During these troubling times, it can be difficult to concentrate and remain calm. Panicking during this pandemic can lead to impulse buying, stocking up in bulk and taking away from families in need. As you prepare to remain in your home, there are some tips to keep in mind when grabbing some staples from the grocery store. You want to make sure you have enough food, but also focusing on meals with nutritional value. Here are some pantry items recommendations from Rothman Orthopaedic Institute’s team of dietitians:
In addition to dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, it’s a good idea to keep shelf stable milks with longer expiration dates in the cabinet. Dairy-free, unsweetened milks can come in handy because they have a longer shelf life, and can be used for coffee, oatmeal, baking, etc.
Individually wrapped chicken breasts are great to stock in the freezer so you can easily defrost the amount you need for a meal. Choose lean beef and pork cuts like “loin, chuck, round” cuts when possible, as well as choosing 93% lean ground meats to make tacos or burgers. Low sodium canned beans – in any form are great to make chilis, soups, or add to salads.
Eggs are very versatile. They can serve a breakfast staple, or lunch option, boiled and chopped in a salad. Get creative and make your own fried rice at home for dinner! Frozen shrimp or fish filets are great to stock in the freezer as you can. Tuna or salmon packets are an inexpensive way to load up on protein and heart healthy fats. If you have fresh or frozen avocado on hand, tuna mixed with avocado and lemon juice make a great sandwich option for lunch.
If you can stock up on fresh produce, great! Frozen and canned produce still offer ample nutrition! Some long-lasting fresh produce include squash like acorn, spaghetti, and butternut; potatoes – white and sweet; onions and garlic, carrots, turnips, parsnips, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, fruits like apples, citrus, and pomegranates. Any fresh fruits you have on hand that are on the verge of spoiling can be stored in the freezer. Ripe bananas can be frozen for baking purposes. Chop up apples, pineapples, mango, etc., or rinse berries, grapes and store in a freezer bag and place in the freezer for smoothies or snacking. If possible – choose low sodium or no salt added canned vegetables. Canned crushed or pureed tomatoes are great to make a homemade sauce. Frozen steamable vegetables are also a great option to stock up on.
Keeping a loaf of bread and bagels in the freezer can help prevent food waste. Pasta and rice keep dinners simple. Cereals with sugar less than 10grams per serving can be a staple breakfast, as well as old fashioned oats to make overnight oats. Natural nut butters and jelly sandwiches are easy and sustainable lunch options. Extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil are perfect for cooking or salad dressings. Any vinegars, sauces, seasonings you use regularly to flavor foods are great to have in the household. Look for snack bars that include protein and 3 grams of fiber or more to offer a more sustainable snack. Raw, unsalted nuts and seeds can make a great addition to yogurt or oatmeal. And of course, don’t forget to add your favorite comfort foods to the list. Food is and will always be something that brings us together, to the table, in celebration. Use this time to not only nourish your body, but also your soul.
We hope these food essential recommendations help guide you to building a healthier household. Rothman Orthopaedics team of dietitians are always available by phone or email.
Phyllis LoDuca is a registered dietitian and sees patients at Rothman Orthopaedics in Bryn Mawr and Center City. For more information, please contact her at Phyllis.LoDuca@RothmanOrtho.com.