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How To Stock Your Pantry In A Pandemic

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As the Coronavirus crisis upends business as usual, health officials are urging Americans to only venture out in public when it’s absolutely necessary. For most of us, that means getting the most out of our grocery trips.

So, how do you stock your kitchen for a pandemic? Here are 3 things to keep in mind: 

1. Shoot for a two-week supply of food and water. If you don’t have storage space or cash for 14 days, do your best to get the most bang for your buck. 

2. Try to resist the urge to stockpile. (And yes, that includes toilet paper). This may take some self-control, but it’s important to remember we’re all in this together. Hogging items may leave fewer (or no) staples for those less fortunate.

3. Plan to buy items with long shelf lives. Canned vegetables, canned soups, and canned meats, such as Spam and tuna, are great selections. You may also want to keep frozen fruits and vegetables on hand, since most fresh produce spoils quickly and may not last two weeks. Dried pasta, beans, and grains like barley, oatmeal, and rice — as well as nuts, hot cereals, and coffee and tea — won’t go bad either. And you may want to consider having a sports drink stored in case someone in your family gets sick. Flour, sugar, and baking powder are useful if you’re planning to bake. 

Keeping your pantry prepped won’t curb all the anxieties that come with a global pandemic. But it’s one important way to keep you and your loved ones as safe and healthy as possible.

Robbie Couch is a writer based in Los Angeles who’s covered progressive politics, social justice, and pop culture news for a number of publishers, including HuffPost, Upworthy, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Robbie has an LGBTQ-themed young adult novel, “The Sky Blues,” publishing in 2021.