The COVID-19 virus has shown us that being prepared is more than just a personal responsibility. It has shown us that it really does take a community to not only raise a child, but it also takes a community to help protect everyone.
If you’re going to the supermarket, your nearest grocery store, or visiting the palengke anytime soon to stock up on supplies, especially food, there are some food items that you should consider more than others during this time of the community quarantine.
Rather than hoarding, being prepared, food-wise, is choosing the right edible items that can feed us in the long run. There is such a thing as buying too much food!
Before you panic and start hoarding, take stock of what you already have. Many refrigerators and pantries are filled with enough food that may last you at least three to four days to up to a week! This preplanning tip should help you determine exactly how much you will need or want to buy and save you cash that you can use for other purchases.
To help you regulate how much you buy as well as save you cash that you might otherwise immediately need, here’s a safe way to determine just how much a person may need to eat per day:
- 1. 4 liters (~1 gallon) water per day/per person for drinking and cooking
- 2. 2 cans of food per person
- 3. 3 cups cooked rice or other starch per person
Take note that this is a general estimate and you may or may not need more than this estimated amount. Recall each person’s eating habits at every meal, especially food that are disliked or may have allergies to, and multiply this amount by three so you can more efficiently determine how much you may need for that person on a daily basis.
Here is a list of the best grocery food items to look out for:
1 Canned Goods
We believe no matter what, canned goods will always be a staple, crisis situation or not. These handy preserved containers are the best when you neither have gas, electricity, or even a fire to cook your food. The majority of canned goods are usually ready to eat straight from the can so when times are dire and all you have left are cans of food to get you through the days, rest assured that you won’t go hungry just yet.
When shopping for canned goods, do note if the cans are swollen, dented, or corroded. These will not be safe to eat even though the food may look safe to eat. For the safest choice, choose cans that have no dents, rust, or any other outward sign of being otherwise contaminated.
2 Frozen Food
This, of course, assumes that you will always have electricity to run your refrigerator, freezer, chiller, and other electronic appliances. In any case, what makes frozen food fantastic for quarantine situations is the fact that these are almost, if not better, than fresh food. These are the best source of fruits and vegetables since these frozen food are shucked, picked, and otherwise harvested at the peak of their ripeness before being frozen.
According to food safety information website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, frozen food which have been kept frozen can keep indefinitely. This a great tip for everyone who has ever wondered if the frozen piece of meat in the back of the freezer is still okay to cook and eat. If there was ever a time to stock up on frozen food, you may already be doing it without realizing it!
3 Dried Beans, Monggo, Rice, and other Legumes
Rice and dried beans such as monggo will be another staple during these times. What fantastic about dried food such as these and other legumes (These include lentils, chickpeas, split peas, etc.) is that these can be stored almost indefinitely. Avoid moisture, prevent mold, and keep insects out of the containers these are in and these ingredients will keep for months, years, and even decades.
Do you know what’s even better than having an almost non-perishable food item in your kitchen? You just need water to make it edible.
4 Crackers, biscuits, hard cookies, cereal, etc.
If you have ever had to stave off hunger, you know that you can do it with a packet of crackers or a biscuit or two. Take advantage of this and load up on hard crackers, biscuits, cookies, and even granola bars. These not only give you bursts of energy, but these are also great to munch on when your idle hands have little else to do but tap on the table.
Plus, since these are baked or otherwise dehydrated, containing less moisture than the soft kinds, these will keep longer, too.
5 Instant Noodles and Dried Pasta
It’s not a fluke that instant noodles are part of the rations that frequently are sent to disaster areas. These packets of dehydrated noodles can be stored for a much longer time than fresh noodles. You can add to this list dried pasta too but these usually need to be paired with a sauce which is why instant noodles are a blessing to those who are cooking challenged.
Plus, since instant noodles come with its own seasoning packet, you don’t have to worry that what you’re eating is going to be flavorless.
7 Potable Water
Unless the water system has broken down or is contaminated, water is of little concern during quarantines. However, potable water is a great concern since water from the tap can cause upset stomachs for those who are not used to it. For this, remember to reserve around 4 liters of water per person every day to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Let’s control our urge to panic buy and instead, take better stock of our resources. See if you really do need that 50-kilogram bag of rice or that extra-large container of tomato sauce and ask yourself if you can consume that amount in the next two weeks or so. If you find that the answer is “yes” we think that’s a wise investment. If the answer is “no”, maybe your choice of food is better spent on a food item that will benefit you more than just satisfying your need to hoard.