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A shopping cart in a grocery store.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is now in the global spotlight. Facing a short (two weeks or less) quarantine at home is a real possibility. Take steps now in case you face a quarantine.

Preparing for a quarantine of this nature is much like preparing for a natural disaster. In this situation, however, loss of electricity and gas services is not expected. You will likely have use of a refrigerator, freezer, stove, and oven. Much like in a natural disaster, the key is to stock up on food and other important items you and your family will need during a quarantine.

Following are tips to help you prepare for a coronavirus quarantine. These shopping and meal planning suggestions can make a quarantine experience less stressful.

  • Consider food storage space. If you have one, standard-size refrigerator, consider purchasing items that can go in the pantry since space may be limited. Use plastic, airtight bins to store pantry items if space is limited.
  • Use frozen or canned fruit. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great option when available. While under quarantine, consider other ways to keep fruits and vegetables in your meal plan. Canned and frozen produce are great options and will last the entire time under quarantine. Choose canned fruits packed in juice instead of syrup. Keep a colorful plate in mind when planning foods for meals. Carrots, peppers, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and lots of other vegetables are available in canned and frozen varieties.
  • Stock up on tummy-friendly foods. When caring for a sick family member while quarantined, you should have a steady supply of tummy-friendly foods. Remember to follow your physician’s dietary orders at all times. The following foods can be introduced as permitted.
    • Clear liquids and broth
    • Ice pops and gelatin snack cups
    • Electrolyte replacement drinks
    • Dry toast
    • Saltine crackers and pretzels
    • Bananas
    • White rice
    • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Eat three meals a day. During normal times, lunch is usually eaten at school or work, so be sure your list includes enough food for all three meals each day. If snacks are needed, consider flavored water, fruits, vegetables, low fat cheese sticks, nuts, or lightly salted and buttered microwave popcorn. Avoid processed snacks with added fats, sugar, and salt.
  • Plan meals that are vitamin rich, especially vitamin D. Vitamin D is referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Being indoors for extended periods may result in low vitamin D levels. Add to your grocery list foods that are good sources of vitamin D. These include canned salmon, tuna, and mackerel; spinach; fortified cereals; milk; and orange juice.
  • Include fun food activities. Use this time to cook healthy meals with family members. Cooking together can be a great time to share family recipes, teach children cooking skills, and break up the monotony of being in the house for a long time. Making your own pizza, baking fresh breads, or having a cookie decorating contest are all good ideas.
  • Note. If your pharmacy is located where you shop for groceries, be sure to add medication to your shopping list. Make sure you have enough medicine to last during the quarantine.

Contact Andrea Morris at (256) 372-8082 for more food shopping tips. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website on Emergency Preparedness and Response for more information on how to shop and prepare for emergencies.

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