic Water or Soda
  • Orange or apple juice


Store these essential condiments in your fridge or pantry to use for improving the flavor of cooked dishes, or as an ingredient for recipes.

  • Ketchup
  • Hot sauce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce

Other Pantry Essentials

The following items are commonly used in a wide variety of recipes, and can be kept in your pantry for long periods of time.


  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts


  • Jam
  • Pickles


  • Sugar (white and brown)
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup

Starchy Foods

  • Boxed Pasta
  • Granola
  • Noodles
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice (White and/or Brown)
  • Tortillas
  • Taco Shells

Baking Essentials

  • Baking chocolate
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Chocolate chips
  • Cocoa powder
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Corn starch
  • Flour
  • Vanilla extract

Are there other items you consider pantry essentials that we haven’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments!

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