Healthy ways to prep your pantry for self-isolation

No matter what, we need to eat!

It can be overwhelming to shop for groceries, especially during these times of uncertainty. Many of us are wondering what kinds of foods to be stockpiling. Is it safe to buy fresh foods? How can we continue to stay healthy with non-perishable items?

The foods we put into our body can work to combat stress, anxiety, and strengthen immunity. To help you during this time of uncertainty, we’ve put together some tips on what to buy from the grocery store to keep you and your family healthy at this time.

First, know the facts!

It’s important to note that there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission through food. That’s why we continue to encourage the consumption of fresh foods! While preparing food, hands should be thoroughly washed with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, fruits and vegetables should be washed with hot water, and counters where food is prepared should be disinfected.

Second, to help promote social distancing, consider using grocery delivery or click and collect services where available. If you must go out, we recommend trying to visit grocery stores during off-peak hours and heading in with a list of items in order to make it in and out in a timely fashion.

Fruits and vegetables are especially important

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C, which support immunity and lower oxidative stress. Load up on fruits and vegetables, especially ones that have longer shelf lives.

  • Fresh vegetables such as beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, cabbage, squash, onions, garlic and ginger
  • Fresh fruits like apples, melons, oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruits
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables like mixed vegetable stir fry, or fruit smoothie mixes
  • Canned vegetables with no added sodium, and fruits canned in water are also good alternatives

Stock up on whole grains

Whole grains are filling and full of fibre to keep you fueled whether you’re working at home, or working to occupy your children! You can make a batch of quinoa, for example, and keep it in your fridge as a base for a quick dinner, and overnight oats work for a quick and hearty breakfast.

  • Grains like steel cut oats, whole oats, quinoa, wild and brown rice
  • Whole wheat flax wraps
  • High fibre cold cereals like Kashi
  • Whole grain pasta 
  • Whole wheat crackers like Mary’s Crackers, Ryvita Crunch, or Triscuits
  • Whole grain and seed blends such as Skinny B which contain hemp, chia, and amaranth
  • Whole wheat flour for baking

Quality proteins are essential

There are many protein packed options to add to your grocery cart. Frozen meats, vacuum-sealed tofu, and dairy like Greek yogurt have long shelf lives and are good items to stock up on at this time.

  • Frozen and canned high quality meats, fish and oysters
  • Canned beans such as black beans and chickpeas (make your own hummus!)
  • Dried beans, lentils and split peas (a great option is Bob’s Red Mill 13-bean mix)
  • Vacuum sealed packages of tofu (try smoked tofu for added flavour!)
  • Sunflower seeds and sunflower butter (contain vitamin E, which reduces oxidative stress)
  • Nut butters like peanut butter and almond butter
  • Pumpkin seeds and baked beans (contain zinc, which helps boost white blood cells and supports a robust immune system)
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt, with options for plant-based yogurt
  • Hard cheeses, such as Babybel light

In case you fall sick, and don’t have the energy to cook…

It’s never a bad idea to have a supply of healthy, pre-made meals on hand. While you feel well, try preparing a big batch of soup or chili and freezing it, or check out our full list of recipes for ideas. There are many options for healthy frozen meals, such as Luvo, PC Blue Choice or low sodium canned soups, which you can purchase during your grocery shop. If you need to stock up after you fall ill, ensure you have someone outside of your household purchasing your ready-meals, and delivering them outside of your home. Many prepared meal services such as Hello Fresh, Dashing Dishes and others are also good alternatives.

It’s important to do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of ourselves and those around us. Start by grocery shopping right, consuming healthy foods that help the immune system, and preparing these foods at home. You can also reach out to your dietitian for additional support, tips and tricks via e-mail!



Are you interested in learning more dietitian-approved tips for all ages? Check out Copeman’s definitive guide to